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Panelist Bio

Debra Vaughan
The Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives

Debra Vaughan is the Assistant Director of Research for the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives. The Cowen Institute is a unique entity that takes Tulane University beyond the typical framework of higher education institutions that interact with K-12 public education systems through Schools of Education or Public Policy. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the Cowen Institute is pioneering a new model for the role of universities to play in public schooling systems. The Cowen Institute aspires to be the premier university-based entity where individuals and communities learn about best practices for programs, partnerships, and policies for transforming K-12 public school systems. The Cowen Institute is recognized locally and nationally as a resource for unbiased, meaningful reports depicting the impact of education reforms in New Orleans.

Debra Vaughan joined the Cowen Institute to lead the research team in 2010. The research team is tasked with chronicling, evaluating, and researching the transformation of public education in New Orleans. Prior to her position at the Cowen Institute, Debra spent eight years as the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Public Education Foundation (PEF), a local education fund with a history of success developing innovative programs that improve student achievement in public schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In addition to authoring and co-authoring several articles, Debra has presented her work to local and state-level stakeholders and at many national conferences, including the Public Education Network, the National College Access Network, and the American Educational Research Association. Prior to her career in education research, Debra was an economic analyst at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency and an economics professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Current Topic

10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?

The presidential election may be getting all of the attention, but Louisiana residents will be making several important decisions at the ballot box in November. The U.S. Senate seat left up for grabs by retiring Sen. David Vitter has drawn a field of 24 candidates. Louisianians in the south- and northwest parts of the state will also be voting on congressmen. So, what national concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall? What statewide issues should be on the mind of Louisiana’s next Congressional leaders? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Election 2016” Wednesday, October 26 at 7p.m.

Our Panelists:

• Elizabeth Crisp / The Advocate
• Greg Hilburn / Gannett Newspapers
• Martin Johnson, Ph.D. / LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
• Albert Samuels, Ph.D. / Mandela School of Public Policy, Southern University

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Patricia Smith, with the College of Government and Social Sciences at Southern University, moderate the discussion.

“Election 2016” 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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What lessons did residents and state officials learn from this historic event and what challenges remain?

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What difference has a decade made?

07/16 - Regular and Extraordinary: Legislative Review

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06/16 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces (encore)

Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

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