In The Know: State high school graduation rates drop

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

High school graduation rates drop for all groups: According to the state Department of Education, 2013-2014 high school graduation data shows that Oklahoma’s high school graduation rate declined to 82.7 percent, down from 84.9 percent during the prior school year. Although graduation rates dropped across all measured groups, students living in poverty saw the largest decline [Oklahoma Watch]. However, the state is withholding graduation data for 58 percent of the state’s public school districts and charter schools, arguing that releasing the data would violate a law intended to protect student privacy. [Oklahoma Watch].

Teacher shortage unlikely to resolve soon: Although Oklahoma universities are producing education graduates at record rates, school districts are still reporting significant teacher shortages. This forces larger class sizes, which in turn leads more and more teachers to seek work out of state, with better pay and smaller class sizes [News9].

Some Oklahoma insurers now covering man-made earthquakes: Previously, fuzzily-worded language and contention over the cause of Oklahoma’s earthquake swarms left some Oklahomans unsure of whether earthquake damage caused to their home or property would be covered by their earthquake insurance. Now, some insurers will cover earthquake damage regardless of the cause, although earthquake-specific policies still need to be purchased separately from standard insurance [NewsOn6].

Senior hunger needs more attention: The growing problem of food insecurity for Oklahoma seniors needs more support, writes the CEO of a center for aging services in south central Oklahoma. Many seniors on fixed incomes find themselves above the cutoffs for SNAP (food stamps) or food banks, despite persistent need [OK Policy].

Gender imbalance in elected offices: Elected offices in Oklahoma are gendered at all levels. Very few women are serving as legislators, sheriffs, district attorneys, or county commissioners, but women account for more than 2 in 3 of the state’s county assessors, county treasurers, election board secretaries, county clerks and court clerks. In short, although women are generally removed from the policymaking process, they are largely responsible for implementing policy [Journal Record]. In general, studies show that a lack of diversity means that policies fail to represent the interests of all stakeholders [OK Policy].

Recent hostility toward the courts is misguided: In light of a variety of contentious country- and state-level court decision this summer, some lawmakers and advocates have called for impeaching justices or rehauling the entire courts system. However, courts rely on independence from the whims of the legislature in order to carry out their duties [Tulsa World].

Joblessness rates up in 76 of 77 counties: In all Oklahoma counties but Ellis County, unemployment rates increased from May to June. Five now report unemployment rates of more than 8 percent [Journal Record].

Gov. Fallin launches “Oklahoma Works” tour: Gov. Fallin has scheduled a series of meetings with business and education leaders across the state. Oklahoma Works is intended to work towards closing the state’s “skills gap,” where worker education and training doesn’t match the qualifications needed for the jobs available [KTUL].

Another GOP Facebook post draws criticism: A post on the Facebook page for the group Oklahoma Federation of Republican Woman stating that the Klu Klux Klan was a creation of the Democratic party and likening welfare to lynching was visible for about two hours on Thursday before the group removed it. The group’s president offered personal apologies and said that the person responsible for the post had had their posting privileges revoked [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“It’s hard for me to see how this would be a sustainable lifestyle. Teachers are miracle workers, they’re willing to sacrifice to make it happen, and we do it each and every day, but, anything less than what we have right now would be great. I mean, it’s amazing how large [the classes] are.”

– Haley Sherrard, an Edmond North High School teacher, speaking to News9 regarding the state’s teaching shortage. Oklahoma’s increasing class sizes and persistently low pay are driving teachers into other states or out of the profession (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahomans with developmental disabilities on a waiting list for home- and community-based services (as of March 2015)

Source: OKDHS.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why American Cities Are Fighting to Attract Immigrants Immigration bolsters the workforce, promotes innovation, and adds to the economy. So it should be no surprise that, despite popular anti-immigration rhetoric, American cities are fighting to attract attract immigrants – not drive them away [The Atlantic].

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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.

One thought on “In The Know: State high school graduation rates drop

  1. This is is a great service. I suggest taking one minor step forward. Find out if news sources will let u include reporter or editor contact info. Public may have more info on some stories and can help build toward more thorough reporting.

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