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Oklahoma State Superintendent Says COVID-19 Reinforces Need For Digital Access

Mar 30, 2020
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister leads the Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting last week to vote on closing schools for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester. The closures were necessitated to combat COVID-19.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Joy Hofmeister wants the internet in the home of every Oklahoma student.

In an interview Monday, she said the COVID-19 closures have exposed an equity gap between students who have home internet access and those who don’t.

How The University Of Oklahoma Moved Its Classes Online

Mar 27, 2020
The University of Oklahoma campus. The Norman campus is empty because students have moved all their in-person classes to the web.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

As the COVID-19 pandemic has halted businesses, public events and K-12 schools, Oklahoma’s higher education institutions have turned to virtual schooling for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

A sign outside the Sterling High School gymnasium warns people that teachers may be armed.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill considered by the state legislature would change training requirements for armed teachers, paving the way for more guns in schools.

Engineering student Duncan Martin touches noses with Sophie, a member of Pete's Pet Posse. The therapy dogs can be found around the Oklahoma State University campus.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

With 80 percent of college students reporting anxiety or depression, schools have to find a way to help students.

$13 Million In Limbo While Stitt, Tribes Battle

Feb 13, 2020

Compacted tribes are sending their gaming money to the state of Oklahoma where it will be held while courts decide on tribal-gaming compacts.

Libby Osburn teaches a gifted and talented class at Cherokee Elementary School in Tahlequah.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Most states don't discover gifted Native American students but Oklahoma has been able to buck that trend.

Oklahoma Lags Behind Country In Monetary Support For Higher Education

Jan 8, 2020
University of Oklahoma students walk to and from class at the school’s campus in Norman.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

As state funding for higher education has risen across the country, Oklahoma has been one of five states that’s seen a decline in the last five years.

Erika Buzzard Wright embraces a supporter during a press conference about the future of the four-day school week at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

The fate of the four-day school week, used by dozens of rural districts in Oklahoma, is up in the air.

A national report found that thousands of gifted and talented black and Latino students aren’t identified by educators in Oklahoma.
Flickr / Jacqui Brown

Thousands of gifted and talented minority students aren’t identified by their schools in Oklahoma, according to a report published last month.

Justin Johnson, an eighth grader at Bridge Creek Middle School in Blanchard, works on an essay during writing class on Nov. 21, 2019. Bridge Creek has four-day school weeks.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

The state’s bar has been set for schools to operate on a four-day week and the requirements could force many schools back to five days a week.

Declining ACT Scores Raise College Readiness Concerns

Nov 6, 2019
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma high school graduates’ scores on the ACT college-readiness exam declined in every subject this year, according to a report released Oct. 30.

Students and parents walk toward a Tulsa elementary school entrance.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

The latest “Nation’s Report Card" results are out, and Oklahoma continues to lag most other states in reading and math scores and faces a steep climb toward its goal of being in the top 20 states.

Why is there a Putnam City school district in Oklahoma but no Putnam City?

In Oklahoma, A Discredited Theory Of Reading Is Widely Used

Sep 27, 2019
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

In classrooms across Oklahoma and the nation, students are taught to read using a theory that has been discredited by decades of research by brain scientists.

With Kids’ Futures At Risk, Schools Seek New Ways To Lower Chronic Absenteeism

Sep 19, 2019
Jones Elementary teacher Carol Moshiri talks to pre-kindergartener James Williams on his way to class on Sept. 13., 2019. James is holding hands with fifth grader Leola Hopkins and first grader Nola Southern walks in front of them.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma has joined dozens of other states in trying to reduce chronic absenteeism in schools. And some schools are trying new approaches to succeed. But is the problem beyond schools’ control?

Investigations Into Epic Charter Schools Explained

Sep 13, 2019

From TV and radio ads to the steady flow of news stories, it has been difficult to ignore Epic Charter Schools lately. With multiple ongoing investigations into the school’s finances and enrollment, here is a comprehensive look at what has transpired and what it could mean for future state policy.

Raising The Kindergarten Age In Oklahoma May Leave Some Children Out

Aug 15, 2019
Heather Canales reads to children in a pre-kindergarten class at WovenLife, which offers early childhood development in Oklahoma City. Photo taken on August 1, 2019.
Lenora LaVictoire / StateImpact Oklahoma

A controversial proposal in the Oklahoma state legislature would delay the age kids would be eligible to start kindergarten and put Oklahoma on-trend with dozens of other states. But some childhood experts say the trend may not serve Oklahoma kids well.

Did Lobbying Efforts Influence Spending On School Panic Button?

Aug 2, 2019
The Rave Mobile Safety app features a large "active shooter" button at the top and other buttons for reporting emergencies such as a fire or medical emergency.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A $3 million taxpayer-funded program will soon give schools across the state access to a relatively untested “panic button” app that can alert authorities and staff if there is an active shooter, fire or emergency in the school.

A sign is seen outside of 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City, where Epic Charter Schools leases 40,000 square feet for administrative use.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma investigators believe Epic Charter Schools embezzled money by inflating its enrollment with homeschool and private school students. Because of the state’s dedication to privacy, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the alleged abuse would not have been preventable under current state law.

A sign is seen outside of 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City, where Epic Charter Schools leases 40,000 square feet for administrative use.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A state investigator’s search warrant filed in court Tuesday seeks evidence of alleged embezzlement of state funds and obtaining money under false pretenses at Epic Charter Schools, including through the use of “ghost students” who receive no actual instruction at the school.

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