[In the Know] Tulsa, Mustang schools admonished after HB1775 complaints | Status of Women in Oklahoma | Capitol Update

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

Interim studies indicate increased focus on children and youth issues (Capitol Update): There was not a lot of substantive legislation aimed directly at children and youth issues that passed in this legislative session compared to the 2021 session. But judging from the interim study requests by a variety of legislators, this next session may be a more active year. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

‘Warning’: State board admonishes Tulsa, Mustang Public Schools after HB 1775 complaints: The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted 4-2 today to lower the accreditation status of Tulsa Public Schools to “accredited with warning” owing to a teacher’s complaint that a third-party vendor’s training violated new State Department of Education rules that prohibit certain instruction about race and gender. The board also voted 4-2 to lower Mustang Public Schools’ accreditation to “accredited with warning” owing to a student exercise about how people have “different experiences in life.” [NonDoc]

  • Tulsa, Mustang schools’ accreditation demoted for HB 1775 violations [The Oklahoman]
  • Tulsa Public Schools accredited with a warning over HB1775 violation [Tulsa World]
  • ‘We need to keep some level of decorum’: Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting features political theatrics, little policy talk [StateImpact Oklahoma / KGOU]

Study: Oklahoma women earn about 75 cents for every dollar earned by men: A nonprofit is seeking change after a study found that Oklahoma women earned an average of 74.5 cents for every dollar earned by men during 2015 to 2019. The gender earnings gap outpaces the average of the U.S. and grows greater for women of color in the state, lead study author Laura Ahlstrom said, with Hispanic women earning 50 cents of the men’s dollar and Black women, 58 cents. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Attorneys accuse OTA of dodging discovery in lawsuits: Two attorneys who have each filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority have accused the agency of trying to avoid the discovery process in court. [Norman Transcript]

First-time unemployment claims increase almost 30%: State unemployment claims increased nearly 30% last week from the prior seven-day period. First-time claims have increased four consecutive weeks and have not been at this level since October 2021 when 3,442 first-time claims were reported. [Tulsa World]

OSU Center for Health Sciences, state Medical Examiner’s Office dedicate new shared facility: A new building at the OSU Center for Health Sciences that will house both new school facilities and the eastern office of the state’s chief medical examiner got its official introduction to the community Thursday. [Tulsa World]

Online voter registration, COVID funding audit, supply side revival and more (Audio): The podcast guests talk about about Oklahoma falling behind in online registration for new voters in the states, Education Secretary Ryan Walters releasing funding to Tulsa Public Schools for early childhood education and federal auditors want Oklahoma to return COVID funding money they say was misspent by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration. [This Week in Oklahoma Politics Podcast / KOSU]

Federal Government News

Rep. Frank Lucas turns against research bill he worked on for years: After working for three years on a bill to boost scientific research in the United States, Rep. Frank Lucas voted against the legislation on Thursday and blamed a Democratic budget deal reached in the Senate this week that will raise corporate taxes to fund climate and health initiatives. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Column: Why Oklahoma tribes are crucial to state’s economic future: Oklahoma tribes provide a wide variety of services to governments and non-Native businesses, and savvy business owners and executives have gained huge benefits by working with us. [James Collard Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Cherokee Nation expands fund to help citizens struggling to afford housing payments: The Cherokee Nation is working to help those struggling to afford housing payments and other home-related costs. Officials said they’re expanding their Homeowner Assistance Fund program to help Cherokee Nation citizens experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Voting and Election News

Sen. Jim Inhofe has a strained relationship with the man favored to succeed him: Retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s relationship with U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin hit a low point after Mullin’s unauthorized attempt to visit Afghanistan last year. Now Inhofe has misgivings about the frontrunner to win his seat in November. [The Frontier]

Tom Woods v. Keith Barenberg: SD 4 runoff gets ‘dirty’ over mental health remarks: The Republican runoff for State Senate District 4 in eastern Oklahoma has turned contentious after the first-place finisher in the June primary said one of his opponents seeking treatment for depression made him mentally incompetent and unfit for office. [NonDoc]

Health News

OSDH: 12,328 More COVID-19 Cases Reported Statewide, 36 Virus-Related Deaths Added To Provisional Death Count: Thirty-six virus-related deaths and 12,328 coronavirus cases have been added to the state’s count since July 21, according to weekly numbers released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. [News on 6]

