“We do things to try to retain teachers. We wanted a way to entice them because we do a great job of getting good teachers and training them. Some do leave for other districts, so we wanted our teachers to have a reason to stay that would benefit them in other ways.”

-Kelly Suchy, who oversees the child care center for teachers in the Putnam City school district. [Soure: The Oklahoman]

“I still think there is a lack of awareness. I’ve grown up here, and there are a lot of people who have grown up here who don’t know about or are aware of it. There is a lack of awareness for educators.”

– Akela Leach, a fifth grade social studies teacher at Lanier Elementary School, on the importance and difficulty of teaching about the Tulsa race massacre [Source: Tulsa World]

“In the classroom, kids are always asking questions, especially over the past year and a half or so. A lot of students are asking questions about what’s going on, why are we walking out, etc. and so forth. I think we’re doing them a disservice if we don’t answer those questions.”

-Tulsa Union High School teacher Jim Douthat, speaking about a bill introduced in the Legislature that would prohibit public school teachers from speaking about any political issues or legislation with students [Source: KJRH]

“As parents of Oklahoma public education students who have seen teachers fleeing the classroom, programs and opportunities reduced, and class sizes increase, we believe that the Legislature should make funding the public education system for the 700,000 Oklahoma school kids the priority, not a tax credit program that only benefits a small number of students and many wealthy taxpayers and corporations.”

-Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee leaders Lisa Kramer and Meredith Exline, arguing against legislative proposals that would dramatically expand Oklahoma’s tax credit for donations to private schools [Source: Tulsa World]

“By refusing Medicaid expansion, the Oklahoma Legislature has essentially cut funding for rural hospitals and reduced competition in our state’s insurance market. … The excuse that the money would dry up with a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue did not materialize. What sense is there in paying taxes to support expanded health care services nationally and getting zilch in return?”

-Enid News & Eagle Editorial Board [Source: Enid News & Eagle]

“Overwhelmingly on public education advocates’ chat boards, Facebook pages, I’m seeing time and again that they prefer classroom funding over the teacher pay, and I’m hearing that in my one-on-one meetings. So that’s not to say people still don’t want to see more money going to their paycheck. But I think if they have their druthers, it goes to the classroom, from the feedback I’m hearing.”

-Senate President Pro Temp Greg Treat [Source: NonDoc]

“I agree it’s not the best model. I think that as a result of a number things — one being State Question 640 where it’s easier to pass a fee than raise a tax — then all of a sudden we’re tacking more and more fees on everything, especially on funding the courts.”

-House Appropriations Chairman Kevin Wallace, speaking about courts’ increasing dependence on unreliable fee collections [Source: NonDoc]

“There is education that needs the money, incarceration needs the money, health in Oklahoma needs the money. Then all of a sudden we have all of these bills that are seeking to divert money away from public education and other core services and I’m very concerned.”

-Bixby Parents Legislative Action Committee co-chair Lisa Kramer, speaking about multiple bills in this year’s Legislature to divert public funds into private schools [Source: KJRH]

“I think the important thing here is they are looking to expand coverage and bring federal dollars back at the 90 percent match that is provided under the Affordable Care Act. This is certainly not straight Medicaid expansion in that people would be enrolled in commercial health insurance plans and not in Medicaid. It is a different approach.”

-Oklahoma Policy Institute executive director David Blatt, speaking about a bill approved in Senate committee to expand health insurance coverage for the working poor [Source: Tulsa World]

“In Oklahoma we have (one of) the highest incarceration rates in the world. You know, it’s not like that for no reason. It’s because stuff like this happens way more often than it should.”

-Joseph Norwood, an attorney for Robyn Allen whose 20-year sentence for a first-time drug offense was commuted by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board after receiving national media attention [Source: The Frontier]