Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options to Host Community Forum Thursday

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The Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options (LaBAEO) will host a community forum this week in Baton Rouge. Keeping the Promise - Our Kids: Our Choice will take place Thursday April 14, 2011 at 6:30pm at Community Bible Baptist Church, 1729 Monte Sano Avenue in Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options (LaBAEO) will host a community forum this week in Baton Rouge. Keeping the Promise - Our Kids: Our Choice will take place Thursday April 14, 2011 at 6:30pm at Community Bible Baptist Church, 1729 Monte Sano Avenue in Baton Rouge.

The forum is designed to provide parents with a venue to not only learn about existing options for K-12 education in Baton Rouge, but to also provide them with a venue to voice their concerns for expanding those options. LaBAEO provides a presence for the national parental choice organization, BAEO, throughout Louisiana. The group has worked extensively in New Orleans over the last few years to advocate alongside parents for the extremely popular state funded Students Scholarship for Educational Excellence (SSEE) program. The SSEE program currently provides scholarships to approximately 1,700 low-income students to attend private schools in Orleans Parish. In addition to its support of the SSEE program, LaBAEO has worked closely with allies to create awareness and support for charter schools, homeschooling, magnet schools, and supplemental educational services or afterschool programs. LaBAEO has been committed to providing parents with information on a range of existing and emerging educational options in Louisiana.

During the recent 5-day registration period for the SSEE program, LaBAEO found a large number of Orleans and Jefferson Parish parents interested in the SSEE program who did not qualify because of residential requirements. The SSEE program currently is only available to families in Orleans Parish who would normally be zoned for a failing school in that parish. In addition to Jefferson Parish, parents in East Baton Rouge parish and the surrounding region have questioned why such a program is not available beyond Orleans Parish.

"We continue to hear from parents in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lake Charles, and other parts of Louisiana that they want more options for their children. We're making excellent strides in advancing K-12 education, however we have a huge number parents that are demanding high quality options for their children and they can't wait," said Shree' Medlock, National Advocacy Director for BAEO. "We're holding this forum to expose parents to the range of possibilities that exist for their children, to help these families have a voice in Baton Rouge K-12 education delivery."

LaBAEO has held a number of parent workshops in Baton Rouge, where parents questioned the availability of the SSEE program. Parent surveys, inquiries via the LaBAEO website, and on its social media sites show a strong desire from Baton Rouge area parents to be able to access the SSEE program as well as other non-traditional K-12 options. While LaBAEO strongly supports a broad range of options, it believes parents must clearly understand how to determine the best option for their child.

The community forum will be a parent led and parents centered dialogue on education in
Baton Rouge.

Please contact Eric B. Lewis at 225.408.9323 or via email at elewis@sableint.net for
additional information or to schedule an interview.

For more information on the Black Alliance for Educational Options in Louisiana, please visit
http://louisiana.baeo.org.

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Eric Lewis
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