D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton talks about statehood, federal coronavirus aid for D.C. and the Black Lives Matter protests. And Maryland State Sen. Cheryl Kagan talks about Maryland's fall election plans.
It’s your turn, Washington! Call in to share what’s on your mind.
College counselors are leaving Sidwell Friends after being on the receiving end of offensive conduct from parents. And 21 D.C. public and charter schools suspended before- and after-school programs over a misconduct allegation.
D.C.’s Logan Circle was named one of the “friendliest” neighborhoods in the country. And as for Prince George’s County native Kevin Durant: Who should be blamed for his injury in the NBA finals?
Join the conversation by calling 800-433-8850 on Thursday, June 13, at 12 p.m. EST.
Produced by Cydney Grannan and Kayla Hewitt
KOJO NNAMDIYou're tuned in to The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5. Welcome. Today it's your turn to call and share what's your mind. What are you thinking about as we head into summer? What's sparking conversation in your community? Do you have opinions about the varsity blue scandal and the recent reporting about Sidwell School parents' offensive conduct toward school employees? What's the cure for the elite college obsessed parents? What do you think about Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus coming to Potomac yard or Housing prices in Arlington which increased significantly since Amazon announced its H2 Headquarters last year?
KOJO NNAMDIAre you a Kevin Durant fan? Who do you think should be blamed for the Prince George's native injury in the NBA finals? Sidwell Friends, an elite private school in D.C. has struggle with parents' offense behavior towards its college counselors this past year. That behavior got so bad the school sent out letters to parents demanding they stop the quoting here, "verbal assault of employees."
NNAMDIThe school also outlined rules for how parents could interact with college counselors. Now, two of the school's three college counselors are departing in June. Adam Harris, a Staff writer for The Atlantic Now covering education reported this story. And he joins me now by phone. Adam, thank you so much for joining us.
ADAM HARRISThanks so much for having me.
NNAMDIAdam, tell us what happened at Sidwell Friends this school year?
HARRISSo late last semester, so in the winter semester, one of the college counselor sent around a letter to parents kind of reiterating a couple of new rules and among those rules were that there was to be no recording of college counselors. The school wouldn't consider kind of illicit information about other students. And it was kind aiming to get parents to tamp down some of the rhetoric that had been going on. Now in January the head of the school sent a letter to senior parents kind of reiterating this letter and also kind of highlighting some of the new rules, right?
HARRISSo saying that there should be no verbal assault of employees as you mentioned, there's a policy banning them from recording conversations, that people couldn't make calls to counselors from blocked phone numbers and then if you kind of fast forward, they were kind of basically trying to get the parents to stop this behavior. You're fast forwarding to this month, now two of the three college counselors will be leaving the school presumptively to take positions at other schools kind of because of some of this hostility.
NNAMDIYou should know that Sidwell Friends sent us a statement saying, "Sidwell Friends enjoys a positive and supportive relationship with its parent community and instances of disrespect are anomalous. Parents value the extraordinary advice expertise and guidance that our college counselors offer. Sidwell Friends thanks Patrick Gallagher for his leadership and caring guidance of our students and Adam Mortis for his thoughtful and engaged counseling. As the school announced to our upper school parents in March we were disappointed that Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Ortiz chose to leave the school for new professional opportunities. We remain grateful for their service to our students."
NNAMDII guess those new political opportunities presumably won't involve verbal abuse from parents. Can you give us a sense of what exactly parents were doing that led the school to send out these letters? What kinds of things were they saying to counselors and what were they saying about students?
HARRISWell, the letter kind of insinuated that parents were telling counselors kind of solicited information about other students. That they were kind of spreading rumors about students essentially so that their children could get a leg up in the college admissions process. Up to the point where it became kind of a situation where the parents were berating the college counselors. In talking to sources and also talking to experts who kind of study this, the situation where you have, you know, hyper selective private schools trying to get into hyper selective elite colleges.
HARRISYou know, these colleges with sub 10 percent admissions rates. It kind of creates this tension, right, because as the desire to get into these institutions is growing and these institutions like Harvard is going to maintain that 1,000 seats per year. The competition grows, so parents are trying to do a little bit of everything to get a leg up in this situation. And at times that can lead to this sort of environment where people are sharing kind of information whether that be true, whether that be false about other students in order for their child to get a little bit of a boost or perceive to get a little bit of boost in the admissions process.
