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 NPR's Morning Edition, Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

Ways to Connect


The University of Wisconsin System’s new interim leader wants to expand a free tuition promise program for low and moderate-income students to all UW campuses in the coming years. But it’s dependent on funding that may be difficult to procure during the COVID-19 crisis.

Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Democratic National Convention was expected to draw the world’s attention to Milwaukee. But the city only received a brief mention during the now-virtual event’s 8-10 p.m. primetime programming on Monday.

“We had hoped to have our convention in the City of Festivals, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this year,” Actress Eva Longoria, who served as the emcee of the night, said in her introduction. “Of course, we’re not able to do that.”

Emily Files / WUWM

Monday is the first day of school for most Milwaukee public high schools and middle schools. The rest of MPS schools start on Sept. 1.

It’s going to be a very different year. Milwaukee Public Schools, like many large districts across the country, is starting the semester virtually because of the risks posed by the coronavirus. The virtual learning will continue until at least Oct. 9.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 10:22 a.m. CT

New research on Black-white disparities in metropolitan Milwaukee draws a sobering conclusion about education: Black students here attend the most racially segregated schools in the nation.

Not only that, but schools have resegregated over the years. Black children are as racially isolated as they were in 1965.

Some Milwaukee education leaders say, with the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, now is the time to change the segregation picture.

Emily Files / WUWM

Milwaukee schools that bring students back in-person will have to follow dozens of safety rules, including 50% capacity limits and tracking positive COVID-19 cases within the school.

Emily Files / WUWM

A Wauwatosa private school is facing backlash from alumni after its statement about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Milwaukee Lutheran High School posted on Facebook last week that it supports Black lives and Black families but doesn’t support the beliefs of the Black Lives Matter organization because they don’t align with biblical views. Many took that as an objection to the pro-LGBTQ stance of the Black Lives Matter organization.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

University of Wisconsin campuses will test students living in dorms for COVID-19 every two weeks, under a new plan announced Thursday. The plan applies to all UW schools except Madison, which has its own testing procedures for the fall semester.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 3:48 p.m. CT

On Monday, southeastern Wisconsin teachers’ unions and community groups organized a car caravan from Kenosha to Madison, calling for state action on school reopening.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

A cloud of financial trouble is hanging over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as it plans for its first full semester in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

The University of Wisconsin System is forging ahead with plans for a combination of in-person and online classes this fall.

Some universities in other states have walked back their plans for in-person learning out of concern about rising coronavirus infections.

Screenshot / Wisconsin Department of Health Services / YouTube

Updated at 5:18 p.m. CT

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is implementing a second round of state budget cuts as the economy continues to flounder. Evers announced Wednesday that he is telling state agencies to find $250 million in cost savings for the current fiscal year.

Screenshot / City of Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Health Department says schools will be allowed to reopen with in-person instruction if they have a strong enough safety plan in place.

That news comes after an outcry from private schools and colleges in the city. Many of these schools realized just last week that the health department’s current coronavirus order prohibits in-person classes.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated on July 21 at 5:49 p.m.

After some confusion and criticism, the Milwaukee Health Department clarified Tuesday that it does not intend to keep all city schools closed this fall.

Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik says the department will issue a new order that allows schools to open for in-person classes if they have an approved safety plan in place.

Original story

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated on July 17 at 3:12 p.m. CT

Emily Files / WUWM

As coronavirus cases increase in Wisconsin, the state’s largest school district is proposing a virtual start to the upcoming school year. Milwaukee Public Schools leaders are calling for a phased-in reopening of schools — beginning with virtual instruction for all students, for at least the first 30 days.