Investing in Oklahoma!

                                           August 2015                                                    

Invites Are Out! If You Haven't Already Be Sure To Sign Up For One Of Our Upcoming Fall Summits Today!

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From the President 

PFF President & CEO, Pat Potts


Oklahoma's Most Important Pipeline

Until recently, Oklahoma enjoyed a booming economy thanks mostly to the oil and gas industry. But energy jobs and incomes across the state have taken a hit.

Nationally, the recession dealt a heavy blow to family economic security. Recovery of the job market has been especially slow for our least educated workers. According to a national report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, new job opportunities should focus on helping ease low wages and the underemployed. Lack of advanced training or education remain the primary obstacles to reducing economic hardship among children and families. 

So how do we reduce this challenge to sustainable economic prosperity?
The missing link in most workforce pipeline plans is the critical importance of the first few years of life.

90% of the brain develops between birth and age five. It is the time when community investment can make the most difference! During this period a return on investment of 7% is a commonly accepted statistic. 

So if we want to build a workforce pipeline that produces well educated, job ready, team-player type employees; we must start with early childhood when human life's potential to grow and reach new levels of accomplishment is greatest!

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recommends several things:
  • Expanding access for working parents to full-day high quality learning opportunities for their children from the earliest age.
  • Funding teachers in these programs to assure that they have the skills and knowledge to do the job right.
  • Providing the delivery of physical and mental/brain health services from before birth to age 5 for both mother and child.
  • Integrating and aligning early learning programs with elementary, secondary and post-high school education opportunities along with adapting school curriculum and scheduling.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Oklahoma 39th overall when combining statistics on economic well-being, education, health and family-community stability. Isn't it time we raised the rankings? Why not strive to have better goals and be in the top 25 by 2025?! If we have the political will, we can put in place the policies and priorities to make it happen. How about it Oklahoma?!
Dates & Data

Wednesday & Thursday, September 9-10

OICA Oklahoma Kids Count Conference at the University of Central Oklahoma's Nigh University Center

Click here for more info


Tuesday, October 8

Tulsa Conference on Child Abuse Prevention featuring OKCEO Dr. Block and Dr. Fellitte


Thursday, October 15

Professor Jonathan Turley
'Review of Timely Supreme Court Decisions' Lecture Series

here for more info


Thursdsay & Friday, November 5-6

OKCEO State-wide Summits in Enid, Ardmore and Oklahoma City



By The Numbers

1st: Oklahoma’s ranking out of all 50 states for percentage for special education students expelled from school

Source: Oklahoma Watch.

198: Number of physicians in Oklahoma per 100,000 people, lower than all but 5 other states.

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts.

3.9: Number of grade levels analysts predict Oklahoma’s 8th grade math scores will be behind what they predict for New York, the state with the highest analyst predictions. 

Source: Hechinger Report.

$23,430: Average annual income for the more than 36,000 Oklahomans working at nursing and residential care facilities.

Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute


-80.4%:How much Oklahoma’s revenue from gross production taxes on oil and gas drilling ($6.5 million) came in below the state’s official estimate ($33.1 million) in FY 2015.

Source: Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services

15.6%: Percentage of Oklahomans with one or more disabilities, 15.6 percent of the state’s population.

Source: U.S. Census American Community Survey



2015 Kids Count Data Book Released

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual Kids Count Data Book on Tuesday, July 21. 
Kids Count is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the well-being of children in the United States.
It seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children — and to raise the visibility of children's issues through a nonpartisan, evidence-based lens.
The Kids Count Data Center draws from more than 50 state organizations that provide state and local data, as well publications providing insights into trends affecting child and family well-being.

To view the report, click here.
To see Oklahoma related data, click here.


VIDEO: Watch How Toddlers Adapt Behavior To Avoid Making Adults Angry

Toddlers who overhear adults disagreeing can use that emotional information to guide their own behavior, according to research study from the Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences. Learn more about the study here.

