In The Know: More than 1 in 5 OKC district principals leave every year

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 In The News

More than fifth of OKC district principals leave each year: An education advocacy group is calling for a larger focus on principal retention after releasing a report Wednesday that found an average of 22 percent of Oklahoma City Public Schools principals leave each year. The report, released by Stand for Children Oklahoma, said the retention of high-quality principals is a key part to addressing Oklahoma’s teacher shortage [Oklahoma Watch].

Cost-of-living doesn’t make up for Oklahoma’s low teacher pay: Oklahoma’s teacher shortage has resulted in more than 1,000 teacher vacancies statewide this school year and and a huge spike in emergency certifications to get teachers in the classroom, even when they don’t have the required qualifications. School administrators have pointed to Oklahoma’s very low teacher salaries compared to neighboring states [OK Policy].

10 years in, Tulsa’s pre-K investment is paying off: Researchers have been tracking Jose Arriaga since he was 4 years old, waiting for the day he would start ninth grade. This fall, Jose is a freshman at Booker T. Washington High School, a selective public school in north Tulsa, Okla [NPR].

Oklahoma higher education official pledges new focus on college completion: Retired Gen. Toney Stricklin has pledged to focus on the state’s college completion efforts during his year as chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Every action the regents take needs to support Complete College America, Stricklin, of Lawton, said when he led his first meeting last week [NewsOK].

University of Tulsa tops magazine’s rankings for Oklahoma schools: The University of Tulsa earned the highest ranking among Oklahoma schools in the new Best Colleges list released Wednesday by U.S. News & World Report. TU ranked 86th nationwide, while the University of Oklahoma ranked 108 and Oklahoma State University ranked 149 [NewsOK].

 Missing the celebration: Amidst the fun-filled barbecues, baseball games, and other events that surrounded this past Labor Day weekend, the ostensible purpose of the holiday – honoring the labor movement and contributions that working men and women have made to the nation’s strength and prosperity– could be easily missed. Unfortunately, for many of Oklahoma’s working families, there’s little to celebrate [Journal Record].

 New workers’ comp law is saving money but at workers’ expense, former administrator claims: Oklahoma’s new workers compensation laws may be saving employers money, but it has also made the state’s injured workers the most poorly compensated in the country, a former workers comp administrator says [Tulsa World].

Iron Gate move to Pearl District denied at Tulsa Board of Adjustment meeting: Iron Gate’s proposal to relocate to the Pearl District was shot down Tuesday as the agency’s application for rezoning was not approved at a Board of Adjustment meeting. The hearing for special zoning exceptions was required for the downtown soup kitchen and food pantry to proceed with plans to purchase land and build a new facility at 302 S. Peoria Ave [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma City sales tax shows year-over-year gain: Oklahoma City sales tax collections are up from this time last year, bucking a statewide trend that saw sales tax fall 1.5 percent.Oklahoma City’s $35.95 million sales tax check for September is up about 1.9 percent from the same month in 2014 [NewsOK].

Oklahoma stagnant in number of non-medical exemptions from vaccination: The Center for Disease Control reports nationally, the vaccination rate for students is up from last year. But at the state level, it’s a different story. Oklahoma is exempt from that trend [News9].

Company accused of botching city water fights ‘unprecedented’ fine, says public was safe: The company that runs Hugo’s water treatment plant is contesting the $3.17 million fine the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality levied against it for — as the Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reported in August — not using “enough chlorine for more than 300 days over the course of two years” [StateImpact].

Quote of the Day

“Lawmakers are feeling pressure to do something about Oklahoma’s mounting teacher shortage, but they haven’t shown any willingness to stop cutting taxes, much less to find new revenue to close our state’s growing budget gap. In this context, it’s not surprising to see excuses pop up for why we don’t need to find the money.”

– OK Policy Policy Director Gene Perry, writing that Oklahoma’s low cost of living doesn’t make up for the state’s abysmally low teacher pay, which is less than 80 percent of the national average (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of children (0-17) in Oklahoma who had both a medical and dental preventive care visit in 2011

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How the federal government built white suburbia Just two minutes into the first address at the 2015 National Fair Housing Conference on Tuesday, the conversation turned to Show Me a Hero. It was only a matter of time. Housing policy and Winona Ryder just don’t intersect that often. But the conversation got real just as quickly. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, gave a barn-burner of an address at the conference, a program convened by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [CityLab].

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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.

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