Author

Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. She has reported from the Arctic to the Antarctic for national and international media, and from Minnesota and Oregon for The Washington Post. She previously worked in Iceland and Qatar and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain where she earned a master's degree in digital media. She's been a kayaking guide in Alaska, farmed on four continents and worked the night shift at several bakeries to support her reporting along the way.

Ben Cannon

Investments needed in higher ed, job training to recover from pandemic, Oregon leaders say

By: - December 6, 2021

Oregon can’t recover jobs lost during the pandemic and meet the needs of industry without new investments in training the workforce, state leaders declared Monday. Gov. Kate Brown and Ben Cannon, executive director of the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission, underscored that point in speeches to an annual gathering of business leaders and public officials. […]

Oregonians can bid for lower taxes while funding scholarships through state auction

By: - December 4, 2021

An upcoming auction for tax credits could save winners anywhere from $50 to $1.12 million on state taxes, all while funding Oregon’s largest needs-based scholarship program.   The online auction is in its fourth year, and offers bidders the opportunity to shave their tax bill and direct a portion of what they would pay in taxes […]

Education Department wants public help mapping the future of special education

By: - December 2, 2021

The Oregon Education Department is writing a six-year plan to improve school results for students with disabilities, and it wants the public’s help. Agency officials want to know how well public schools are preparing students with disabilities for life after high school, whether students with disabilities are being included in the same spaces as their […]

After more than three decades, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio is done with Congress

By: , and - December 1, 2021

Peter DeFazio was waiting for three things to happen before he ended his decades-long congressional career. First, Donald Trump needed to be out of the White House. Second, Oregon needed its long-awaited sixth congressional district. And finally, Democrats needed to control Congress. He finally checked those three boxes this year, and now he’s ready to […]

DeFazio’s retirement decision triggers political watch for candidates; 2 declare to run

By: , and - December 1, 2021

Just hours after U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio announced his intention to retire from Congress at the end of his term in 2022, a state official revealed she hoped to replace him.  But Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, a Democrat, won’t be alone in seeking to represent Oregon’s 4th Congressional District. Democratic watchers said state Sens. Sara […]

Despite closing decades-long funding gaps, Oregon schools say they need more money

By: - December 1, 2021

State school and education leaders said Tuesday that despite new data showing that decades of school funding gaps in the state have been nearly closed, many districts are still underfunded.  They were reacting to a new report that found the 2021 legislative budget for schools “represents a significant narrowing of the insufficiency reported in past […]

A year after state, tribes receive funds to test for lead in drinking water at schools, childcare facilities

By: - November 29, 2021

Tribal-run child care facilities and schools in Oregon will be tested for lead in the drinking water under a grant announced by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board will receive $445,000 to test water in at least 90 facilities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Testing will begin next spring […]

Empty classroom

Amid staff shortages, Oregon students with disabilities get short shrift

By: - November 29, 2021

In a recent Senate Education Committee meeting dominated by conversations around school staff shortages, state Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, D-Corvallis, said the loss of special education teachers was violating students’ civil rights. She brought up the Lane Education Service District, supporting 16 school districts including Eugene, where Life Skills classes that typically were conducted five […]

Oregon is losing female school superintendents, new study highlights why

By: - November 24, 2021

In Oregon, school districts filled 29 openings for school superintendents this year. Just eight were women. Of those, only three got contracts for more than a year.  Such figures illustrate the gender gap playing out in hiring and retention among the state’s school district leaders, where men make up 75% of school superintendents, according to […]

State lifts outside mask requirement, requires unvaccinated students exposed to Covid-19 test to stay in schools

By: - November 23, 2021

The heads of the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Education announced loosened  Covid-19 requirements for students and the public. Students who are vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine or be tested when exposed to someone with Covid-19, and the statewide mask mandate for large outdoor crowds has been lifted.  The announcement follows […]

Three rural Oregon towns get federal money for community centers, fire station

By: - November 19, 2021

The rural town of Dayville, population 113, will finally get to finish upgrading its 1920s community hall and get a new fire station to replace one that burned down.  The funding, for more than $150,000, comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced the grants for Dayville and two other Oregon towns Friday. The […]

Oregon to get more than $400 million to rebuild from 2020 wildfires

By: - November 18, 2021

Oregon will receive more than $422 million from the federal government for rebuilding from the 2020 wildfires that were among the worst in state history. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is distributing $2 billion in disaster recovery and resiliency funds among nine states and Puerto Rico. Oregon […]