Education Funding

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Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

This session was far less contentious than last session in part because lawmakers were working with a budget surplus. Oklahoma teachers didn’t stage any walkouts, but education was still a dominant topic.

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 deadline for lawmakers to fund education by April First came and went without a budget despite a teacher walkout last year, state leaders criticize Attorney General Mike Hunter in the settlement with Purdue Pharma and vandals strike central Oklahoma buildings with hate-filled graffiti.

 

Caroline Halter

It has been nearly one year since the teacher walkout, when thousands of educators flooded Oklahoma’s state capitol demanding better pay and more school funding. After nine days and little progress, they turned their attention to the 2018 elections.

We will go to the ballot boxes in June and in November. We will campaign for candidates who are friendly to public education,” said Ponca City teacher Zach Murray on the last day of the walkout. “No more will education be secondary to everything else.”

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

 

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Report: K-12 school funding up in states that had teacher protests

A report released Wednesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says K-12 school funding is up in four states where significant teacher strikes or protests occurred in 2018.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools are unconstitutional.

In 2018, on the 64th anniversary of that ruling, a lawsuit filed in New Jersey claimed that state's schools are some of the most segregated in the nation. That's because, the lawsuit alleged, New Jersey school district borders are drawn along municipality lines that reflect years of residential segregation.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

A new report from the Oklahoma State Department of Education shows 30,000 teachers have left the profession over the past six years.

The report seeks to explain what’s driving the state’s persistent teacher shortage while offering the agency’s recommendations on how to stem it.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Wanette School District is nestled in a rural stretch of Oklahoma about 30 miles southeast of Norman.

For a long time, high school juniors and seniors had a dedicated art teacher who taught class five days a week. They would paint, sketch and learn ceramics. That all changed five years ago after budget cuts forced district officials to eliminate the class.

Now, instead of creating art every day, high school students have the option of learning about its history online. Very few do.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Twenty-nineteen means a new governor for Oklahoma and a fresh class of state legislators — nearly 40 percent of whom have zero political experience. It’s a new year, but the state government’s slate hasn’t been wiped clean.

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest policy issues on deck for the upcoming year and legislative session.

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