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Tuesday, September 15, 2020 6:32 AM

House Dem Education Policy Team Requests AG examine CARES Act Spending

We must ensure that CARES dollars meant for supporting services for low-income students were distributed according to approved CARES guidelines. We along with the US Federal Courts and several other states share concerns that they were not.


Today we submitted a request to Attorney General Mike Hunter to determine if the Governor's Emergency Education Relief funds (GEER) were spent in Oklahoma appropriately. If they weren't, we have requested they be redistributed correctly per CARES guidelines as intended.
You can read our official statement and request below.

Education Policy Team requests examination of CARES Act spending

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 4:09 PM

Returning to Learn in the Time of Covid - NASSP

"Public schools do rock star things every single day, and a lot of the time it gets overshadowed." - Rep. Provenzano

So thankful to be a part of the National Association Secondary Schools Principals (NASSP) "Return to Learning in the Time of COVID" conversation. Teachers, principals, superintendents and school staff - I am in awe. Keep up the good work!  Click below to watch the national panel discussion!  

NASSP Panel Discussion

or read about it here:

Thursday, June 25, 2020 12:42 PM

State Testing Waiver Requested for 2020-21 School Year - Tulsa World

For the 2020-2021 school year, the House Democratic Education Policy team is requesting a waiver for state testing.

“Our teachers have a monumental task this fall that they have already begun preparing for: determining how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted learning and developing the best plan to meet the unique needs these uncertain times will demand. It's time to put authentic assessment squarely into the hands of these skilled professionals who will be working directly with our children." - Rep. Provenzano

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 12:47 PM

Rep. Provenzano sits down with ODP chair Alicia Andrews to discuss this past session

Rep. Provenzano provides a wrap-up from session to discuss COVID-19, unemployment, and health issues affecting Tulsans.

Monday, May 4, 2020 2:05 PM

Local Lawmakers Wrestle with Covid Hit Budget

In the end, I could not support the proposed budget, and the Supreme Court ruling from that day was overturned by actions two days later.  

Sunday, May 3, 2020 9:16 PM

Oklahoma, Utah Face Scrutiny over Malaria drug purchases

Oklahoma state Rep. Melissa Provenzano, a Democrat from Tulsa, said the state’s purchase shows that Gov. Stitt’s actions don’t follow his claim that he relies on data to drive his decisions.

“Two million dollars is a lot of money to waste, especially when we have unemployment claims approved yet going unpaid, health care professionals without proper protective equipment, and diagnosed cases and deaths continuing to rise,” Provenzano said.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 9:19 PM

Coronavirus in OKlahoma: Stitt receives $40 million federal grant for educcation

“Right now so many in our public school system have limited access to the resources they need to learn effectively from home during this time of crisis,” Provenzano said in a statement. “Let’s use those funds where they will do the most good - purchasing the supplies and technological resources that allow even those in the most remote locations, as well as the underserved urban centers access to the education they so desperately need."

Sunday, January 12, 2020 12:00 AM

Should the State Superintendent of Education be appointed rather than elected?

"This would be a major shift for our state," Provenzano said. "I think as we continue to make improvements and get ourselves back on the right footing with the budget as well as with (education) policy, this would remove the voice of the people from that process."

Oklahoma's Legislature and governor already have oversight of the state Board of Education, said Provenzano, a former teacher and public school administrator.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 12:00 AM

Too many Oklahoma students are accumulating too much debt, and it's time to act

On the surface, one might ask, “What did these borrowers expect? Are they trying to get out of paying their debt?” The truth is, most are not. Most of these borrowers have been paying in good faith and on time for years.

The way we finance higher education in this country is broken, and that has led to bad lending practices that take advantage of our students’ desire to pursue a degree, which ultimately impacts our workforce.


Monday, November 25, 2019 12:00 AM

Session Wrap-Up

Dear Neighbor,

The first half of the 57th Session of the Oklahoma House of Representatives has drawn to a close. It has been a very productive session with many pieces of legislation that help everyday Oklahomans. As promised during my campaign, I focused my work during this session on three main areas: Education, criminal justice reform and health care. Below are key pieces of legislation that I am proud to say have now become law.

