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 that higher education leaders are optimistic they can avoid the cut in state funding that Governor Mary Fallin proposed in her fiscal year 2015 budget. OU President David Boren said Oklahoma can avoid cutting higher education by postponing tax cuts and reducing a tax break for horizontal drilling.
Northeast Oklahoma business and education leaders held a conference to discuss the importance of public education for strengthening Oklahoma’s workforce. Oklahoma’s median wages lag well behind the national average and lower than all but 10 other states. With few exceptions, the states where workers earn the highest wages are the states with the most college graduates.
A DHS child welfare worker and her supervisor have been charged with criminal wrongdoing related to the death of a special-needs teenager in Oklahoma City. Both are accused of failing to properly investigate concerns that he was being neglected. The State Department of Education said repealing Common Core educational standards in Oklahoma would cause the state to lose a federal waiver that provides leeway on the use of Title I Funds. The House has voted to repeal Common Core standards, but repeal has not been heard in the Senate.
Superintendent Barresi defended the number of tests students take, claiming they take up less than 1 percent of instruction time. The okeducationtruths blog shared educators’ responses to Barresi’s claims. The Barresi campaign has made an open records request for all communications records between Jenks Public Schools employees and Republican primary challenger Joy Hofmeister. All four of Hofmeister’s children attended Jenks, and she has been a member of the board of the Jenks Public Schools Foundation.
The OK Policy Blog shared an OETA report on the minimum wage debate in Oklahoma. President Obama has proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over the next three years, and 21 states already have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum of $7.25. An Oklahoma City group seeking a municipal vote to do away with jail time for possession of marijuana said they were on pace to surpass their goal for signatures.
Reflecting a trend across the nation, Tulsa County jurors are increasingly reluctant to call for the death penalty. Out of nine defendants that prosecutors sought the death penalty for since 2007, juries came back with the death penalty only once. Tulsa World editor Julie Delcour discussed how a growing number of Oklahomans are struggling to care for aging family members without training.
The Number of the Day is the unemployment rate for Hispanic Oklahomans, the 2nd lowest among the states. In today’s Policy Note, The Atlantic examines the challenges of being the first person in your family to go to college.
continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma higher education leaders hope to avoid budget cut