broadband Internet

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School districts struggling financially will soon get some relief via federal CARES Act grants from Governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

The coronavirus will change school next fall.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has issued a series of guidelines for schools. But will we see a statewide shutdown of schools and shift to distance learning next fall like we did this spring?

Four out of 10 of the poorest U.S. students are accessing remote learning as little as once a week or less, according to a new survey from ParentsTogether, an advocacy group. By contrast, for families making more than $100,000 a year, 83% of kids are doing distance learning every day, with the majority engaged over two hours a day, the survey found.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the decision by lawmakers to end the legislative session two weeks early, Governor Stitt vetoes a bill on rural broadband and lawmakers pass a bill giving a Cost of Living Adjustment for State Retirees.

The trio also discusses a constitutional challenge to the new law requiring notarization of absentee ballots and remembering Oklahoma City Republican Senator Brooks Douglass.

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Updated May 20

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed House Bill 4018 on Tuesday, writing that the Secretary of Digital Transformation David Ostrowe has already created a broadband task force and creating a Rural Broadband Expansion Council would be unneccesary and redundant.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

School is about to be out for summer.

Spring 2020 was a semester like no other after Oklahoma schools switched to a distance learning environment to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Oklahoma school districts will receive up to $145 million in emergency funding from the federal CARES Act. The money will be doled out based on how many low income students attend each school.

The state’s two largest districts — Oklahoma City and Tulsa — are by far the largest recipients, receiving $17.3 million and $16.2 million respectively. Putnam City Schools sit at number three and could get $4.5 million.

May 7 is the date that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, declared it was safe to open up schools. The state has had fewer than 500 reported cases of the coronavirus as of this week.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Shortly after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged Governor Kevin Stitt to spend federal relief funds on private school vouchers, Oklahoma’s top education official touted a different idea.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

State Superintendent for Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says she wants to use federal stimulus funds earmarked for education to boost internet connectivity for Oklahoma students.

"Our primary focus is on connectivity and our ability to close the digital divide," Hofmeister said Thursday.

The issue has been highlighted by the challenges districts face as they close out the school year conducting distance learning. Almost a quarter of the state’s students don’t have access to home internet.

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