In The Know: As Cities in Oklahoma Woo Innovative Industries, Researchers Say Schools Are a Weak Link
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As Cities in Oklahoma Woo Innovative Industries, Researchers Say Schools Are a Weak Link: A new report from the Brookings Institution says Oklahoma City is positioned for growth. It says the city has a solid layer of infrastructure essential for development — and diversifying the economy. But there’s a threat to this development, and that’s a potentially weak workforce. Some researchers say local officials need to ensure schools provide the training innovative companies need. And they need to be doing it now [StateImpact Oklahoma]. The full report is available here.
Louisiana’s criminal justice reforms will reduce its prison population: For nearly 20 years, Louisiana has held an unwanted title: the top state incarcerator in the country that imprisons a greater share of its citizens than any other. The competition often hasn’t even been particularly close, with Louisiana keeping well over 800 residents out of every 100,000 behind bars—nearly 1% of its people. In most recent years, no other state has topped 700. But Louisiana will soon relinquish this crown. Sometime in the next year or so, experts expect the title to pass to Oklahoma, where in recent years the incarceration rate has skyrocketed (and which, not coincidentally, locks up a greater share of women than any other state) [The Economist]. In Oklahoma’s Legislative session, a suite of criminal justice reform bills easily passed their votes until they met a buzz saw in the House Judiciary-Criminal Justice and Corrections committee led by Rep. Scott Biggs, a vocal opponent of reform [OK Policy].
Legislative cuts to mean reduction in child abuse prevention: In the latest round of budget cuts, Oklahoma will drop about $100,000 out of a program designed to lower rates of child abuse. The Oklahoma State Department of Health sponsors a handful of home visitation programs, where nurses and other professionals teach pregnant women and their families the ins and outs of infant care. “They work with moms and other family members in looking at how to respond in relation to normal developmental milestones: when it’s good to start potty training, when it’s good to start weaning,” said Tina Johnson, the department’s deputy commissioner for community and family health service [Journal Record].
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