In The Know: Oklahoma loses federal flexibility waiver after Common Core repeal

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.

The U.S. Department of Education denied Oklahoma’s request to extend a flexibility waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act, a decision that will place restrictions on nearly $30 million a year in federal funding for local school districts.

Newly released autopsy records from Oklahoma’s botched execution do not appear to support earlier DOC statements that Clayton Lockett’s vein collapsed or that he died from a heart attack; records show extensive bleeding near an IV site in the groin and that the doctor supervising the execution discovered the lethal drugs were leaking into tissue and not entering the vein.

In response to online testing failures that disrupted end-of-instruction exams for thousands of students, the state Education Department announced it will not use fifth- and eighth-grade writing scores in this year’s A-F report cards. Pennsylvania’s Governor accepted federal funds to expand Medicaid, becoming the 27th state and the 9th Republican governor to do so. 

A district court ruled Oklahoma’s use of public funds to send students with disabilities to religiously affiliated schools is unconstitutional. The OKPolicy Blog presented two takes on education reform in response to the book, “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way.”

The Number of the Day is the year that the aquifer supplying water to Oklahoma City, Moore, and Norman is expected to be 50 percent depleted. In today’s Policy Note, the Brennan Center suggested broad reforms to how federal grants are administered to state and local law enforcement. 

In The News

Oklahoma loses ability to use federal funding as state sees fit

Oklahoma, it appears, will have to pay for repealing Common Core standards. The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday denied a request by the state’s top education official to extend a flexibility waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act, a decision that will place restrictions on nearly $30 million in annual federal funding for local school districts beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.

Read more from NewsOK

DOC log, autopsy contain few answers on botched execution

Records released Thursday provided few answers as to why and how Oklahoma’s execution of inmate Clayton Lockett went awry. A Texas medical examiner’s autopsy of Lockett’s body after his botched execution found the inmate died “as the result of judicial execution by lethal injection.”

Read more from Tulsa World

A-F report cards won’t include 5th- and 8th-grade writing tests, Barresi announces

State Superintendent Janet Barresi announced Thursday that all fifth- and eighth-graders’ writing test scores will be kept out of the calculation of Oklahoma’s 2014 A-F school report cards “in an abundance of caution.” This marks the second year in a row that widespread questions among public school educators about the validity of state test results have caused some disqualification of student scores.

Read more from Tulsa World

Republican Governor Agrees To Expand Medicaid In His State

Pennsylvania agreed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, joining 26 states and the District of Columbia, the Huffington Post reports. Federal regulators accepted a modified proposal from Gov. Tom Corbett (R) that will offer an estimated 500,000 low-income individuals subsidies to purchase private insurance.

Read more from NewsOK

Student voucher law unconstitutional due to ‘no-aid-to-religion’ provision, judge rules

County District Court Judge Bernard Jones has ruled unconstitutional a portion of a law that allows the use of public funds to send special-needs students to private religious schools. State Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he would appeal the ruling, which says that funds from the scholarship program cannot be used to send students with disabilities to religious schools.

Read more from Tulsa World

Two Takes: The Smartest Kids in the World

Today on the blog, we present two takes on the book. The first essay, by Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Policy Director Gene Perry, discusses how Ripley’s findings show that Oklahoma may be getting the schools we really want. The second essay, by education writer and former teacher John Thompson, argues that Ripley’s book leaves out a deeper understanding of school reform in Oklahoma.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Quote of the Day

“Common Core, and education reform in general, has become highly politicized, and our students are the ones suffering from the fallout. We must put aside our differences and work to craft the best standards in the nation and ensure every student in Oklahoma has access to a quality education. Hopefully, the loss of our waiver will be the catalyst for change that is desperately needed in our state.”

Jennifer Monies, Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative executive director

Number of the Day


Year at which the Garber-Wellington aquifer, which supplies water to Oklahoma City, Moore, Norman, Sherman, and other towns, will be 50 percent depleted if usage continues at current rates

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board via KGOU

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Success-Oriented Funding: Reforming Federal Criminal Justice Grants

The unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, has riveted the nation. It has also drawn attention to a phenomenon previously hiding in plain sight: how the federal government spends grant dollars and the very real and human consequences of those decisions.

Read more from Brennan Center for Justice

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