Up & Coming Weekly

October 20, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1301017

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Page 8 of 24

8 UCW OCTOBER 21-27, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM POLITICS Funding available to ease virtual learning issues by JEFF THOMPSON County officials have allocated $250,000 via the Coronavirus Relief Fund for organizations to operate virtual learning centers. Parents of school-aged children are struggling to pro- vide virtual learning support during the COVID-19 pan- demic. County government officials are asking communi- ty-based organizations to help find innovative solutions. e Cumberland County Board of Commissioners has allocated $250,000 for organizations to operate virtual learning centers for students in grades K-8. e funding is available via the Coronavirus Relief Fund. e decision to hold virtual learning for Cumberland County public schools has created severe challenges for working parents — especially single moms. "Parents are facing extremely stressful decisions during this pandemic, including whether to go to work or stay home to assist their children in virtual learning," said Cumberland County Manager Amy Cannon. According to a national poll conducted by e Wash- ington Post, 80% of parents were in favor of holding school partially online, opting for a hybrid format. Parents under- stand their role in a virtual learning format is key to their child's success. at doesn't mean it's easy. Balancing jobs with parenting responsibilities was hard enough prior to COVID-19. Playing the role of "perfect parent" has become a nearly impossible task for many. Internet connections often cause problems with Zoom meetings or other online ac- tivity. When the connection does come through, parents worry their kids may avoid classwork in favor of social media websites like Twitter and YouTube. "He's basically grown – he should know what he needs to do," one parent said. "But he's also a kid. He's going to text his friends and goof off." In September, the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation that allows community-based organizations to provide remote learning centers similar to school buildings. Organizations interested in getting involved must meet certain requirements and qualifications. ey must provide evidence of demonstrated experience in the provision of structured childcare and/or all-day summer camp for school aged children. ey must be non-profit organizations able to accommodate virtual learning for students in rural and underserved areas of the community. e groups must have existing remote learning facility agreements with Cumberland County Schools or letters of intent to do so. e organizations must have published safety protocols, best practices and environmental pro- tocols in place to prevent and resolve the transmission of COVID-19, influenza or other viruses and diseases. And of course, broadband connectivity is required for each proposed location. For information on CRF funds for community vir- tual learning centers email cumberlandpurchasing@ co.cumberland.nc.us or call 1-888-600-1685 to be con- nected to a childcare-referral specialist who can direct you to licensed childcare programs and virtual learning facilities for children through age 12. NEWS JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. DIANE WHEATLEY, N.C. District 43 House of Representatives candidate COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Returning to E Pluribus Unum by DIANE WHEATLEY E Pluribus Unum or "Out of many, one" is the United States' traditional motto. I can't think of anywhere else in the world that such a slogan would even be proposed, let alone embraced. It has produced a society that is unique in human experience. Our national personality has morphed through the years as different cultures have been adopted and embraced the American experience. I see this in our cuisine. What shall we have tonight, Asian, Italian, Greek, Sushi, barbecue? All these are similar yet somewhat different from what you would get in the places of origin. Each is influenced by the different cultures that make up the American personality. I think they are better than the originals, and the same can be said about Americans. As a nation, I genuinely believe that we are the most accepting, generous and engaged people on earth. So how did we get to the point where we now find ourselves? A place where friends, families and portions of society are against one another. How do we get back to E Pluribus Unum? We could start with our Constitution. In the beginning, the Preamble lays out for us the intent of this steadfast document. "We, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union..." Notice it says "a more perfect union," not a perfect union. e Framers thought we should work towards perfection. ey knew we had flaws, some of them severe. e challenge was to strive towards perfection, something they knew was unattainable but still worthy of the effort. Maybe the most important word is "union." Defined, a union is an act of joining or being joined. It's "a club, society, or association formed by people with a common interest." Today we have people, agencies and organizations pitted against one another with what appears to be an all-or-nothing mentality. We seem to have lost our ability to empathize or compromise with opposing views. Worse is the willingness to vilify and demonize anyone who disagrees with us. e lack of civility in public discourse is stunning—the use of deception and falsehoods to silence someone who dares to think differently borders on being immoral. Is the willingness to resort to violence for the same purpose dangerous to individuals and the larger so- ciety? is will lead to catastrophe if we don't get it under control. So how do we stop this level of intolerance? First, we must accept the fact that no one is the center of the universe. While we all have value, no one is inherently more valuable than anyone else. At the same time, as the Declaration of Independence states, "We are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We should be steadfast in defending those rights as much for others as we do for ourselves. Secondly, we should not just be willing to listen to other opinions; we must make an effort to truly understand them. is is tricky because we often mistake opinions for facts — especially our own. It is essential sometimes to let go of your views and listen to the other person's concerns. Emotions have to be vented before moving on to an hon- est discussion. If you can bring yourself to consider the other person's point of view with an open mind and heart, you will begin to develop understanding. You may conclude that some things you thought were real and genuine are not. You may convince the other person that they were not 100% correct. You may even conclude that the things that have divided us are more about misunderstanding than they are about cross-purposes. At this point, we may even begin to drift back to E Pluribus Unum. is is why I am running for Cumberland County's Dis- trict 43rd Seat in the North Carolina House of Representa- tives. Communication is crucial, and if we talk with one another and treat each other with respect and fairness, there is no situation or problem we cannot collectively overcome. I have decades of public service experience and a verifiable record of working and communicating with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to solve problems and find workable solutions for my constituents. I will continue to do so as your representative in District 43 of the NC House. We have lots of work to do for Cumberland County and North Carolina. Recovering the economy, providing affordable health care, educating our children, protecting the environment, expanding broadband to rural areas, protecting our citizens and providing for our needy and vulnerable. ese are my priorities, and they are all within our grasp. E Pluribus Unum. May God make it so. If we talk with one another and treat each other with respect and fairness, there is no situation or problem we cannot col- lectively overcome..

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