NNAMDIRemember this is your turn. You can set the agenda. You can also weigh in on this or any other issues on your mind. Were you surprised when you heard about how Sidwell Friends' parents were acting? What do you remember from your college application process? You can send us a tweet @kojoshow or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Adam, can you give us a sense of what a college counselor's role is at an elite private school like Sidwell Friends?
HARRISYeah, so essentially the college counselor -- actually to take a step back, so counselors kind of more broadly across America kind of help students along the way throughout school whether that's with their regular course offerings and then also with college counseling. So at elite private schools you'll have dedicated college counselors, who, you know, starting around freshman sophmore year they'll start talking to people about what they need to be doing to prepare for the admissions process. Around junior year they're getting really serious having big meetings with -- or parents are getting really serious and getting meetings with the college counselors to talk about, "Okay, this is when you need to take your SAT and your ACT, this is when you should start looking at applying to different schools.
HARRISThe college counselor will ultimately, you know, end up filing a letter of recommendation for the student. They'll submit the secondary school report in the case of Sidwell, which is kind of a rating on how well that student would perform at the next level at a different institution. So whether it's Harvard, they may be an excellent student for Harvard or Spellman, they may be an excellent student for Spellman. So it's kind of this all-encompassing job that is essentially to help students present their best face to get into college.
NNAMDIBut are parents operating under the assumption that these counselors have the power to get students into whatever school they want?
HARRISI think there may be a little bit of that going, right, where you're spending $40,000 or however much a year, which, you know, above the average college tuition for a private college. There is kind of this expectation that what the college counselor's job is to get that the student into that institution. Now college counselors have power, but they have as much as to say that, Okay, admissions officer this is the student that needs to get into this school. It's kind of we're going to present the best face and whatever happens, happens. You know, higher education at least elite higher education admissions is kind of black box in that way, you know, you can only present the best face and then, you know, whatever happens happens.
NNAMDIThis, of course, comes in the wake of a bigger admissions scandal that revealed parents including some celebrities paid large sums of money to get their kids admitted into selective colleges. Are we now getting a public glimpse in this region of an issue that's well-known and widespread around the nation?
HARRISI think that this does point to kind of the larger issue with hyper selective college admissions. I mean, if you're thinking about the broad swath of higher education, right, where most schools are not incredibly selective. Most schools don't only admit 10 percent of students. Most schools are going to admit more like 30, 40, 50 or more of the students in the application process. So this kind of -- there is kind of a warped sense of what college admissions actually looks like for most Americans. But in these kind of incredibly elite pockets of America, this is a kind of -- parents feel that there's almost a do or die there, you know. Either your kid gets into Harvard or they don't. When the reality of the situation is that it's more of a -- it's less of a zero sum than a lot of parents will make it out to be.
NNAMDIWe got a tweet from Nathan, who says, Anacostia High School social worker here. I have a solution. The mayor is cutting our budget by nearly $400,000 next year. Sidwell Friends parent teachers organization can hold a fundraiser for us helping our community, while teaching parents gratitude and humility. It's a win win. Are you a college counselor? We'd like to hear from you. Have you received similar treatment from parents? Are you the parent of a high school student? Are you involved in your child's college admission process? Here now is John in Northern Virginia. John, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JOHNKojo, it's always a pleasure to listen to you. I'm not surprised by the behaviors of the parents of children at Sidwell Friends School. It's not a shock that those parents would perceive anyone, who they think is going to get in the way or not blindly support their children's ambitions to get into Harvard amongst other schools. It's not a surprise. The sad fact is that these parents don't know right from wrong and that's how they teach their children. I'm proud to tell you that I have two daughters. One who graduated seven years ago and the other who will graduate next year from Cornell University. And they go in the hard way. They earned it. They did the work. It's too bad these parents don't recognize the value of that.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. We're getting calls on other issues that we talked about. Everett tweets, Kevin Durant is just like Michael Vick, nothing more than property of the team. The owner's make reckless decisions, because they know they can always pay another Durant later. Mike Vick was never the same after he was put back in too early. That having to do with Kevin Durant's reinjury in game five of the NBA finals and we're still on the issue of talking about aggressive parents trying to get their kids into college. And so here is Betsy in Falls Church, Virginia. Betsy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BETSYYeah. Hi. I'm calling -- I'm Quaker. And this whole thing is terribly embarrassing and disgusting to me as a Quaker that Sidwell Friends has deviated so far from the morals and standards of Quakerism.
