In The Know: Tulsa Schools’ Superintendent, city council speak out against threats to accreditation | U.S. Supreme Court grants one-week stay in Tulsa traffic jurisdiction case | Policy Matters | 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.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Weak politicians weaponize our differences: For Oklahoma to thrive, we need folks working together to address the enormous problems our state and communities face. Yet, several elected officials continue using divisive tactics rather than seeking to unite us. Instead of bringing Oklahomans together, these leaders are choosing to exploit our differences in their attempt to create political power for themselves and the special interests they’re representing through their efforts. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Gist concerned TPS has been targeted by ‘a process that is being politicized for a very specific personal agenda’: Facing the possibility of another accreditation downgrade, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist called the process “completely untransparent” at a press conference on Wednesday. She said she had concerns that the district has been targeted by “inflammatory threats” and “a process that is being politicized for a very specific personal agenda.” [The Frontier]

  • State Board of Education to delay Tulsa Public Schools accreditation consideration [Tulsa World]
  • Ryan Walters says he is considering ‘drastic action to fix’ Tulsa Public Schools [Tulsa World]
  • Four city councilors let Ryan Walters know they want Tulsa Public Schools fully accredited [Tulsa World]
  • City Councilors urge Walters, Board to protect TPS accreditation [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • ‘Disappointed’: Gist responds to Walters’ mismanagement accusations, rhetoric [Public Radio Tulsa]

Supreme Court justice grants Tulsa temporary reprieve on tribal reservation ruling: The city of Tulsa’s effort to block a disputed federal appeals court decision from taking effect gained some ground Wednesday at the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Neil Gorsuch ordered the ruling to be placed on hold until Aug. 2. Attorneys for the city of Tulsa had requested the stay two days earlier. Tulsa officials want to continue prosecuting Native Americans in city municipal courts for speeding and other traffic law violations. [The Oklahoman]

  • U.S. Supreme Court grants one-week stay in Tulsa traffic ticket jurisdiction case [Tulsa World]
  • U.S. Supreme Court stays Tulsa traffic ticket ruling for one week [KGOU]

State Government News

‘The right to live and work’: Capitol gathering marks ADA anniversary: Disabled individuals, their family members and advocates gathered Wednesday at the state Capitol to mark 33 years since former President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The civil rights law prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities in areas including employment, transportation, education and voting. [Journal Record]

‘Wasted taxpayer dollars’: OK Governor pays private law firms $596k in federal tribal lawsuit – what happens next?: The State of Oklahoma has been funneling nearly $600,000 to Governor Stitt’s defense in a federal tribal lawsuit since 2020. By the Governor going through the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, he disregarded the mandatory legislative process, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC). [KFOR]

Governor Stitt sending 50 members of Oklahoma National Guard to Texas border with Mexico: As the political turmoil over immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border intensifies, including an escalating showdown between the president and the state of Texas, Gov. Kevin Stitt is sending the Oklahoma National Guard to the El Paso area next week. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Nearly $1B federal funding boost targets tribal broadband infrastructure: Federal officials announced Thursday a second round of funding from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program totaling nearly $1 billion for infrastructure, affordability programs, telehealth and distance learning initiatives. [Journal Record]

Chickasaw Legislature election: Dusk Monetathchi takes incumbent Steven Woods to runoff: The race for the Tishomingo District’s third seat on the Chickasaw Nation’s Tribal Legislature is heading to a runoff after no single candidate received more than 50 percent support in the general election Tuesday, according to unofficial results. [NonDoc]

Voting and Election News

Trump leads Oklahoma campaign donations race by wide margin: Former President Donald Trump is raking in big bucks in Oklahoma. Since January, Trump has topped campaign donations in Oklahoma, collecting nearly five times more than his closest competitor in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. [KOSU]

Health News

Report shows most hospitals in Oklahoma aren’t fully transparent with service costs: More than two years after a federal rule went into place that requires hospitals to be more transparent with how much services cost, a new report showed only about a third of hospitals are in compliance and in Oklahoma, that same report said even fewer hospitals are following the rule. [KOCO]

Trans Oklahoma Starbucks workers concerned about changes to gender-affirming care coverage: Four years ago, Neha Cremin started working at the Starbucks on 36th and May in Oklahoma City for one specific reason. “When I was a teenager who got kicked out of my house and had, like, literally no money, an older trans woman told me to go apply at Starbucks,” Cremin said. [KGOU]

Oklahoma State University receives $3.5 million gift for Indigenous health initiative: Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company, donated $3.5 million to the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy (CIHRP) at Oklahoma State University which will fund the Indigenous Foodways and Health Initiative. The initiative will support Indigenous food systems and practices that strengthen language revitalization efforts and secure access to traditional foods. [KOSU]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County agrees to pay HOK $23 million to design new jail, mental health facility: County Commissioners approved an agreement to hire HOK earlier this week. The agreement, negotiated over the past two months, sets the stage for the architect to evaluate 11 potential locations for a new jail/health center (including the jail’s existing location downtown), design the new facility and work with a contractor to manage the project through completion. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

The State of Oklahoma’s Teacher Salary and Per-Pupil Expenditures: More spending per student correlates with higher test scores and graduation rates, according to research done by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Based on average daily attendance, Oklahoma was ranked 45th in the nation for per-student expenditures at $11,852 in 2021-22. [Oklahoma Watch]

Moms for Liberty labeled a hate group despite Ryan Walters support: Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center named Moms for Liberty an extremist hate group, however, this comes after the controversial faction already successfully endorsed 275 school board candidates nationwide in 2022. They continue targeting thousands of school board seats and are calling for books bans and censorship of history lessons. [The Black Wall Street Times]

USDA awards Langston University nearly $1.5 million for School of Agriculture, Extension programs: Oklahoma’s only historically Black university will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to strengthen its agricultural sciences programs. [KOSU]

General News

How do I get my landlord to fix my air conditioning? Oklahoma has a statute for that: As Oklahomans across the state are grappling with scorching heat, a broken air-conditioning unit can become a matter of life or death. It can be a hassle to deal with a landlord who refuses to fix it in a timely manner, but there might be a solution. [The Oklahoman]

Service OK hosts campaign for teen drivers to get a license: As the long wait times continue at Service Oklahoma to get a drivers license, the department is offering something new for teens who need a license. This Saturday is the first day of the 5 week event, which Service Oklahoma hopes will be enough time for teenagers to get their licenses before school starts. [KFOR]

  • Hours expanded for teen driver’s licenses through Service Oklahoma this summer [Tulsa World]

Pizza Hut, Disney and Oklahoma: What we know about who is building American Heartland Theme Park: A new, 125-acre theme park could be opening in northwest Oklahoma by 2026. Named “American Heartland Theme Park,” the venture could bring as many as 4,000 jobs to the Vinita area, according to the developer, Mansion Entertainment Group. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa judge denies relative reopening estate of massacred Dr. A.C. Jackson: A descendant of a famous doctor who was shot at point blank range during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has officially been denied the opportunity to reopen his ancestor’s estate following a ruling by a Tulsa judge on Tuesday, July 25. [The Black Wall Street Times]

  • Battle over Tulsa Race Massacre victim’s story and likeness continues [Tulsa World]
  • Judge denies motion to reconsider lawsuit in Tulsa Race Massacre estate case [News 9]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Maysville City Council members provide latest on what’s being done to fix dirty water [KOCO]

Quote of the Day

“I see these behaviors, and I feel disappointed. I feel frustrated. I feel sometimes angry, because this is not what kids deserve.”

– Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist, speaking about State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ politicized attacks and rhetoric against the school district. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma students ages 3–21 served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as a percentage of public school enrollment. [National Center for Education Statistics]

  • Note: July is Disability Pride Month and is an opportunity to honor the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community.

Policy Note

Politicians and pundits say parents are furious with schools. Polls say otherwise: Gallup’s poll suggests a divergence between parents’ views of their children’s schools versus the public’s view of the nation’s schools: There was a startling 38-point gap between the two — which had also hit a 20-year record. This and other data suggests that dissatisfaction with American public schools — and the policy changes that have resulted — has not been driven by most parents’ own experience with public schools. [Chalkbeat]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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