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It’s been a long week. It’s been a long school year. From all of us at EdNC, thank you for your public service to our students, our state, and our future, especially during these extraordinary times. Here is a thank you from Eric Davis, chair of the N.C. State Board of Education.

There is hope, y’all.

On June 16, Secretary Cardona reminded us, “Education can be the great equalizer — it was for me — if we prioritize, replicate, and invest in what works for all students, not just some.” Between the federal funding, the unallocated general fund, and the revenue that will be invested in the 2021-22 state budget, we are going to see a once in a generation investment in our students and our schools, in our community colleges and our communities. You can read all of Cardona’s remarks here to see the scope of the federal investment.

And as our country embraces Juneteenth as a national holiday, explore this beautiful celebration of resilience by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “A celebration and expectation,” says the museum director, “of freedom deferred but found.” It includes resources for early childhood and secondary educators.

For your weekend, podcasts curated by EdNC’s Alli Lindenberg:


Collegeland is a podcast sharing the untold stories from campuses around the United States, co-hosted by professors Nan Enstad in Michigan and Lisa Levenstein in North Carolina. The first 10 episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, as well as several other platforms.

As Yet Untold – Governor Phil Bryant

Governor Phil Bryant grew up in rural Mississippi during the civil rights movement. Until the fourth grade he struggled in school due to undiagnosed dyslexia. He went on to a political career that began in the Mississippi House of Representatives, and ended with a successful run for governor. During his time as Governor, he established evidence-based early childhood programs, increased teacher pay and support programs for incoming teachers, and worked to increase the number of teachers with National Board Certification.

And an update from EdNC’s Liz Bell:

As the state decides how to spend federal early childhood relief dollars, two virtual panels Thursday provided insights into parent voices and lessons on pre-K implementation.

As we approach Juneteenth, the Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race (RISER) network, a national coalition of researchers, hosted a webinar uplifting the experiences of Black families coming out of the pandemic.

Black families have experienced high levels of economic disruption despite household income level, and have used formal group-based child care less due to lack of affordability, said Iheoma Iruka, research professor of public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Institute. Find more insights on Black children and families from this February 2021 report from the RISER network.

Panelists pointed to a need for systemic change in supports for Black children and families starting before birth, citing disparities in access to high-quality child care, in health outcomes for Black mothers and infants, and in pay for early educators of color.

Go here for Twitter coverage.

Also on Thursday, New Jersey early childhood leaders and researchers shared lessons from their pre-K model. Abbot Preschool was developed after a series of court rulings from 1998 to 2002 that established the constitutional right of low-income 3- and 4-year-olds to high-quality preschool.

The program has had significant positive impacts on children’s academic gains through tenth grade. Leaders said the success of the program has depended on strong partnerships in a variety of settings that work for families: both private and public early childhood programs.

They also said the program, unlike many in other states, is based on the true cost of high-quality care. The state provides consistent funding at about $15,000 per child over two years. Investing in infrastructure is also vital, said Steven Barnett, senior co-director at the National Institute for Early Education Research.

As states receive federal dollars to invest in early childhood, Barnett said to start with the question: “What do we need to meet the needs of kids to vastly improve their potential, to vastly improve their preparation, their learning and development before they enter kindergarten?”

Go here for the Twitter thread.

These are the sources EdNC checks every day: The New York Times, The 74, Education Week, The NC Tribune, The Insider, The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, WUNC, WFAE, Brookings, Education Commission of the States, and DPI’s News. A cross section of diverse sources are checked weekly and monthly. If you have an article you think needs to be included, email [email protected].

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.

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