Over 200000. Louisiana high school students have gone to college in just the last fifteen years because of the tops scholarship program. They're tuition is free. But they've earned it. Like taking the tough curriculum in high school by maintaining a good GPA. And by making at least twenty on the ACT exam. The -- plan is the Taylor opportunity program for students. Named after Patrick Taylor. The visionary oilman who saw the need to encourage kids to believe in themselves. And to help those who could dream big. But needed financial help to realize them. Again over 200000 Louisiana students have gone to college because of tops. It is now concept that is in 23 other states. One man's vision changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. That vision is now carried on by pat Taylor's wife Phyllis who was very much a partner in her husband's work. She joins us for the next hour to talk about the future of the Taylor plan. The incredible man. She was married to and the remarkable life she continues to live. I am genuinely thrilled -- here. And it's my -- well engine and thank you happy now we have a lot to talk about we we go back many decades of a few a couple of decades but just I remember him. I just remember with such affection and appreciation. All of that you and Patrick to it. Thirty years ago 25 years ago his loss was -- but I will never forget the conversation -- one day talking about. That the origin of the Taylor plant in speaking to that school. Middle school and having his eyes wide open. Yes you know it was. Somewhat Sarin -- it is I would imagine in that. In the past when Patrick went to Q motivational talks it was always to scoot with bright extending she. But in this instance he is going to the Livingston middle school. To speak to seventh and eighth graders who had been written off by the program. Mania and failed. They had no interest in scoot. And so that night although I was out of town. He apparently paced the floor frantically trying to determine what could be the -- inspiration to reach these young people. He came up with the idea that idea became known as the news skits. So -- -- heat to move that 1837. And eighth graders. Meaning to MacPhail twice -- read that if they stayed skin. Did the right work. Didn't get involved with time he would pay for their college education. At any public university in the state police. You can imagine the response it's. It was so tremendous received national recognition Mike Wallace came down as exit special on sixty minutes next year twice with an update. And the response of children. And more importantly the response of the faculty at the school. And the parents of the children. Came to thinking that maybe there was a recent one easy than it was at the bottom. Nationally when it came to students going to each. So -- doing the search. He prepared -- legislation. Which was test coincident. 25 years ago this month. That plan addressed only. I college opportunity. For children of deep base -- Sitting -- income cap of 25000. Port depending upon the number of -- in 35000. The -- after five years and the success. It was realized by Patrick and by members of the -- Tremendously supported. It made the program possible. That we weren't addressing the needs of all of our citizens. So the discussion became. Perhaps we should raise income cap. After the search was done it was realized that even by race yet. You were eliminating -- in such a small percentage of our citizens -- says entry that maybe it was better just to take the cap on complete. So. In 1989. I'm sorry in in 1990 -- The first deal once past that deal became known as the to -- an opportunity program the students pops. After Patrick did the legislature. In magnanimous. Gesture. Passed legislation. Changing the word tuition to Taylor in recognition of on going work that he had done in conceding that I'd the year. ID with the members of the legislature to get past and then working statewide so fervor. To promote the program to make parents faculty and children aware of the program. So it yes it had a wonderful wonderful story and an incredible concert quits. I want in -- if that is a week we have a lot talk about about some of the challenges that are coming up in the future with -- plan. -- But I wanna go back to the very human element because I remember well the Mike Wallace story. And I think all of us who worked at W underwhelming at Mike Wallace was a tough guy. Very tough reporter and we thought of all the reporters there signing Mike Wallace to do this or he's chosen to do it what is it gonna do what he obviously. Adored Patrick -- Because the peace captured. The absence of the of the feeling Patrick had of these kids don't have help. And we need to give them hope and look what will happen if we do give them. They rise. And and it just was such a meaningful thing. In your being very modest that's why put into the of the Little League in this is now in 23 states. -- -- And is this a sudden some of the -- not yes right right -- there's certain modifications of limitation. No state has the program as extensively. As we do here and BC we are steel industry. And that's the way we should look at it as lead stay with us everyone we're gonna continue on a journey in the past and into the future with Phyllis Taylor. I'm Angela under the anyway. Our very special guest today Phyllis Taylor who. Not married to wonderful marriage to Patrick Taylor a dynamic teen. And they created the Taylor plan and that's what we've been listening to on top says it's known which is the scholarship opportunity for every child in the state. Not to go to college meaning of certain criteria but just an incredible opportunity and