Monkeypox cases rise in Oklahoma, across U.S. What to know about vaccination, testing: Oklahoma hasn’t seen anywhere near the number of cases in other parts of the country, like New York and California. But cases are rising here, too — the state’s case count doubled Tuesday, rising from four to eight cases, and a ninth has since been reported. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Targeting ‘Woke Capital’: N.D.A.s prevent community members, like workers and local businesses, from sharing their input on the deal until after it is completed. One recent example is the $4 billion battery factory that Panasonic will build in Kansas, which will get nearly $1 billion in subsidies. [New York Times]

Regional manufacturing grows moderately, according to Federal Reserve Bank of KC report: Manufacturing activity in Oklahoma and regional states grew moderately in July, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said in a report Thursday. However, several company representatives reported ongoing supply chain problems and razor-thin profit margins. [Tulsa World]

Column: Don’t look now, but Oklahoma is diving headlong into the green economy: The world economy’s foundation is built on coal, gas and oil. Any transition away from these is going to be a massive, global undertaking. But it’s one that is happening, even here in Oklahoma. Business, it would seem, is voting with its feet. [Bob Doucette Column / Tulsa World]

Education News

TPS pulls challenged books from shelves until formal review can be done: Two graphic novels whose inclusion in some of Tulsa Public Schools’ campus libraries drew the ire of two state education officials have been pulled from shelves. [Tulsa World]

Prater’s Seeworth Academy charging decision looms for senator, judge, others: In June, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed criminal charges against the founders and former chief financial officer of Epic Charter Schools, dramatically advancing a case that took nearly a decade to investigate and that involves a web of political powerbrokers. [NonDoc]

Muskogee schools superintendent discusses contributing factors to district’s teacher shortage: During his 31 years working in education, Muskogee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall said he’s never had issues finding people to teach like he has in the last few months. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Editorial: Dial back the rhetoric on books at schools: This week, Ryan Walters, the state secretary of education angling to become Oklahoma’s next superintendent of public instruction, waded in with an attack on Tulsa Public Schools that strikes many casual observers as a bit disingenous. He’s the latest in a string of crusaders railing against Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist, and employing the epithets of “woke” and “leftist” to demonize her, the board of education, the teachers, and by extension, the students. [Editorial / Tahlequah Daily Press]

General News

Column: Oklahomans with disabilities are part of the bigger picture: Over the years, Disability Pride Month expanded to honor diversity and promote inclusion of the people in the disability community, which is the largest and most diverse minority group in Oklahoma and the U.S. [Melinda Fruendtis Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Historical Society to host Oklahoma All-Black Towns State Conference: On Saturday, Aug. 20, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. the Oklahoma Historical Society is partnering with the Oklahoma Conference of Black Mayors to present the Oklahoma All-Black Towns State Conference, an event that will bring together the mayors of Oklahoma’s 13 all Black towns. The conference is designed to encourage a network of state agencies to join with the mayors to share resources enabling them to collect, preserve, and share their town histories. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Two female Tulsa firefighters file sex-discrimination lawsuit after denied promotions [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa’s economic development chief’s salary bumped to $203K [Tulsa World]
  • Calls for Wynnewood police officer to resign after alleged disregard for miscarried fetus [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“(W)e know too many women remain on the sidelines because they face unnecessary obstacles such as pay inequality, access to affordable child care, limited family leave, entrepreneurship restrictions, sexual harassment and inadequate public policies. All of these issues disproportionately effect women, yet they are solvable.”

-United WE President and CEO Wendy Doyle speaking about the release of the Status of Women in Oklahoma report [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s “tipped minimum wage” for certain employees who earn regular tips — such as restaurant servers — may be paid a minimum wage lower than the state or federal minimum, so long as the tips make up the difference. [U.S. Department of Labor]

Policy Note

Nearly Half of States Raised Their Minimum Wage This Year: Laws that increase minimum wages in response to inflation are meant to ensure that people earning minimum wage can continue to purchase the same amount of goods and services each year. While these increases help low-wage workers handle the rising costs of living, they’re often not high enough to ensure economic stability. [Route Fifty]

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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.

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