Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oklahoma Officials Seek Improved Education Standards

By Ben Hatfield

Oklahoma officials are taking action to increase the percentage of high school graduates who are ready for the workforce and prepared to pursue higher education.

The good news is, according to OKStateStat, Oklahoma has remained consistent in state high school graduation rates over the past decade and remains higher than the national average throughout the same span. From 2003 to 2010, the graduation rate has remained between 72.4 and 75.4 percent and in 2011 the rate jumped to 78.5 percent.

Although the rate dropped slightly in 2012 to 77.7 percent, the state education system is moving in the right direction due to Governor Mary Fallin’s educational focus.

In the 2014 State of the State address, Fallin said, “We focused on education and work force training - making sure Oklahoma schools have the high standards they need to produce students who are college, career and citizen ready.”

Even with success in recent years, Fallin sees more room for improvement by increasing the number of students moving on to higher education.

“We have to increase the number of Oklahomans who continue their education beyond high school, either by attending college or a career technology center. A high school diploma is not enough,” she said. “We know that we are graduating high school seniors who aren’t ready for the workforce or college.  That has to change.”

For more information on Oklahoma education, click here.

Oklahoma unemployment rates low compared to nation

By Madison Price

Oklahoma’s 5.4 percent unemployment rate puts it in a three-way tie for thirteenth in the nation, The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

As of Dec. 2013, Oklahoma shares the spot with Louisiana and Montana. All three states sit at 1.3 percent below the national average, and 3.9 percent below Rhode Island, the most unemployed state. North Dakota has our nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 percent.

Oklahoma suffered it’s highest unemployment rate in June 1983, when it spiked to 9.8 percent. The lowest was in Dec. 2000 at 2.8 percent.

Tulsa is faring better than the entire state, its current rate at 4.9. Statistics like this are hopeful for college graduates who will soon find themselves in the job market.

for more statistics on national unemployment, visit http://www.bls.gov

Sooner State Health Update: New Numbers

By Otto Harrison
 
Oklahoma continues to have a high obesity rate, with over 875,000 adults considered obese in the Sooner state. Not only that, more than 630,000 adults still smoke in Oklahoma, according to recent data complied by the Centers for Disease Control.

In the past two years, public health funding went down by 40 percent from $113 to $80 per person, CDC figures show.


In the past five years, the rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased from 95.9 to 76.9 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, though Oklahoma still ranks poorly among the states on this measure.

In the past 10 years, the rate of cardiovascular deaths decreased from 402.2 to 330.5 deaths per 100,000 population. 

According to the CDC ,the death rate is 973.8 per 100,000 populations. 

Tulsa Works to Attract Young People

By Caitlin Pond

Attracting young people to Tulsa is a priority among city leaders and recent data shows that Tulsa is on par with other cities in Oklahoma, and not far off from other large cities in the area.

Census figures show that the median age in Tulsa is 35, which is also the average age in neighboring capital Oklahoma City. Austin has a median age is 31, slighly lower than the two Oklahoma cities. 

One of the groups working to attract young to Tulsa is Tulsa's Young Professionals, a group founded in 2005 to fight the city "brain drain." The 1,400-member group works with the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce "to attract and retain young talent," according to the group's website.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett expressed his confidence in the growth of Tulsa in the Tulsa World earlier this month. 

“I’ve got a clear vision of Tulsa as I look into the future,” Bartlett said. The mayor emphasized Tulsa’s economic development as the most important thing for the future of the city.

“That entrepreneurial spirit has been the catalyst for prosperity and visionary leadership. It has served us well and, with God’s blessings, will continue doing so for the remainder of the century.”

Oklahoma City Thunder Draws a Crowd

By Israel Avila

When the Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City, they became one of the most popular teams in the NBA and the first major professional sport franchise in the state’s history.

Oklahoma sports fans loved it. According to ESPN’s 2013 NBA Attendance Report, the Oklahoma City’s Thunder ranked twelfth among 30 teams in attendance in 2013. With a total of 41 games at The Thunderdome, the team averaged 18,203 fans a game.

The Chicago Bulls were ranked first in attendance, followed by the Dallas Mavericks. The Bulls average more than 21,000 per game.

Under the direction of head coach Scott Brooks, the Thunder battled their way to the NBA Finals in 2012 against the Miami Heat, ultimately losing to the Miami team. 

Poverty Rate In Tulsa Higher Than Oklahoma

By Kathryn Keenan

Although parts of Tulsa project the image of prosperity and affluence, the city actually has a higher rate of poverty than many other parts of the state.

According to city-data.com, Tulsa has a poverty rate of 24.9 percent, slightly higher than the 21.7 percent poverty rate of the state of Oklahoma.

Of the 21.7 percent, the majority of those classified as poor are women without a husband between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. 

In recent years, child poverty has worsened as well. KIDS COUNT estimates 35,136 children living in poverty. 

 The rate is slowly declining with the increase of food banks, homeless shelters, and programs such as President Obama’s Choctaw "Promise Zone." This program focuses on economically challenged areas in southern Oklahoma and focuses on education as well as economic development goals.

Tulsa: A Wealthy Place in Oklahoma

By Shiqi Gong

Tulsa is a wealthy place in the state of Oklahoma. 

According to Internal Revenue Service figures compiled by Mongabay.com, Tulsa ZIP Code 74121 is the wealthiest ZIP code in the state. The third, fifth and sixth highest income ZIP codes are also in Tulsa. 

Oklahoma is the 37th-richest state in the United States, with a per capita income of $32,210 in 2006. 

The median household income of Oklahoma for2008 to 2012 was $44,891. The median household income of the United States, $53,046, is significantly higher than the median income of Oklahoma.

For more information, go to on wealth and income in Tulsa and around Oklahoma, click here: http://wealth.mongabay.com/cities/OKLAHOMA.html

Tulsa Crime Statistics

By Jordan Johnston

In the past five years, the crime rate in Tulsa has been on the decline. 

According to figures complied by the Tulsa Police Department, the most common crime in Tulsa was larceny with over 12,500 reports in 2013.

Of the more serious crimes, such as homicide, rape, and aggravated assault, the number of homicides and rapes were considerably lower than aggravated assault. 

In 2013, there were a total of 373 rapes and 66 homicides compared to about 2,400 arrests for aggravated assault.

Comparing to another large Midwestern city, such as St. Louis, Tulsa is significantly safer. In 2013, St. Louis had nearly double the arrests for homicide. 

According to Forbes, St. Louis was ranked the second most dangerous city in the United States. In Oklahoma, Tulsa was ranked second for most violent crimes, just behind Ardmore and ahead of Durant.
 
For more crime statistics, see the TPD figures: https://www.tulsapolice.org/content/crime-numbers-ucr.aspx.

Making Tulsa Cool: Entertainment in the Brady District

By Will Noel


The Brady Arts District and downtown Tulsa is thriving, with more arts and entertainment than ever—just the ticket to attract more young people to the city. 

The Brady Arts District is home to a number of local restaurants and bars, but also an up-and-coming arts scene. Living Arts, the Philbrook Museum, the Woody Guthrie Center and the Guthrie Green are drawing crowds to this former warehouse district just north of downtown Tulsa. 






Oklahoma's Higher Ed Numbers Are Low

By Neima Seirafipour

In a world that demands more and more education each year, Oklahoma has dropped the ball. 

Oklahoma has an average of 15 percent of the population with a college degree, lower than that of the national average.

Neighboring states such as Missouri have a higher percentage of citizens with a college degree. 

Even worse, Oklahoma has a high percentage of people who did not complete high school—13 percent, which is also higher than the neighboring state Missouri. 

With an average cost of tuition at $8,150 per semester for public education—not very high compared to the national average—there is no excuse for Oklahomans lack of education.   

For more information on Oklahomans education statistics as well as other states and the national average, visit: