In The Know: Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation decision in limbo | Oklahoma school report cards | Turnpike Authority blocking public comments

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

Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation put on hold as Ryan Walters alleges ‘severe issues’: One of Oklahoma’s largest school districts is in accreditation limbo from an unusual move by the state’s top school board, and its standing could be in jeopardy. While all other school districts in Oklahoma had their yearly accreditation decided Thursday, Tulsa Public Schools won’t learn its status until the board’s next meeting Aug. 24. [The Oklahoman]

  • State Education Board Delays Tulsa’s Accreditation Citing Its DEI Report [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Read TPS superintendent’s letter to Ryan Walters about DEI materials [via Oklahoma Watch]
  • TPS response to state ed board’s actions: ‘Tulsa is accredited,’ focused on students [Tulsa World]
  • Ryan Walters: Nonaccreditation among ‘all options’ on table for TPS come August [Tulsa World]
  • Ryan Walters’ claims on Tulsa reading scores based on state report cards [Tulsa World]
  • Read Tulsa city councilors’ letter to the state Board of Education [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • TPS parent concerned about child’s education amidst accreditation discourse [Fox 23]
  • ‘Plagued with scandal’: OSDE considers downgrading Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation again, OKC private schools on the docket [KFOR]
  • Editorial: Tulsa Public Schools has not violated board member’s religious liberty [Editorial / Tulsa World]

How is my child’s school performing? How to find Oklahoma’s school report cards: As summer is coming to a close and children K-12 are gearing up to return to school next month, you might be curious to see how your child’s school compares to others across the state. Oklahoma school report cards show how public schools across Oklahoma are serving students in a variety of areas. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Turnpike authority warned efforts to block public comment ‘rife for abuse’: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, which pledged to be transparent about ACCESS Oklahoma, is blocking requests from opponents of the stalled $5 billion toll road expansion to address board members at its meeting next week. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahomans’ phone fee to increase by 17 cents: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Thursday approved a 17 cent monthly rate increase for the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund. [Tulsa World]

Editorial: Gov. Kevin Stitt wrong person to lead state in tribal affairs: Gov. Stitt’s consistent scorched-earth approach has worsened tribal relations and morphed into falsehoods. Legislative leaders and Attorney General Gentner Drummond, all elected Republicans, are wisely taking action to restore relationships between the state and tribal nations. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

EPA smog reduction plan delayed as Oklahoma Attorney General pushes to limit federal regulations: Oklahoma’s plan to meet federal smog regulations has been in limbo for months after a rejection from the Environmental Protection Agency and a lawsuit in response to that rejection. According to a new court ruling, the state will not have to implement a stricter federal smog plan while it waits on that lawsuit. [KOSU]

Column: Relief in sight for families paying child care costs: Proposed modifications to the Child Care and Development Fund could dramatically improve affordability and access for 1.5 million families by boosting the financial stability of 230,000 child care providers across the U.S. [Karen Kiely Column / Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation attorney general explains how Hooper case impacts traffic citations for tribal citizens: The Cherokee Nation attorney general is trying to tamp down widespread confusion in the wake of a ruling suggesting Tulsa police officers cannot issue citations to tribal citizens. The Hooper v. Tulsa decision raised many questions, but Sara Hill clarified that officers can still write tickets and make arrests in regard to tribal citizens. It’s just a matter of who winds up prosecuting the offender. [CNHI News]

Criminal Justice News

Column: Guest: We can either be responsible to prisoners now — or keep being responsible for them: Department of Justice statistics show 57% reoffend within the first year and an 83% recidivism rate within five years. I successfully completed my probation and paid $5,000 restitution. Although I paid my debt to society, it is far from over. [Tony Green Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Education News

The State of Oklahoma’s Teacher Salary and Per-Pupil Expenditures: This fall, public school teachers in Oklahoma will receive pay raises between $3,000 to $6,000, depending on how long they have been teaching. These raises will account for $286 million of Oklahoma’s $785 million education funding package, agreed on in May. [Oklahoma Watch]

Ginnie Graham Column: Politicians saying parents are upset with public schools isn’t backed by polling: Why are so many people with no attachment to or with first-hand knowledge of public schools protesting, rallying, jeering and even getting physical at public meetings and events? Political posturing is one thing, and that’s what the politicians at the microphone were doing. That’s about power and propaganda. But what is motivating septuagenarians and octogenarians to get aggressive at rallies against schools where they have no connection? [Ginnie Graham Column / Tulsa World]

General News

USDA official praises OKC project to encourage healthy eating: Since opening in 2021, The Market at EastPoint, operated by the nonprofit Restore OKC, has become an oasis in this proclaimed food desert where many shoppers use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also called SNAP or food stamps. But a federal grant has boosted the store’s sales of fruits and vegetables. [The Oklahoman]

Column: We know it’s the right thing to do now, both morally and ethically, for Greenwood: One major difference between the Nazi massacres and the Tulsa Race Massacre was that, after the war, Nazis were brought to justice for their crimes with the Nuremburg trials. The people of Greenwood and their dependents are still waiting for justice. [Michael Korenblit Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

In ‘significant’ findings, city auditor points to gaps in Tulsa’s $87.8 million COVID relief fund accountability: The city auditor says Tulsa overlooked some areas of proper reporting and record-keeping when distributing American Rescue Plan Act funds, resulting in “significant” audit findings. According to a new report discussed on Thursday at city hall by an audit committee, Tulsa city officials who were charged with funding decisions for approximately $87.8 million in pandemic relief funds made some missteps. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Historic Oklahoma City estate, once eyed for new jail, set to become nature preserve: A historic 133-acre estate in northeast Oklahoma City, once eyed as a possible location for a new county jail, is likely soon be sold to a foundation that plans to turn it into an urban study center and nature preserve. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa County contemplating use of opioid settlement funds: Tulsa County and the city of Tulsa have already received a total of $4.1 million from various opioid settlements and expect to be getting a lot more in the years go come. Now they have to figure out what to do with it. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I can’t believe you won’t just talk to us or help us. This is not how you treat parents. There are 33,000 kids and at least as many parents. You’re treating that many of us, when many of us don’t know if we’re going to school in two weeks. That is unethical and unkind.” 

-Ashley Daly, a Tulsa parent, speaking to the Oklahoma Board of Education on Thursday about its decision to delay its accreditation decision until Aug. 24, one week after its school year starts. Tulsa is the state’s only public school whose accreditation is still pending. A school district that loses its accreditation would be closed and dissolved, having lost all recognition and funding from the state. Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist has called the accreditation process “wildly bureaucratic and completely untransparent.” [The Oklahoman]  

Number of the Day


Percentage increase in housing in Oklahoma from 2010-2020, while the state’s population grew by 5.5% during that same period. [U.S. Census Bureau]

Policy Note

Why We Need More Public Investment in Home Repairs: Housing deterioration is a serious problem for lower-income households. Home repairs address deep-seated racial and environmental injustices, and substandard housing can be a matter of life and death. [Governing]

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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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