In The Know: More growth in nonaccredited teachers; Fallin touts economic gains; marijuana rules go forward…

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.

In The News

Finding more teachers a focus for Oklahoma schools: Harlee Reed is one of around 5,400 university students across Oklahoma who are preparing to become teachers, a number that has been on the decline in recent years. Last year’s count of education majors at Oklahoma universities was 21 percent lower than just four years earlier, according to survey results from 21 of 23 teacher preparation programs compiled by the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Preparation. [NewsOK ????] Oklahoma is poised to break last year’s record-setting number of emergency certifications for nonaccredited teachers in just three months. [Tulsa World]

Top education officials detail challenges: Some of the state’s top education officials are settling into their new posts, and they’ve been working on their plans. Oklahoma City Public Schools got a new superintendent this year, and the University of Oklahoma appointed a new president. Each of them talked about the challenges their systems face and how they plan to address them during the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s annual State of the Schools event on Tuesday. [Journal Record] To raise awareness of Oklahoma’s low ranking for public education funding, a group of state artists are launching Faces of the 47th, a large-scale art installation that will go up this month in five Oklahoma cities. [NewsOK]

OKPolicyCast 36: Back to School (with Rob Miller): This month many kids and teachers are heading back to school in Oklahoma. Also this month, an increase in Oklahoma’s teacher pay scale is going into effect for the first time in a decade. It was a hard won raise for teachers, and it came only after massive advocacy efforts culminating in a teacher walkout and rally at the state capitol near the end of the last school year. But even this much-needed raise won’t be enough to make up for years of cuts to education in Oklahoma. That’s why for this episode, I spoke with an experienced educator and administrator about what it feels like coming back to school after all that’s happened. [OK Policy]

Fallin touts improving economic picture, teacher raises at last Tulsa State of the State luncheon: Business growth, declining unemployment and a statewide teacher pay raise were among the achievements Gov. Mary Fallin highlighted Tuesday in what likely was her final formal address as governor to Tulsa business leaders. “Our business climate is doing much, much better … our economy is healthier and it is diversified,” said Fallin [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma judge lets medical marijuana rules go forward: The attorney behind a challenge to medical marijuana regulations said the legal effort has shown success despite a loss in court Tuesday. “We’ve put their feet to the fire,” attorney Rachel Bussett said. “The work that we are doing is pushing the Department of Health forward to act the way that they’re supposed to act.” The attorney is representing more than a dozen Oklahomans who want to use medical marijuana, be in the business of providing it or both. [NewsOK]

Voter discontent tests political conventions in state’s conservative corner: Emily Tuck likes working in Elk City. But there are a couple of things she would like to change. For instance, she would like more art in the downtown area. “They’re slowly implementing more events, little art shows, even if it’s just high school students at the coffee shops,” Tuck said. And the big thing should we want to change is improved access to mental health care. [KGOU]

Republican 1st Congressional District candidates attempt to separate themselves at chamber forum: The two Republican candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District provided many parallel answers on economic issues ranging from government expenditures to legal immigration during a forum in Tulsa on Tuesday evening. Perhaps the most notable separation came when Tim Harris and Kevin Hern were asked which congressional committees they would be interested in joining. [Tulsa World]

Brian Bingman: Anthony ‘arrogant’ for debate absence: Incumbent Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony did not attend a Republican runoff-primary debate Tuesday evening in Oklahoma City. His GOP runoff opponent, Brian Bingman, answered questions alongside a framed picture of Anthony and described the 30-year incumbent’s absence as “disappointing.” [NonDoc]

Next week’s City Council election could be most consequential since 2011: Tulsa voters could reshape the City Council next week in a way they have not since 2011. Four incumbent councilors were ousted in that year’s primaries, and three councilors did not seek re-election. The only survivors were Councilor Jack Henderson, who represented District 1, and a fellow named G.T. Bynum, who represented District 9. [Tulsa World]

