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.

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Oregon 2022 legislative preview: What’s ahead that could affect your life as legislators gather

By: and - January 31, 2022

Oregon legislators will return to Salem on Tuesday morning with a long list of policies to change and pet projects to fund, and 35 days to do it all. Job training is top of mind for most lawmakers and Gov. Kate Brown as Oregon has more open jobs than workers to fill them. Illegal marijuana […]

Most money, media attention flows to few candidates, but many are running for governor

By: , and - January 28, 2022

When Oregon’s registered Democrats and Republicans receive their primary ballots this spring, they’ll likely see about a dozen candidates for governor. Chances are, they’ll only recognize a few of the names.  With nearly four months to go before the primary election, candidates have already fallen into two groups. There are the frontrunners, those with high-profile […]

New study highlights why so many of Oregon’s superintendents of color are leaving

By: - January 28, 2022

Despite an increasingly diverse student population, leaders in Oregon’s school districts remain overwhelmingly white.  A new study set out to understand the challenges of school superintendents of color, why there are so few superintendents of color in Oregon, and why they quit their jobs. It was done by the non-profit Education Northwest and commissioned by […]

Oregon State wins $5 million to study ways to protect children from environmental health risks

By: - January 27, 2022

Oregon State University has won a $5 million federal grant to protect children from environmental health hazards like lead paint and wildfire smoke.  The five-year grant, one of six awarded nationwide, will fund a new center that will be focused on teaching educators, parents, politicians and public health organizations about ways to make homes, classrooms […]

Colt Gill, Oregon education director

Alsea superintendent, board will defy mask mandate, forgo school funding

By: - January 26, 2022

Despite losing some federal relief money, Alsea School District leaders say they will disregard Covid mandates and allow students and staff to forgo masks when they return to school buildings on Monday, Jan. 31. Superintendent Marc Thielman, who is also a Republican gubernatorial candidate, oversees the 838 students enrolled in the district about 30 miles […]

Brown, Democrats outline big spending plans as GOP calls for limited action in short session

By: , and - January 25, 2022

Oregonians would be better trained for jobs, have help buying a home and have wider access to child care under legislative priorities outlined Tuesday by Gov. Kate Brown and top leaders in the Oregon Legislature. Brown’s priorities, which would add up to hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, are likely to garner Democratic support […]

State Energy Department exploring potential for floating offshore wind farms

By: - January 25, 2022

Oregon joins California, Maine and countries such as Norway, Portugal and Japan in exploring a future of deep-water floating wind farms as a source of clean energy.  The state Energy Department recently published a draft study looking into the challenges and benefits of generating up to three gigawatts of energy each year from deep-water floating […]

Thieves stealing water for grow operations could face tougher Oregon penalties

By: - January 24, 2022

A bill from the House Committee On Agriculture, Land Use, and Water will tackle increasing instances of water theft for illegal cannabis operations in the state. State Rep. Ken Helm, D-Washington County, introduced the bill that would empower the director of the state Water Resources Department to seek court-issued search warrants to investigate water theft.  […]

Oregon secretary of state rejects petition to get school choice on ballot

By: - January 20, 2022

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan rejected a petition Wednesday to get a school choice measure on the November 2024 ballot because it was not specific enough to one issue. The proposed measure included changes to the Oregon Constitution that would allow parents to choose any school for their child and provide state funding for […]

high school graduation

Despite challenging school year, Oregon graduation rates dropped only slightly

By: - January 20, 2022

The state’s average four-year high school graduation rate fell just two percentage points during the last school year despite major hurdles to instruction from the pandemic, according to data released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education.  The average four-year graduation rate in the state went from 83% for the class of 2020 to 81% […]

DeFazio will try a last time to ease debt burden on college borrowers, expand Pell

By: - January 19, 2022

Each year since 2016, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat from Oregon, has proposed lowering student debt and expanding the federal Pell grant for low-income students.  His legislation has yet to pass. In his last year representing the state’s 4th Congressional District before retiring after 36 years, DeFazio will try one last time. He announced Wednesday […]

Large Oregon districts skipped ‘emergency’ teachers even as staff shortages grew

By: - January 19, 2022

Last October, the state came to the rescue of school districts by opening the way to get people into classrooms who weren’t necessarily teachers by degree or training. But data from the state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission show that the state’s largest districts didn’t grab the lifeline even as they closed down in recent […]