Weekly Wonk December 15, 2013

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know. 

OK Policy is pleased to host our first State Budget Summit Thursday, January 16th at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. With the theme of “Navigating the Perilous Fiscal Waters,” the summit will offer important perspectives on budget and tax issues shaping the fiscal future of the state and nation. You can click here to register for the event.

On our blog this week, we argued that Oklahoma’s A-F grading system discriminates against high-poverty schools and offered recommendations going forward. The OKEducationTruths blog discussed our findings. We’ve written about problems with the grading system before. The most recent post in our Neglected Oklahomans series examines the impact of Oklahoma City’s limited public transit system on those unable to drive. We also discussed progresses and challenges regarding HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma.

In his Journal Record column, OK Policy Director David Blatt argues that Congress should take action to require online retailers to collect sales taxes. Policy analyst Gene Perry writes in the OK Gazette about why we should focus on helping English Language Learners with bilingual education. The column is based on our Action Items for Education.

Numbers of the Day

  • $1.26 billion – Amount of federal funds Oklahoma stands to lose every year if the state does not accept Medicaid expansion.
  • 46 percent – The percentage of students in Oklahoma City Public Schools who are Latino.
  • 17.9% – Percentage of Oklahoma high school students who smoke.
  • 1st – Oklahoma City and Tulsa’s rank among metro areas of a similar size in the share of their bridges that are structurally deficient, 2012.  
  • 29 percent – The percentage jump in the number of unemployed Oklahomans between 2006 and 2012
Policy Notes

  • The Center for American Progress makes the case for paid parental leave.
  • The US poverty rate decreased over the last half-century because of social safety net programs, writes the Washington Post.
  • The Huffington Post discusses whether Native Americans encounter discrimination in the labor market. 
  • A new report by the Commonwealth Fund examines how participating in the Medicaid expansion will affect the movement of federal funds to each state. 
  • Education Week examines difficulties facing Chiefs for Change, a group including Oklahoma Superintendent Janet Barresi that has been pushing similar education policies across the nation.

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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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