education next

K-12 Accreditation's Next Move

By Jennifer Oldham, Winter 2018

The current generation of American public-school students has grown up in the era of centralized, standardized data. Anyone curious about how local schools were doing could look at pass rates on annual exams in math and reading, the foundation of federally mandated, test-based accountability. New rules are poised to change this system. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), written to shrink the federal government’s reach, enables states to embrace a more holistic approach to quality control. Test scores are still important, but so are attendance, school climate, graduation rates, and other non-academic measures. As states redesign their accountability systems, the challenge is how to best measure, report, and utilize this information to improve student learning. One industry is offering itself up for the job: accreditation. Read More >>

denver Business Journal

Dance company Wonderbound brings hope to Denver's homeless

By Jennifer Oldham, August 10, 2017

Wonderbound’s 10 dancers rehearse in a 1920s-era U.S. post office garage that sits in a no man’s land just north of Denver’s rapidly gentrifying downtown. It’s not Curtis Park, Ballpark, Five Points, or RiNo, but a window into the human condition. Patrons of nearby homeless shelters recline on the sidewalk and watch through open double doors as the dancers try repeatedly to master complicated original works set to poetry from the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, or to music from the Flobots, Jesse Manley, Paper Bird and many others. Read More >>

Success Formula? Put more women on boards of directors

By Jennifer Oldham, August 18, 2017

Newmont Mining Corp. CEO Gary Goldberg attributes his company’s success in part to women who serve on his corporate board. And he continues to diversify the 12-member panel. Newmont, a global gold and copper producer, is the state’s seventh-largest public company. It announced on July 19 the election of Sheri Hickok and Molly P. Zhang, giving women 42 percent of the seats on the Greenwood Village-based firm’s board. Read More >>

editor for New America's UNPAID WORK SERIES 

Sending Health to Rural Ghana via Traveling Medics

By Andrew Green, Aug. 1, 2017

ABOSAMSO, Ghana — Hayford Amponsam was making his daily rounds in this small town in south-central Ghana when he came across an infant who was dangerously ill. She had bloody diarrhea and had been coughing up thick mucus for days. Her mother had only sought treatment from a nearby traditional healer. Read More >>

Why More Turkish Women Don't work

By Pinar Ersoy, May 4, 2017

In Turkey, a narrow victory in April’s constitutional referendum granted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unlimited powers, calling into question whether women will benefit from the economic reforms promised by this conservative strongman infamous for his anti-feminist views. “A woman who refuses maternity and gives up housekeeping ... is a half [person],” Erdogan said in a June 2016 speech. The Turkish government’s policies have mostly been in line with this view. Read More >>

Bloomberg NEWS & businessweek magazine

Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers

By Jennifer Oldham, Oct. 6, 2016

Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago. As commodity prices threaten to reach decade lows and farmers struggle to meet debt payments, wind has become the newest cash crop, saving family farms across a wide swath of the heartland. Read More >>

Louisiana Ports Awash in ‘Dead Iron’ as Oil Manufacturing Drops

By Jennifer Oldham, Aug. 31, 2016

Summer hung heavy over the bayou in Loreauville, Louisiana, as Vance "Vic" Breaux Jr. walked across an empty parking lot into a cavernous open-ended warehouse where a 205-foot-long aluminum-supply boat on order lay half-finished. Read More >>

Colorado's $1 Billion Pot Industry Saves Towns as It Sows Mayhem

By Jennifer Oldham, March 9, 2016

Taxes generated by Colorado’s $1 billion marijuana industry are keeping some struggling towns solvent even as growing numbers of high-schoolers are getting stoned at lunch, police are coping with a doubling of cannabis-related traffic deaths and doped-up tourists flock to emergency rooms. Read More >>