Friday, November 22, 2019 12:00 AM

Tulsa World editorial: Education forum provided a chance for an authentic discussion

Those were a few takeaways from a forum Monday hosted by the Tulsa Parent Legislative Action Committee, which has become a significant grassroots influence in Oklahoma education policy.  Education remains a priority with Oklahomans. But what emerged at Monday’s forum was a common agreement that the state is only beginning to turn around a decade’s worth of erosion from underfunding.

Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:00 AM

More Protections sought for borrowers of student loans

The study was requested by state Reps. Melissa Provenzano and John Waldron, both Democrats from Tulsa. Waldron said it highlighted a need for more consumer education about student loans and for a “Borrower’s Bill of Rights” to help ensure that people aren’t taken advantage of by lenders.

Provenzano said Oklahomans owe a total of about $14.5 billion in student loan debt. They’re behind on payments on about $2.26 billion of it. The average owed by former students in the state is $31,678. She said the debt weighs not only on people but on the state and national economies.

Thursday, July 18, 2019 12:00 AM

Tulsa Lawmaker presses Hofmeister on charter oversight amid Epic allegations "because $10 deeply concerning."

“I’m more interested in getting real specific with the law about how we track dollars,” Provenzano said, “and how we track enrollment and student attendance data so that it’s more authentic and equitable across all public school platforms...”

Thursday, July 18, 2019 12:00 AM

Provenzano proposes greater oversight for virtual charters

Students and families have to come first. Doing what is best for them has to be the foundation of all decisions in public education.

Thursday, July 11, 2019 12:00 AM

State Lawmakers request studies into virtual schools

“Provenzano questioned the disparity between reported high attendance at virtual charter schools and lacking academic success.

“We have research that demonstrates that positive attendance has positive results,” Provenzano said. “My biggest interest is the kids and how can we help virtual charter schools to more closely align their success with their attendance.”


Friday, June 28, 2019 12:19 PM

Provenzano requests three interim studies

This past week I submitted a request for three education-related interim studies.

1. Virtual Charter Attendance: Examining the possible disconnect between attendance rate and student performance in Oklahoma's virtual charter school system.

2. Student loan debt examination in Oklahoma – Creating a Borrower’s Bill of Rights

3. Creating the workforce Oklahoma businesses need - forging improved, larger scale, purposeful pathways out of secondary schools and into Oklahoma industry.
With the right support and data-driven research, I hope to pursue legislation that serves each of these areas of need. I welcome your feedback!



Monday, June 17, 2019 12:00 AM

State Lawmakers Reflect on Changes in Oklahoma

Our education budget looks better than it has in several years, but we still have work to do. Funding levels are still below those of 2008 with 50,000 more students to serve in Oklahoma public schools.

It's a good start! Watch as Representative Provenzano and Representative Dills reflect on the most recent legislative session.


Sunday, June 16, 2019 12:00 AM

As Gov. Stitt says budget is 'fully funding' prosecutors, some state officials set record straight

Moving money around and calling it criminal justice reform is inauthentic at best.

This year the legislature put $20 million into the DA’s budget with the goal of eliminating the need for fines and fees collected by district attorneys in Oklahoma. However, the fines and fees will still be collected from defendants – it just won’t go directly to the DA’s office. Instead, those fines and fees will be sent to the state’s general fund.

Defendants with the inability to pay often go into prison or jail to work off that debt. This often leads to job loss and profound financial strain on the family unit being supported by the defendant.

To be clear- I’m not saying someone who has committed a crime does not need to be held accountable for their actions. I’m saying our criminal justice process compounds the issue unnecessarily. We can and must do better!

Key Quotes from the article:
Stitt announced in mid-May that the Legislature would appropriate an additional $20 million this budget cycle to be “fully funding” prosecutors. Doing so will remove the “perverse incentive” of relying on charges assessed to defendants that may create a debtors’ prison system, he said.
“This was not criminal justice reform; this was accounting reform,” said John Estus, chief of staff for OCJR. “It’s good to see a reduction in the reliance on fees by prosecutors; however, these fees are still being paid by justice-involved people.



