In The Know: Oklahoma Board of Education approves A-F report cards

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 the State Board of Education approved new A-F report cards for schools statewide and reprimanded educators for not doing more with current funding. OK Policy previously explained what budget cuts and flat funding means for public education and showed per pupil spending has plummeted.

KOSU considers the pros and cons of State Question 765, which abolishes the Dept. of Human Services Commission.  School administrators say State Question 766 is an unnecessary boon for large corporations, on the backs of schools, career technology centers and county governments.  See OK Policy’s 2012 State Questions Page for ballot language, summaries, and analysis of each question. 

Pardon and Parole Board members have hired an attorney to represent them.  StateImpact Oklahoma explores why conservative business leaders and Republican policymakers get behind tax increases like MAPS and Vision2.  The Number of the Day is the amount of tax revenue generated from hunting and fishing licensingin Oklahoma.  In today’s Policy Note, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research tracks post-Recession employment gains and losses by sector for men and women and surveys the changing landscape of labor.

In The News

Oklahoma Board of Education approves A-F grade release

The state Board of Education approved the new A-F evaluation for schools statewide at a meeting Thursday and took the opportunity to blame educators for the poor status of public education in Oklahoma.  The formula used to devise the grades has come under fire from many school district superintendents, who questioned the accuracy of the calculations. Board members responded by reprimanding superintendents and other educators attending the meeting Thursday morning. 

Read more from NewsOK at

Oklahoma education board decides to press ahead with school report card calculations

Superintendents who opposed the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s calculation methods for school report cards were left scratching their heads Thursday after the state Board of Education did an about-face after having heeded their concerns only three weeks earlier.  At a Thursday morning meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the first school report cards based on a controversial method of calculating average student growth – the bar against which all schools are measured for nearly 20 percent of their grade.

Read more from the Tulsa World at

Stuck in a Hole: What flat funding means for the common education budget

After three straight years of budget cuts, funding for public education in Oklahoma is in dire straits.  This year’s appropriation to the Department of Education is $254 million, or 10.0 percent, less than it was in 2009.  In the past three years, funding to school districts through the state aid formula, which funds the basic operating costs of schools, has been slashed by $222 million, while public schools enrollment has grown by 22,000 students. 

Read more from OK Policy at

Oklahoma’s per pupil spending has plummeted

A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that per pupil spending in Oklahoma has dropped more than 20 percent since FY 2008. This was the third largest percentage decrease in the nation, behind only Arizona and Alabama. In FY 2013, Oklahoma is spending $706 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars than we did in FY 2008.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog at

Fate of DHS Commission in Voters’ Hands

A state question heading to voters this November would effectively abolish the Commission which oversees the Department of Human Services.  Supporters say it will help with oversight of the state’s largest agency, but opponents worry it puts too much control in the hands of the governor.  The nine Members of the Commission of Human Services are meeting as they have since the board’s inception in 1936. 

Read more from KOSU at

SQ 766 would impose cuts

Oklahomans should demand the truth from the coalition supporting State Question 766. Unfortunately, this coalition has decided to attack Oklahoma judges rather than address the devastating cuts SQ 766 would impose on public schools, career technology centers and county government.  Although each person is entitled to their own opinions, none of us is entitled to our own facts. The truth is that “activist judges” did not create a new tax.

Read more from the Norman Transcript at 

2012 State Questions – Summary and Analysis

On November 6, 2012, Oklahoma voters will decide six state questions to amend the State Constitution. Two of the questions involve property taxes, with the other questions addressing affirmative action3, DHS governance, parole decisions, and bonding authority. OK Policy’s summary and analysis of each question is listed below. You can download a fact sheet with this analysis and a fact sheet with the ballot language for each state question.

Read more from OK Policy at

Under investigation, Oklahoma Parole Board hires criminal defense attorney

The state Pardon and Parole Board has hired a prominent Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney to represent the agency and its five board members while they are under investigation.  The board agreed to pay attorney Mack Martin as much as $19,999 in public funds, the contract shows.

Read more from the Tulsa World at 

How to Raise Taxes in a Red State

The Vision2 measure is inspired by the success its inner-state rival, Oklahoma City, has had with MAPS, a series of tax increases that paid for public works projects, school improvements and arena upgrades to lure an NBA team away from Seattle.  Some of the supporters are business leaders and Republican policymakers, who usually want lower taxes at the state level.

Read more from StateImpactOK 

Quote of the Day

“We ain’t 47th because of me. We’re not 47th because of this board. You were 47th when I got here.”

Retired Gen. Lee Baxter, member of the Oklahoma State Board of Education, to superintendents and educators during a public meeting

Number of the Day


Total amount of tax revenue generated from hunting and fishing licensing in Oklahoma, 2011

Source: OK Policy Database

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are

While the number of jobs dropped steeply, particularly for men, in the Great Recession, slow job growth has characterized the recovery. In the first two years of the recovery, men saw faster job growth than women. But in the third year of the recovery, wom- en’s job growth has begun to catch up with men’s. As of June 2012, men have regained 46.2 percent of the jobs they lost since the start of the recession and women have regained 38.7 percent of the jobs they lost. 

Read more from IWPR at

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