In The Know: Oklahoma school A-F report cards released amid criticism

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

Oklahoma school A-F report cards released amid criticism: The Oklahoma State Board of Education approved the release of A-F report cards for public schools across the state Thursday, despite concerns by state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and dozens of school superintendents that the grading system is deeply flawed [SF Gate]. 

Hofmeister wants new education budget request to include $60 million for teacher pay raises: State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Thursday that the Oklahoma State Department of Education should seek $60 million to begin a five-year plan to increase teacher pay in spite of the state government’s bleak budget outlook. Speaking to the state board of education, Hofmeister said all state agencies have been directed to present “flat budgets” for fiscal year 2017 but addressing the state’s teacher shortage is too serious to put off [Tulsa World].

Thousands of Oklahoma college students spend millions on remediation: Oklahoma college students paid $2.89 million for non-credit coursework in 2013-14 to make up for knowledge they lacked coming out of high school. A total of 31,419 students enrolled in at least one remedial course that year, according to a report presented Thursday to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education [NewsOK].

OCPA speaker Arthur Brooks says social conscience is part of true conservatism: As president of the venerable American Enterprise Institute, Brooks touts the traditional conservative virtues of entrepreneurship, hard work and moral commitment. He also believes those values mean conservatives should care about things such as wealth inequality, the social safety net and — perhaps most of all — making sure all Americans have access to the free enterprise system [Tulsa World].

Michael Carnuccio departs OCPA to assume new leadership position: The Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) announced Thursday (October 22) it reluctantly accepted the resignation of President Michael Carnuccio effective December 31, 2015. Carnuccio, who served as OCPA’s president for six years, has been nominated to the organization’s Board of Trustees and will transition into that role beginning January 2016. This change will allow him to move into a leadership position with a soon-to-be-announced organization [City Sentinel].

Is Oklahoma doing enough to help returning veterans? On average, twenty-two veterans kill themselves every day in the United States. An estimated 60,000 veterans are currently homeless. Veteran suicide and homelessness are serious problems in Oklahoma and the whole country. What is our response when those who have sacrificed for all of us through military service find themselves without a home, or are so troubled they think they have to end their own lives? [OK Policy]

FCC Caps Prison, Jail Phone Call Rates, Saying Families Are Gouged: The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to place caps on how much inmates in jails and prisons can be charged for making phone calls. The new caps will help inmates and their families, many of whom struggle with finances because of poverty or the loss of a breadwinner, and help them stay in touch with each other, said Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who championed the rule [Oklahoma Watch].

Embattled Oklahoma Corrections Department director testifies before multicounty grand jury: The embattled Corrections Department director testified for hours Wednesday before a state grand jury that is investigating an execution drug mix-up. Director Robert Patton left shortly before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday after completing his testimony. He did not say anything to a reporter, except, “Beautiful day.” [NewsOK]

Drop in state unemployment rate might not be good news: The state’s unemployment rate ticked down slightly in September. But that’s not necessarily good news, economist Lynn Gray said. Data indicate people are leaving the labor force and unemployment insurance benefits are running out, said Gray, chief economist for the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission [Journal Record]. 

State surpasses wind-capacity milestone with 4,300 megawatts in third quarter: Oklahoma breezed past the 4,000 megawatt milestone for wind capacity in the third quarter and now has more than 4,300 megawatts of wind projects producing electricity. The state added almost 400 megawatts of wind capacity at projects in Beaver and Garfield counties, according to the third-quarter market report released Thursday by the American Wind Energy Association. That was second behind Texas, which added 771 megawatts of wind capacity in the quarter [NewsOK].

Kids need vaccinations: Stricter immunization law needed: State Sen. Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City physician, is pushing legislation to eliminate religious and personal exemptions that keep Oklahoma among 18 states with lax vaccination laws. Yen’s Senate Bill 830 would require students attending public or private school to receive vaccinations against diseases such as measles, whooping cough and chickenpox [Tulsa World].
African Crisis Leads To New Water Treatment Option For Oklahoma Towns: Oklahoma’s small water systems face a big problem: Drinking water standards aregetting stricter, their treatment plants are becoming obsolete, and many cities and towns can’t get the loans and grants needed for expensive upgrades. But one Oklahoma City company says it found a potential solution — in Africa [StateImpact].


Quote of the Day

“One of the big blind spots on the political right is not recognizing that the people on the bottom have been excluded. We have an exclusionary system, and the solution to that is not simply adhering more to markets; it’s remembering our morals. Part of being a conservative is remembering that morals come before markets.”

– Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who spoke at Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs Liberty Gala on Wednesday (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of children living in areas of concentrated poverty in Oklahoma 2009-2013

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A Universal Basic Income Is The Bipartisan Solution To Poverty We’ve Been Waiting For: There’s a simple way to end poverty: the government just gives everyone enough money, so nobody is poor. No ifs, buts, conditions, or tests. Everyone gets the minimum they need to survive, even if they already have plenty. This, in essence, is “universal minimum income” or “guaranteed basic income”—where, instead of multiple income assistance programs, we have just one: a single payment to all citizens, regardless of background, gender, or race. It’s a policy idea that sounds crazy at first, but actually begins to make sense when you consider some recent trends [Fast Company].

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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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