You see, ‘merit pay’ isn’t as easy as it sounds. How does one determine the merit of a teacher? Do we use standardized tests? Not all subjects and grades are tested. Is the kindergarten teacher who wipes tears and soothes fears less deserving than the AP physics teacher? Is the teacher in a self-contained autism classroom able to show on a test what she accomplishes with her students all day? Is the drama teacher who spends hours away from her own children and empties her own house to stage a play with no budget any less deserving than the calculus teacher?

-Patti Ferguson-Palmer, vice president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association (Source:

The reality is that the vast majority of Oklahoma’s poorest families work hard, but they do not earn a living wage. Public assistance programs are not subsidizing people who choose not to work; they’re subsidizing companies that don’t pay workers enough to live on.

-OK Policy analyst Gene Perry, responding to an Oklahoman editorial (Source:

We really view the teen pregnancy prevention program as a drop out prevention program. This is really going to help students stay in school, finish school, go onto college, get good jobs, make Tulsa a better place to live.

-Kim Schutz, Director of the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, on Tulsa Public Schools’ decision to expand a comprehensive sex education program for 7th, 9th, and 11th graders (Source: 

The shocking thing is, every time these things come up, we say give us a list of frivolous lawsuits or a list of suits outside the bounds of reasonableness. Inevitably, it is some example from out of the state. There is no litigation crisis.

-Tulsa attorney Guy Fortney, on a special session beginning today to restore tort reform laws that the Oklahoma Supreme Court threw out as unconstitutional (Source:

Oh, boy.

-Paul Bronson, Oklahoma City’s assistant public works director, on seeing oil in the Oklahoma River the morning after lightning struck a tank battery spilling 385 barrels of oil and saltwater (Source:

We know that we haven’t been able to fund our schools adequately, and our corrections systems, child welfare and services for the developmentally disabled. So when you have a tax break in place that is costing the state such substantial revenue, it has real consequences.

-OK Policy Director David Blatt, on why Oklahoma needs to rein in skyrocketing tax breaks for horizontal drilling which totaled $148 million this year (Source:

I’m very excited about the thought that we might be able to give our teachers raises, but being in the business I’m in, I certainly worry about a funding source, and a dedicated funding source, so that we could keep the raises funded every year.

-Rep. Lee Denney (R-Stillwater), chair of the appropriations subcommittee for education, on state Superintendent Janet Barresi’s suggestion that schools give all teachers $2,000 raises without any extra funds from the state (Source:

I’m not doing this because I’m Hispanic. I’m doing this because I’m a Christian.

-Rev. Felix Cabrera, pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church, on why he recorded a radio ad for a national campaign by evangelicals urging Congress to pass immigration reform (Source:

States can … use their resources in a zero-sum battle with each other to provide incentives to lure companies to one state or another. But all the resources that states waste on those efforts are resources they don’t have to make their people more productive.

-Noah Berger, co-author of study showing that high wages and productivity in states is closely correlated with having a well-educated workforce, but there is no significant link between a state’s tax rates and its wages (Source:

The drug testing of SNAP recipients is yet another ideological sideshow that disfigures substance-abuse policy. It falsely implies that substance use disorders are a widespread cause of welfare dependence. It also implies, again falsely, that these disorders are highly concentrated among recipients of public aid.

– Harold Pollack and Sheldon Danziger, writing in the Washington Post (Source: