Oklahoma Watch
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
First Watch
Credit: Caroline Preston / The Hechinger Report

Epic’s New Board Chair Founded A Charter School. Its Start Has Been Rocky

Paul Campbell owns the distinction of serving as chairman of the board for two Oklahoma charters schools, at the same time.

Campbell, the CEO of an energy services company, is the founder and board chair of The Academy of Seminole, an early college school with 300 students. As of May 26, he’s also chair of Community Strategies, the governing board for Epic Charter Schools. As if assuming oversight for a statewide virtual charter school with a 55,000 enrollment wasn’t a big enough task, Campbell and a made-over Epic board arrive as the school severs ties with its co-founders and institutes reforms following a critical investigative audit and an unusual report from a multi-county grand jury.

Oklahoma Watch’s Jennifer Palmer talked to Campbell and others familiar with his leadership of The Academy of Seminole, which is off to a rocky start. [Read more …]

What Lawmakers Did and Didn’t Do on Criminal Justice

Oklahoma lawmakers passed laws expanding medical parole, juvenile record expungement and GPS monitoring eligibility for Department of Corrections prisoners. [Read more…]

‘The Blood Is Still Speaking’

Lasting images from the 100th anniversary of a white mob’s deadly attack on Greenwood. [Read more …]

Prayer Room Highlights Churches’ 1921 Sins, Seeks Healing

The words on the wall are jarring. They are filled with racist language and victim-blaming.

Worst of all, they are taken from the mouths of professed men of God — from sermons preached on the Sunday after the Tulsa Race Massacre. [Read more …]

Around the web

  • ‘Fake Pills’ That Kill: Drug overdoses killed 731 Oklahomans in a 12-month period that ended in October 2020, a 20.8% increase. Counterfeit prescription pain pills are fueling the deadly trend. [The Oklahoman]
  • What’s Next For Greenwood?: The focus on the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial did little to allay some concerns about a sustained commitment to Greenwood. Said the Greenwood Cultural Center’s longtime director: “I am not confident … that we will be able to sit down and have real conversations about understanding what needs to be addressed.” [Tulsa World]
  • Fact-Checking What Oklahoma Students Learn About Race: (Spoiler alert) The claim that House Bill 1775 bans the teaching of critical race theory is mostly false. [The Frontier]
  • Holocaust Survivor Gives Pissaro Stolen By Nazis to OU: “Shepherdess Bringing In Sheep,” which had been on display at OU until 2017, was stolen from Leone Meyer’s father during World War II and donated to the University of Oklahoma by a former regent whose family acquired it from a New York art gallery in 1957. Kudos to the OU Daily staff, which has been writing about this long-running dispute. [OU Daily]
  • Falling Vaccination Rates Imperil Biden’s July Fourth Goal: Oklahoma is one of 12 states where COVID-19 vaccinations have fallen below 15 daily shots per 10,000 residents. Oklahoma City pharmacist Greg Clyde has gone from being inundated with calls for vaccine appointments in February to agreeing to vaccinate 100 employees of a local car dealer last week. [The Washington Post]

Mike Sherman, Executive Editor

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