In The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zebre.
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Today you should know National Association of State Boards of Education sent a letter to Governor Fallin arguing that the bill to repeal Common Core standards in Oklahoma violates the state constitution. By requiring any new education standards to be approved by the legislature, they say it violates the separation of powers that should go to the state Board of Education. Oklahoma educators expressed concern that starting the standards process over again would create chaos in schools.
The Oklahoman editorial board pointed out that a plan to schedule off the top funding increases for education based on a revenue trigger would have contradicted a tax cut based on revenue triggers, with no clear way to decide which takes priority. The education funding bill did not ultimately make it through the Legislature. Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that overhauls the pension system for most new state workers. OK Policy previously explained how this change could endanger existing pensions and increase Oklahoma’s unfunded liabilities.
The Panola School District in southeast Oklahoma may shut down if it can’t find a way to close a $256,000 budget shortfall by the end of June. Educators from all over the state say the writing test scores coming back from the CTB/McGraw-Hill testing vendor appear to be full of flaws. A new petition drive will kick off Wednesday for a state question to fund storm shelters in all Oklahoma schools. On June 4 in Tulsa and June 5 in Oklahoma City, the Red Dirt Rangers are hosting a release party for a single and music video produced by more than fifty Oklahoma musicians to raise awareness of Oklahoma’s dire health statistics and opportunities to gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved next year’s funding levels for Oklahoma college and universities that are largely unchanged from this year. Six universities across the state are aligning their coursework to make it easier for students to transfer between them while pursuing a degree. One month after a botched execution drew international attention, few public records have been released by the state and the Board of Corrections is preparing to discuss the matter in secret for a second time. In the weeks leading up to a botched execution, an Oklahoma assistant attorney general referred to defense attorneys’ warnings that the execution could go awry as “hysterical speculation,” records released to the Tulsa World show.
A campaign that seeks to house Oklahoma City’s chronically homeless population is showing results, with the city’s chronically homeless falling from 376 people last year to 260 this year. Vox previously discussed why it’s cheaper to give the homeless housing than to leave them on the streets. A new report ranks Oklahoma 47th in the nation for senior health, with low-income seniors reporting especially poor health. Garvin County in south-central Oklahoma is set to become the first public agency in the state to purchase a drone for firefighting and other emergency situations. An oil company seeking to build a disposal well in earthquake-prone Logan County was awarded a permit after agreeing to record additional pressure and volume measurements.
The Number of the Day is how many female students in Oklahoma took AP exams in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Vox shares six reasons teen birth rates are plummeting across the country.
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