The Weekly Wonk: The wrong question on hunger, rolling back health care gains, and more…

the_weekly_wonkWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly W onk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

This week on the OK Policy Blog, Policy Director Gene Perry explained that an alternative for funding teacher pay raises proves it can be done without new taxes. Executive Director David Blatt wrote that lawmakers should resist raiding the tobacco settlement trust fund in the next legislative session. In his Journal Record column, Blatt commented on a proposal that legislation not dealing with the budget or revenue be considered only every other year.

Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update warned that budget troubles are rolling back health care gains in Oklahoma. A guest post from the executive director of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger pointed out that we’re asking the wrong questions on hunger in America. 

Weekly What’s That

Food insecurity

Food security is defined as “ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.” The measure was introduced by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1996 to assess households’ ability to consistently obtain three nutritionally adequate meals a day. Households can be rated as being food secure, low food secure, or very low food secure. Read more.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“This crisis has been coming for a long time. Forget about replacing them with someone of the same quality. I’m just worried about replacing them. Period.”

– David Pennington, superintendent of Ponca City public schools, who is facing a severe shortage of special education teachers as many of his current teachers are nearing retirement (Source).

Editorial of the Week

Supt. Joy Hofmeister, The Oklahoman

Accountability is important to help ensure high quality — particularly when it comes to something as critical as education — but accountability must itself be held accountable. Oklahoma’s A-F school grading system is deeply flawed in its current form. But its overarching aim, to provide reliable and easy-to-understand information about how our schools are doing, is not.

Numbers of the Day

  • 53,369 – Number of births in Oklahoma in 2013
  • 226,665 – Foreign-born population in Oklahoma in 2014
  • 62% – Percentage of Oklahoma minimum wage earners who are women (2014)
  • 157 – Number of medical school graduates in Oklahoma in 2014 (does not include graduates of osteopathic medicine)
  • -56% – Decrease in the number of Oklahoma youth committed to juvenile justice facilities from 2001 to 2013

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Putting the chamber of commerce or other private groups in charge of economic development has long been common at the local level, and is growing at the state level, especially in Republican-led states [Governing].
  • America’s immigrants, as it turns out, are doing alright [Washington Post].
  • What’s behind the shortage of special ed teachers? Long hours and crushing paperwork, among other things [NPR].
  • A remarkable thing happens to children in poverty when you give their parents a little money [Washington Post].
  • During World War II the United States government operated a far-reaching, heavily-subsidized childcare program—the likes of which Americans haven’t seen in the seven decades since [The Atlantic].


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.