In The Know: Fallin names education secretary

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that Governor Fallin named CareerTech Director Robert Sommers as education secretary.  Education blogger John Thompson argued that Superintendent Barresi avoided a fiasco by pulling out of PARCC, the consortium that’s producing tests for Common Core.

Gene Perry explained why policy that supports the middle-class would grow the economy better than more tax cuts or incentives for the wealthy.  Rep. Mike Reynolds called on state officials to halt construction on a $4.5M bridge in Greer County, claiming it is rarely used and miles away from the nearest paved road.  Greer County commissioners defended the project.

The Brady Arts District Owners Association in Tulsa will not change its name or lead a community discussion on whether the city should change the name of Brady Street.  The Number of the Day is the percentage of total employment in Oklahoma in agriculture.  In today’s Policy Note, Oklahoma Policy Institute released a fact sheet detailing the benefits for state businesses of accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid.

In The News

Fallin names CareerTech Director Robert Sommers as education secretary
Gov. Mary Fallin has asked state CareerTech Director Robert Sommers to be her new secretary of education and workforce development. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday. A Fallin administration source said Sommers was chosen for the post because of his strong ability to bring together education issues and the business community.

Read more from Tulsa World

Avoiding a fiasco in education
Nationally, a train wreck is coming to urban school systems. That disaster is much less likely in Oklahoma, however, and we must give state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi credit for that. High-stakes testing forced schools to narrow the curriculum, focus on remediation and test prep, and commit to basic skills instruction that verges on educational malpractice. Worse, states must start using primitive bubble-in tests for teacher evaluations.

Read more from the Oklahoma Gazette

Time for middle-out economics
In 2006, Gov. Brad Henry signed a tax cut that, in some ways, mirrored the cut approved this year under Gov. Mary Fallin. The top income tax rate was ratcheted down over several years, with a final reduction depending on a revenue trigger. Yet the 2006 tax cut also increased the standard deduction.

Read more from the Oklahoma Gazette

Okla. City lawmaker complains about $4.5M bridge
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is defending the construction of a $4.5 million bridge in southwest Oklahoma that one lawmaker is describing as a “bridge to nowhere. ODOT currently is accepting bids for construction of the bridge over the Salt Fork of the Red River near the town of Reed in Greer County. The construction of the bridge is part of the state’s County Improvements for Roads and Bridges program. 

Read more from News9 

Greer County commissioners defend bridge project
Greer County commissioners Monday defended the building of a bridge that an Oklahoma City lawmaker is calling “the Oklahoma bridge to nowhere.” Steven Fite, chairman of Greer County’s commissioners, faxed a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin that was signed by him and the other two commissioners. The letter said the county commissioners “declare our firm and unwavering support of the previous programming and forthcoming construction” of the bridge over the Salt Fork of the Red River south of Reed.

Read more from NewsOK

Brady arts group won’t change its name
The Brady Arts District Owners Association will not change its name or lead a community discussion on whether the city should change the name of Brady Street, according to a letter issued by the association Monday. “Rather than seeking to revise history, today’s residents, visitors and merchants should regard the name as a demonstration of a new set of principles,” the letter states. “It reminds us that what is today was not always so.”

Read more from Tulsa World

Quote of the Day

“[M]iddle-class consumer demand is a much greater driver of business expansion than wealth at the top.  The basic reasoning is simple: a successful business will only hire more workers and increase production when people are able to buy what the business wants to sell. That demand won’t continue if the average American can’t obtain the skills, opportunities and, ultimately, good wages to keep up this ‘virtuous cycle.'”

 Gene Perry, policy analyst with Oklahoma Policy Institute

Number of the Day

4 percent

Percentage of total employment in Oklahoma in the agriculture sector, which still employs more people than oil and gas (3.7 percent) or any other commodity sector in 2011

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Accepting Federal Health Care Funds Is Good For Business
Starting January 1, 2014, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows state Medicaid programs to expand coverage to all individuals with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). This means that an individual making up to $15,856 or a family of four with an income of $32,499 would be eligible for Medicaid coverage. If Oklahoma creates a plan to expand health care coverage to low-income working Oklahomans it will be taking advantage of a major opportunity to strengthen our workforce and businesses.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.