NNAMDIWell, the school's leadership would like you to know that as far as they're concerned this is just a few parents. You think it might be more widespread than that?
BETSYI actually wouldn't know, but I think if they were screening their people more carefully like who they brought into the school more carefully according to the morals and standards that might help.
NNAMDIAdam, do you know anything about how many parents might have been involved here?
HARRISSo it's hard to tell how many parents exactly were involved here. I think one of the things that the head of the school wrote in the initial letter in January was essentially that it's a small group of parents, but it is becoming increasingly intense. And this is also something that you kind of hear in location after location of kind of these elite private schools where it may be a smaller group of parents, but it's also an incredibly intense group of parents.
HARRISAnd even if some parents aren't to the most intense level there are still levels of that intensity that kind of permeating a culture in terms of getting into these elite colleges because one thing that Harvard and Yale and Princeton do provide and there's kind of data to back this up is basically that they provide the network. They provide that entry level prestige. Just like when you get into Harvard there is a certain thing that is attached to that in the job market. So parents are trying to make sure that their children kind of are able to have access to that prestige whether earned or not.
NNAMDIAdam Harris is a staff writer covering education for The Atlantic. Adam, thank you so much for joining us.
HARRISThanks so much for having me.
NNAMDIAs we said earlier, it is your turn. So you can call anytime to discuss any of the topics we mentioned earlier or anything else that's on your mind. Virginia Tech announced on Monday that it will build its new Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia just south of the future Amazon HQ2 location and near the proposed Potomac Yard Metro stop. Campus is now larger and closer to HQ2 than originally planned, will serve graduate students studying cyber security, artificial intelligence and other technology based fields. Joining me in studio is Ally Schweitzer. She is the Business and Development Reporter for WAMU 88.5. Hi, Ally, how are you?
ALLY SCHEWEITZERHi. I'm great. How are you today? Great show so far.
NNAMDISo far so good. Ally, this campus is part of the incentive packages put together by the State of Virginia, is it?
SCHEWEITZERYeah, so part of the incentives package that passed the General Assembly for Amazon includes $375 million in tech pipeline initiatives for basically investments over, you know, the next 20 years. Virginia has this goal to create at least 25,000 more tech degrees by 2039. So the incentives package had a piece of that and then there's this other fund that the General Assembly approved called the Tech Talent Investment Fund and that's another part of money that is aimed at the same goal. That money is going to start flowing July 1st. So there's a lot of money flying around and the whole goal is to basically encourage more, you know, tech talent growth throughout the State of Virginia and a lot of that money is going to Northern Virginia.
NNAMDIWhat do you think about the new Innovation Campus? Ally, how could this change the job market in this area moving forward?
SCHEWEITZERSo the thing that is interesting about this is that the Washington region has a lot of openings in technology related careers, right? There's a lot of hiring that employers would like to be doing that is just not happening because in many cases, you know, folks might get a tech education here or a STEM education here and then leave. You know, they take their education to the west coast or to Austin. They want to work at this more exciting kind of product based tech companies and not necessarily a government contractor in Restin, you know, for example. So the goal here with these investments is to essentially diversify the job market in the Washington region.
SCHEWEITZERYou know, there's been economists have been talking about this for years. Regional stakeholders too have been saying, look we have too much dependence on the federal government when it comes to full time jobs. You know, and what happens when we get a shutdown? What happens when we get sequestration? We're uniquely vulnerable to those effects, right? So the goal is to basically diversify the region's economy. So we have -- you know, if something is going down on one side in the private sector, say a recession. You got the government jobs to back you up. If something is going down on the public sector side you got the private jobs to back you up. So it's kind of part of this bigger picture of diversifying the local job market.
NNAMDIVirginia Tech isn't the only local university that sparked the move with Amazon. George Mason has announced that it will be working with the tech giant to create a four year cloud degree program. And this all comes one year after Northern Virginia Community College partnered with Amazon to create a similar associated degree program. How do these programs fit into the state's incentive package with Amazon?
SCHEWEITZERWell, so last year -- part of this money is coming from the incentives package. A lot of it is also coming from theoretically in the future going to be coming from this Tech Talent Investment Fund. So last year it was Nova that joined up with Amazon web services to start this new two year associates degree program for cloud computing and that's something they're directly working with Amazon web services on.
