Wednesday News: The bell's ringing


GOVERNOR COOPER SAYS IT'S TIME FOR KIDS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL: Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday he is “strongly urging” school districts to provide in-person instruction for all students — with coronavirus safety precautions in place — as pressure increases to reopen schools. “We’ve learned much more about this virus, and now it’s time to get our children back into the classroom,” Cooper said at a press conference. “Students should still have the option of remote learning this school year if that is best for them,” Cooper said. “And teachers who are at risk should be providing that remote instruction. But students who are ready to return to the classrooms should have that chance.” Cooper and Truitt sent a letter to the state’s school board members and superintendents to strongly encourage, but not require school districts to offer in-person instruction.

NC BOARD OF EDUCATION TO VOTE ON NEW SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS TODAY: Under a new proposal, public schools in the state would include topics like the oppression and contribution of women, racial groups and religious groups in social studies classes. The board will vote at 10 a.m. Debate over the proposed standards has been heated, as divisions over the changes have reflected national divisions on how history should be taught in schools. At issue is whether the proposed standards teach enough of the negative history of the United States to inspire progress or whether they do enough to encourage students to feel positively about their country to inspire unity. The proposed standards emphasize teaching history from multiple perspectives, including discussing racism, marginalized groups and the impact of policies on different populations. Students may be asked to compare narratives of different perspectives, critique systems and practices or explain how inequities continue today. This is the latest draft of the standards, which the board directed in July to address diversity and inclusion.

ARGUING WITH CARTOONS: MARK ROBINSON HAS TEMPER TANTRUM OVER KKK IMAGERY: North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is taking umbrage with an editorial cartoon that depicts Republicans as members of the KKK. “It’s something we cannot stand for, folks,” Robinson said at a press conference Tuesday to criticize the cartoon, published Tuesday on the CBC Opinion page of, which like WRAL-TV is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Co. Seth Effron, the opinion editor for Capitol Broadcasting, said the point of the cartoon is not to literally call Republicans KKK members. “Editorial cartoons are creative and provocative, using hyperbole and satire,” Effron wrote in an email. “No one believes Republicans on the State Board of Education are members of the Ku Klux Klan. The editorial cartoon by Dennis Draughon is meant to point out that these members of the State Board are trying to wipe out from the social studies curriculum the record of racism which includes the Klan and the segregationist practices that were imposed in our state and nation’s history.”

GOP STATE LAWMAKERS MOVE TO CRIMINALIZE BLM PROTESTS: That discussion has turned particularly intense in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other GOP leaders are pushing for a sweeping state bill to crack down on disruptive protests, creating new classes of crimes that include up to 15-years in jail if police declare that nine or more people have participated in a riot. DeSantis initially proposed the legislation last summer amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, singling out tactics associated with racial justice protests: damaging memorials and blocking roadways, while providing protection from lawsuits for drivers who push through such protests. Similar legislation has proliferated through statehouses around the country in recent years in response to racial justice demonstrations. At least 28 states considered bills that created new or harsher penalties for protesters last year, according to the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, a global organization focused on laws affecting civic freedom. The flurry of legislation has continued since the Capitol riot, many continuing to target blocking of traffic and shielding drivers who hit protesters. In Mississippi, lawmakers are considering a bill that would add up to one year in jail for protesters who block traffic. In Indiana, two state senators have proposed a bill that would make it harder for judges to grant bail to people who are arrested for attending an assembly considered unlawful. In a statement, DeSantis said the legislation “aims to stop violent assemblies, combat rioting and protect Florida’s law enforcement” and “does not discourage peaceful assembly or freedom of speech.” But Melba Pearson, a civil rights attorney and former homicide prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, said she worries the legislation will have a “chilling effect on free speech,” especially for minorities who decide to protest in Florida’s most conservative counties.

TRUMP'S PARDON OF STEVE BANNON IS NOT STOPPING MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Stephen K. Bannon, who received a last-minute pardon from former President Donald J. Trump after being indicted on federal charges of defrauding donors to a border wall, may yet face state charges in connection with the same scheme. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has begun investigating Mr. Bannon’s role in the fund-raising project for the wall and is also considering opening an investigation into Ken Kurson, who was also pardoned by Mr. Trump after he was charged with federal crimes related to cyberstalking and harassment, according to three people familiar with the matter. The decision to open an investigation into Mr. Bannon’s conduct and to consider doing so in the case of Mr. Kurson — a friend of the former president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — came after Manhattan prosecutors reviewed the list of the 143 pardons and commutations issued in the last hours of Mr. Trump’s term in office, one of the people familiar with the matter said. In August, the federal indictment accused Mr. Bannon, a former White House strategist who helped Mr. Trump ascend to the presidency in 2016, and three other men of cheating donors to We Build the Wall, an organization devoted to the construction of at least 100 miles of barrier on private land at the U.S. southern border. The indictment charged the men with having diverted some of the funds they had raised for their own personal use. According to court documents, Mr. Bannon received more than $1 million from the group. Mr. Bannon’s co-defendants — Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran who was the face of the project; Andrew Badolato; and Timothy Shea — were not pardoned by Mr. Trump, and still face charges. They have pleaded not guilty, as Mr. Bannon did before he was pardoned.



Vaccinate the teachers and staff, first

I keep seeing references to the lack of virus spread among schoolchildren, but I wonder how they actually performed such "studies" with most of the schools being closed. I must be missing something, because it seems like you wouldn't be able to make that conclusion until 80% of the students are back in class daily.

But whatever the case, teachers who will be exposed to dozens (if not hundreds) of students on a daily basis need to go to the head of the line on vaccinations, no matter what other precautions are put in place.