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Louisiana Governor Joins LAE and NEA at Baton Rouge-area Kick Off for Ask an Educator Inititiative

BATON ROUGE, LA - February 3, 2016 - More than 100 public school employees, administrators, and students gathered at Broadmoor High School in Baton Rouge to share their perspectives on the state of Louisiana’s K-12 public education system with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, called the event 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,” Meaux said. “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.”

“I’ve been fighting the fight for education for the past eight years,” Governor Edwards said. “And I’m not going to stop fighting that fight as your governor.”

The event kicked-off the nationwide Ask an Educator Listening Tour, an initiative focusing on educators’ feedback on the major issues currently impacting public schools. In 2015, the NEA established mini-town hall events in conjunction with their affiliates across the nation, where association representatives traveled to schools in their respective states to meet with members in order to provide them with an opportunity to elevate their voices. These events, coined “listening tours,” were so successful that the NEA initiated a second round of tours for 2016.

NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss, who represented the NEA at the Louisiana kick-off event, said the tours are extremely effective in allowing the most important education stakeholders to hear directly from the men and women working in our public schools.

“Teachers and school support professionals want to see policies in place that truly focus on the educational experiences of all students,” Moss said. “The Ask an Educator tour truly provides teachers and support professionals - even 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.”

Some of the major issues addressed during Tuesday night’s discussion included testing, teacher evaluations, Common Core State Standards, and the need to increase the amount of time devoted to positive, compelling learning experiences for students. To further the dialogue, LAE will soon deploy leaders into schools in Lake Charles, Monroe, Winnsboro, Thibodaux, Laplace, New Iberia, Morgan City, and Lafayette.

“Our members are a powerful resource when it comes to the association’s efforts to promote educational excellence,” Meaux said. “We will use the feedback from our meetings in order to guide us in our legislative efforts, and ultimately, in collaboration with the new administration."

Moss said the NEA’s mission is to work with affiliate groups across the nation to accomplish this same goal.

“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," said Moss.

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