Louisiana senator makes education top priority by substitute teaching


When one U.S. politician entered the political scene, he made education a top priority. So much so that he’s devoted the last decade to substitute teaching at a local school.

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Louisiana senator John Neely Kennedy has been walking the halls of a local elementary school just outside of Baton Rouge for the last 14 years, standing in for full-time instructors on at least 40 different occasions.

The Republican was elected as the junior senator from Louisiana last November, after serving 17 years as state treasurer. He was inspired to take on the teaching job during his days as a treasurer after listening in on a committee meeting held by state legislators.

"It occurred to me that none of us had really been in a public school for 20 or 30 years," he told ABC News. "So I called up the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, and I said, 'Do you need substitute teachers?' They said, "Yeah, badly.'"

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He’s been educating students ever since, but he’s learned a lot in the process, too.

Kennedy has discovered that teachers play multiple roles. From nursing and counseling to parenting and mentoring, “it’s an incredibly hard job,” he said.

"You've got to experience this to appreciate it," he admitted. “Every single person that makes policy for elementary and secondary education, needs to substitute once a year.”