The Weekly Wonk: Low cost of living doesn’t make up for low teacher pay, and more…

the_weekly_wonkWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

On the OK Policy Blog, Policy Director Gene Perry explained why low cost of living doesn’t make up for low teacher pay. Executive Director David Blatt wrote in his Journal Record column that for Oklahoma’s working families, there’s not a lot to celebrate on Labor Day. 

Introducing FallPol

You’re invited to join us for our first-ever OK Policy Fall Policy Institute (FallPol) on Saturday, October 3rd, at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond! Designed for emerging professionals, advocates, educators, volunteers and more, this one-day training will deliver a solid overview of significant policy issues in Oklahoma. Click here to learn more.

Weekly What’s That

General Revenue Fund

The General Revenue (GR) Fund is the principal funding source for most Oklahoma government operations. Any revenue that is not restricted for a specific purpose flows into the general fund. The Legislature may direct money out of this fund for any legal purpose of the government. Read more

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“They really don’t know what the budget hole is going to be, but we heard figures all the way from $600 million to $1.2 billion yesterday. And those figures, you’re talking real money. And those are state dollars. …Next year is going to be a really tough year, and the year after that appears to be the same.”

– Ed McFall, chairman of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, on discussions of the state’s budget situation over the next few years (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week

Brenda Heigl, The Tulsa World

Recently, an editorial by the Daily Oklahoman called on educators and parents to “lower the volume,” calling the public outcry and rallies in support of public education “disconcerting.” Are we truly to approach the state Capitol, with bowl in hand like Oliver Twist, meekly pleading “Please sir, I want some more…” and hope for the best? 

The meek may inherit the earth, but they will also inherit a public education system that has been stripped of all of its value and substance and left to die in the shadow of a privatized system that only educates the privileged.

Numbers of the Day

  • 35% – Decrease in number of small businesses participating in Insure Oklahoma over the last five years, from 5,632 to 3,639.
  • $116,500 – Median value of owner-occupied homes in Oklahoma, about two-thirds the U.S. median ($173,900).
  • 62% – Percentage of children (0-17) in Oklahoma who had both a medical and dental preventive care visit in 2011.
  • 60,663 – Number of children in Oklahoma who recieve subsidized child care in SFY 2014 so their parents or caregivers could go to work or school.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  •  Today’s safety net both keeps tens of millions of Americans out of poverty, but poverty remains high and many families face serious hardship [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].
  • In early 2011, 1.5 million American households, including 3 million children, were living on less than $2 in cash per person per day [Vox].
  • Federal housing policies didn’t just deny opportunities to black residents. They subsidized and safeguarded whites-only neighborhoods [CityLab].
  • The percentage of Americans skipping medical care due to cost is at its lowest level in 16 years [Washington Post].


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.

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