Emily Wendler

Reporter

Emily Wendler joined KOSU in February 2015, following graduate school at the University of Montana.

While studying Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with an emphasis on agriculture, a professor introduced her to radio and she fell in love.

The Cincinnati native has since reported for KBGA, University of Montana’s college radio station, and Montana’s PBS Newsbrief. She was a finalist in a national in-depth radio reporting competition for an investigatory piece she produced on campus rape. She also produced in-depth reports on wind energy and local food for Montana Public Radio.

She is very excited to be working in Oklahoma City, and you can hear her work on all things from education to agriculture right here on KOSU.

Ways to Connect

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, was charged Thursday with multiple felonies for violating campaign fundraising laws. Hofmeister denies any wrongdoing and said she will fight the charges.

“I will vigorously defend my integrity and reputation against any suggestion of wrongdoing and fight the allegations that have been made against me,” she said at a press conference Thursday evening.

Ben Felder with the Oklahoman compared every Oklahoma school’s poverty rates to the letter grade they received on the 2015 A-F School Report Card. His analysis shows that schools with lower grades typically had much higher levels of poverty, and schools with high grades were usually in more affluent areas.

The State Board of Education released the newest A through F School Report Cards at Thursday’s board meeting.

Overall, grades were down this year. This year’s tally included 196 A’s, 455 B’s, 582 C’s, 319 D’s and 213 F’s. By contrast, in 2015, schools earned 212 A’s, 497 B’s, 536 C’s, 333 D’s and 183 F’s.

Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said she isn’t sure why there's a dip, and said it would be irresponsible to make a guess, but her department will start digging through the data looking for answers.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to per-pupil funding for the third straight year.

According to a new national comparison conducted by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, the amount of money the state spends through the funding formula on each student’s education has dropped by nearly 27 percent since 2008.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Just over a year ago—under the dark of night—a Ten Commandments monument was removed from the state Capitol grounds.

Representative Mike Ritze paid for it. Governor Mary Fallin supported it. But its placement prompted a public debate—and ultimately a lawsuit—that forced its removal.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled it had to come down and based their decision on a section of the Oklahoma Constitution—Article 2, Section 5—that says public money and property may not be used to benefit religion.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Economists from the University of Oklahoma studied the potential impact that State Question 779 would have on city governments, and found that small cities may have reason to worry, but larger cities shouldn’t.

State Question 779 proposes raising the state sales tax one cent in order to fund $5,000 raises for teachers, and other aspects of education. But many city governments oppose the measure because they rely on sales tax increases too, to build streets, fire stations, and other things.  

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Data presented at Oklahoma City Public Schools' Monday night board meeting shows many of the district’s academic goals for the year were not met. 

The goals were set last year during "The Great Conversation," which was a series of community meetings where parents and school staff produced goals for the district. They also agreed on specific skills they wanted each child to leave school with.

Josh Robinson

Oklahoma teachers haven’t received a statewide pay raise in eight years. But this November, voters will have a chance to boost teacher pay if they approve State Question 779, which would fund the raises through a one-cent sales tax.

Education advocates say this could prevent teachers from fleeing the state, or the profession, for better paying jobs. But opponents argue the proposal would create an entirely different set of problems.

THE CASE FOR MORE FUNDING

There’s a fairly widespread consensus in Oklahoma that education needs more funding.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Two state lawmakers joined Oklahoma City Public School administrators and students on Thursday morning for a ‘walk-in’ to support public education.

A crowd of about 100 people gathered before the first bell rang at U.S. Grant High School to rally, once again, for public education funding.

Benjamin Bax, the interim president of the Oklahoma City Public School’s teacher’s union, says thousands more were doing the same across the country.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

The Department of Education released statewide student assessment scores at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting and the results show an overall upward trend of improvement. But a slight one. 

Overall, Oklahoma students are performing better at reading than they are in math. On average, 70 percent of third through eighth-grade students are proficient in reading, and 65 percent of students are scoring proficient in math.

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