SCHEWEITZERThe new announcement, the new thing that happened this week is that Mason is getting in on it and now they're going to offer a pathway. If you get your two year degree in cloud computing from Nova you can transfer that to a four year degree at Mason. So it gives you -- now you can get, you know, you can get a four year degree in cloud computing, but that had already been in the works from last year.
NNAMDIIn an area where housing can already be hard to come by, the median home price in Arlington grew 17 percent since Amazon announced its HQ2 location in this area. Is Amazon doing anything to address the need for affordable housing?
SCHEWEITZERThey are now. Just this week Amazon announced that it was going to contribute three million dollars to affordable housing efforts in the region. I mean, you know, of course, you'll hear from affordable housing advocates and, you know, folks, who make decisions about how affordable housing is spent. The three million that will get you maybe part of a building at three million.
NNAMDIThat's what I thought.
SCHEWEITZERThis is not a lot of money when it comes to affordable housing.
NNAMDIIt was compared to what the District is doing, $100 million a year.
SCHEWEITZERYes. Exactly right. I mean, there was a building that -- an affordable building that came up in D.C. that was $50 million. So that gives you a sense of it -- you know, it's a 20 unit building is going to be a lot more than three million dollars. So, you know, you've already heard some criticism from folks saying like, It's too little too late, but, you know, they've been under a lot of pressure both here and Seattle about their impact on the housing market.
SCHEWEITZERSo you can understand why they decided to make that contribution and, of course, do a lot of PR around it. As far as the housing prices thing, the median sale prices going up, what's really interesting to me about this is that last year, economists at George Mason University at the Fuller Institute put out this report that kind of was trying to project what the impact on the housing market would be from Amazon, right. And they said -- and this was when we thought we were getting the whole thing, the HQ2 with 50,000 jobs. We ended up getting less.
SCHEWEITZERThey said, "The impact of HQ2 is going to be gradual. It's going to be geographically dispersed. We're not going to see these major spikes." We're seeing basically the opposite of that happen, right? We're seeing huge spikes. And this just came out from the Northern Virginia association of realtors just this week. I mean, the median home sale price in May in Arlington County was $615,000. That's 10 percent over what it was in May 2018. So that's not a gradual rise. But here's the thing that I think is interesting about this is that I think there was in the part of the economists who did that number crunching last year, they were looking at the impact that employees themselves, HQ2 employees would have on housing prices, right? They were looking at the people who would be coming here to work for Amazon and the houses that they might be buying, the apartments they might be buying.
SCHEWEITZERWhat we're seeing now is actually investor speculation. That's what's driving up the prices. Obviously there aren't that many HQ2 workers here now who are driving up these prices. It's coming from the real estate industry and from speculation. So that was under accounted for, I think, that was not accurately projected or accounted for in some of these estimates. So we're started to see a lot of pressure in the investment side and not so much, obviously, from employees. And that I think is something that a lot of folks did not fully expect.
NNAMDIDespite losing the battle against Amazon new headquarters local activist coalition For Us Not Amazon intends to continues to pushback against the online retail giant. Yesterday For Us Not Amazon activists took part in a rally outside of the Amazon web services public sector summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. What is the goal of activists who participated in that rally?
SCHEWEITZERSo yesterday's rally -- I just heard from one of the activists who organized it, Yael Horowitz. And which he told me is that it was about roughly 30 people or so outside of the AWS, the Amazon web services public sector summit at the Washington Convention Center. I think that what their goal yesterday was at that rally was to raise awareness of AWS's relationships with Immigrations Customs Enforcement. You know, to asking folks who were at the summit to think critically about the connection, the business relationship that AWS has with ICE and also raising some awareness of the displacement and housing cost issues in Northern Virginia.
SCHEWEITZERThere was some artwork. There was some clouds that they held up representing the data cloud talking about ICE. Talking about gentrification and according to Yael a lot of people came out and were filming and some people decided to argue with them, of course. And then you had honks of support. And then of course you had lots of confused stares. I don't know what the impact of that really is, but they're not giving up. I mean, there was a For Us Not Amazon coalition, you know, they really tried to get the Arlington County Board to back down off this $23 million incentives package that they ultimately approved unanimously for Amazon and they failed. I mean, they failed pretty miserably at that.
