8:17 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Headlines: Social Promotion, Ballot Access & Livable Streets

Headlines for Thursday, May 14, 2015:

  • Three Republican Women in the state Senate are asking for the resignation of a state GOP operative. (NewsOK)

  • Lawmakers are debating changes to the state’s third grade reading retention law. (Oklahoma Watch)

  • Governor Fallin signs a bill creating greater ballot access for third parties. (NewsOK)

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3:33 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

10 members of Congress Took Trip Secretly Funded by Foreign Government

The Washington Post reports 10 members of Congress, including Oklahoma Representative Jim Bridenstine, took an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference in Baku, on the Caspian Sea, in 2013. The trip was secretly funded by the state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan.
The state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan secretly funded an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference in Baku, on the Caspian Sea, in 2013 for 10 members of Congress and 32 staff members, according to a confidential ethics report obtained by The Washington Post. Three former top aides to President Obama appeared as speakers at the event.
7:55 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Headlines: Parole Board Resignation, Gun Bills & Budget Cuts

Headlines for Wednesday, May 13, 2015:

  • The leader of the Pardon and Parole Board resigns after less than a month. (Journal Record)
  • Gun rights advocates are urging lawmakers to override a governor’s veto. (NewsOK)

  • Governor Fallin signs a bill aiming to tighten security at schools-- by allowing more guns on school grounds. (NewsOK)

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Arts & Culture
7:40 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Bixby High School Bypasses Band Contests In Favor of Further Music Education

Jeremy Parker rehearses the Bixby High School wind ensemble as the musicians prepare for their end of the school year concert.
Kurt Gwartney

Competition can be fierce in Oklahoma’s high school extracurricular activities. From athletic fields to performance halls, students take seriously the trophies they bring back to their schools. One award-winning Tulsa-area music program has decided to step away from a hallmark band contest to make the spring semester all about the music.

The Bixby High School marching band, better known as The Pride of Bixby, won its number one spot during marching season with a crazy kind of circus on the field. Unicyclers, tumblers, disappearing color guard members and rotating horn players spread across the gridiron, helping to make their show number one in the state in its class, 6A-2.

But the band intentionally fell silent for the spring state concert band contest. For the second year in a row, the Bixby High School band chose to pass on this contest.

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Sample Size
5:42 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

New Mix: Kamasi Washington, Hot Chip & Sufjan Stevens

Kamasi Washington

This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC pop music columnist Matt Carney.

Today, we hear the epic jazz output of Kamasi Washington, the glitchy electronic rock of Hot Chip, and a review of a thrilling live show by Sufjan Stevens.

Follow Matt & Ryan on Twitter at @OKmattcarney and @KOSUryan.

NPR History Dept.
2:16 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms

Jennifer Maravillas Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 9:25 pm

Has American English become homogenized? Have our regional ways of saying particular things — sometimes in very particular ways — receded into the past? Or do we talk as funny as ever?

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7:48 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Headlines: Gun Bill Veto, Storm Aftermath & Edmond Islamic Center

Headlines for Tuesday, May 12, 2015:

  • Governor Fallin vetoes a bill to strengthen gun laws. (NewsOK)

  • House Speaker files bill to finish off the Native American Cultural Center. (Journal Record)

  • State House members hear a bill to create a tax amnesty to help with the budget shortfall. (Tulsa World)

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3:43 am
Tue May 12, 2015

State Legislatures Quarrel Over Whether To Expand Medicaid

Alaskans attend a rally in Anchorage for Medicaid expansion.
Jonathan Casurella/Alaska Public Media

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 9:22 pm

Five years after the Affordable Care Act passed, the law's provision allowing the expansion of Medicaid coverage to more people is still causing huge fights in state legislatures.

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4:42 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Preschool By State: Who's Spending And What's It Buying?

Nikki Jones' preschool class at Porter Early Childhood Development Center in Tulsa, Okla. The state offers free preschool for all kids.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 8:11 pm

Are you a glass half-full kind of person? Or glass half-empty?

Depending on your answer, you'll find the new report on state-funded preschool programs from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University either delightfully encouraging or downright depressing.

For example, glass half-full: Pre-K enrollment is up!

Glass half-empty: It's still pretty low.

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Teacher Shortage Crisis
11:42 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Why Are There 1,000 Unfilled Teaching Jobs in Oklahoma?

Robyn Venable poses with one of her students in her teaching kitchen at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Venable is retiring this year.
Emily Wendler / KOSU

As the school year winds down, administrators are ramping up their search for next year’s teachers. But that search is tougher and more competitive than normal. The state is currently in need of 1,000 teachers, according to State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. But there’s a shallow pool of applicants.

Emily Wendler reports on what’s causing the teacher shortage, what schools are doing to fill in the gaps, and how it’s affecting kids.

Robyn Venable has been a teacher in Oklahoma for 31 years. Currently she teaches life skills at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs.

“I always wanted to be a special education teacher. Ever since the third grade.”  

She says she’s loved it, and it’s been a good run, but it’s time to retire. She had cancer, and that influenced her decision to leave, but she also says the teaching profession has changed over the years and the money is no longer worth the headaches.

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