Emily Files

Education Reporter

Emily became WUWM’s education reporter in August 2018 after spending four years in small-town Alaska.

She began as a reporter for KRBD in Ketchikan, where she once covered a bear interrupting a high school cross country race. She then worked as a reporter and eventually news director at KHNS Radio in Haines, where she reported on a man in a bear costume harassing actual bears. Aside from the occasional bear story, Emily covered the local politics, tribal issues, hunting, fishing and, of course, education.

Emily is originally from the Chicago area. She studied journalism at Emerson College in Boston, where she reported her very first radio stories for college station WERS. She interned at NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Boston Globe and PRI’s The World. Emily’s work has aired on Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

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Emily Files

Several states have taken steps to make college more affordable by creating free-tuition "promise" programs. Each one is different, but in general, they allow students to attend community college, or sometimes public universities, for free.

Emily Files

Wisconsin has some of the most pronounced education gaps between black and white students. In 2012, a group of suburban Milwaukee school districts, along with Concordia University in Mequon, launched a collaboration to address those racial disparities — the Closing the Achievement Gap Consortium.

Emily Files

In his first months as superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, Keith Posley announced an ambitious goal: that MPS math, reading and writing scores would surpass the state average within five years.

Emily Files

Alexandra Moreno is an incoming junior at Carmen High School of Science and Technology in Milwaukee. She wants to be a lawyer. But she’s not waiting until she earns that degree to speak out about an issue that's important to her – immigrant rights.  

“Right now, we’re actually planning a march to advocate for people that are at the border,” Moreno says. "Immigration rights is something to follow through [on] here because our country is a melting pot."

Alesandra Tejeda

On the corner of Cambridge Avenue and Hampshire Avenue on Milwaukee’s east side, there’s a home that stands out.

It’s not a bungalow or a duplex or a high-rise. It’s a boat. It looks like a 70-foot-long yacht, perched on a grassy lawn, facing the Milwaukee River. If that isn’t enough to catch your eye, there is a lighthouse replica on the front lawn.

Emily Files

Wisconsin's first state budget under former education chief, now-Gov. Tony Evers provides a $570 million increase for K-12 schools. Republican lawmakers crafted the spending plan, which resulted in a smaller boost than Evers proposed. 

Whether public school advocates see that as a success or failure depends on who you ask.

Emily Files

Legislation aimed at helping dyslexic students in Wisconsin cleared a major hurdle last month when it was approved by the State Assembly. The bill is now in the Senate’s hands. From there, it would go to Gov. Tony Evers, and potentially become Wisconsin’s first dyslexia-specific law. 

But the debate over how to support struggling readers is far from over.

Emily Files

In Wisconsin, all eyes have been on the state budget and the question of what Gov. Tony Evers will do with Republicans’ version of the two-year spending plan.

But that’s not the only work happening in the Capitol. Last week, the Assembly advanced a handful of bills that would impact schools and teachers.

Emily Files

Wisconsin public education advocates are planning a 60-mile march to Madison this weekend to call for more state support of school districts. Organizers say Republican legislators’ plan to increase K-12 funding by about $500 million in the state biennial budget falls far short.

Instead, they support the much larger $1.4 billion spending boost proposed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Emily Files / WUWM

Chances are good your local school district has gone directly to voters asking for more money to stay afloat. Tight state funding and restrictions on local taxing power have pushed more than 70% of Wisconsin school districts to seek operating referendums.

These referendums aren’t about borrowing money for new buildings. They’re requests for more property taxes to sustain basic costs.

Emily Files

Earlier this year, NPR's Education Team announced it was holding a podcast challenge for students. With help from teachers, middle and high schoolers from around the country submitted thousands of audio stories.

One podcast from the Milwaukee area stood out and was named a finalist. It came from three incarcerated teenagers at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center. The students go by the pseudonyms JT, JC and Joe.

Emily Files

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross is calling Republican lawmakers’ UW funding proposal "micromanaging" and a "missed opportunity."

Cross was in Milwaukee for a Board of Regents meeting this week. It was the first regents gathering since the Joint Committee on Finance surprised UW leaders with its spending plan. The budget-writing committee voted along party lines to advance a $58 million increase for UW schools over the next two years.  

Emily Files

The new, union-backed Milwaukee School Board was responsive to employee concerns as it adjusted and approved the district’s $1.2 billion budget for the upcoming school year.

In a marathon meeting Thursday night, the board shifted dollars to provide increases for things like mental health staff, restorative practice leaders, and bilingual education.

PHIL ROEDER / FLICKR

Republican lawmakers scaled back another piece of Gov. Tony Evers’ education funding plan this week: support for the University of Wisconsin System.

The Democratic governor is seeking a $126 million increase for UW schools. But the GOP-dominated budget-writing committee settled on a much lower number — $58 million.

It follows the Joint Committee on Finance's decision last week to chop Evers' K-12 spending plan by more than half.

Emily Files / WUWM

The Wisconsin Policy Forum’s annual Milwaukee Public Schools Budget Brief details the long-term financial insecurity facing MPS, even though Superintendent Keith Posley has constructed a $1.2 billion budget for the upcoming school year that protects classrooms from cuts.

"This was a difficult budget to size up," says Policy Forum President Rob Henken. "On the one hand, you do see what seems like an easing of fiscal pressures."

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