Councilman questions transparency of meetings with staff: A councilman who contends City Hall practices subvert the state Open Meetings Act could get a vote on a transparency measure as soon as next week. Ed Shadid says the public’s input on proposals to offer millions in job-creation incentives to businesses is limited by behind-the-scenes consensus-building. New transparency measures would require a public hearing as part of the Oklahoma City Council’s review of economic development deals and real estate sales. [NewsOK]

Beleaguered judge to keep retirement as part of resignation agreement: In his bid to stave off legal proceedings against him, District Judge Curtis DeLapp agreed to never again seek or be appointed to any judicial position, according to an agreement between DeLapp and prosecutors. In an order filed Monday with the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary Trial Division, DeLapp also agreed to resign from his position as District Judge in Nowata and Washington counties, as well as to withdraw as a candidate for judge there. [The Frontier]

EPA proposes roll back of Obama clean power rules, but Oklahoma official says state already would meet the stricter requirements: Oklahoma’s top energy and environment official said the state already would satisfy stricter Obama-era clean power requirements in response to the EPA unveiling a different set of rules Tuesday that roll back those regulations. Oklahoma utilities also don’t foresee a significant effect from the new proposal, citing compliance with other environmental restrictions and market conditions that are driving energy generation toward cleaner or renewable options rather than coal. [Tulsa World] Implementing EPA climate change rule should be no problem for Oklahoma. [OK Policy]

Tulsa World editorial: Parole board considers two dozen cases where crimes aren’t nearly as criminal as they used to be: The state parole board is moving ahead with clemency consideration of two dozen convicts whose crimes have subsequently been deemed significantly less severe by voters and lawmakers. State Question 780, approved by voters in 2016, substantially lowered prison sentences for people convicted of small-time drug and property crimes. Last year, the Oklahoma Legislature further reduced sentences on some other low-end crimes. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Public comments allowed at medical marijuana hearing: For the first time since lawmakers began meeting to study medical marijuana policy, they will allow public comments Wednesday. The meeting begins in Capitol room 535 at 9 a.m. After the scheduled presenters speak, members of the general public can offer their thoughts about how the Oklahoma Legislature should approach regulation of the industry. [NewsOK]

What is a mental health crisis, and what do you do if someone is experiencing one? mental health crisis is a situation in which someone is at risk of hurting themselves or others. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that can disrupt a person’s thinking, mood, feelings or daily functioning. Mental health crises and symptoms can vary from person to person, and there are many events that can lead to a mental health crisis, including, trauma, a death of a loved one or losing a job. [The Frontier]

A chat with DeVon Douglass, Tulsa’s newly named chief resilience officer: On this edition of ST, we learn about the City of Tulsa’s in-depth and multifaceted efforts to address issues of resilience, equity, and racial disparity across various demographic and geographic sections of our community. Our guest is DeVon Douglass, who was recently appointed by Mayor G.T. Bynum as the Tulsa’s Chief Resilience Officer. [Public Radio Tulsa] In May, DeVon appeared on the OKPolicyCast to talk about taking on Tulsa’s toughest equity challenges. [OKPolicy]

Quote of the Day

“We are now experiencing the full weight of a crisis we have been warning of for the past three years. It is no surprise, and our children have paid the price of years of inaction which cannot be immediately reversed.”

-State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, speaking about a new surge of emergency teacher certification requests from districts desperate to fill classroom vacancies [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Estimated number of African Americans in Oklahoma who couldn’t vote in 2016 due to felony convictions. This is approximately 7% of the voting age African American population in the state.

[The Sentencing Project]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Shopping for health care simply doesn’t work. So what might? Each year, for well over a decade, more people have faced higher health insurance deductibles. The theory goes like this: The more of your own money that you have to spend on health care, the more careful you will be — buying only necessary care, purging waste from the system. But that theory doesn’t fully mesh with reality: High deductibles aren’t working as intended. A body of research — including randomized studies — shows that people do in fact cut back on care when they have to spend more for it. The problem is that they don’t cut only wasteful care. They also forgo the necessary kind. [New York Times]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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