In The Know: Experts say state’s draft education standards have many flaws

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Experts say state’s draft education standards have many flaws: Two of the three experts brought in to help Oklahoma create new academic standards say numerous flaws in the third draft show Oklahoma will likely fall short of creating the best standards in the nation. The flaws highlight the monumental challenge lawmakers gave to the state Education Department to write new standards, but also clash with the rhetoric that surrounded the process at the start [Oklahoma Watch].

Fallin pushes for amendment to allow Ten Commandments on state grounds: Fallin made her remarks at a press conference alongside state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, who paid for the statue to be built, and the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, which agreed to keep the monument on its property until legal issues could be settled [Journal Record]. A push to amend the state Constitution to keep a Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol could also boost efforts to expand vouchers for private religious schools [Oklahoma Watch].

Attorney general says ban on public prayer at school sporting events is ‘overbroad’: The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association has prohibited prayer during playoff and postseason activity since 1993. Last summer, the OSSAA’s board of directors approved an update of the policy. Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Tuesday in a nine-page opinion the policy was “constitutionally overbroad.” He issued the opinion in response to state lawmakers questioning the policy [Tulsa World].

Governor hires outside attorney amid Glossip execution drug inquiry: Fallin normally gets advice from her office’s attorneys or the state’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt. Pruitt, though, has launched an inquiry into the events surrounding the scheduled execution of convicted murderer Richard Glossip. That inquiry could involve the state’s multicounty grand jury, which next meets for three days later this month. Pruitt’s assistants guide the grand jury’s work [NewsOK].

With the right strategies, Oklahomans can overcome unprecedented drought: Conditions have been even drier than during the notorious Dust Bowl of the 1930s. While the current drought is still challenging, especially for Oklahoma’s agricultural communities, we aren’t seeing the same kind of catastrophe as in the Dust Bowl because of soil conservation strategies put in place since then. However, we still face a difficult task to improve our conservation of water supplies that are under more stress than ever before [OK Policy].

Flash Drought Warning Issued by State Climatologist: Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus is warning the state could still face what he calls a “Flash Drought” as rainfall chances statewide take a nosedive in October, continuing a dry trend that developed after those record-rainfall amounts in May and June. Plus, in Tuesday’s Mesonet record, McManus indicated the state faces a possible return to summer in the forecast for the next week or so with temperatures reaching the 80s and even some low 90s [OK Energy Today].

Halliburton offers settlements to property owners in lawsuits: Some four years after testing found pollution from spent rocket fuel in the groundwater, Halliburton is offering settlements to about 130 property owners after the chemical compound ammonium perchlorate showed up in their private wells [NewsOK].

Wind industry cries unfair as Lankford seeks to eliminate tax credit: Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford said he wants to permanently end federal incentives for renewable energy. Oklahoma’s junior senator plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would eliminate a production tax credit for electricity created from wind farms. Lankford said the IRS provision served its purpose to help boost the wind power industry in its infancy, but now is unnecessary [Journal Record].

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma helping vulnerable populations: People below the poverty line often have few resources when dealing with basic issues like domestic abuse, child support, housing and other civil issues. Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is helping to fill the gap for those who cannot afford an attorney [Norman Transcript].

Study calls for 200 more officers for Tulsa Police Department: Tulsa leaders have been waiting on the report to determine how to approach a proposed public safety tax that has taken shape in several different ways during the past two years. Currently, TPD has 752 sworn officers. The study’s recommendation is that Tulsa increase uniform police officers to at least 958 officers, with almost half — 459 officers — assigned to patrol [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“You’re close to the bottom of the basement, I am sorry to say, because there is no content in them. These are pious statements of academic goals. These are not standards. A standard is a criterion by which you grade something.”

-Sandra Stotsky, a former Massachusetts Department of Education official who is one of three experts brought in to help Oklahoma create new academic standards. Stotsky said Oklahoma’s current draft standards provide no guidance to teachers (Source).

Number of the Day


How much women earn in Oklahoma for every dollar men earn, the 8th largest wage gap in the country.

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Want to end mass incarceration? Stop blindly reelecting your local prosecutor.: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch was widely criticized for his handling of the investigation into the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. But when it came time for voters to hold him accountable, McCulloch ran unopposed, sweeping the November election after the August shooting. The easy reelection reflects a troubling fact about criminal justice in the US: The political system and voters don’t really hold prosecutors accountable [Vox].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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