CIVIC EDUCATION EFFORT STARTS IN SEPTEMBER
Louisiana's Legislators Back to School Program is ready to roll for the ninth year. Since 2000, Louisiana Representatives and Senators have participated actively in this premier civic education program, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures' Trust for Representative Democracy. The program gives legislators in all fifty states the chance to meet their young constituents personally, in the classrooms of their districts – to talk about what it's like to be a state legislator, to share ideas, to listen to concerns, and to impart a greater understanding of the legislative process. Legislators and students interact in informal discussions, participate in mock legislative sessions or simulated public hearings, and even draft bills together. Kickoff week is the third week in September, but members can engage in the program at any time during the school year. Veteran staff members coordinate the program and stand ready to help legislators with scheduling school visits, media alerts, class materials, and suggestions for interacting with students. Teachers, parents, and students can contact these coordinators as well, in order to match their school with their legislator and invite them to "join the class."
On August 21, Representative Patricia Smith and Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Broome made a presentation to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) about the program and received the board's formal endorsement. State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek asked to "tag along" on some classroom visits to observe this civic education program first-hand.
For more information, visit the National Conference of State Legislators' Back to School home page at http://www.ncsl.org/public/backsch.htm