In The Know: Lack of accountability leaves some Oklahoma home-schoolers behind

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Lack Of Accountability Leaves Some Oklahoma Home-Schoolers Behind: Cosmetology student Tori Straughn walks out of the student salon at Moore Norman Technology Center and takes off her apron as she plops down on a couch in the lobby outside the classroom. This is Straughn’s first foray into a traditional classroom setting. Her parents home-schooled her, and she’s now finding some gaps in her education [KGOU].

Fallin announces work group to study use of wastewater from oil and gas operations: The Water for 2060 Produced Water Working Group will look at the treatment of produced water for beneficial purposes, such as industrial use or crop irrigation, Fallin said in a press release. Attention will be focused primarily on how water produced from oil and gas activities in north-central Oklahoma can be reused [Tulsa World].

Judge in Open Records case recuses after request from Fallin’s office: Though Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish has presided over a lawsuit seeking records related to a botched execution since it was filed almost a year ago, attorneys for Fallin did not request her removal until last week. They cited Parrish’s nomination of two Hall Estill attorneys for an award for their representation of Lockett and death row inmate Charles Warner in challenging the state’s execution drug secrecy law [NewsOn6].

New PACs Tied to Pruitt Cast National Net for Corporate Donors: In an apparent move to bolster his future election prospects, campaign workers for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt have formed two PACs to raise money nationally for other politicians seeking election to federal offices in 2016. The political action committees were registered in February with the Federal Election Commission and are housed in Pruitt’s state campaign headquarters in downtown Tulsa. The groups raised nearly $228,000 combined from March through June, primarily from corporate executives, corporations and PACs representing companies, FEC records show [Oklahoma Watch].

OKC schools discipline issue opens conversation over race, class, parenting: Recent Oklahoma City Board of Education meetings on the district’s new Code of Conduct have become extremely angry. All sides agree that the OKCPS district has grown too reliant on suspensions [NonDoc]. OKC’s Webster Middle School is reporting a decrease in disruptive behaviors after discipline reforms [NewsOK]. First-year principal Joey Slate has been closely involved with engaging teachers and students at the school [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Foster Children Sue DHS, Claim They Weren’t Protected: Nine Oklahoma foster children are suing the Department of Human Services are suing the state and more than 20 Delaware County DHS office employees. The attorneys who filed the lawsuit said, over a nearly 10-year period, at least 17 people made reports to DHS that the children living with former foster parents Deidre and Jerry Matthews were not safe. The documents say, on at least ten occasions, DHS investigated but did nothing [NewsOn6].

Together, we can stop HIV/AIDS: World AIDS Day is December 1st: a day of remembrance for the millions who have lost their lives to the disease, a day to support those who are in its grasp, and a day to commemorate the advances we have made to manage it. Each year brings news of more progress and more hope. And yet, as we wait for medical breakthroughs, we have the power to stop its reach [Shannon Hall / OK Policy].

Panel moves forward with turnpike expansion plans: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority on Tuesday approved measures designed to move forward with a massive expansion project. In October, Gov. Mary Fallin and state officials unveiled a $892 million proposal for six bond-financed projects, including three in the Tulsa area. Roadways involved are the Gilcrease, Muskogee, Turner, H.E. Bailey and Kilpatrick turnpikes, as well as a new Oklahoma City turnpike [Tulsa World].

Federal bill promises boost for road, transit funding in Oklahoma: Oklahoma will get a substantial boost in federal funding for roads, bridges and mass transit under a bill cleared Tuesday for final congressional approval. Over the next five years, the state is expected to receive nearly $3.4 billion in highway funding and more than $240 million in mass transit funding. House and Senate negotiators finished work on a five-year, $305 billion highway bill that could be approved by both houses this week [NewsOK].

Oklahoma City metro-area mayors vow cooperation for regional transit services: Mick Cornett raised the central question on a day when the Oklahoma City metro, ceremoniously at least, shed a bit of its parochial nature. “We have acted individually for a long, long time,” Oklahoma City’s mayor said at a gathering of leaders from six cities that have agreed to work together, leveraging transit to promote economic growth [NewsOK]. Oklahoma Watch will hold a free public forum on Dec. 15 that features discussion of the future of mass transit in central Oklahoma [Oklahoma Watch].

Osage Nation seeks to intervene in wind lawsuit: Frustrated that federal officials haven’t pursued the case further, the Osage Nation wants to appeal a court ruling that allows wind developers to dig large pits for turbine foundations in Osage County. The tribe’s Minerals Council has argued that the pits, measuring as much as 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep, amount to “mining” and violate the tribe’s mineral rights, which includes ownership of rocks and minerals below the surface [Tulsa World].

Opponents say OG&E doesn’t have evidence for fee on solar, wind generators: Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. made its case on Tuesday in favor of establishing a separate fee for customers with solar panels. The proposal isn’t a new fee, but will make the price structure more transparent, said Ashley Brown, a consultant who testified on behalf of the utility. OG&E requested that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approve a $21-per-month charge for customers who generate electricity from solar panels or small wind turbines. But there isn’t enough evidence to support the company’s request, said Kim Sanders, public policy senior manager for Sunrun Inc. and spokeswoman for The Alliance for Solar Choice [Journal Record].

Quote of the Day

“As easy as it is to put the blame on 12- and 14-year-olds, we, as educators, must be the adults and take a look at how we are operating and be courageous enough to change. The children are telling us to, just in their own way.”

-Principal Joey Slate of Oklahoma City’s Webster Middle School, which has seen a decrease in disruptive behaviors after they began using positive interventions as an alternative to suspensions (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahoma children who experienced food insecurity in 2013.

Source: OK Policy

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Kansas’ Economic Growth Continues to Lag, Despite Tax Cuts: Kansas’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow at half the rate of national GDP in 2015, according to new projections from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Research Department, marking another year of sluggish growth since Kansas enacted massive tax cuts meant to spur its economy. Kansas’ huge tax cuts took effect at the start of 2013. That year, Kansas’ economy actually shrank, even as the national economy grew [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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