Equal Time: Why universal pre-K may help stem crime

 

As Congress deliberates this week on what should be included in the reconciliation bill, child care and specifically universal pre-K is being debated. Educators, parents and doctors have long advocated for pre-K. Another group has added its voice to the chorus: law enforcement.

Mary C. Curtis sits down with Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, the president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, to discuss how early education helps develop life skills.

The education gap

Slavery, Jim Crow laws and COVID-19 all have contributed to a yawning gap between white public school students and students of color. While the 1950s Supreme Court decision known as Brown v. Board of Education was supposed to correct “separate but equal,” there is still a long way to go before public schools can talk about equity. Mary C. Curtis talks with Terra Wallin of the Education Trust to understand how we arrived at this moment and how the nation’s public schools can do better.

Who is afraid of critical race theory?

Even as the U.S. will likely have a federal holiday to mark June 19th or Juneteenth — an important date not a part of many history books — battles over teaching race continue. After the murder of George Floyd, many sought to learn lessons that were absent in the traditional white-washed version of American history taught for generations.

But educating students about race — what some call critical race theory — has become another flashpoint in the culture wars pitting red against blue. Mary C. Curtis talks with education policy expert Jazmyne Owens of New America about why some states are trying to ban the teaching of systemic racism and what it will mean if they succeed.

Sorry, but ‘Gone With the Wind’ is not a history book

The White House issued a proclamation last week, of the sort that most presidents have issued about historical events that deserve commemorating, but that were missing, for the most part, during the Trump reign.

This one marked the 60th anniversary of the first Freedom Rides, on May 4, 1961, when traveling on a bus meant risking your life, if you were with an integrated group, sitting in a spot of your choice. Those southbound heroes were willing to face beatings and the unknown at the hands of fellow citizens intent on stopping progress by any means necessary. Angry and afraid, the violent white supremacist mobs refused to acknowledge the humanity of African Americans or the validity of any law that looked forward not back.

It’s the reality — and not the myth of uncomplicated greatness the country has told the world and itself for far too long.

And it’s not always pretty.

For that reason, many Republicans want to “cancel” it, to use a word today’s conservatives have been misusing with reckless abandon. They’d like to erase the history and the essential lessons that reveal so much about how and why America is so divided and its systems — of health care, housing, education and more — so inequitable in 2021.

Local News Roundup: CMS Prepares For In-Person Class; Transit Plan Gets Movement; New Names For Charlotte Streets

City Council okays a recommendation to rename Charlotte streets with white supremacist ties, but what those new names might be is up in the air. We’ll talk about the council discussion.

Charlotte’s transit plan will need some tweaks if City Council wants to get the regional support it’s hoping for. We’ll update you about what’s being said in council and in northern Mecklenburg County.

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a COVID-19 relief bill — the first of 2021. The bill is designed to help schools reopen, extend a deadline for parents coping with remote learning and fund vaccine distribution. We’ll discuss.

And Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students return to the classroom. The youngest students begin in-person learning on Monday, keeping the plan that was approved in February. We’ll talk about what this will mean for each age group as well as continued concerns for risk to teachers and students.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time” and contributor at WCCB-TV

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Hunter Saenz, reporter for WCNC

Exploring America’s Racial Divide

It’s a challenge that has been with America since its beginning: Where are Americans now, as they deal with a pandemic, economic upheaval and a racial reckoning and what are the paths to unity?

POLITICAL WRAP: How Soon Should Students Return to School?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The debate over school re-openings intensifies, amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

It comes as new data shows nearly one in four American teachers are at higher risk of serious illness if they contract coronavirus.

Click above for more with our political contributor, Mary C. Curtis.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: VP Pence Visits CLT; Huntersville Ed Committee Recommendations

On this edition of the Charlotte Talks local news roundup:

The Huntersville education advisory commission recommends that the town operate its own charter school and split from CMS, a move that one CMS official says is “politically driven. How likely is this outcome?

Vice President Mike Pence was in the Queen City this week for an RNC Kickoff Meeting, as next year’s Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, is getting closer. What was the purpose of this visit, and what have we learned about plans for the 2020 Republican National Convention?

As abortion legislation is passed around the country, rallies are taking place nationwide, and here in the Queen City. We’ll talk about a Charlotte rally where anti-abortion and abortion-rights advocates clashed.

In South Carolina, the House and the Senate have now approved around $120 million in tax breaks to offer to the Carolina Panthers to entice them to move practice fields and the team’s headquarters to the state from North Carolina.

And get ready to start your engines — this weekend is the second “Race Weekend” in a row for Charlotte (we hosted the NASCAR All-Star Race last Saturday, and this weekend is the Coca-Cola 600). What should we know to attend the event or avoid the crowds?

Those stories and much more with Mike Collins and a panel of journalists on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Alexandra OlginWFAE Reporter

Glenn Burkins, editor and publisher of QCityMetro.com

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News 

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

March For Students and Rally For Respect

CHARLOTTE, NC –On the first day of the N.C. legislature’s short session, more than 15,000 teachers will be heading to Raleigh in an action they are calling the March for Students and Rally for Respect. Unlike teacher walkouts in other states, notably West Virginia, North Carolina’s action will be one day only – but teachers taking part hope it won’t end there.