Monday, April 15, 2019 12:00 AM

HB1050 Signed into law

Good substitutes are hard to come by. The ability to step in short notice, manage a class and deliver a lesson are qualities hard to come by. Substitutes that have earned the trust of teachers and students are popular and often run out of days they can serve in a school year.
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to co-author HB1050, which increases the maximum number of days from 90 to 135 that a substitute can serve in our schools during a year.
This is the first of hopefully many education bills to come that has now been signed into law.



Saturday, April 13, 2019 12:00 AM

Bills signed thus far into law

What has been signed into law thus far clearly demonstrates our priorities.  We can do better. 


Sunday, April 7, 2019 12:00 AM

The State of Education this session

"We need to remember why the teachers walked out last year. The raise was already in place. The message was clear then, and it is clear today: We need more money for our students and classrooms. The teachers said it during the walkout; the voters said it by selecting 46 new representatives for the House, and the vast majority of Oklahoma parents say it when they send their children to our public schools each and every day. We have the best teacher talent in the region — we know this because other states recruit heavily for them. They are thankful for the raise, but it is time to invest in our kids with relevant curriculum and support staff. Our teachers know exactly what is needed to be “top 10” in education.
They just need the funding and support to do it."


Monday, January 28, 2019 12:00 AM

BAM Radio Podcast: Leading school Change- Doing the Real Work


Sunday, January 20, 2019 12:00 AM

Oklahoma Women's Caucus

The Oklahoma Women's Caucus: Together we can find common ground on more issues than not, and work to make a difference on issues that affect women in our state.

"..the caucus is bipartisan — meaning it’s not the red or the blue that matters but rather an effort to improve the state’s treatment of women." - Susan Ellerbach, Tulsa World


Monday, January 14, 2019 12:00 AM

Media Release: OK House of Representatives: Committee assignments announced for Tulsa Democratic State Reps

I am pleased and honored to be serving on the Common Education and Children, Youth & Family Services (CYFS) committees as well as the Public Safety and Non-Appropriated Agency Subcommittees.


Saturday, January 5, 2019 12:00 AM

TULSA VOICE: What the Teachers Want: Oklahoma educators step out of the classroom and into the 57th Legislature

”The word “representative” is especially appropriate for this new crop of lawmakers, as a legislative body represents the people who put them in office in the first place. So what does the 57th Legislature say about the Oklahoma voters who put them there last November? For many, the message cuts across party lines.”

“When I went to Oklahoma City [for the walkout] and found myself not in the company of a few but well over 50,000, I realized that education is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s an Oklahoman issue,” Provenzano said. “We all recognized the crisis we are in and worked together to affect real change.”


                                        PHOTO CREDIT: Joseph Rushmore

Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:00 AM

USA Today: I'm an educator who ran for office and won: Here's how I did it.

In the last few weeks, I have met many of my new peers and co-workers. I am inspired by the positive energy and palatable sense of hope in Oklahoma on both sides of the political aisle. Making a better tomorrow does not happen overnight and it’s not without bumps along the way, but we are on the right path.

I encourage you to follow the work of your representatives. Stay connected. Use your voice. Tell your story.

Saturday, November 3, 2018 12:00 AM

'We're just fed up': Teachers running for office in record numbers, motivated by low pay and education cuts

”Melissa Provenzano, a 14-year educator who is running as a Democrat for House District 79 in Tulsa, has spent the last decade balancing budgets as a high school administrator. Every year since 2009, she’s had to make devastating cuts. “We are down to the bone,” she said.

Thursday, October 25, 2018 12:00 AM


Melissa is proud to be endorsed for the General Election by the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s affiliated OklahomaBizPac.


“The OklahomaBizPac board met with these candidates for three full days with interviews scheduled back to back,” said Jay Helm, chair of OklahomaBizPac and president of American Residential Group. “All those interviews showed us that the bar is raised this election cycle, and the candidates we’re endorsing are of the highest caliber. We are really excited to have these men and women serve the Tulsa region and Oklahoma as a whole.”
“We evaluated candidates based on a set of criteria that included their aptitude for leadership, strategic thinking and willingness to collaborate,” Helm said. “We also weighed each candidate’s alignment with the OneVoice Regional Legislative Agenda.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 12:00 AM

Tulsa World Endorsement: Melissa Provenzano best choice for HD 79

Provenzano, an assistant principal and Democrat, has clear priorities focused on education, health and mental health care and criminal justice reform. She plans on a bipartisan approach to find areas of agreement to move the state forward.

