Our 11 most popular blog posts in 2014

1024px-Internet1This year OK Policy reached more people through our web site than ever before. Visitors over the course of the year were up 70 percent from 2013, and we averaged more than 25,000 visitors per month. Of those, 65.1 percent of our visitors came from Oklahoma, 7.2 percent came from Texas, and 2.7 percent from California. No other state or country brought more than 2 percent of the visitors to our site. 

Within the state, readers in Oklahoma City led the way by making up 29.8 percent of our visits. OKC was followed by Tulsa at 17.9 percent and Norman at 7.4 percent. Just over half of visitors viewed our site on a desktop computer (51.3 percent), compared to 38.7 percent reading on a mobile phone and 10.0 percent on a tablet.

So what were they coming to see? Here are our top 11 most popular posts for the year. (This list includes only posts that were originally published in 2014. A couple of perennial favorites about private prisons and drug-testing welfare applicants also made the most-read list.)

#11 – Five things you should know about Oklahoma taxes

In honor of tax day, we shared five important facts about Oklahoma’s tax system. It’s a big topic and the subject of fierce political debates — which unfortunately can bring with them a lot of misinformation. The post provides some key facts to help put these claims into context.

#10 – That’s a Whopper: Total revenue is a false measure of school funding

WhopperSpeaking of misinformation, our tenth most popular post assessed claims by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and others that Oklahoma school funding was at an all-time high. We found they had added up a lot of funds that were completely inappropriate to include when assessing what schools need to get by. Despite our beefs, this claim keeps getting repeated by politicians and editorial writers, so we may need to take another bite at setting the record straight.

#9 – Revising the third-grade reading retention law

test_stressComing in at number 9, this post summed up problems that had been identified with Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act, which threatened to keep thousands of kids in the third grade for not passing a reading test. The Legislature ultimately approved a bill with some important reforms to the law for the next two years. This year we will likely see a debate over making those reforms permanent.

#8 – Common Core repeal could put Oklahoma schools under more federal control

275px-No_Child_Left_Behind_ActAnother hot topic in education policy this year was the Common Core curriculum standards. A push to repeal the standards in Oklahoma argued that they would create too much federal control of Oklahoma schools. After the Common Core repeal was passed but before it was signed by Governor Fallin, we pointed out that the repeal could actually lead to more federal control of schools because Oklahoma would lose its waiver from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. At first, that’s exactly what happened, but the waiver was restored after the Oklahoma Board of Regents certified the state’s earlier PASS standards as college- and career-ready.

#7 – Oklahoma continues to lead U.S. for deepest cuts to education

education-cuts-2015Our seventh most viewed post discussed update numbers from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which has been tracking education funding in every state since start of the 2008 recession. For the past two years, Oklahoma has taken the top spot for making the nation’s largest percentage cuts to the school funding formula (down 23.6 percent since fiscal year 2008). This year, our lead grew even larger.

#6 – The public education crunch goes from bad to worse (Guest Post: John Waldron)

john waldronThis guest post by Booker T. Washington high school history teacher John Waldron shared some of what those funding cuts look like in the classroom. Waldron showed how the number of students he is responsible for has dramatically increased in the past six years and how that has taken away from what he can do for each individual student, even when working long hours after school.

#5 – Why didn’t the lottery solve Oklahoma’s education funding problems?

Photo by Lisa Brewster used under Creative Commons License.One question we frequently hear when talking about Oklahoma’s education funding problems is, “Why didn’t the lottery money fix it?” In our fifth most popular post this year, we show that while the lottery has been growing education revenue by inches, lawmakers have been pruning off yards.

#4 – Judges on the Ballot in Oklahoma: What you need to know

judgeBreaking the education streak, our fourth most popular post comes from super-intern Forrest Farjadian. The post got a lot of traffic just before this year’s elections from Oklahomans asking, “Who the heck are all these judges on my ballot?”

#3 – Oklahoma’s biggest drug problem isn’t what you think

vicodin-300x244Our third most popular post shared data on prescription drug abuse in Oklahoma — which has been responsible for more deaths than meth, heroine, and cocaine combined. The issue has spurred a contentious debate over whether to require doctors to check a database to see if patients showed signs of drug abuse before prescribing some of the more dangerous drugs.

#2 – Gov. Fallin blames Obama for Oklahoma’s Medicaid cuts. The real reason is closer to home.

Obama_FallinThe runner-up for most popular post this year debunks an attempt by Governor Fallin to blame Obamacare for harmful cuts to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, when the real culprit was budgeting decisions by Governor Fallin and the Legislature.

#1: Debunking myths about migrant children at Ft. Sill

immigration-courtWith more than 11,000 Facebook shares and almost 28,000 views, our most popular post this year busts several myths being spread about migrant children who were held at Fort Sill for several months after fleeing Central American countries wracked by violence. A later post shared an update on what’s happened to the children since leaving Fort Sill — while placed with families around the country, they still face a complicated legal process to avoid deportation, often without good legal representation.


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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