over 200000. Young people have graduated from college because of this program we have a color Howard from Texas Howard. Okay that you know an Angel in this tale. The -- way in the late -- greatly with the top program went to school. And -- work really annoyed but as well formal wife and I had kept parents of this -- program. And you know corporate -- order that you can get into the top program making good grades. -- that did that would really appreciates session com of these -- student loans that happening to kids. I think parents need to work with the kids. And if the child works hole like that parents were caught. These Christ did bones and -- -- these kids when you get out. Sir I can't thank you enough about that comment because that was something I wanna talk about as well. It is a crisis in this country to student loans and for an opportunity like this. It's a godsend. And so we do I do appreciate it. Definitely. 37. Years old now but I do appreciate the program in Italy and I live in Texas now. And maybe my grandkids could -- yields were the same drill program. But I will be appreciated coming up and thank you and your husband I do work hard we start small and this industry. And I think the laws need more people like stimulus. Ditto. What -- thank you -- and note that it was taxpayers' hard dollars that. Made that program possible for your daughter and hopefully. Will continue on for your grand children as well. No thank you very much and that's. You know that as a microcosm of Afghan lives that were affected by this and he makes the very valid point of it is up to parents to encourage kids. So I believe my gosh you can go to college any school in the state and public school in the state. But this is your responsibility to keep the great. Corrected and you know engine actually they can go to in the east news in the state it's just that if they select a projects to only a portion of there tuition is -- So we have top students at two -- Xavier. Is -- Loyola. All of the private universities. So the criteria it is I have to take a certain curriculum in high school that is -- Correct. Through the years of the program the -- has you've ops of that now we have. Four units of English required for -- of math four units of science. Four units but social studies. Two units of a foreign language. And a -- unit of steel spine ports. So that is a total of nineteen credit hours that they must take and those or strenuous. Math science English courses. History's -- now. Which I find very important our young people need to know the story of our nation. And that only leaves are very few number of objectives because it's 24 units to graduate from high school in nineteen of those are in the core curriculum. But again to have that opportunity. To note that if you fulfill that you'll get a college education and then once you get to you do have to have a to owning them and -- to -- And and that is doable. That certainly is doable. You know Louisiana has a very very long way and this movement that has been up. To try to raise the NE CT. Needs to have some consideration. Of putting a twenty ACT in context. The legislation as as as it exists today says that the student in order to qualify. Much -- reached the state. National average or better. Thoughts since we now require all of our high school students to take the ACT our state average has gone down somewhat. -- let's look at what -- used nationally. As opposed to what we bar for the tops program. Nationally. The ECT is twenty point 9%. -- 29% but twenty point nine so we -- point nine off the national average. When this program started those students in Louisiana that would -- -- HTT it was not a usual for you to see. 1516. Seventeen school. We now have -- averaging. Twenty and actually that's not correct we now have been averaging. But it is critical for us to keep it at that. Twenty point level so that we reach those students who have not had the opportunity. And the expo this year. To the finest of education -- home environment. The use of the young people that are going to help develop the workforce and our state. If we want to increase our numbers. As far as those students going to college if we want to increase on numbers as far as those students that are going to join the workforce. It's going to be from that base a -- population that has not been exposed to post secondary education in the past. Could not agree with you more we have done a number of programs on the very real concern in the state with. The good news of industry coming here and they're projecting 40000 jobs and are we going to have prepared workforce. And certainly now the business community working with the college is very important. And we're not just talking four year college. Two year technical schools as well. My argument is how could any but. Question. The benefit. Of the -- program who's also screaming for a good workforce. -- you get no argument from me here. It's just it's almost maddening at times to think that there's even even a question. About that the continuation of tops and it is usually tops is always going to be here but there are those in the legislature who. Our. Trying to fiddle around with that it cost money you set yourself felicity is taxpayer money. But to the taxpayer. Isn't that money well spent. Well certainly I agree totally with that. You'd look at how far we -- column in the last 25 years. The legislature had in fact. Adopted. Sub of the proposals with regard to -- CT and GP aid last year. Some 191000. Students would have lost their pops opposite. Those that the very students that we have been working with and are over these years. We have. Much larger proportion. Of our students at