The Circus Animal Unemployment Crisis

By Jennifer Oldham, August 21, 2015

Jumanji’s whiskers twitched as he sized up his visitors beyond the fence. Seconds later he leapt toward them, ears back, yellow eyes narrowed, fangs bared.  “He thought that was fun,” said Pat Craig, founder of The Wild Animal Sanctuary, who rescued the black leopard from a menagerie in Ohio. Jumanji was nursed to health on grasslands northeast of Denver, recovering from frostbitten ears and infections he got from lying in his own urine. The 130-pound cat’s one of the lucky ones. Read More>>

Colorado Public Radio interviewed Oldham about:  When your kid moves out west she takes the U.S. economy with her

By Jennifer Oldham, April 27, 2015

Cranes punctuate Austin’s skyline. Startups skip Boston for Denver’s downtown, where silver boom-era warehouses are transformed into offices. In San Francisco, technology engineers revive long-blighted Market Street. Read More >>

new mexico's $100 million accounting error

By Jennifer Oldham, February 20, 2015

New Mexico can’t balance its checkbook. Cash in the state’s bank account is at least $100 million short of what’s recorded in the finance department’s ledger, pushing officials to adjust reserves by that amount, to about $650 million. The blame, the current administration says, lies with the introduction of a new accounting system in 2006. Read More >>

Coens’ Wood Chipper Draws Crowds as Fargo Laments Image

By Jennifer Oldham, October 24, 2014

Jason Gireto donned a plaid hunting cap to pose for the requisite souvenir: a photo with colleagues shoving a white-socked mannequin leg into the wood chipper used in the 1996 Academy Award-winning dark comedy “Fargo.” Yet even as hundreds of visitors a year flock to the machine made famous in a vivid bit of movie mayhem, local leaders are working to update the perception of Fargo, the place. Read More >>

The Beetle That's Chewing Up America

By Jennifer Oldham, June 5, 2014

The western U.S., already suffering an historic drought, is also battling another Old Testament-worthy plague: a tiny insect with a monster appetite. Pine beetles, each the size of a grain of rice, are obliterating forests, ravaging towns, draining city budgets, and threatening tourism at ski resorts, golf courses, and national parks. The beetles’ economic impact is emerging two decades into a growing infestation fueled by climate change and drought that has wiped out 38,000 square miles of trees—an area the size of Indiana and Rhode Island combined. Read More >>

A Landscape of Fire Rises Over North Dakota’s Gas Fields

By Jennifer Oldham, April 7, 2014

Towering flames atop oil wells break the inky darkness in the badlands on North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The flares of natural gas set grass fires on the prairie where Theodora Bird Bear’s ancestors hunted buffalo and create a driving hazard on rural roads. Read More >>

Nebraskans Resist Keystone Spurning TransCanada's Checks

By Jennifer Oldham, January 30, 2014

An icy wind rattles a metal warehouse in York, Nebraska, as farmers and ranchers inside vow not to sign easements with a Canadian company to bury the Keystone XL oil pipeline on their land. “I think TransCanada has been surprised we country bumpkins gathered,” said Bonny Kilmurry, one of about 145 landowners meeting here, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Omaha, who have declined the company’s overtures. Read More >>

Drug-Sniffing Dogs Pose Problem in States That Legalized Marijuana 

By Jennifer Oldham, August 22, 2013

Vader, an 80-pound Belgian Malinois with the Colorado Springs Police Department, knows his job well. At the scent of an illicit drug such as cocaine or marijuana, the dog barks and scratches, pointing officers to the stash. It’s a task he’s performed countless times over the last five years under Andrew Genta, the department’s head K-9 unit trainer. Now that marijuana is legal in the state, however, Vader’s job is becoming more complicated. Read More >>

Colorado Farms Push Bennet On Immigration as Peppers Rot

By Jennifer Oldham, May 29, 2013

As he surveyed a field of three-week-old sweet corn, Colorado farmer Bob Sakata told how a shortage of hands to pack the vegetable forced him to downsize his operations by 40 percent over the past decade.  Read More >>

