(Pictured above: LA Governor John Bel Edwards poses with local educators.)
by Brian Washington
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Educators in Louisiana have a powerful friend in the governor’s mansion—one who is already demonstrating that he is willing to listen and meet with them to help create the best education for students.
The state’s newly-elected Governor John Bel Edwards was the featured guest yesterday at a town hall where more than 100 students, parents, and educators gathered to share their perspectives and concerns with him about K-12 public education. Some of the topics discussed included testing, teacher evaluations, and giving more time to create better, deeper learning experiences for students.
The event kicked off the second leg of the “Ask an Educator” national listening tour. The tour, which began last year, consists of a series of mini-town halls, like the one held yesterday in Baton Rouge, designed to elevate the voices of educators nationwide. It’s sponsored by the National Education Association and its state and local affiliates.
Debbie Meaux, a veteran teacher and public school advocate, is the president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), which represents about 20-thousand educators across the state. She described yesterday’s event with Governor Edwards, who educators across the state worked hard to get elected last year, “groundbreaking.”
When it comes to crafting policies for education, no voice is more important than that of the individuals working in Louisiana’s schools with Louisiana’s children every day. I’m encouraged to see we now have a leader in office who is truly committed to listening to the voices of the people he represents.
Our members are a power resource when it comes to the association’s efforts to promote educational excellence. We will use the feedback from our meeting in order to guide us in our legislative efforts, and ultimately, in collaboration with the new administration.
When it comes to education, Governor Edwards told the crowd yesterday he is going to expand on his work in the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he served for the last several years.
“I’ve been fighting for education for the past eight years,” said Governor Edwards. “And I am not going to stop fighting that fight as your governor.”
Yesterday’s event was also attended by Virginia educator and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss.
“Teachers and school support professionals want to see policies in place that truly focus on the educational experiences of all students,” said Moss. “The Ask an Educator tour truly provides teachers and support professionals—as well as parents—with an opportunity to offer feedback in order to help contribute to positive change for public school students—not just in Louisiana, but across the nation.”
“It is our hope that we can be the facilitator in helping our nation’s hardworking educators build deeper relationships with the communities they work in and with the students they serve.”
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, LAE is hoping to extend the dialogue to include public school employees in other locations throughout the state, including Lake Charles, Monroe, Winnsboro, Thibodaux, Laplace, New Iberia, Morgan City, and Lafayette.
The Ask an Educator tour heads next to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Saturday, February 20th.