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Friday, August 17, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Chris Meyer
New Schools for Baton Rouge

Chris Meyer is founder and CEO of New Schools for Baton Rouge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating new, excellent schools for every child in the Achievement Zone – an area of North Baton Rouge where more than 12,000 students currently attend a failing school. He most recently served as Deputy Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District and prior to that, Special Advisor to the Louisiana education superintendent, Paul Pastorek, and Director of Policy for the Department of Education. Chris was a member of the 2008-2009 class of White House Fellows, where he served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.

He found his passion for public service as an educator in New Orleans, where he taught high school social studies and coached basketball at John McDonogh High School. Following the flood of New Orleans in 2005, he led over 200 evacuee students to achieve significant academic gains in a neighboring rural parish. Beyond the classroom, Meyer has contributed to numerous public service and policy efforts, including in the White House, United States Congress, Office of the Mayor of New York City, and for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he was a Public Service Fellow and he is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University where he received his B.A. in Political Science and Political Economy.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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