Gov. Stitt’s GEER plan widens the gap in access to technology and online learning for low-income students and students of color

Unfortunately, our Governor squandered an opportunity to use federal dollars to mitigate this harm. As a result, these decisions have left the vast majority of low-income students without the resources they need to access a safe and quality education this coming school year. [More...]

School support personnel play vital role, should receive pay during closure

Support staff serve as the backbone of schools, and their responsibility to keep schools safe and clean have become even more critical amidst the coronavirus outbreak. We call on lawmakers and the State Department of Education to continue working together to ensure Oklahoma school support employees are paid during school closures. [More...]

House bill to change the pre-K cut off date would be a step backward for children

The proposed change could be harmful to low-income children who benefit from early childhood education. Moving the pre-K cutoff date would remove parental control over when to send their children to school and give parents less access to early childhood education. HB 2908 is counter to evidence-based practices that work for children.  [More...]

Standardized tests fail the test (Capitol Update)

Giving whole schools performance evaluations and comparing them based on a standardized testing regime, regardless of the situations in the lives of the students, their parents, or the community, has become the norm... The result is standardized curricula forced on teachers, regardless of the needs of their students and teaching to the test as a matter of self-defense. No wonder teachers are in short supply. [More...]

OKPolicyCast 49: Black Wall Street Times (with Nehemiah Frank)

In this episode I spoke to Nehemiah Frank. Nehemiah is the founder and executive editor of The Black Wall Street Times, an online newspaper that covers news relevant to the black community in Tulsa and social justice issues affecting all Tulsans and Oklahomans. [More...]

Changes to scholarship tax credit bill would divert even more dollars from public education

While intended to address concerns with the original version, the latest changes to the scholarship tax credit legislation are even more harmful. In addition to diverting more tax dollars away from public services, the revisions also dilute the fiscal impact of donations to public school foundations and create unfair advantages for some nonprofits. [More...]

The School Counselor Corps would be a lifeline for students. Ask the Legislature to fund it

Oklahoma schools desperately need more school counselors. Oklahoma has 435 students for every counselor, nearly double the recommended ratio of 250 students per counselor. To help address this problem, the State Department of Education has asked the Legislature for $58 million dollars to fund a School Counselor Corps, which would allow districts to hire additional school counselors and licensed therapists. Both types of professionals are critical. Children in Oklahoma experience trauma at higher rates than their peers in most other states. This trauma can lead to academic struggles along with a host of negative mental and physical health outcomes. Providing students proper supports is the key to counteracting these realities.  [More...]

SB 11: Delaying Pre-K would be a step back for Oklahoma’s children

[Image Source: U.S. Department of Education / Flickr] SB 11 would move cutoff dates for children entering pre-K from September 1 to July 1. Oklahoma would be the only state to have a cutoff before July 31st. The change would delay pre-K eligibility by a year for children who are two months shy of the new cutoff date. SB 11 would particularly hurt low-income families and children of color who benefit most from pre-K programs. [More...]

2019 Priority: Increase PK-12 state aid funding to restore school staffing and programs

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. The revenue measures passed in April 2018 as HB1010xx were a historic win for educators, funding an average $6,100… Read more [More...]

Kicking the can down the road: How inadequate funding dismantles data-driven education reform

There is a saying that “what gets measured, gets done,” and in 1990, our state Legislature seemed to understand this adage. That year, they passed HB 1017, which dedicated $560 million dollars over five years to implement historic education reforms including class size reduction, curriculum standards, testing, and early childhood programs. Since that time, state funding gains have severely eroded, and Oklahoma has not been able to maintain many aspects of HB 1017 including class size limits. [More...]