In The Know: Efforts to criminalize homelessness growing | Addressing the teacher shortage | Capitol Update

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Attracting a new generation of teachers (Capitol Update): If a blue ribbon study were conducted today, it’s likely the most urgent threats to America’s schools would be (1) not enough people want to be a teacher, and (2) too many students are chronically absent from school. Solutions would be difficult both to agree upon and to implement. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Efforts to criminalize homelessness growing in Oklahoma: A national push to criminalize homelessness is impacting the state as cities and lawmakers introduce policies aimed at regulating encampments and other support for unhoused Oklahomans, legal experts say. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Cities crack down on homeless encampments. Advocates say that’s not the answer [AP/Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Where the 2024 presidential candidates stand on Indigenous issues: The presidential race is stacked this election but the two frontrunners are, obviously, Biden and Trump. The difference between the top two contenders is stark when it comes to tribal nations. [Oklahoma Voice]

Health News

Popular weight loss drug’s potential for treating alcohol, addictive disorders, highlighted in OU, OSU research: University researchers in Oklahoma are excited about the potential impact a popular weight loss medication also could have in treating alcohol and addictive disorders. [Tulsa World]

Ardent confirms ransomware attack affecting Tulsa hospitals: The parent company of Hillcrest HealthCare System confirmed Monday that it has suffered a ransomware attack and that all its affiliates must continue to reschedule or divert some patients. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Why a woman was left in the Oklahoma County jail for a week longer than she should have been: A woman remained stuck in an Oklahoma County jail cell because of a records mix-up preventing her release. A week went by before jail administrators followed through on a judge’s late-October order to release her from custody. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Tulsa could hit record number of new home starts: Tulsa is leading the area this year in new single-family home construction, an official said. So far, 498 single-family homes have started construction in the city this year. Michael Skates, director of development services for the city of Tulsa, said the city is on pace to break a record this year. [Tulsa World]

Education News

How often do Oklahoma schools use corporal punishment compared to other states: Oklahoma ranks high in the United States in incidents of corporal punishment in schools. Here’s a visual look at how Oklahoma stacks up against the rest of the U.S. when it comes to school discipline. [The Oklahoman]

Public Montessori school approved to open in OKC, three other charters rejected: Oklahoma Montessori Initiative would be the only public school in the city using the renowned Montessori method of student-driven, hands-on learning. It was the only charter school to gain approval out of four that have applied recently with Oklahoma City Public Schools. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Split OKCPS board approves first charter school in 4 years, 3 others sent for revisions [NonDoc]

Prague Elementary agrees to end morning announcement prayers following First Amendment concerns: Prague Public Schools won’t allow student-led prayer over the intercom at Prague Elementary School going forward, an attorney for the district has told the Freedom From Religion Foundation. [The Oklahoman]

Charged with perjury and child abuse, Western Heights ‘football analyst’ Micah Nall on leave: Former Kingfisher Public Schools assistant football coach Micah Nall has been placed on administrative leave in his new district, Western Heights Public Schools, after he was charged with felony child abuse and perjury amid investigations into an alleged culture of hazing in the KPS football program. [NonDoc]

This new OKCPS Foundation program connects students with mentors in the community: School Connect focuses on placing community partners — like businesses, nonprofits and families — into schools and developing long-term connections to “allow for that relationship, which is so important on both sides. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Laura Slover: Better compensation, greater mobility will help keep teachers in American classrooms: The teacher shortage is real — and has been growing over the last decade. While shortages vary across schools, districts, regions, grades and subject matter, they are most severe in schools that serve larger numbers of students from low-income families and students of color and in subjects such as special education, mathematics and science. [Laura Slover/Tulsa World]

Podcast: A conversation with interim Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ebony Johnson (audio): On this episode of Listen Frontier, TPS Interim Superintendent Ebony Johnson speaks with us about her first few months on the job, her background in education, the threats facing TPS, as well as her plans for the district’s future. [The Frontier]

General News

Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education develops drone to save lives: The Oklahoma State University Global Consortium for Explosive Hazard Mitigation and the Demining Research Community, OAIRE developed a system that uses drones and machine-learning technology to detect mines, a task it performed with 90% accuracy. [Fast Company]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Voters in Moore approved a $49 million bond project to improve streets. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Criminalization (of homelessness) doesn’t work. If it did, there would be no homeless people.”

-Eric Tars, Senior Policy Director for the National Homeless Law Center, speaking about cities and lawmakers introducing policies aimed at regulating encampments and other support for unhoused residents. [Oklahoma Voice]

Number of the Day


American Indian/ Alaska Native children ages 0–18 are more than twice as likely to lack health insurance than other children (11% vs. 5% in 2022), although the rate of uninsured AI/AN kids improved by three percentage points compared with 2019. [Annie E. Casey Foundation]

Policy Note

Invisible Children, Invisible Families: The first few months and years of life are a sensitive period for child development​,​ and a potentially vulnerable time for families. Reaching American Indian and Alaska Native families with young children with culturally responsive early care and education can have substantial benefits for AI/AN families and communities. [Bipartisan Policy Center]

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Kandis West is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Communications Director for the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus. She spent nine years in the Olympia/Tacoma area of Washington organizing compensation campaigns for teachers for the Washington Education Association. Kandis has a proven track record of increasing community engagement, public awareness and media exposure around the most pressing issues that impact citizens. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism.