The Weekly Wonk: Better budget planning, a school meals success story, 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

On the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt wrote that the state’s current budget challenges call for better budget planning tools. Blatt also argued for better budget planning in his Journal Record column. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis suggested greater input from education professionals in discussions about the future of education in Oklahoma. 

Policy Analyst Carly Putnam wrote about the success of a program that allows all students to eat breakfast and lunch at no charge in some Chickasha Public Schools. Our research brief on the program, called Community Eligibility Provision, is available here

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Gene Perry spoke to FOX25 on school district consolidation. Perry’s research on consolidation can be found here.

Weekly What’s That

Striking title

Striking title is a common procedural maneuver in the Oklahoma Legislature. It is used especially on bills that impact the state budget or bills that are considered to be a work-in-progress. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“The A-F model does not help students learn, teachers teach or aid parents in evaluating their child’s education in a constructive manner. To put it in simple business terms, the current A-F grading system is exacting a hefty price to our schools’ bottom line. It is costly to teacher morale, district focus and the state’s limited resources. That is a price we cannot afford.”

-Brian Paschal, Senior Vice President for Workforce and Education with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, writing about flaws in Oklahoma’s grading system for schools and school districts (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week

The Journal Record

“Budget cuts are service cuts; it’s state government doing less for its residents. The people who educate your children will have less to work with. So will the people who keep your drinking water safe, contagious diseases under control, help the poor find food and shelter, and help children find a safe home.”

Numbers of the Day

  • 45.8 – Birth rate per 1,000 Hispanic females ages 15-17 in 2012
  • 185,031 – The number of Oklahoma students receiving free- and reduced-price meals in school during the 2013-2014 school year
  • 25% – Oklahoma children ages 0 to 5 at risk for developmental delays 2011-2012. The US average is 26%
  • 221.8 – Oklahoma 4th graders’ NAEP reading scores in 2015, up from 217.0 in 2013. The score ranks Oklahoma 32nd in the nation out of all 50 fifty states, Washington DC, and Department of Defense schools
  • 21% – Food insecurity rate in McCurtain County (2013), the highest among all counties in Oklahoma

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Waitstaff and bartenders are less likely to be in poverty when they are paid the regular minimum wage, instead of the tipped minimum wage [Economic Policy Institute].
  • Are you hungry? Pediatricians add a new question during checkups [NPR].
  • America can’t make up its mind about housing [City Commentary].
  • Indian tribes are looking beyond casinos for income [New York Times].
  • Prisons can learn a thing or two from schools [The Marshall Project]. 


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.