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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Would You Vote Against the Bible?

  When legislators return from their four-day Easter recess this afternoon, the full House will take up a rather controversial bill—naming “the Holy Bible” as the official state book of Louisiana.

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First Bell
2:54 am
Mon April 21, 2014

First Bell: In a Time of Racial Tension, Quarterback's Team Wasn't With Him

Eric Reed as a young first lieutenant with his wife Julia at a military officers function in 1989 at an Army base in Garlsted, Germany. They went to Istrouma High School together.
Credit Courtesy of Eric Reed

The First Bell series is a growing collection of stories from students, parents, and educators about pivotal experiences in education. To tell your story, email amy@wrkf.org with "My First Bell" in the subject line or tweet with the hashtag #MyFirstBell.

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Eric Reed was the first black quarterback at his elementary, middle, and high school when the Baton Rouge public schools were being integrated.

Epithets were used against him more than once.

Reed’s junior year at predominantly white Istrouma High School, 1974, was a turning point. The night after a race riot at the school, the football team played the last game of the regular season against all-black McKinley.

“Anytime Istrouma played McKinley, I happened to be the target of a lot of trash talk, because I’m the one who didn’t go to McKinley or Capitol, I chose to go to Istrouma, so I was -- the term they used back then -- the ‘oreo’, you know, I sold out.”

Both teams needed the win to get to the playoffs, but Reed says he didn’t have the usual fire in his belly. Istrouma lost 7 to 6.


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Insight
3:01 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Insight: With Fresh Analysis of State Budget, Lawmakers Go 'OMG!'

At the halfway mark in the state legislative session, all of the state departments have presented their piece of the state budget and the House Appropriations Committee invited the public to weigh in this week. Next it will be the committee’s turn at making changes to what the Jindal administration proposed. And new analysis of the 2014-2015 proposal shows a patchwork of funding that could leave the state could with a really big hole to fill for 2015-2016.

Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, has been following the developments.
 


Capitol Access
3:00 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Students Push for Tastier School Lunches

Ruston High student Madison Wooley's "selfie" with Sen. Rick Gallot
Credit Madison Wooley

“The food is not very tasty, at all.”

“The food’s so disgusting.”

“The cafeteria food is nasty.”

These students from Ruston and Central high schools aren’t just bellyaching about their school lunches, they’re testifying before Louisiana’s Senate Agriculture Committee. They’re hoping to advance a resolution they initiated.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Voucher Eligibility: “C” is for “Choice”

  A bill that would take students attending “C” rated public schools out of eligibility for the voucher program failed to get out of the House Education Committee Wednesday.

“Either ‘C’ schools are failing schools, or they’re not,” stated Amite Representative John Bel Edwards, explaining the proposed program change as simple logic. “This program was premised upon giving choices to parents whose kids were trapped in failing schools. A ‘C’ school is not a failing school. It’s just that simple.”

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

State Education Superintendent: Elect or Appoint?

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White

  State Representative Joe Harrison of Houma wants the people to decide whether to elect the next state superintendent of education, or let the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education keep making that appointment. Harrison is the author of that constitutional amendment, now headed to the House floor.

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Coastal Restoration Spending Advances

Scientists' rendering of the Louisiana coastline in 2100--if land loss is not reduced or halted.
Credit sciencenews.org

 

   Members of the House Transportation Committee put their stamp of approval on the Coastal Restoration Spending Plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Jerome Zeringue, director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, says they’ll spend $725-million. Most of that money is oil-spill funds from BP.

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First Bell
3:34 am
Mon April 14, 2014

First Bell: Twin Sisters, Separate Schools

Fraternal twin sisters Megan (left) and Kendall Smith.

 

The First Bell series is a growing collection of stories from students, parents, and educators about pivotal experiences in education. To tell your story, email amy@wrkf.org with "My First Bell" in the subject line or tweet with the hashtag #MyFirstBell.

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Judging from the way that the fraternal twin sisters laugh and finish each other’s sentences, you might think Megan and Kendall Smith had never left each other’s side. 

But, as Kendall told fellow LSU student Morgan Louviere, they started going to separate schools — and leading separate lives — in the third grade. 

Megan got into a private school and Kendall didn’t. 

Megan says they didn’t really get different “educations” as a result, but getting their education “differently” did make them who they are. 

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Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Public Invited for State Budget Input

  As the sixth week of the twelve week session begins, the budget takes center stage on Monday and Tuesday.

“Our public comment days are April the 14th and April the 15th,” explains House Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin. And he says they will work into the evening both days, to ensure everyone can be heard.

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Politics
3:07 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Insight: Congressman's Scandal Yields Political Turf War

Vance McAllister, shown in a photo provided by his campaign, will be the next representative from Louisiana's 5th Congressional District after winning Saturday's special election.
Credit AP

Vance McAllister swept into Congress six months ago, elected in a special election to finish out Rodney Alexander's term representing the 5th District in north Louisiana. And already, McAllister has been ensnared in a scandal, caught on tape kissing a woman who is not his wife. 

Now political opportunists on all sides are calling for McAllister's resignation and chomping at the bit to fill his seat.  

JR Ball, NOLA.com's news manager in Baton Rouge, has had an ear to the frenzy. 


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