North Dakota's Oil Boom Strains its Infrastructure

By Jennifer Oldham, February 2, 2012

The gravel road that runs in front of Dave Hynek’s farm in Mountrail County, N.D., was designed to carry 10 tractor-trailers a day—more than enough to haul the wheat and flax his family has grown on the 1,400-acre property for four generations. These days, Hynek has to fight to get out of his driveway. In a recent 24-hour period, local officials counted 800 trucks rumbling by, most carting goods related to the oil drilling in the Bakken shale formation, which runs from Canada through North Dakota and Montana, and directly beneath his land. “It’s absolutely destroying our infrastructure,” says Hynek, who’s also a county commissioner. Read More >>

los angeles times

Carpool lanes for airplanes?: Aviation experts say a $40-billion GPS system is needed to handle the huge volume of traffic expected by 2025

By Jennifer Oldham, June 11, 2007

Concealed under a thick blanket of fog, Louisville International Airport emitted an eerie orange glow as Capt. James Haney lined up his heavy cargo jet for landing after a long nighttime flight from Los Angeles. As he descended, the United Parcel Service captain had an advantage other pilots don't have: a monitor in the dashboard that displayed a clear picture of aircraft plying the soupy skies around him, guiding him safely around a stream of other planes arriving from the West Coast. After the Boeing 767 touched down, with a Times reporter observing in the cockpit, a satellite-based surveillance system helped Haney avoid nearby aircraft hidden behind the unusually heavy white mist. Read More >>

terrorist bullet still digs deep: five years ago, grandmother sarah phillips was at the center of a gunman's attack at lax

By Jennifer Oldham, June 7, 2007

Toronto -- On July 4, 2002, Sarah Phillips was checking in at Los Angeles International Airport for her trip home to Canada after a vacation with friends. The first flight she could get to arrive in time for her grandson's birthday was a connection through Toronto offered by the Israel-based airline, El Al. Read More >>

crash set a new course: The collision of two airliners over the grand canyon 50 years ago led to an overhaul of the nation's antiquated air traffic control system

By Jennifer Oldham, June 3, 2006

On a day that would transform aviation history, fog hung over Los Angeles International Airport. But it did nothing to dampen the festive mood as passengers lined up eager to start their Fourth of July holiday. At one ticket counter, 64 checked in for Trans World Airlines Flight 2 to Kansas City, Mo. Next door, 53 registered for United Airlines' Chicago-bound Flight 718. Read More >>

close calls on lax runways high despite attempts to reduce them: the faa is pushing a $1.5-billion plan to improve safety by altering the airport's layout

By Jennifer Oldham, November 24, 2005

Years of efforts to improve runway safety at Los Angeles International Airport have failed to reduce close calls between airplanes on its four busy runways, a Times review of federal records shows. Read More>>


By Jennifer Oldham, July 28, 2005

The warning was urgent. "There's a wheel from a tug rolling onto 25R," cautioned an airline pilot over the radio at Los Angeles International Airport. "It's on the runway? What part?" asked a surprised air traffic controller, who scanned the airfield for the cart tire. "It's still rolling," replied the pilot." "OK, it's still rolling," repeated the controller, who by now spotted the 30-pound wheel, but could only watch helplessly from the tower as it skittered past a taxiway. Read More >>

U.S. Agency Bungled Airport Hiring; LAX and other major facilities move to recheck screeners for criminal backgrounds

By Jennifer Oldham, May 16, 2003

In its rush to get a screener work force in place last fall, the federal aviation security agency lost background questionnaires, failed to run some employee fingerprints through a national crime database and was unable to complete background checks, according to interviews with airport and security officials. Read More >>

faulty furnaces set scores of fires, weren't recalled: Safety: thousands of homes in the state have such units

By Jennifer Oldham, September 27, 2000

Defective attic furnaces manufactured by a now-bankrupt firm have caused scores of residential fires in California in the last decade, fire inspectors and federal investigators said. Hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting homeowners may be at risk from these furnaces, made by Indiana-based Consolidated Industries and sold under various brand names in California from 1984 to 1992, these sources said. Read More >>

the hechinger report