In The Know: OKC school district requests large share of emergency teacher certifications

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

Oklahoma City school district requests large share of emergency teacher certifications: Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state’s largest district, requested 200 of the 948 emergency certificates (21 percent) issued between July and November. Tierney Tinnin, senior communications and community relations manager, said the Oklahoma City district is providing additional support for teachers entering the profession and requires teaching candidates to agree to participate in meaningful professional development sessions [NewsOK].

‘Red Tape Task Force’ looking for education line items to cut: This month, a 51 member task force came together for the first time, in an effort to identify areas in the education budget that can be cut. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister created the “Red Tape Task Force.” When all is said and done, lawmakers at the Capitol, will likely have to cut near $1 billion from the budget next session, meaning nothing is safe from cuts [Fox 25].

A teacher’s tale: Joy, tragedy and weirdness: The following is an excerpt from A Teacher’s Tale, a new book chronicling author John Thompson’s experiences teaching in inner-city Oklahoma City Public Schools. I was never a hat-snatcher. I did not believe in grabbing students’ contraband, whether it was hats, cell phones, marijuana, or gambling proceeds. So how did I find myself firmly holding half of a gang leader’s hat, ignoring the teenager’s threatening look? [NonDoc]

‘Triggers’ Cut State Taxes; But Are They Good Policy?: When January rolls around, almost every Oklahoma taxpayer making over about $9,000 will get a state income tax cut. That’s the good news. The bad news is the state’s current revenue stream isn’t large enough to cover it. How could that happen in a state known for fiscal conservativism? The dichotomy comes because Oklahoma instituted a tax “trigger” two years ago that relied on revenue estimates to give the stop or go sign on granting the cut. But estimates are not reality. And a difference between what was estimated and what the state actually realized in tax revenue has caused the gap [Stateline].

We’re asking the wrong question about hunger: Most of our response to hunger in America is wrong. The programs and policies we employ are, by and large, misdirected, misguided and missing the mark entirely. That shameful fact is the result of one simple problem: When we ask the wrong question, the answer is inevitably wrong, too. The question we ask routinely is “How do we manage hunger in America?” The answer is a hodgepodge of responses that consistently leaves millions of Americans – one in seven of us – hungry [OK Policy].

Tulsa mulls a new approach to public drunkenness: Each year, 3,000 to 4,000 people are booked into Tulsa’s David L. Moss Correctional Center, the county jail, on charges of public drunkenness. Some are chronic alcoholics. Others went out for a good time and had too much to drink, said Tulsa Police Department Maj. Travis Yates. Either way, most detained for public intoxication are taken to jail for the night. and locked up with those arrested for more serious crimes. The booking process usually takes almost two hours of an officer’s time – time that could otherwise be spent on serious police work [Oklahoma Watch].

Tulsa County seeks $9 million from state Department of Corrections: Tulsa County says the Oklahoma Department of Corrections owes it $9 million, and is going to court to get it. County commissioners voted Monday to join the Sheriff’s Department and the Tulsa jail authority in legal action to recover additional reimbursement from the DOC for state prisoners held in the county jail. State statute sets the rate at $27 per prisoners per day, but Tulsa County says its costs are twice that [Tulsa World].

Legislators gear up for another run at alcohol laws ‘modernization’: State Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, and Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, told the Tulsa’s Young Professionals group Monday night that they will begin working out the version of Bice’s Senate Bill 383 that will emerge from conference committee when the Legislature convenes in February. A concurrent resolution proposing a constitutional amendment will also have to be written. Taken together, the two “modernization” measures would remove the distinction between “nonintoxicating” 3.2 beer and other beers, allow grocers and convenience stores to sell wine, and allow package stores to sell refrigerated beer and merchandise other than alcohol [Tulsa World].

$1.3 million settlement approved in Tar Creek class-action case: A Tulsa judge has approved a $1.3 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit involving former residents whose properties were bought out during the government’s relocation of people living in the Tar Creek area, an EPA Superfund site in northeast Oklahoma. One former Picher resident, Patty LaFalier, said she has heard the settlement works out to about $4,000 per household. As many as 260 former Picher residents sued after becoming dissatisfied with the buyout process [Tulsa World].

City counciler G.T. Bynum files to run for Tulsa mayor: Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum said he is running for mayor in 2016 and plans to file committee paperwork with the city clerk on Monday so he can start fundraising. Bynum’s announcement is the first major declaration for mayor in the coming election. Mayor Dewey Bartlett said Friday that he has not officially announced his intention to run for re-election. However, Bartlett said he had a successful fundraiser Thursday night to benefit his campaign [Tulsa World].

Democrats formalize plans to open primaries to independents: Party Chairman Mark Hammons formally notified the state election board secretary that the party will allow the roughly 261,000 registered independents in Oklahoma to vote in any Democratic Party primary election or runoff primary election held over the next two years. The change was formally approved at the Democratic Party’s state convention in July. Hammons said he believes the change will help Democratic candidates appeal to more voters [Journal Record].

Quote of the Day

“Oklahoma can stand as a model for the terrible thing about triggers. Our experience shows that it is very hard to get them right and very easy to get them wrong.”

-OK Policy Executive Director David Blatt, speaking about Oklahoma’s latest tax cut that is being triggered based on faulty revenue estimates amid a huge budget shortfall (Source)

Number of the Day


Foreign-born population in Oklahoma in 2014.

Source: U.S. Census

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

These common beliefs about immigrants are all wrong: A Pew poll earlier this year showed that 71 percent of Republicans believe immigrants make crime worse; 81 percent believe most immigrants don’t want to assimilate; and 74 percent say immigrants aren’t learning English fast enough. But these beliefs just aren’t backed up by the data. America’s immigrants, as it turns out, are doing alright [Washington Post].

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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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