In The Know: Growing presence of politics in education | Nursing home shortages | Poverty persists because we fail to act

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. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Poverty persists because we fail to act: We are remiss in our obligations to our fellow Oklahomans if we blithely accept that nearly 1 in 6 adults – and more perversely 1 in 5 children – live in households where there is uncertainty about putting food on the table or paying their rent. We should be alarmed by these statistics. But perhaps too many of us have become desensitized because poverty has so long persisted here. But it doesn’t have to be that way. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Growing presence of politics in education has Oklahomans wondering, ‘What’s the end goal?’: Bus routes. Literacy. Career Prep. These are the types of topics Chris McNeil said he wants to explore as a parent and board of education member in Union Public Schools. But his southeast Tulsa district spent its second week of school grappling with another, more urgent issue — bomb threats. [Oklahoma Voice]

State Government News

State Board of Education set to meet with several agenda items up for discussion: Several items of interest are currently on the agenda, but three topics stand out above the rest: the possible suspension of Mustang teacher’s teaching certification, alleged Kingfisher hazing, and Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation status. [News 9

  • OSDE reviewing teaching certificate of OKC principal [KSWO]
  • TPS to provide first update to state board since accreditation vote [Tulsa World]

Governor Stitt pushes for ‘trigger law’ to eliminate state income tax in special session: No more state income tax. That’s what Governor Stitt is trying to eliminate and he’s called a special session in hopes of accomplishing it. Stitt calls it a ‘trigger law’. The idea stems from Oklahoma’s tribal nations possibly being exempt from state income tax. Once the governor heard that, he called for a special session about taxes being cut for all Oklahomans. [KTUL]

AG Drummond hopes to represent Oklahoma in ongoing legal saga over tribal gaming compacts: The legal saga surrounding Gov. Kevin Stitt’s gaming compacts with two tribal nations continues. Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is asking a judge to represent the state’s interests in the ongoing legal saga over a pair of gaming compacts Stitt signed with two tribal nations in 2020. [KOSU]

Oklahoma senate-judiciary committee debates high eviction rates and housing reforms: The Oklahoma Senate-Judiciary Committee held a meeting yesterday about reforming the eviction process in the state of Oklahoma, after hearing about a study on housing availability. [KTUL]

Lawmakers to study possible moratorium on death penalty: The state representative who continues to raise concerns about the execution of death row inmate Richard Glossip will hold an interim hearing on the death penalty next week. [The Oklahoman]

Stitt, former Oklahoma governors to participate in public fireside chat: Gov. Kevin Stitt and four former Oklahoma governors will take part in a fireside chat next week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Oklahoma Territorial Museum in Guthrie. [Oklahoma Voice]

Federal Government News

Biden retains protections for prairie chicken, northern bat: President Joe Biden has vetoed Republican-sponsored bills intended to undo federal protections for two endangered species that have seen their populations plummet over the years: the lesser prairie chicken and northern long-eared bat. [AP via Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

Muscogee Freedmen take step toward citizenship following tribal court ruling: The Muscogee Nation’s Court ruled that Muscogee Freedmen descendants could be eligible for citizenship pending an approval from the tribal nation’s citizenship board. [KOSU]

Representatives of Osage Nation attend New York ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ premiere: The relationship between the “Killers of the Flower Moon” team and the Osage Nation continued Wednesday when representatives of the Osage Nation were invited to attend a New York premiere of the Martin Scorsese film. Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and other Osage walked the red carpet as premiere guests. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Initiative looks to tackle critical Oklahoma nursing shortage: Marian University’s Leighton School of Nursing and Mercy Hospital in north Oklahoma City on Wednesday hosted an educational event to provide an opportunity to learn about nursing programs. [Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

Department’s work benefits disabled Oklahomans, employers: In an era of low unemployment and high demand for workers, Oklahoma businesses could gain a lot by employing more people with disabilities. [Journal Record]

Education News

‘We worry’: Oklahoma school districts grapple with poverty’s impact on student test scores: An issue that might be having an impact on student test scores: school districts around Oklahoma continue to deal with poverty in their communities. [KOKH]

What does it mean for Oklahoma to partner with PragerU?: Earlier this month, State Superintendent Ryan Walters announced a partnership with conservative nonprofit media group, PragerU. So what is PragerU? StateImpact spoke with parents, teachers, legislators and Walters to find out. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Education Watch: OSSM Graduate Says School Mishandled Disability Needs: In public schools, students with disabilities are guaranteed accommodations through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But not at OSSM, which is publicly-funded through state appropriations but does not receive federal money. [Oklahoma Watch]

Opinion: Do Oklahomans still want and believe in public education?: While other states are working on more equitable school funding formulas, providing universal free lunch and considering counsel for families who want to contest their schools’ decisions on suspension, in Oklahoma we’re battling for the very existence of public education. [Colleen McCarty Guest Column / Tulsa World]

General News

‘Rebuilding Black Wall Street’ shares stories of resilient Tulsans working toward better future: The Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa hosted a red carpet premiere for the first episode of the documentary series “Rebuilding Black Wall Street.” The six-part endeavor will debut 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, on OWN. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • How big of an environmental impact will the 88,000-gallon oil spill in OKC have? [The Oklahoman]
  • A traveling replica of DC’s Vietnam Memorial Wall has arrived in Oklahoma. What to know [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“That’s $4 billion of the state budget. That’s 35% to 37% of all the revenue we take in, so you would immediately cut government by a third. And we spend most of our money on education, so there would be no way to hold harmless education while you slash transportation and public safety and the Department of Human Services.

– Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, speaking about proposals that would eliminate the state’s personal income tax, which accounts for more than a third of the Oklahoma’s annual budget. [Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise]

Number of the Day


Decrease in average SNAP benefits for Oklahoma residents following the end of federal emergency allotments for the food assistance program. The average monthly benefit per person decreased by $98, dropping from $262 to $164 per person following the end of emergency allotments. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

Policy Note

End of SNAP’s Temporary Emergency Allotments Resulted in Substantial Benefit Cut: Emergency allotments and other temporary policies, as well as SNAP’s ability to expand automatically to meet greater need, helped ensure that food insecurity rates did not meaningfully increase overall in 2020 or 2021, compared to 2019. These relief efforts also contributed to food insecurity reaching a two-decade low for families with children in 2021. Studies show the EAs reduced poverty and food insufficiency, with the impact being greatest for Black and Hispanic people — an important step in helping to reduce racial and ethnic differences in food hardship. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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