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.

Regional EPA officials met with community members in Boardman June 1, 2023 to discuss nitrate contamination in their well water (Nella Parks/Oregon Rural Action)

Environmentalists meet with EPA to discuss emergency action on northeast Oregon water contamination

By: - June 1, 2023

More than three years ago, eight national and Oregon-based environmental nonprofits petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency to do something about nitrate-contaminated water in northeast Oregon. Then, they waited.  On Thursday, EPA officials finally met with members of Food & Water Watch who first sent a petition to the EPA – along with Columbia Riverkeeper, […]

After more than a decade, state issues new recommendations for how reading should be taught

By: - May 30, 2023

The Oregon Department of Education released new recommendations Tuesday for ensuring all kids can read by the end of third grade, after years of Oregon students demonstrating poor reading proficiency on state and national assessments. It’s the first time the Early Literacy Framework has been updated in more than a decade. The 100-page framework published […]

Water is needed for agriculture.

Funding for drought package less than half of what bipartisan authors proposed

By: - May 30, 2023

Democratic leaders in the Legislature have announced they’d allocate $110 million to confront Oregon’s drought and water security issues for the next two years.  It’s less than half of what the budget’s authors, Reps. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton, and Mark Owens, R-Crane, had initially proposed in March. The two wanted $250 million for at least 25 […]

Kotek orders new council to investigate quality of reading instruction at Oregon teacher colleges

By: - May 25, 2023

Gov. Tina Kotek will appoint a new council to investigate how well Oregon’s 15 teacher colleges prepare graduates to teach kids to read and write.  It comes in response to more than a decade of low-reading and writing proficiency among Oregon students as measured by state and national assessments, and in light of growing pressure […]

toddlers playing child care

More Oregon kids attend preschool but enrollment still among lowest in nation

By: - May 24, 2023

More Oregonians have been enrolling their kids in preschool, and the state has spent more per child on preschool than most states, but the state has lagged in other areas. A study released last week from the Rutgers University National Institute for Early Education Research in New Jersey found that more 3 year olds in […]

A teacher works with a student

Democratic lawmakers agree on historic school funding but bill stalled by Senate Republican walkout

By: and - May 23, 2023

Democratic leaders in the Legislature have agreed to spend a record amount on schools over the next two years after last week’s economic forecast showed lawmakers will have more money to spend. House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis and Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, announced late Monday a $10.2 billion investment in the State School […]

Dozens of public university and community college students rallied against budget cuts to higher education at the Capitol Thursday, May 11.

Oregon college students rally at the Capitol against cuts to higher education

By: - May 11, 2023

Several dozen college students gathered in Salem to voice their concerns about budget cuts to higher education.  The rally was one of at least three that took place at the Capitol throughout Thursday, and was organized by the student-run nonprofit Oregon Student Association. It opposes a proposal to cut the public university and community college […]

Gov. Tina Kotek visits with Boardman residents who have unsafe drinking water from nitrate contamination in their wells May 3, 2023. (Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Kotek visits Boardman residents with contaminated water for first time, hears frustrations, fears

By: - May 4, 2023

For the first time, Boardman residents expressed their frustration and worries about their contaminated water to Gov. Tina Kotek in person. During an hourlong meeting in the Boardman Senior Center on Wednesday, dozens discussed their frustration with living with contaminated water for years. They said they had suffered health problems, sometimes losing loved ones to […]

Oregon public universities ask state for more funding as students pay record tuition

By: - April 27, 2023

Officials from Oregon’s seven public universities say they need more than $1 billion over the next two years to maintain services amid inflation and to avoid deep cuts and layoffs.  That’s $100 million more than funding the state’s seven universities received in the last biennium for general support.   At a public hearing of the Joint […]

Northeast Oregonians ask governor to declare emergency over contaminated drinking water

By: - April 18, 2023

This week about a dozen Morrow County residents and community organizers drove 200 miles from northeast Oregon to Salem to do what their state elected officials had so far been unwilling to do: meet face-to-face to talk about the contaminated drinking water that hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of their neighbors continue to live […]

Class for student with disability

Schools hiring emergency teachers for special education, potentially violating federal law

By: - April 13, 2023

More than 130 emergency licensed teachers are filling in as special education instructors in Oregon this year, shortchanging thousands of students and potentially violating a federal law.  That law, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, ensures that children with disabilities are given an appropriate public education equal to that of their peers without disabilities, […]

$120 million proposal to boost student literacy advances in Legislature

By: - April 3, 2023

A $120 million initiative to boost literacy would be one of the single largest investments of its type in Oregon history if it passes.  But during a public hearing for the proposal at the House Committee on Education on Monday, critics said it doesn’t go far enough and risks wasting money without stricter spending rules.  […]