Provenzano has a better understanding of government budgets and the need for reforms in areas such as education assessments and workforce development.



Tuesday, October 16, 2018 12:00 AM

The Race for House District 79 identified as one of the top "5 to watch."

"Some observers think this could be the most interesting race of all, however it turns out.”

The Tulsa World has identified the race for House District 79 as one of the top 5 races to watch. We’re out there every day knocking on doors and talking to voters. We have to say, based on reception from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike- we couldn’t agree more.

Sunday, September 9, 2018 12:00 AM

General election could bring more change to Oklahoma state government

"In Provenzano, he's up against the kind of educator and solid candidate that's flipped a few districts for the Democrats the past few years.”

A race to watch? We certainly agree!

Vote for Melissa - The common sense candidate for district 79



Thursday, August 23, 2018 12:00 AM

The Red Apple Wave Headed to the Capital

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — If you thought the walkout ended when the last teacher left the capitol earlier this year, think again.


Thursday, June 14, 2018 12:00 AM

Oklahoma Educator's Association member of the Educator's Caucus: Melissa Provenzano

I am honored to be identified as part of the Educator’s caucus by the OEA for 2018.

As an educator, I've worked tirelessly to ensure that the children of Tulsa have access to a well-rounded social and academic school-going experience. Developing in each student the skills and abilities that allow them to be successful in life beyond high school as career and college-ready citizens is crucial to our long-term success. It's time to expand that supportive leadership role to the citizens of Oklahoma


Wednesday, June 6, 2018 12:00 AM

Oklahoma Watch: When Women Run, Women Win.

"This year, there will be nearly four times as many women running for the same number of seats. And following a trend across the nation, women will be better represented on the ballot than in at least a decade – and likely ever. "


Tuesday, June 5, 2018 12:00 AM

Tulsa World Candidate Review

"Provenzano was on the front lines of April’s statewide teacher walkout. The Democrat said she was inspired by how many people — parents, students, small business owners and faith leaders — cared about funding education."


“As I went and I stood on the Capitol lawns and on the street corner with my peers … (I realized) that education is not a Democratic or a Republican value, but that it is an Oklahoman value,” she said."

Monday, May 21, 2018 12:00 AM

Mental Health in Tulsa County

1 in 7 Tulsa residents are living with mental illness, with a life expectancy that is 27 years shorter than their fellow Oklahomans. Those unable to afford adequate treatment and care often end up in Oklahoma jails and prisons, at an annual cost of $23,000 per person versus community-based treatment and outpatient care facilities at $2,000. Early intervention and prevention is the critical first step in working to reduce these alarming statistics. We can do better!


Monday, May 21, 2018 12:00 AM

Santa Fe School Shooting

That Friday, a student asked me “Do you think that could ever happen here, Mrs. Provenzano?”
I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t.
 "It's been happening everywhere. I've always kind of felt like that eventually it was going to happen here, too," Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry told Houston television station KTRK. "I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared.

Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:00 AM

Sample Ballots Now Available for Preview- Primary is June 26th!

Check your registration, find your polling location and preview your ballot before you go to the polls.    The primary is June 26th!

Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:00 AM

Green Country Educators Running for Office

Educated voices lift Oklahoma.

Melissa speaks with KOTV Channel 6 about the groundswell of community-wide support that cemented her decision to run.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 12:00 AM

Oklahoma Teachers Run for Office

CNN: Imagine what we could do here in Oklahoma with a fully funded educational experience. Melissa speaks about the funding drain and the unifying energy of the teacher walkout across party lines, across communities, and in support of individuals and families across the state! #Proven4Oklahoma

 Click to Watch the video

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:00 AM

Candidate Filing Day 1

TULSA WORLD:Filing day has arrived. Melissa is proud to announce her candidacy for House District 79 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is time to bring back the voice of reason, moderation and support to the Oklahoma Legislature. #Proven4Oklahoma

Sunday, April 8, 2018 12:00 AM

How will the teacher walkout affect candidate filing?

TULSA WORLD:  Melissa declares her candidacy as Representative for State House District 79.

Provenzano for House District 79 2018
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