In The Know: State ed board raises TPS accreditation status; superintendent warns district: ‘Do not test me’ | Gov. speaks about tribal sovereignty, school vouchers | More

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.

Oklahoma News

State board accredits TPS ‘with deficiencies,’ requests special report from districts: Tulsa Public Schools will maintain local control of its operations for the time being following an Oklahoma State Board of Education decision today to accredit the district with deficiencies. [NonDoc]

  • Tulsa Schools Avoid State Takeover, Improves Accreditation Status [Oklahoma Watch]
  • TPS receives accreditation; Walters vows additional actions if quick progress not made [Tulsa World]
  • TPS students, community rally to support district during accreditation vote: ‘Nobody is talking to us’ [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa Public Schools will keep local control, accreditation after Oklahoma Board of Education meeting [KOSU]
  • As the state decides TPS’ accreditation, students and supporters rally [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Tulsa high school students take a stand with walkout [News on 6]
  • ‘Do not test me’: Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation approved, State Supt. threatens possible action if there’s no progress [KFOR]
  • ‘Do not test me.’ Ryan Walters demands quick improvement in Tulsa schools; accreditation approved [The Oklahoman]
  • As state board debated TPS’ curriculum, accreditation, Union Public Schools faced more bomb threats [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma State Board of Education to require foreign funding reports from schools: Citing the Chinese language program at a Tulsa high school, the Oklahoma State Board of Education is asking school districts across the state about foreign influences in the classroom. [Tulsa World]

  • ‘This is pure propaganda’: Amid TPS accreditation move, Walters inquires into districts’ pronoun policies, ties to foreign government funding [Fox 25]

Rep. John Waldron: Will you stand up against the rotten state of affairs being foisted on Oklahoma’s public schools?: We’re at a critical point where basic standards of decency are threatened. Good citizens have to unite against this wave of misinformation, manipulation and hate. I contend that national anti-public education forces have come to Oklahoma to try out their strategies at the expense of our public schools and the students they serve. [Rep. John Waldron Guest Column / Tulsa World]

Editorial: Oklahoma children failed by politicized governance and violent threats: Irrational, short-sighted and destructive: There is no disputing the negative effects of State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ recent actions. He and the obedient State School Board have failed public school children this past week. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

State Government News

Gov. Stitt speaks on tribal sovereignty, school vouchers in Tulsa speech: Governor Kevin Stitt delivered an address Thursday to elected officials and business leaders in Tulsa where he promoted tax cuts, school vouchers and railed against tribal sovereignty claims. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Stitt says tribes behind ‘storm of injustice’ in State of the State address [Tulsa World]
  • Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr: “Gov. Stitt’s shameful description of tribes simply exercising rights as sovereign nations dating back to before the founding of the United States as a ‘storm of injustice’ is breathtaking, even coming from him.” [News 9]

Lawmakers calls on legislature to begin impeachment process against Ryan Walters: An Oklahoma representative has called for immediate impeachment of State Superintendent Ryan Walters following a third bomb threat at a Tulsa elementary school this week. [KFOR]

  • Criticism for Ryan Walters intensifies after 3 days of bomb threats at school in retweeted video [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Public Employees Pension System Takes Exemption to Banking Law: Trustees of the Oklahoma Public Employee Retirement System voted Wednesday to take a financial exemption from a new law forbidding state pension systems from doing business with banks perceived to be hostile to oil and gas companies. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahomans who raise fighting roosters look for flexibility in laws: While some chicken farmers in Northeastern Oklahoma are battling the heat, others are pushing for more flexible laws that will allow them to raise roosters others might use for fighting or breeding. [CNHI]

Oklahoma legislator tied to HB 1775, Tulsa controversy won’t seek another term: Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, announced Thursday she would not seek a fourth term in 2024. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Consideration of any OTA bond offerings should be postponed until after audit: The recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma in the case of Pike Off OTA v. the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority represents a dangerous shift in the way our state government will operate going forward. [Katherine Hirschfeld and Whitney Mullica Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Challenging Steven Woods, political newcomer Dusk Monetathchi surprised to be in Chickasaw runoff: When he filed for office, Dusk Monetathchi was hopeful, but he didn’t exactly expect to be in his current position, forcing longtime incumbent Steven Woods into a surprise runoff for the Tishomingo District’s third seat on the Chickasaw Nation’s Tribal Legislature. [NonDoc]

Cherokee Nation launches Cherokee Film as hub for film and media production: Cherokee Nation Businesses announced a new company name with four distinct branches and logos, as well as new social media accounts and website, aimed at better representing the tribe’s continued efforts in becoming a film and media production hub and creating important changes within the film and media industries. [Tulsa World]

