Government & Politics

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

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.

Live chat

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
About Tyler Bridges

Tyler Bridges covers Louisiana politics and public policy for The Lens. He returned to New Orleans in 2012 after spending the previous year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where he studied digital journalism. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as a reporter for the Miami Herald, where he was twice a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning teams while covering state government, the city of Miami and national politics. He also was a foreign correspondent based in South America. Before the Herald, he covered politics for seven years at The Times-Picayune. He is the author of The Rise of David Duke (1994) and Bad Bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards (2001). He can be reached at (504) 810-6222.

  • sbeattyTheLens

    Folks, we had a number of questions that couldn’t be asked during the live chat. We appreciate the intense interest in this important topic. We skipped some questions because they were quite technical, going in the details of Common Core and PARCC that would prove difficult to answer in such an abbreviated forum. Others, predictably, were ad hominem attacks, and we’re not in the business of promoting name calling.

    I’ll post a few questions here, grouping them by topic where possible. If the senator’s typing fingers are up for it and his schedule allows, we’re inviting him to answer here in the comments.

    Steve Beatty, editor

  • sbeattyTheLens

    One commenter said PARCC signed a cooperative endeavor agreement with the US Dept. of Ed to allow the federal government ongoing access to student data. Appel said there is no such relationship. Another commenter points out: Yes there is very much so a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between PARCC and US-ED.

  • sbeattyTheLens

    One unasked question:
    If common core standards are so rigorous, why are the current Core four high school standards higher in level than common core? And why can’t local parishes make the decisions to be involved in common core or not?

  • sbeattyTheLens

    Appel said the state rolled out a pilot program this year, with some students taking on computer — which is the way the system is designed — and some with paper and pencil. One commenter asks….

    “Evidently LDOE does not realize that testing conditions, particularly for a high stakes test, have to be similar for all test takers for the scores to be valid. If some students take paper and pencil and some computer it is inherently inequitable. Do you believe the state will be able to defend itself against lawsuits in that regard?”

  • sbeattyTheLens

    Two related comments:
    With all due respect to Bridget and Conrad, there are thousands of us who do not agree that Louisiana’s public schools are for the benefit of big biz; in fact our constitution does not say this at all.

    It keeps being stated that we need these standards to further our economic status. Yet we have jump start that pegs kids into a low paying hole right out of the gate. Also, I sent my children to school to be exposed to the process of learning, not become a worker bee for the state.

  • sbeattyTheLens

    And one last comment, which criticizes Appel and The Lens.

    “When will elected officials who can insulate the effects of the electorate with money, ever be held accountable if we do not have investigative reporters to inform of the half-truths and semantics used to misinform the public on Common Core and everything else. Truly a waste when Sen. Appel does not get called to task for engaging in this.”