Live chat: State Sen. Conrad Appel talks about Common Core, other bills

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State Sen. Conrad Appel will be online Thursday at 1 p.m. with Lens readers to discuss the controversial Common Core standards, other education matters and bills before the state Legislature.

Appel, R-Metairie, chairs the Senate Education Committee. In 2012, he played a key role in helping Gov. Bobby Jindal pass Acts 1, 2 and 3, which required greater accountability for schools and school districts, expanded Louisiana’s school voucher program statewide and established a master plan for early childhood education in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers opposed Acts 1 and 2. It has succeeded in winning a court case against Act 1, which has been appealed, and a case involving Act 2 that has prevented Jindal from using public-education funds for the voucher program.

Appel has been a strong supporter of the Common Core education standards that Louisiana adopted in 2010. This year, teachers unions, some school

superintendents, conservative legislators and parents have tried to repeal Common Core or delay its implementation. Appel opposes those efforts.

Appel, 62, was elected in a special election in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011 with no opposition. He had never held elected office before.

His district includes the east bank of Jefferson Parish and a portion of Orleans Parish around Audubon Park.

Appel owns Construction South, a commercial construction company in Metairie with about 100 employees. He chaired the Port of New Orleans before he came to the state Senate. As a senator, he sponsored legislation that created the Louisiana International Commerce Board to attract business to the state.

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