In The Know: State Board of Education approves plan to overhaul A-F grading system

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

Early-bird registration is now open for our 2017 State Budget Summit. In addition, we’re hiring a policy analyst and spring research interns. 

State Board of Education approves plan to overhaul A-F grading system: The Oklahoma State Board of Education on Thursday approved a proposal for a new A-F school report card system that State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says will more accurately measure and depict how schools are serving students. The proposal, along with a plan for new student assessments, was unanimously approved by the board about 3½ hours into the meeting and will now move on to the Legislature and then the governor for consideration [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma’s Native tribes are trying to fill a gap in sex ed left by the state’s schools: On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, four American Indian teenagers are gathered in a nondescript building along rural Okmulgee, Oklahoma’s main street. As the headquarters of the Muscogee Creek Nation, Okmulgee takes pride in its American Indian heritage. Street signs in the downtown area are in both English and Muscogee languages and tribal insignia is seen throughout the community. Outside the building, a man drives a truck hauling bales of hay while inside the building, posters of American Indian youth in traditional regalia hang on one wall [PRI].

Law Enforcement Agencies Argue Many Records Are Private – Even Budgets: A law firm representing law enforcement agencies across the state has issued advice to at least several of the agencies that they have the right to withhold many records from public view, including agency budgets, payroll, contracts and inventory. An attorney for Oklahoma City-based Collins, Zorn and Wagner cited as a basis for refusing to release such records, as well as case documents, a portion of the state Open Records Act that lists law enforcement records subject to public disclosure [Oklahoma Watch].

Council, mayor brainstorm goals as part of forming strategic plan for city: The Mayor’s Office led a joint retreat with the City Council on Wednesday, taking the first step toward a strategic plan Mayor G.T. Bynum is forming over the next several months. Bynum said the retreat sets the stage for engaging with employees as the beginning of the strategic-plan effort. The topics before elected officials ranged from economic development, public safety and City Hall affairs to community engagement, health and education — traditionally not a priority of municipal government [Tulsa World]. Mayor G.T. Bynum on Thursday announced the formation of a commission to focus on community-policing strategies for an influx of new officers through Vision Tulsa funding [Tulsa World].

Harvard Study Exams Idea Of OKC Soda Tax: A Harvard University study claims OKC could earn $26-million a year on a one-cent per ounce sales tax on sugary soda drinks. Harvard Cahn School of Public Health’s Steve Gortmaker thinks reducing sugary drink consumption will also save Oklahoma City tens of millions in health care costs. Gortmaker looked at the effects of a one-cent per ounce sales tax on sugary soda drinks in several metropolitan areas [News9]. 

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett meets with President-elect Donald Trump: Officials from a handful of cities across the country met with President-Elect Donald Trump in New York City. The group representing The U.S. Conference of Mayors spoke to Trump about infrastructure investment, public safety, unfunded federal mandates and immigration. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett was among the mayors chosen to meet with Trump [KFOR].

OU President David Boren signs statement in support of DACA with other university presidents: OU President David Boren signed a statement earlier this week with other college and university presidents expressing support for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Boren said in a separate statement that he supports DACA, which has been criticized as a policy of amnesty and a way to give free passes to undocumented immigrants, because he wants to help individuals continue their educations [OU Daily].

Trump’s Nomination of Pruitt to EPA Casts Spotlight On States’ Crusade Against Federal ‘Overreach’: Donald Trump wants Scott Pruitt to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Oklahoma attorney general is a fierce ally of fossil fuel companies and one of the EPA’s biggest opponents. The nomination draws a sharp line dividing industry and environmentalists that could test the limits of another big fight: state sovereignty [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Independent judiciary among our blessings: As Oklahomans count their blessings this holiday season, they should expand their list to include an independent judiciary – specifically, the state Supreme Court. Just this week, for the umpteenth time, justices clearly weighed statutes, constitutional principles, precedent and common sense to nullify a legislative attack on reproductive rights [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].

OPEC Threatened by Tiny Oklahoma Town With Soaring Supplies: For OPEC, there are few enemies more fearsome than the tiny Oklahoma town of Cushing. With oil inventories at Cushing creeping near an all-time high, U.S. benchmark futures prices are struggling to advance despite the promised production cuts agreed to by OPEC, Russia and other producers. And the storage tanks are likely to stay full as refiners park crude in Oklahoma to lower their tax bills. Cushing, which prides itself as the “pipeline crossroads of the world,” is the delivery point for the West Texas Intermediate crude contract [Bloomberg].

Quote of the Day

“It is important that we provide families and communities with something that is easy to understand but is accurate and meaningful. I think we have found that balance today, and now it is time for the Legislature to take that … We hope that we’ll have a system in the future that is going to be an improvement over what has been in place for the last few years.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister, speaking after the  State Board of Education approved a proposal for a new A-F school report card system on Thursday (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of credit hours Oklahoma high school students were enrolled in concurrent college classes, 2014.

Source: State of Oklahoma

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why Don’t Food And Housing Count As Health Care? The federal program that provides food and other services to low-income mothers, pregnant women and young children, known as WIC, can have a big impact on participants’ health. It has been shown to reduce premature births, increase vaccination rates in children and lower obesity rates. Yet as far as the government is concerned, WIC doesn’t count as health care spending. It isn’t just WIC. There are numerous government programs at the federal, state and local levels — school lunch programs, food stamps, housing choice vouchers — that have an impact on Americans’ health but don’t count as part of the health care system [FiveThirtyEight].

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.