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Louisiana Public Square - 2020

Dialogue on Disparity | September 2020 | Louisiana Public Square

As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, it’s exposed health disparities between blacks and whites. African-Americans are three times more likely to become infected from the virus and twice as likely to die. In the midst of the epidemic, the death of George Floyd has reignited debates about racial inequities within the criminal justice system. And, political analysts are already expressing fear that certain voting practices will discourage minority participation in November’s critical election. So, how is Louisiana addressing health inequities in its battle against the coronavirus? How is it confronting racial disparities when enforcing the law? And, what barriers to voting exist for people of color in the state and can they be overcome? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Dialogue on Disparity” Wednesday, September 23 at 7pm on LPB.

Reopening Education | July 2020 | Louisiana Public Square

The COVID-19 outbreak in March triggered the closing of all of Louisiana’s public and private schools, serving over 800 thousand K-12 students. Colleges and universities closed through the spring semester and two-thirds of early learning centers were shuttered. Five months later amid a statewide surge in cases, nearly 67 percent of childcare facilities are operating again and the Louisiana Department of Education, Board of Secondary and Elementary Education and Board of Regents have issued standards for reopening K-12 and college campuses. So, what will Louisiana’s next school year look like? What health concerns do students and teachers face? How will buses handle reduced capacity requirements? How will younger students regain the nine weeks of in-person instruction they missed? Are longer school days in the future? And, how successful can online instruction be when one-third of the state’s households lack internet access? Louisiana Public Square addresses the challenges and concerns of students and educators re-entering pre-K through higher ed classrooms on “Reopening Education”.

Pulse of a Pandemic | April 2020 | Louisiana Public Square

In just a matter of months, a microscopic virus has wreaked havoc around the globe and here in Louisiana. The outbreak has caused deaths and illness while leaving stress and uncertainty in its wake. Louisiana Public Square helps to bring clarity and calm in an hourlong special edition answering questions about the status of the epidemic in the state, financial assistance for those in need and economic concerns moving forward. Join Governor John Bel Edwards, members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, and other experts.

Hacked! | February 2020 | Louisiana Public Square

In July, four Louisiana public school districts were hit by computer hackers infecting networks with ransomware. In November, multiple state websites were cyberattacked, triggering a shutdown of servers and a disruption of some services. Just weeks later, the New Orleans’ mayor declared a state of emergency following a breach of the city’s entire computer network by ransomware software. So, how vulnerable are Louisiana’s computer systems to hacking? How can the state and its residents protect personal information from being compromised? And will conflicts with Iran lead to more aggressive cyberattacks against U.S. entities? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Hacked!”

Vaping in Louisiana | January 2020 | Louisiana Public Square

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.