In 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 some Oklahoma pastors plan to deliver petitions with over 80,000 signatures to Hobby Lobby officials, urging them not to use Christian beliefs to deny women access to birth control. School officials have until today to submit data that will be used to come up with their ‘letter grade’ assessment from the State Dept. of Education. The Tulsa World Editorial Board says Gov. Fallin and others are paying lip service to public education, but piling on new mandates while intentionally underfunding classrooms. For a roundup of the latest from Oklahoma Policy Institute on the education debate, click here.
Google has signed a deal with the Grand River Damn Authority to buy wind power from a wind farm in central Oklahoma. The Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains why consumer-friendly financial regulation is critical for poor and middle class families to move up the economic ladder. Counselors and mental health professionals are urging Oklahoma parents to talk to their kids about suicide, the second leading cause of death among the state’s teens and young adults.
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to use CareerTech funding to provide vocational training to juvenile offenders. A Sand Springs woman shared her story of being victimized by human trafficking to a legislative panel exploring ways to deal with what police say is a growing problem in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, Consumer Reports weighs in on what consumers need to know about the Affordable Care Act. The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahomans who support the expanded use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy.
In The News
Pastors To Deliver Petitions to Hobby Lobby
Earlier this month, Hobby Lobby filed a federal lawsuit challenging a mandate in the nation’s health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs. Faithful America’s petition urges Hobby Lobby officials not to use their Christian beliefs to deny women access to birth control. Petition signers vow not to shop at Hobby Lobby until the lawsuit is dropped.
Read more from the Associated Press at http://publicradiotulsa.org/post/pastors-deliver-petitions-hobby-lobby
A through F letter grades for all the schools in the state will be announced Oct. 8, a state official said Thursday.
School officials are still making last-minute changes to the data used to come up with the letter grades, said Maridyth McBee, assistant superintendent for accountability and assessment for the Education Department. The deadline is Friday. “We’re close to the finish line but not quite there,” McBee said during a meeting of the state Board of Education. There are 1,761 schools sites in the state, and all will receive letter grades according to a state law that took effect this year.
Read more from NewsOK at http://newsok.com/oklahoma-schools-to-receive-a-f-grades-oct.-8/article/3713629 – ixzz27lqfcxUW
Money talks and education will listen
The last thing education in this state needs is more lip service. Unfortunately, that’s mostly what politicians supply. It was no exception Wednesday from Gov. Mary Fallin. The governor was in Tulsa with 11 of her cabinet members for a town hall meeting. Not surprisingly, the topic of education surfaced. The governor’s position was neither surprising nor informative. “It (education) is a priority for me and certainly for our administration that we do everything we can to see that our children get the best education possible.” How many times have we heard almost that exact same line?
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/article.aspx?subjectid=61&articleid=20120928_61_A14_Thelas841516
Oklahoma’s Education Debate
As we head into election season, the state of Oklahoma’s education system has emerged as one of the most contentious issues confronting lawmakers. Schools face major new tests and mandates, such as a third grade reading requirement, graduation testing, and the new A-F school grading system. At the same time, state appropriations to schools have fallen or stayed flat for four straight years.
Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute at http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50605/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1227340
Oklahoma Wind Will Power Google Data Center
Here’s a win for Oklahoma’s wind-energy industry, which has been battered by layoffs and uncertainty surrounding that soon-to-expire federal tax credit. Google has inked a deal with the Grand River Damn Authority to buy wind power from the Canadian Hills Wind Farm in central Oklahoma. Gary Demasi, director of the search giant’s global infrastructure team writes about the wind deal on Google’s corporate blog.
Read more from StateImpactOK at http://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2012/09/26/oklahoma-wind-to-power-google-data-center/
Richard Cordray: “The marketplace is hostile to those in poverty.”
It is especially expensive to be poor. Time is money and when the compensation for your time is meager, you can work long hours and still produce insufficient income. At the same time, the marketplace is hostile to those in poverty, who often pay higher prices for consumer goods, including financial products and services. These factors put disproportionate burdens on people’s lives. All day long, they encounter dignity issues that loom large as businesses show disrespect for their time and noticeably less enthusiasm than they muster for those more fortunate. The emotional cost of these experiences is not knowable, but it’s inevitably accompanied by mounting feelings of frustration, helplessness, and marginalization.
Read more from the OK Policy Blog at https://okpolicy.org/richard-cordray-the-marketplace-is-hostile-to-those-in-poverty/
Counselors Urge Parents To Talk To Kids About Suicide
Counselors say parents can use the coverage about what happened in Stillwater to start a conversation with their own children. Suicide is the second largest cause of death in Oklahoma among kids between 15 to 24 years old. Suicide experts say all parents need to have a conversation with children about suicide beginning around when children are 9 or 10 years old. “Talk to your kids about it, don’t be afraid to talk about it, don’t avoid it, kids will know,” said Danny Van Curen.
Read more from News9 at http://www.news9.com/story/19649754/councelors-urge-parents-to-talk-to-kids-about-suicide
Okla. lawmaker seeks juvenile vocational training
An Oklahoma lawmaker says expanding vocational programs to juvenile offenders could help divert young criminals from the state prison system and ultimately save the state millions of dollars. Broken Arrow Republican Rep. David Brumbaugh presented his proposal Thursday before the House Public Safety Committee. Brumbaugh says he wants to expand the programs offered to juvenile offenders to include training for trades like construction, auto repair, computer technology and cosmetology.
Read more from the Associated Press at http://www.wftv.com/ap/ap/education/okla-lawmaker-seeks-juvenile-vocational-training/nSNLt/
Okla. woman shares human trafficking story
A Sand Springs woman’s gripping tale of becoming a child prostitute at age 11 captivated a legislative panel Thursday that was exploring ways to deal with what police say is a growing problem of human trafficking in Oklahoma. Jeannetta McCrary, 41, told lawmakers how she went from being a straight-A cheerleader from a middle-class family to a life of sexual exploitation and prostitution as a victim of child trafficking in the 1980s.
Read more from the Associated Press at http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Okla-woman-shares-human-trafficking-story-3900049.php – ixzz27jHYKwRC
Quote of the Day
It is especially expensive to be poor. Time is money and when the compensation for your time is meager, you can work long hours and still produce insufficient income. At the same time, the marketplace is hostile to those in poverty, who often pay higher prices for consumer goods, including financial products and services.
Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at a conference on evidence-based ways to lift people out of poverty
Number of the Day
Percentage of Oklahomans who support the expanded use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy
Source: Public Policy Polling
Health Reform: Seven Things You Need to Know Now
The Affordable Care Act is changing the health insurance marketplace in big ways. A number of key benefits are in effect now. Many more will roll out over the next two years. Medicare and Medicaid are affected, too. But what does the new law mean for you and your family? Download our guides for answers.
Read more from Consumer Reports at http://www.consumerreports.org/health/resources/pdf/ncqa/The_Affordable_Care_Act-You_and_Your_Family.pdf
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