SCHEWEITZERAnd I think at this point they are back to square one in trying to figure out what they can do to get to, you know, sort of disrupt whatever the next steps is of Amazon coming here are doing a lot of canvassing this summer among residents and trying to kind of raise support and awareness of some of these critical issues that they've been raising now for months. But, you know, they did suffer a big blow and they're kind of just starting to restrategize and recalibrate.
NNAMDIGeorge emails, the DMV will be suffering an affordable housing crunch with or without Amazon. And it's up to local governments not employers to take the lead in grappling with the effects. The largest employer in Arlington by far is the Pentagon, which employs upwards of 25,000 people now. Amazon might have that many here in a decade or more. But no one is demanding that the DOD act to solve the county's affordable housing shortage. And here is Emily in Annandale, Virginia. Emily, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
EMILYHi, Kojo. Thank you for taking my call. So Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus while it poses a huge housing problem for Arlington and the surrounding areas another problem it poses is it takes away from the issues that students in the Blacksburg Campus are facing. There's over enrollment. The administration isn't taking into account the lack of housing on the home campus in Blacksburg as well the lack of apartment buildings, lack of transportation available for a ton of students.
EMILYAnd while I think this Innovation Campus is very interesting idea and interesting concept to expanding tech's sort of power in the region it really puts a lot of people who are breaking their backs for students from the home campus in a tough spot not being able to do the most for their students as well as having administration that is focusing on something that's really far away, and doesn't affect those, who are spending a lot of money and a lot of time in the home campus itself.
NNAMDICare to comment on that, Ally?
SCHEWEITZERWell, I think that one thing that you're touching on is really crucial to issues in this region, which is, you know -- this goes to the previous listeners point too. There is without question a preexisting housing shortage throughout the Washington region. And I think a lot of the anxiety about Amazon even about Virginia Tech taking over Potomac Yard, I mean, there's a lot of preexisting concern about the fact that local officials are not doing enough to meet the current situation that we're in, right.
SCHEWEITZERSo, you have this big housing shortage that's massively apparently in Arlington County and in Fairfax County as well, being effected by all the rampant speculation going on around these developments in Northern Virginia, right? So you have this problem that affordable housing advocates will tell you, nobody is taking enough action on to begin with. This is just, you know, heating that up and causing a lot of people to think even more seriously about whether they can really stay in this region. And that certainly extends to college students.
NNAMDIAlly Schweitzer, she is the Business and Development reporter for WAMU 88.5. Ally, good to see you.
ALLY SCHWEITZERYou, too. Thank you.
NNAMDIHave to take a short break. When we come back, it's still your turn, whether you want to talk about the Kevin Durant issue, whether you want to talk about President Trump making an address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4th. It is your turn. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's your turn. If you called about one of our previous topics, stay on the line, we will get to your calls. But how about this one? How are you spending the 4th of July? As you've likely heard, President Trump plans to deliver an address on the Lincoln Memorial steps on Independence Day. Are you planning on attending, or will you be avoiding it, or will you be protesting it? You can give us a call. Have you changed your plans since President Trump announced he would be speaking on the National Mall? Back to the phones. Here's Deppa in Washington. Deppa, your turn.
DEPPAHi, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. You know, I'm calling to respond to the gentleman who called earlier. I am a Sidwell Friends parent, and I reject the notion, the broad-sweeping generalization that all the parents at Sidwell are aggressive and would stop at nothing to get their kids into a top school. And while I don't dispute that there's been some bad behavior by a small group of parents, the issue, as you can imagine, is more nuanced than that. My son is not yet in the college admissions process at Sidwell. He is only in 10th grade. But we have had some interaction with a couple of the folks in that office. And, you know, it isn't really just about parents pushing those folks out. It is more complicated than that, which is pretty much all I can say at this point.
NNAMDIWell, when you say it's more complication than that, you seem to be suggesting that you are somewhat dissatisfied with your interactions with the folks in that office. What's the source of that dissatisfaction?
DEPPAWell, my understanding is that there's more going on there than just the admissions process. Those folks also do other things at school.
DEPPAAnd, you know, there is a give-and-take between parents and faculty and administration at all schools, not just at Sidwell. And so when I say that the issue is more nuanced, it is more nuanced in that it isn't just a group of parents pushing these folks out. I think there was dissatisfaction on both sides.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. It is your turn, so I'll let it stand at that, and move on to Walter in Baltimore, Maryland. Walter, your turn.
