Josh Robinson

Why Is Oklahoma's Voter Turnout So Low?

43 states had a higher voter turnout than Oklahoma in the last presidential election in 2012. We wanted to know more about why the state’s voter turnout is so low. With support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, KOSU and KGOU are collaborating on a series called Oklahoma Engaged. In the first of several stories, we focus on the state’s changing electorate. We heard a statistic recently that caused us to take notice: 42% of Oklahomans under the age of 24 are minorities, but 75% of the people...
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Oklahoma’s Department of Public Safety is joining in the National Child Passenger Safety Week.

KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Lieutenant Joe Williams about this initiative pushed by the National Transportation Safety Administration designed to raise awareness of how to keep our kids secured in vehicles.

You can find more information on the web at SaferCar.gov.

Tulsa Police

The video is disturbing and prompts many questions — and that's how the police see it. The family of Terence Crutcher, who was shot dead by police Friday, says the footage should lead to criminal charges against the officer who killed an unarmed man.

The Justice Department has begun a parallel investigation into possible civil rights charges related to Crutcher's death, U.S. Attorney Danny Williams Sr. said Monday. He promised "to seek justice on behalf of this family, and for the public."

Headlines for Tuesday, September 20, 2016:

  • The US Justice Department opens its own investigation into the Tulsa Police shooting death of Terence Crutcher. (KWGS)

  • Oklahoma’s Attorney General is putting his support behind an effort to reform asset forfeiture. (NewsOK)

Though the rate of earthquakes “has declined from its peak,” the 5.8-magnitude earthquake near Pawnee has made 2016 the most seismically active year on record “as measured by seismic energy release,” Oklahoma Geological Survey Director Jeremy Boak tells the Enid News‘ Sally Asher.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET with charges

The suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombs has been charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Prosecutors in Union County, N.J., say Ahmad Khan Rahami has also been charged with two weapons crimes. His bail has been set at $5.2 million.

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Headlines for Monday, September 19, 2016:

  • Religious leaders raise issues with Ten Commandments state Question. (NewsOK)

  • Opponents of Right to Farm state question gather to strategize. (Tulsa World)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spent a little over an hour in Norman Saturday afternoon, courting campaign donors just a few blocks from the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered near the private residence where the fundraiser was held, protesting Trump’s views on race, immigration, and the economy.

The oddest of Senate odd couples — California Democrat Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe — have accomplished something highly unusual in this bitter election year: significant, bipartisan legislation on the environment that has become law.

Boxer, a staunch liberal, calls climate change the "greatest challenge to hit the planet," battles against offshore drilling, rails about the dangers of nuclear power and has pushed to restrict greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

facebook.com/thinktwiceok

A proposal to ask Oklahoma voters to enshrine the death penalty in the state's nearly 100-year-old constitution sailed easily through the Legislature, but now is facing opposition from groups on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

In addition to various faith and civil rights organizations that traditionally oppose capital punishment, several conservative groups and the newly recognized Oklahoma Libertarian Party also are joining the fight against State Question 776.

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KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.

Weeknights with Ferris

Hear Ferris O'Brien every weeknight, from 9 p.m. to midnight, on The Spy.

Education News

The hurdles Native American teenagers face in and out of school are daunting. College Horizons, a small organization based in New Mexico, has proven they're not insurmountable.

Every year, the group sponsors week-long retreats on college campuses for teenagers from some of the more than 500 federally-recognized tribes in the U.S.

One of those retreats was at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., where 85 students gathered along with dozens of admissions officers from some of the nation's most selective universities.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

The Department of Education released statewide student assessment scores at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting and the results show an overall upward trend of improvement. But a slight one. 

Overall, Oklahoma students are performing better at reading than they are in math. On average, 70 percent of third through eighth-grade students are proficient in reading, and 65 percent of students are scoring proficient in math.

The good news: There's an uptick in the hiring of new teachers since the pink-slip frenzy in the wake of the Great Recession.

The bad news: The new hiring hasn't made up for the teacher shortfall. Attrition is high, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs has fallen some 35 percent over the past five years — a decrease of nearly 240,000 teachers in all.

Parts of most every state in America face troubling teacher shortages: the most frequent shortage areas are math, science, bilingual education and special education.

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