In The Know: Supt. Hofmeister questions changes to teacher evaluation system

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

State superintendent questions cost, effectiveness of changing teacher evaluation system: State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister proposed swift action on Thursday to steel Oklahoma’s still-new teacher evaluation system against statewide budget uncertainties and growing questions about the use of student test data and surveys. Hofmeister serves as chairwoman of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Commission, which was asked by the Legislature to research and recommend by Dec. 1 a variety of new systems for quantitative measurement of teacher and principal performance by 2017-18 at the latest [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma Air Quality Improves as Feds Roll Out New Ozone Limits: The Obama Administration recently announced stricter limits on ground-level ozone, a smog-causing pollutant closely monitored by environmentalists and the fossil fuel industry. The national rules are designed to address local air quality problems individual states can’t fix alone [StateImpact].

New concern over quakes in Oklahoma near a hub of US oil: A sharp earthquake in central Oklahoma last weekend has raised fresh concerns about the security of a vast crude oil storage complex, close to the quake’s center, that sits at the crossroads of the nation’s oil pipeline network. The magnitude 4.5 quake struck Saturday afternoon about three miles northwest of Cushing, roughly midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The town of about 8,000 people is home to the so-called Cushing Hub, a sprawling tank farm that is among the largest oil storage facilities in the world [New York Times].

State Drowning In Red Ink, Policy Institute Director Says: Bleak probably isn’t a pessimistic enough word to describe Oklahoma’s budget outlook for the foreseeable future, at least as it was characterized this week in Duncan by David Blatt, executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Speaking at a forum organized by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, Blatt used the phrase “structural budget deficit” to describe almost-overwhelming problems that state lawmakers and citizens will deal with not only in the coming fiscal year but in years to come unless basic changes are made [Lawton Constitution]. In good times as well as in bad, Oklahoma lawmakers can’t balance the budget [OK Policy].

Welcoming DeVon Douglass to the OK Policy team: We’re glad to announce that DeVon Douglass has joined OK Policy as our newest policy analyst.  At OK Policy, Douglass will focus her research on policies to ensure economic opportunity and financial security for all OklahomansShe will also coordinate the Oklahoma Assets Network, a coalition working to promote proven tools for all Oklahomans to build stronger financial foundations [OK Policy].

State Tightens Rules For Kids, Car Seats: A leading cause of death for children in Oklahoma is dying in car crashes. That’s why the state is tightening the rules for kids and their car seats. A new law goes into effect November 1 and requires all kids eight and younger to be in some kind of car or booster seat [News9].

Jail medical provider sues county for $3 million: The Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners has been sued again by its county jail health care services provider, this time for allegedly failing to pay a nearly $3 million contract. Commissioners Brian Maughan, Ray Vaughn and Willa Johnson were served notice Wednesday as defendants of the lawsuit filed in district court. The plaintiff, Armor Correctional Health Services Inc., is based in Florida [Journal Record].

Tulsa County undersheriff aiming for better transparency, focusing on grand jury recommendations: Tulsa County Undersheriff Rick Weigel told media outlets Wednesday afternoon he hopes to bolster public confidence in the Sheriff’s Office with greater transparency, while also identifying his top areas of focus. Weigel met with reporters to offer an update on the grand jury’s eight recommendations for improvement of the Sheriff’s Office — going as far as to say he considers them to be mandates [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma attorney general, hundreds gather for domestic violence awareness: Domestic violence-related crimes in Oklahoma continue to increase, causing both state officials and community leaders to call for increased awareness and prevention. Oklahoma ranked third in 2014 in the number of women killed by men in single victim, single offender homicides, according to the yearly report of the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board [NewsOK]. The report is available here.

First Cases Of Flu Confirmed In Tulsa, Oklahoma Counties: State health officials say two of the first three confirmed flu cases in Oklahoma are in Tulsa County. In a news release, the Oklahoma State Department of Health says all three cases are Influenza A H3.  One of the two Tulsa cases has been hospitalized [NewsOn6].

Norman to update OKC water contract: Water management strategy by city staff will be key in the years ahead if the city council approves a new water contract with Oklahoma City. A primary goal of Norman’s 2060 Strategic Water Supply plan is to maintain local control of the water supply, but for now, Norman depends on Oklahoma City for some of its drinking water [Norman Transcript].

Port of Catoosa passes 1M tons for year: The Tulsa Port of Catoosa’s cumulative tonnage for 2015 surpassed 1 million tons in September as the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System continues to make progress recovering from heavy rains earlier in the year. So far this year, 1,086,923 tons of cargo have shipped through the port [Journal Record].

Quote of the Day

“I think we need to think about what do we have the capacity to do within our state and to do well.”

– State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, speaking about scheduled recommendations for changes to the state’s Teacher and Leader Effectiveness law, pointing out that implementing changes could be expensive and upend the success of the statewide system for qualitative measures of public school educators (Source)

Number of the Day


Deaths due to firearm injury per 100,000 in Oklahoma in 2013, the 8th-highest nationwide

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Better State Budget Planning Can Help Build Healthier Economies: States routinely put at risk some of the country’s highest priorities — educating children, maintaining a healthy and trained work force, and caring for the elderly, for example — by failing to employ proven budget methods that would help them plan farther into the future. A few improvements to state budget processes would make considerably more information available to policymakers and the public for budget debates. This would increase states’ ability to plan for the future, boosting the chances they will have the resources to invest in schools and other building blocks of strong economic growth and widespread prosperity. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

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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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