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.

Oregon Supreme Court upholds decision to keep Kristof from running for governor

By: and - February 17, 2022

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan was right to keep former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof off the ballot for governor, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday. In a 33-page unanimous opinion, the court affirmed Fagan’s early January decision that Kristof hadn’t lived in Oregon long enough to run for governor. The Oregon Constitution requires […]

State senators, Education Department call for more summer school funding to help students catch up

By: - February 17, 2022

Schools and summer educational programs need $100 million more to help students recover from pandemic-related school closures, according to the state Education Department, education groups and several state senators. Testifying at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Education on Tuesday, they said Oregon needs more programs to help students recover credits, spend time among […]

Salem Capitol

New program to promote civics education will grant $50,000 for projects across state

By: - February 16, 2022

Oregonians interested in learning more about state history and government can apply for a share of $50,000 in grants to use for projects, research and field trips. The Oregon Capitol Foundation will award the money to any individual or group to use for civics lessons in schools, to carry out an extracurricular activity, a public […]

House committee divided over bill to protect school superintendents from firing

By: - February 15, 2022

A proposal that would protect superintendents from being fired for following laws and executive orders went through vigorous debate on Tuesday. Some parents and Republicans opposed the plan while several superintendents, school administrators and school board groups and Democrats voiced their support.  Senate Bill 1521, which is before the House Committee on Education, would prohibit […]

Republican legislators serving large portions of Oregon have tough time advancing their agenda

By: and - February 15, 2022

Two weeks into Oregon’s legislative session, Democrats are moving forward with plans to pay overtime to  farmworkers, create job training programs targeted at people of color and protect school officials from being fired for following government mandates. If Republicans instead controlled the Legislature, the past two weeks would instead have been dominated by talk of […]

Legislators considering steps to tackle Oregon’s shortage of teachers

By: - February 14, 2022

A proposal to make it easier and more lucrative to teach in Oregon is being heard by the public and lawmakers after a work group spent months looking for solutions to the state’s teacher workforce shortages.  House Bill 4030 started as a placeholder bill – essentially a blank page with the directive from House Education […]

Sharp divide emerges over proposal to increase spending on livestock killed by wolves

By: - February 11, 2022

A proposal to add $1 million to a state fund that compensates farmers and ranchers who’ve lost livestock to wolves has drawn criticism from conservation and animal rights advocates, who’ve asked legislators to oppose it. House Bill 4127 would more than triple the amount of money in the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Wolf Depredation Compensation […]

Proposal for luxury sales tax dies

By: - February 10, 2022

A proposal to add a 3% sales tax on snowmobiles, handbags, jewelry and firearms, among other luxury items over a certain price didn’t last long in the legislative session. House Bill 4079, sponsored by Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, was pulled from the agendas for the House Committee on Human Services meeting on Tuesday this week […]

End of mandatory masking brings relief along with stress and liability to school leaders

By: - February 9, 2022

Jon Zwemke, superintendent of schools in the coastal town of Reedsport, got just a few hours’ notice that statewide mask mandates would be over for his students and staff by the end of March. On Monday, Feb. 7, the Oregon Health Authority announced it would be up to district leaders to decide what they wanted […]

Oregon state agency pushes to add suicide prevention to apprenticeships

By: - February 9, 2022

Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle noticed something disturbing as she regularly signed certificates for those graduating from state-sponsored apprenticeship programs. Some, most often men, had died before they could start their new trade. “I asked my staff why these people died,” Hoyle said, “and it was suicide, and these are young men that were my son’s […]

Luxury sales tax proposed for Oregon to help low-income parents, former foster youth

By: - February 4, 2022

A luxury sales tax being proposed by Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, could fund a new program offering monthly stipends for low-income pregnant women and youth leaving the foster care system. House Bill 4079 would create a 3% sales tax on snowmobiles, handbags, jewelry and firearms, among other items, over a certain price point. Oregon is […]

Lawmakers hear testimony on ways to provide relief from extreme heat, cold

By: - February 2, 2022

Oregon lawmakers Wednesday heard testimony on two bipartisan proposals that would help low-income homeowners and renters pay for air conditioning and heat and find relief in extreme weather. The two bills respond to growing concerns that the June 2021 heat wave, where temperatures in parts of the state reached 118, could become more common. At […]