Editorial: Oklahoma must do more to protect Indigenous people from crime: The truths unearthed during a Tulsa World series on missing and murdered Indigenous people show this crisis has not been a priority, remains largely unaddressed and has roots in generations-long distrust. It’s a national challenge but one in which Oklahoma has a unique perspective and prospective approach. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma may have to go back to paper filings for campaign finance reports, official warns: In a Wednesday letter to lawmakers and Gov. Kevin Stitt, outgoing Ethics Commission Executive Director Ashley Kemp said the system needs an upgrade or replacement. She suggested that going back to paper filings would be an option. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Column: How investment has generated momentum for improving mental health outcomes in our state: There is currently an unprecedented level of investment has generated significant momentum for improving mental health outcomes in our state. To sustain that momentum, we must continue to remove the barriers too many Oklahomans face in accessing care. [Zack Stoycoff Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Ginnie Graham Column: Oklahoma children dealing with grief at higher rates than those in other states: Mental health is health of the brain. We have to work on healing it when something happens, whether caused by genetics, environment or both. Research on adverse childhood experiences, called ACEs, shows how trauma in youth plays out over time. Kids with ACEs typically have increased health challenges later in life. [Ginnie Graham Column / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Jury awards $33 million to estate of man who died in Ottawa County jail: A federal civil jury on Wednesday awarded $33 million in damages to the estate of a man who died in the Ottawa County jail in 2015 after a nurse said he was faking his symptoms. [Tulsa World]

Column: Guest: How do we reconcile the state knows Glossip did not kill Van Treese but wants him dead?: The death chamber’s holding cell at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is six footsteps from the execution table the state has been trying to strap Richard Glossip to for 26 years. They failed again back in May of this year. He’s 9-0 against the state.[Tony Green Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Cobalt-nickel refinery in Lawton, billed as bastion against China, on a fast track: Developers of what is being billed as the nation’s first cobalt and nickel refinery — and a bastion for national security and against China — in Lawton, say construction of the pilot plant will proceed on a fast track. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma’s regional power grid sees highest-ever demand as temperatures soar: As Oklahoma and surrounding states have sweltered this week, the regional power grid saw record-breaking usage. [KOSU]

Education News

OSSM new hire comes from another school accused of ignoring sexual harassment: A newly hired executive assistant at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics comes from another school accused of ignoring sexual harassment complaints. [The Oklahoman]

  • Education Watch: OSSM Hires Former Mount St. Mary’s Principal [Oklahoma Watch]

Column: Opinion: Teachers leaving the profession look for a community in their next chapter: There is — and continues to be — an exodus of teachers from kindergarten through graduate school, and they’re leaving for a reason. Educators do what they do for so little because it’s a profession that taps those same altruistic tendrils of community as religion: people wanting to do good for and with others. [Eric James Stephens Guest Column / Tulsa World]

General News

‘Focus: Black Oklahoma’: police charges dropped, Black women in higher ed, Clara Luper: This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features the controversial decision to drop criminal charges against seven police officers in Oklahoma County, Black women overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams in higher education and how Clara Luper’s life and teachings are providing relevance today. [KOSU]

‘I’m talking about what’s best for the Greenwood area’: What the removal of a highway could do for Black Wall Street: Tulsa’s North Peoria Church of Christ used to call Greenwood home. That was before I-244 displaced it and cut through historic Black Wall Street. StateImpact’s Britny Cordera talked with State Rep. Regina Goodwin, who represents the area and attends the church, about its legacy and a planning grant to study the removal of the expressway. [KGOU]

Developer accused of fraud withdraws request for $3.8 million for Adventure District resort: A request for $3.8 million in tax increment financing for a resort in northeast Oklahoma City was withdrawn Thursday following reporting by The Oklahoman on the developer’s financial troubles and lawsuits alleging fraud. [The Oklahoman]

Glen Mulready: Understanding the evolving landscape of climbing insurance premiums in Oklahoma: Throughout the country, consumers are experiencing higher premiums in all lines of insurance that are hitting their pocketbooks quite hard. [Glen Mulready Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC Mayor David Holt speaking at 60th anniversary of March on Washington [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“We don’t need a state board that attacks. We need a state board that assists and understands. Children could care less about a Republican or Democrat. They want us all to work together, and they want leadership, not fear-mongering, not untruths, not name-calling.”

-Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, addressed the board with her own concerns, detailing her dissatisfaction with the state superintendent’s lack of communication with legislators and what teachers had described to her as a “culture of intimidation” he has fostered. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


The national median household income for renters ($41,000) was $27,000 lower than the median household income for homeowners ($78,000) in 2021. A majority of renters (57%) had annual household incomes of less than $50,000 that year. [Pew Research]  

Policy Note

Do Large Landlords’ Eviction Practices Differ from Small Landlords’?: In an average year between 2000 and 2016, more than 2 million households faced eviction. Evictions have a wide range of negative consequences for individual households and the broader community. Though much of the research on evictions has focused on renters, landlords have a critical role in housing stability. In this study, the author focuses on how different types of landlords respond to social and institutional pressures and put tenants at risk of eviction. [Housing Matters]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.