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Panelist Bio


Lee Barrios
Public Education Activist

Lee Barrios was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as an “Air Force brat” who lived in numerous states and Europe. She worked in the private sector for 25 years, raised three children, and then returned to school to become a teacher at the age of 45. Ms. Barrios has an undergraduate degree in English and Journalism Education and received a M.Ed., in Secondary Education. She attained National Board Certification in 2003 and was Louisiana PTA State Educator of Distinction 2004/05.

Ms. Barrios’ degree in English and Journalism Education qualified her for a part time position as “stringer” for The Advocate, the only daily newspaper in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has since free-lanced and writes her own blog at http://www.geauxteacher.net.

Since retiring in 2010, Ms. Barrios has worked as a full-time advocate and public education activist both locally and nationally. She was invited to work with a group of local school board members and educators in 2010 to investigate the growing “reform” movement in our state. That work grew into the formal organization of the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education of which she is a founding member serving with union leaders, school board members, district superintendents, researchers, educators and community leaders.

Ms. Barrios has done extensive public speaking as an advocate for public education and ran for the Louisiana State Board for Elementary & Secondary Education “BESE” in 2011. Her work includes lobbying, organizing events, public speaking, writing, testifying at public meetings, and traveling extensively to assist individuals and organizations. She became involved with Save Our Schools in 2011 and attended the first national convention and march in Washington. Ms. Barrios was invited to join the current SOS Steering Committee early in 2012. She assisted in organizing The Peoples Convention in Washington that same year.

Ms. Barrios is opposed to the Common Core State Standards primarily because “they are inextricably attached to a high stakes standardized test which requires adherence to a standardized curriculum.” It’s Ms. Barrios’ belief that the standardization of curriculum over time not only impedes the development of divergent thinking, which is essential to the creative process, but also promulgates the deterioration of the naturally occurring divergent thinking capability that every pre-schooler possesses. To put it simply, Ms. Barrios says, “We are forcing children to learn one answer to a question rather than encouraging them to devise and examine many solutions to problems.”

Current Topic


09/16 - Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System

How well is the state’s public school system really performing?

One national survey ranks Louisiana as 49th for academic achievement of public school students. Another national report ranks the state dead last. So, how well is the state’s public school system really performing? Where is there room for improvement? What will the new federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” mean for education in Louisiana? And how have the historic summer floods changed things? Louisiana Public Square explores these issues and more on “Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD and in New Orleans on WLAE.

The panelists are
• Superintendent Michael Faulk, Central Community School System
• James D. Garvey, Jr. , BESE Board President
• Scott Richard, Executive Director, Louisiana School Boards Association
• Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D- Baton Rouge; House Education Committee

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and LSU Manship School of Mass Communication professor Robert Mann host the show. The program features interviews with Louisiana Education State Superintendent John White; Debbie Meaux, President of the Louisiana Association of Educators; Brigitte Nieland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Caddo Parish School Superintendent Dr. Theodis Lamar Goree.

“Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” 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.

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