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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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 […]

Environment Commission issues historic mandate for cleaner trucks on Oregon roads

By: - November 17, 2021

A powerful state regulatory commission Wednesday put Oregon in the forefront of climate change efforts by mandating changes to trucking that are expected to cut in half greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe pollution. The state Environmental Quality Commission approved the Clean Trucks Rules to require truck manufacturers to boost their production of electric medium- and […]

Oregon’s work to minimize wildfires gets a boost from federal legislation

By: - November 17, 2021

Oregon will likely tackle much quicker a long list of projects already planned to help cope with wildfires that have become increasingly catastrophic in the state.  From making homes in forested areas safer to clearing forest debris left untended for sometimes decades, the federal money comes on top of an already-robust plan approved by state […]

Community college enrollments in Oregon begin to stabilize, but decade of decline worrying

By: - November 16, 2021

Oregon’s 17 community colleges have managed to slow steep pandemic drops in enrollment according to figures released Friday but their future is uncertain.  Last year, the total student headcount was down 23% from the year before. This year, it slowed to a drop of less than 1%.  Still, community colleges enroll 60,000 fewer students today […]

School staffing issues in Oregon called ‘real, emergency situation’

By: - November 15, 2021

At a Senate Education Committee meeting on Monday, superintendents and representatives from school boards and teachers associations detailed dire staffing situations across the state that are harming students and even potentially violating federal law. Among the most severe shortages: special education instructors.  Staffing shortages have forced at least one education service district to curtail special […]

Timber advocates ghostwrite commissioners’ complaint about River Democracy Act

By: - November 12, 2021

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden in August got a letter critical of his plan to preserve more Oregon streams from 14 county commissioners in eastern Oregon. They represented the letter as their view – but gave no indication the piece had been produced by the timber advocacy group American Forest Resource Council.  Oregon Wild, an environmental […]

New Southern Oregon University president announced

By: - November 10, 2021

Oregon’s fourth largest university and the state’s southern flagship has announced its next president.  Richard Bailey, Jr., 51, will oversee Southern Oregon University in Ashland starting in January. He’ll be the university’s 14th president since its founding in 1872. He takes over from Linda Schott, who announced in April that she would retire by the […]

Audit: Education department has improved cyber security, but some gaps persist

By: - November 10, 2021

The Oregon Department of Education’s IT office largely passed the state’s audit of its cybersecurity protocols in a report released Wednesday, but several persistent gaps remain since they were reviewed in 2019.  The Education Department’s Office of Finance and Information Technology is tasked with supporting agency technology and creating web applications that help with programs […]