our help qualified. That are now receiving that tops scholarship is well. This makes it possible put in to go to university to zip on the campus to have a true university experience. The increase in the African American population the Latino population. With report to tops rhesus. Recipient. Has. Increased tremendously. This is what we need to face going forward are we going to stop that advancement. Are we going to that it contains. On that note we're gonna have to go to the newsroom but listen to the fire. Phyllis Taylor right after this. Phyllis Taylor are very special guest today talking about tops incredible scholarship program. That has helped educate hundreds of thousands of Louisiana students on giving them on a real opportunity in life. Regardless of to have money or not. If they just have the will to make those grades together and they have that scholarship and of course tops is really the Taylor plan. Formed after she and her husband started a program 25 years ago Angela I have to interrupt. -- simply to say I can take absolutely no credit card and the -- you know my husband understood what it was like to get a college education. And to have funding because. He was on his own when he was sixteen. I sort of took that for granted because of course my family was always there to back me. So -- learn through him and his experience and his passion. For education. To become -- advocate that I am today. -- you feel a little quote of Patrick's which kind of tells you why I carried this mission on -- almost ten years now since his death. And this is what he says. We cannot today east of ballot celebrate the life of our children. If we had not prepared to both guarantee that opportunity. And defend. We've continued illness. Well he has the greatest foot soldier in the world defending. What -- doing and you are here fighting the good fight. And hopefully it will always be -- let's go to some caller -- I think that Michelle your son graduated from Tulane on tops. -- -- -- -- I go. Like -- or only about the opt out. Get out and out apart at -- Other that they. Could not afford to pay for college. It that well. Scholarships or. That didn't -- -- It. Oh yeah and I helped supplement that. A lot of apple graduate school Giuliani. And -- that the top program really. Did they really pushed -- to succeed. -- it's not that cheap very prestigious school. Well this is music to our ears and it's the real life example. Not somebody who did the work and thank heaven for the scholarship and look at him now. Thank you so much for this call. -- -- -- -- Well we thank you too and you know -- sun today is one. Sixties. I'm sorry 76%. Of the graduate to graduate from Louisiana high schools had been taken and qualified. Four of the top score curriculum. Rocket this program only about 15%. Of our students actually took what. She classified the whole art courses. So we just lets you know what an impact even in high screw. This program has had. Bill and I think that's appointed racists of all. And when it becomes the reality of I can really go to college even in my parents may not have any money I can do it and I can can dream. Another wonderful thing about to your husband who has. I got to end seeing an event where he was named one of the Horatio Alger. Recipients. And then gave a program locally this is nationally he won the -- and locally. And to hear his story in which you just touched on that at sixteen he wants on zone. And yet he came to Louisiana he got an education and look to to -- unbelievable Taylor energy and just. It was a man of vision and subtle like a dog with a bone when it came to. Seeing -- whatever that. Mission laws became a rebound now and it and it has become reality we're gonna take another quick break we'll be back and -- I do one atop a little bit about. Specifically what they're trying to change. And -- we can do to fight it right after that is. Phyllis Taylor our special guest today talking about the -- program. How it has grown in the last 25 years remarkable. But there's and we want it said it -- and we've had some callers it is for all public and private colleges and universities in the state. But if you go to -- choose to go to -- private school you would only get that amount that is if a little portion of elite. Comparable -- as though you're going to the public's -- would be paid toward -- tuition at that private university right. Now let's talk about something else very happy you found out today about. The Patrick Taylor high school yes of course I was thrilled to win Jefferson Parish. School board decided to name this public high school reform my husband that Patrick -- Taylor science and technology academy. And died there in today that they are now ranked forty Stepan. Of the 100. Top high school it's in the United States. Just -- it we have it we have right here. -- is you've just so true and this is Cisco that is accomplished this in a relatively short period time. In a matter of two and a twelve heat as they are ranking 47. He's cute she hoped to know what can be done. In our public schools absolutely. That we've got bright kids we've just. With that bright kids and that's the bottom line -- with people who care which we do then. They can be 47 in the United States are higher or higher will check back next year perhaps it will be higher. I wanted to talk a little bit about you before we went back to the tops. You you are remarkable and everybody knows that you've just been so generous. In not gesture yeah. Philanthropy but in your creativity in in your thoughtfulness programs. I know that -- part of tooling and know that you've done you built this beautiful help build this beautiful. Launch for hope lodge