Twitter Tuesday: Testing success, night buses and Fallin's gay friends 

This is the inaugural Twitter Tuesday post, a chance for readers to ask questions, offer comments or tweet complaints that I will address each Tuesday. Here we go...

The Oklahoma City school district reported this week that dropout rates were on the decline last year but efforts are still underway to decrease the rate even more. Aurora Lora, the district's associate superintendent, said the district hopes to expand after-school tutoring with transportation, in-school tutoring, saturday school with transportation, night school for students needing credit recovery and Internet courses for credit recovery. “Dropout data is going in the right direction but we want to make sure we are doing everything we can,” Lora said. The district has also had some success with mentorship programs like Link Crew, which I wrote about last year. OKC schools also reported this week that its program to have every junior and sophomore take the PSAT for free this school year has allowed nearly 500 students to not have to take some end of the year standardized exams. According to the Department of Education, students who perform 10 percent above state-determined cut rates will be exempt from having to take Algebra II, English III, Geometry or United States History end of the year instruction tests. Yes, Democratic numbers in the statehouse are not large. Democrats enter the new legislative session with just 29 representatives (out of 101) and seven senators (out of 48). It's going to be a long session decade for Democrats. 

I wrote on Monday that two men tried to enter the House gallery at the state capitol wearing Guy Fawkes masks. After being denied entry they removed the masks and found a seat for the governor's state of the state address. However, it never appeared that they were having too much fun and this picture seems to show they did not find the exciting protest scene they were expecting.

The two men did have some confrontations with capitol employees and got a chance to express their outrage with a proposed bll that would outlaw the concealing on one's identity.

Gov. Mary Fallin told the media last week she has gay friends. It was her response to a question about legislation filed that targets the LGBT community. Fallin did not offer her opinion on the proposed bill that would permit restaurants and businesses from refusing service to gay customers, and while it wasn't an endorsement of LGBT equality, it was sort of an evolution from past comments. The fact that Fallin didn't want to be attached to the proposed bill shows there is some view by even Republican leaders that being viewed as anti-gay is not a good thing. I could be misinterpreting her comments and I don't think it represents a dramatic shift in her thinking, but I think she would have been much more defensive of the bill and her anti-gay marriage stance a few years ago.

The launch of night bus service last week was a game-changer for many of the city's working class. Embark is running two urban lines until midnight that are already providing a vital link to work for many who previously had no transportation and had to either walk or turn down shifts. You can read my story here.

This was just the first Twitter Tuesday. Send your comments and questions via Twitter throughout the week and we will do this again next Tuesday.

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