In The Know: Oklahoma approves tax deal but teachers vow to extend strike

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

Oklahoma approves tax deal but teachers vow to extend strike: The Oklahoma Senate passed a $44 million revenue and tax package on Friday to fund the state’s public schools, but the amount fell short of new spending sought by teachers who walked out in protest of a decade of education budget cuts and low salaries. [Reuters] Oklahoma Senate passes online sales, ‘ball & dice’ bills; they now head to Governor’s office [KFOR]Everything you should know about Oklahoma’s special sessions [OK Policy]

Oklahoma lawmaker says eliminating capital gains deduction not likely: The state’s largest teachers union has demanded an elimination of the capital gains tax deduction to end the current teacher walkout, but a House leader doesn’t see that becoming a reality this year. [The Oklahoman]The real cost of the capital gains deduction could be much more than $100 million, but we have good options for reform [OK Policy]

The Ongoing Teacher Protest in Oklahoma: Educators in Oklahoma — among the lowest-paid in the nation — have joined a rebellion in several Republican-led states. A strike by West Virginia teachers inspired the movement, which also spread to Kentucky and Arizona. Here’s a look at what’s happened and what could lie ahead. [AP]State Funding Crisis and the Teacher Walkout: Resources & Information [OK Policy]

As walkout continues, consider all that teachers do: What we might not know is just how totally strapped teachers are to do their jobs. Not enough textbooks for every student, broken-down school houses and moldy buildings, schedules reduced to four-day weeks and even some classrooms with too few desks. [NonDoc]

U.S. Secretary of Education to striking teachers in Oklahoma: ‘Keep adult disagreements’ out of schools: Following her tour of a Dallas middle school on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was asked her thoughts on the Oklahoma teachers strike, which has now stretched into its fifth day. [Dallas News]

Hidden factors contributing to teacher strikes in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and beyond: Teaching in K-12 public schools is not a particularly well-paying job. Teachers in the U.S. are paid about 30 percent less than other comparably educated workers in the economy, and this gap is larger than most other industrialized countries. Low salaries are certainly a contributing factor to the teacher strikes and protests that we are seeing, though they are simply the most visible of a number of factors contributing to these events. [Brookings Institution]‘This is not OK’: Cuts are hitting all aspects of public education [OK Policy]

Oklahoma School Boards Association responds to ongoing teacher walkout: Officials with the Oklahoma State School Board Association released a statement in response to the Senate’s passage of revenue bills to help fund education. “My hope now is local communities will begin a serious conversation about the need for children to return to class so they can finish the school year strong and ensure all of the dedicated employees in our schools can continue to be paid,” OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime said in a statement. [KOCO]

Teacher walkout promises to alter school landscape: While the Capitol rattled this week with the sounds of chants, impassioned speeches, school bands and helicopters hovering above, the teacher walkout sent a shock wave across the state, promising to alter public education throughout Oklahoma in a variety of ways. [The Oklahoman]

Why the Oklahoma teacher walkout matters: Continuing to support the education walkout is critical to ensure we have a long-term impact. This walkout is difficult for families to manage, and it disrupts learning in the short-term. However, that must be contrasted with the potential reward to our state from proper funding of education: a state that can compete on a national and international scale for talent recruitment and retention. [Kathy Siebold]

Bill Watch: Next week in #okleg: In our weekly Bill Watch post, we discuss what happened and what to look for in the bills we’re following most closely in the Oklahoma Legislature. Next Thursday (April 12th) is the deadline for House bills to make it through Senate committees and most Senate bills to make it through House committees. Bills assigned to the House Appropriations and Budget committee have until April 19th. [OK Policy]

State poised to be smarter on crime, but not smart enough: Revised criminal justice reform measures pending in the Legislature are good, but not good enough. Last year, legislators considered six strong smart-on-crime proposals from a blue ribbon task force appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin. As they have in other states, the reforms promised to reduce crime and the state’s overwhelming prison population simultaneously. They also would have helped the state avoid nearly $2 billion in costs to build and staff prisons to accommodate Oklahoma’s ineffective, draconian sentencing laws. [Editorial Writers/Tulsa World] What works to stop crime (hint: it’s not incarceration) [OK Policy]

How I helped organize my Oklahoma school district’s walkout (and why): As a social studies teacher, I am used to talking about grassroot movements, political activism and technology. The Arab Spring, especially Tahrir Square in Egypt, comes to mind. But I’m not sure if I had ever envisioned my own role in grassroots organizing. After Day 4 of the Oklahoma teacher walkout — one that’s gotten bigger and more robust — I’m getting a good taste for what it feels like. [Greg Oppel/PBS NewsHour]

Despite a strong economy, American states are desperate for revenue: WITH unemployment at a 17-year low and stockmarkets near all-time highs, one might expect the coffers of American state governments to be overflowing. Yet despite these favourable economic conditions, many of them are still struggling to make ends meet. [The Economist]Budget Trends and Outlook — March 2018 [OK Policy]

Quote of the Day

“Her seat is put together with duct tape and one of her teachers has three jobs. I want her in school, but I want her in a fully-funded school.”

– Theresa Olds, parent of an Oklahoma City public school student, who has been at the capitol advocating for increased education funding (Source)

Number of the Day


Average annual growth in Oklahoma Medicaid spending 2010-2014

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys: Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children. White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households. [New York Times]

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Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

One thought on “In The Know: Oklahoma approves tax deal but teachers vow to extend strike

  1. Very informative, helping me keep in perspective why this walkout matters- why I personally am home and unable to do the job I love – a teachers assistant.

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