for those who were ill with cancer and need a place to stay. And yet. You you. Have a good life -- you're enjoying I do you know I I believe fit in -- to really accomplish what to put on this earth to do. There needs to be some balance in soup sometimes she needs to. Step back in have a little time for yourself. Put two thoughts together. And they knew you move forward more effective than I I hope that's what I can achieve we'll that your still fighting the good fight for what is absolutely right. And that is that having -- plan that we're very proud of in the state. In the coming months and year perhaps since it was brought up this last legislative session. The concern of some in the legislature's that is costing too much. And and I'm sure you have every argument in the world against that that in fact it is money very well spent. But you will -- in the coming months of meetings with people. Yes they're going to be several studies that are being done we will participate a in at various levels in this and then once again once the legislative session starts. We will do our bit to try to. Our breeze home to the members of the Louisiana legislature the importance of the program. The importance of the continuation. Of the program. Well I think as we've said earlier the bottom line is we need an educated workforce. This is one very important method of getting it. And it's just. How can we how we go backwards I think that's it's not to say that there can't be fine tuning of certain aspects but it's just a a situation that works. They're right an Angela what are the things have now. Card is as we go forward we mentioned this earlier about. -- -- education with the workforce needs. I must admit that the tops ten portion. Of the legislation has not been successful. That's certainly needs to be carved out in re -- And be as standalone programs so hopefully we will see something done in that regard. You can't. In the same breath talked to a student about. Getting an associate degree and getting a four year -- together it's two separate conversations. And two separate programs. So we've learned that over the years. And then I also realized that. The man on the street. When he heaters. That. The -- program is going to cost this year 235. Million dollars. That's a stunning number even for a Bill Gates. What you have to put it in proportion. To what the cost or in -- keep in mind that our state budget is 25. Billion with a B dollars. And higher education budget is two point six billion with a B dollars. So then when you talk about 235. Million at the tops program. Which is educating. Almost 50050000. Students. Brings it back into proportion. And another important factor is we can't forget the constitutional. Amendment that than him. That are voting public adopted several years ago which now allocates the tobacco funds yet to the tops program. This year. At least fifteen million dollars all of that 235. Million will calm from the to back up by. So now what you're talking about is about a 185. Million dollars coming from the general fund a big sound in deed is it worth that. It gets my -- Gets my vote many times over gets my vote. And I think you've you've put it perfectly into perspective. We have talked about how. That I'm sure that legislature is frustrated at times because it is so limited on how it can. Not prioritize. Funds and is it can't. Touched so many the only two canned this healthcare and education so those are the ones that get manipulated. Where I think. Were perhaps at a time where we need to look at changing that constitutional. So that every time we have these sessions it isn't that hair pulling out and it's -- with higher -- and health care. Yes I think is Rico following him every now and then. I I believe the state needs to as the news that -- its overall. Picture and structured because as times changed needs change. And so perhaps it's is now the time for consideration that -- What are the other things to that that I think the legislature could look at its. As we go forward. Based upon what has occurred in the last few years with a part to tops and the funding by the state of higher education. Where it. The general funds have. Greatly diminished. An argument could be made that what the legislature is doing now use the same. Process and program that we had in our K through twelve system the money follows the street. So remember hops to reissued. Does not go to the student it goes directly to the university. It is justice though it was part of a general appropriation. So if the -- you -- is to go to a particular excuse. That state funding will follow that student. It is a way of creating a sense of competition amongst our universities. And it's a time when we have the best population and we have student capacity at our universities. This may be an effective approach. You're never gonna give life knowing date now. We just hope that you continue. All of your good works and means so much to the state that you don't already that you are enjoying your life. And that you stay with this and and continue to will do follow ups on. I've I would be happy to may be a once the legislative session starts in we see where things directed. I would be delighted to come to share the story with the public in general just so that they you know where and that they could speak out they don't have to agree with the but speak out to the member of -- legislate. Do you like that you know -- don't like it and you think there are other things let them know that is where. Hear the voices. For -- -- a very power. Thank you Phyllis Taylor we're gonna have you back. And thank you for Patrick Taylor's well thank you mentioned we'll be right back.