The experiment was published in the October/November 2014 issue of the journal, Cognitive Development with the title, "Infant, control thyself: Infants' integration of multiple social cues to regulate their imitative behavior." Credit: Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington."

Click to watch the video


Low Teacher Pay And Unfilled Positions Are Compounding Oklahoma's Education Woes. ONR Reports:

With classrooms far overcapacity, over 600 teaching positions eliminated, 1,000 teaching jobs left open, over 500 emergency teaching certificates granted in August alone (compared to only 506 issued in all of 2014) and with Oklahoma state director A. Keith Burt saying, "I have it on pretty sound authority it (Oklahoma's 2016 deficit) can be anywhere from $800 million to $1.2 billion..." education in Oklahoma looks like it will be in even worse shape next year.

Click to watch the video

Natalie Shirley: State Of The Schools

Earlier this month, Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley, who also serves as an OKCEO, spoke at the 2015 OKC State Of The Schools event.
We were able to get exclusive access to her speech and are able to share it with those of our audience who weren't able to be in attendance.

Shirley's speech was inspiring, using colorful illustrations and stories along with jarring statistics and straight-to-the-point wording.

"By 2020, 49% of all jobs in Oklahoma will require a vocational certificate or associates degree, but only 31% of Oklahomans have one now.
And perhaps the saddest projection is that only 23% of all Oklahoma jobs will be available to citizens (with) a high school diploma or less."

"If nothing changes, 48 out of 100 Oklahomans will vie for 23 jobs."

Click here to view Shirley's entire speech.


The Results Are In! New MRIs Have The Hard Proof Of The Good Done When Children Read Or Are Read To

For the first time, researchers have hard evidence that reading activates the parts of preschoolers' brains that help with mental imagery and understanding narrative -- both of which are key for the development of language and literacy.

"There have been a good number of studies that have [found] empirical evidence that reading to kids does have an impact on things such as literacy and oral language readiness," Dr. Thomas DeWitt, director of the division of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, told The Huffington Post. "But prior to this study, we really have not been able to [answer], 'Does it have an impact biologically on brain function?'"

To read more, click here

Now Accepting When Work Works (prior Sloan) Award Applications!

The wait is over! You can now apply for the 2015-2016 When Work Works Award, formerly known as the Sloan Awards for Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility, between now and Friday, November 6, 2015.
If your workplace uses flexible practices and believes that the best business strategy is one that works for both the employer and employee, then this is the award to apply for.
Winners receive numerous benefits, including a benchmarking report with employee feedback; an award engraved with your company name and location; and an invitation to the local awards event hosted by Potts Family Foundation.

Bedtime Stories For Developing Brains

"A little more than a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement saying that all pediatric primary care should include literacy promotion, starting at birth.

That means pediatricians taking care of infants and toddlers should routinely be advising parents about how important it is to read to even very young children."



PFF Helps Raise More than $35,000 For OETA's Early Childhood Programming

On August 12, Pat Potts and Craig Knutson were on air with OETA representing PFF and helping them raise matching gifts.

In addition to the $17,500 grant given by PFF, over $23,000 in additional matching funds were raised! Pat, Craig and OETA's own Daphne Dowdy (pictured above) made a live TV appearance during OETA's AugustFest to convey the PFF donation.

If you would like to make a contribution to OETA's great work, click here!


Oklahoma's Future Workforce

The size and quality of our future workforce is of tremendous importance to Oklahoma's economy. What we are missing in the development of this future workforce is where tomorrow's workforce begins; early childhood! Employers, schools, parents and public officials are starting to realize that we need to invest more time and money in early childhood development. Please watch the video and then click on the Oklahoma State Chamber site to learn more about the regional meeting near you to discuss with the governor’s Oklahoma Taskforce about the improvements that are needed in your area.

Copyright © 2015 Potts Family Foundation, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
655 Research Parkway
Suite 500A
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104

Phone: 405-319-8260

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