by Paul Dauphin
Working and living in this space where so many of us are advocates for school choice, we often view what we do from the inside out. In my role as the American Federation for Children’s Louisiana communications director, I must always consider the audience hearing our message.
Is the audience being exposed to school choice for the first time? Have they already formed an opinion? Are their views well informed, misinformed or is it just a matter of not having enough information?
I recently had the pleasure of appearing on a Cumulus Radio-Baton Rouge (La.) talk show with Louisiana Federation for Children President and AFC Board Member Ann Duplessis. We discussed the state’s school choice options and how these options have benefited Louisiana families.
This was our first interview with the show’s host Tonja Myles. It provided an opportunity to introduce Myles and many in her audience to school choice. While more than 78,000 Louisiana students are enrolled in public charter schools and private school choice programs, Myles said many of her listeners still have a negative view of educational choice.
Duplessis told listeners that opposition to parental choice options are well-funded and coordinated. She described part of her mission as one of helping parents recognize misrepresentations and to separate fact from fiction.
“Educate yourself, learn more about it. There are very strong special interest groups who are trying to stop the progress that is being made and stop the ability for families to be able to choose,” said Duplessis.
“We believe that through effective communications we can help people who are being impacted understand the rhetoric and help to drive the change themselves,” Duplessis added.
For Myles, the interview was illuminating and the beginning of an ongoing community dialogue.
“You have schooled me and I know you probably have done the same to a lot of people who are listening.”
Listen below for interview highlights.