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Sunday, August 20, 2017
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About Louisiana Public Square


Louisiana Public Square is LPB’s monthly public affairs program. It provides citizens a forum to voice their opinions and concerns about issues affecting Louisiana to leading experts and key decision makers. LPB has received state and national recognition for the series and we are proud that it serves as a model for other stations around the country. One of the primary goals of Louisiana Public Square is to allow different points of view to be expressed and heard. Oftentimes we have seen attitudinal changes of discussion participants after being exposed to other opinions on the program. (You can track these changes in attitude at our surveys link.)

One of the key features of this format is the depth and insightfulness of the discussion and questions generated in the crucible of citizen deliberations on a small group level. These queries are informed by not only the background material, but by the give-and-take dynamic of an open forum, skillfully moderated so that all are encouraged to speak their mind.

Louisiana Public Square evolved from the deliberative democracy concept of the MacNeil/Lehrer Productions’ By The People initiative. The goal is to encourage civic engagement and civil discourse – the foundations of a strong democracy.

Our Hosts


Beth Courtney
Host of Louisiana Public Square and President/CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting

Beth Courtney is the President/CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), which includes a statewide public television network with stations in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and an affiliated station in New Orleans, WLAE-TV. LPB is also responsible for the support and development of public television throughout Louisiana and serves as the state’s educational technology resource center. She is a member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the nine-member presidentially appointed board that oversees the federal funds for radio and television. She is Past Chairman of the Board of the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and former Vice Chairman of the Board of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). She is co-chairman of a PBS/APTS Board initiative to negotiate carriage of public broadcasting channels on digital cable and direct broadcast satellites. Ms. Courtney has chaired the PBS education, membership, and common carriage task forces. She currently serves on the Board of the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives (OSBE), and the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA).

Current Topic


     08/17 - Studying TOPS

Is TOPS a worthwhile incentive or a middle-class tax break?
Louisiana’s TOPS program provides free in-state college tuition for qualifying students. Up until recently, TOPS has covered the full amount so as tuition rose, so did the award. The state’s cost of funding the program has nearly tripled over the last ten years.

Students entering their senior year of high school this fall will face new regulations. TOPS awards will no longer automatically rise as tuition increases. That means TOPS recipients and their families will pay for the difference unless the Legislature specifically votes to raise TOPS again.

A legislative task force will study how to sustain the program this fall. So, is TOPS a worthwhile incentive or a middle-class tax break? Should TOPS be based on financial need? Should GPA standards be raised for recipients? Should TOPS graduates be required to stay in the state or pay back the award? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Studying TOPS” Wednesday, August 23 at 7 p.m. on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, August 22)
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/17 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges face our returning veterans?

Recent Topics


     07/17 - Industrial Tax Matters

What has been the impact of the changes made to the tax exemption plan?

     06/17 - Black & the Blue (ENCORE)

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?

     05/17 - Reforming Criminal Justice

Should alternatives to prison be used for criminals charged with non-violent offenses?

     04/17 - Coastal Restoration: The Next Wave

What new funding resources are available to the state?
»»» View all Topics!
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