WALTERHi, Kojo. How are you?
WALTERYou know, 4th of July hasn't been 4th of July since that fool James Watt during the Reagan Administration banned the Beach Boys.
WALTERI haven't been down there since. That's how old I am.
WALTERBut, Kojo, on this topic, how much more corporate welfare do they need? Now, I'm happy that Amazon came to the Arlington area, Alexandria area. But the point is $23 million for some of those folks living in the projects surrounding. She's talking about -- one of your callers talked about the Potomac Yards.
WALTERAnd if she can remember, the Nationals, now here, they wanted to build a stadium out there. And the governor at that time said, not only are we not going to build a stadium for you, you will pay for any sort of land that you get from us. And that's how we have to start in approaching the 1 percenters. Now, I don't begrudge Bezos his billions. I'm happy for him. Again, those are jobs are surely needed in Northern Virginia, or in that area. But how much more corporate welfare? Remember when you had the guy who was going to develop the school in Ivy City, Kojo?
WALTERAnd this fool said, quote, “the people that's going to be displaced should not be given any assistance.” And I said to him -- and he did deny it, Kojo -- that you're getting a stipend or the benefit of lying that you never put a dime into.
WALTERBut he was proud to say that the guys are going to be displaced. Now, I'm in Baltimore...
NNAMDII don't have a lot of time. So, I'm going to have to cut you off. But you should know that the Arlington County Board meets, with approval, Amazon entry into Arlington County. What we were talking about earlier is that there are a number of groups that are protesting, that our continuing to push back against Arlington for many of the same reasons that you recommended. But thank you very much for your call, Walter. It's your turn. If you want to talk about President Trump speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Memorial Day, then, I mean, on July 4th, then you can do that. The government officials have been trying to arrange an additional 4th of July fireworks display.
NNAMDIThe fireworks may be launched from behind the Lincoln Memorial to provide Trump a dramatic backdrop, but this has not been confirmed. What do you think about adding more fireworks to the 4th of July celebration to make the President look better? It is your turn. Sara emails: it's bad enough that Trump is making the 4th of July all about him. But ruining the fireworks is inexcusable. I am disappointed and angry that the Park Service is yielding to this bully. On, now, to Mary, in Washington, D.C. Mary, your turn.
MARYHi, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. I'm a fourth-generation native Washingtonian. And my family has protested every protest that's a worthwhile cause for a long time. So, we were going to have a nice, peaceful 4th of July, until this news. And then my sister turns to me while we're watching the news one night, and this awful story gets announced, that Trump is going to defame the Lincoln Memorial by doing this. And she turns to me and she goes, oh, great, now we have to protest on 4th of July. So, yeah, you will have more protestors, probably some native Washingtonians down there, because we can't let this happen. This is the antithesis of what the United States is about. And he's going to ruin our national holiday for an ego trip.
NNAMDIWell, the White House has not released details about the time and length of the event. It will probably entail thorough security and pull on the resources of the District of Columbia. And, of course, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, they plan to modify their schedule to accommodate the President's speech. But you can still call us with your opinion. What are your plans for the 4th of July? Have you changed plans since the White House announced this event? We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue your turn. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It is your turn. We got a text from Amy, who says: hearing reports that Springboard may owe wages to some aftercare teachers for hours already worked, not to mention the wages lost for work cancelled this week, let's make sure this company doesn't skip town without paying. So, what is Amy talking about? Springboard Education provides before and after school programs for 21 public and charter schools across the District. But most of these schools suspended the programs for the last week over a misconduct allegation involving a Springboard employee. A 21-year-old Springboard employee has been accused of kissing and inappropriately touching a 13-year-old student. The employee was removed from school and the matter referred to police.
NNAMDIDuring this process, it became clear that Springboard Education could not produce documentation of background checks for its D.C. employees. So, here's the question: how much do you know about the contractors your school or summer camp works with? What questions do you have about your afterschool programs providers? Here now is Sue, in Reston, Virginia. Sue, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SUEHi, Kojo. I'm calling because I was one of the people in Virginia that wanted to forgive Governor Northam for the black face incident back in February. And I did call the show -- but not your show -- but NPR and voiced my opinion. And I think that Governor Northam should follow Governor Murphy from New Jersey's lead by enforcing the $15 minimum wage. And I think Virginians really don't want him to go on the tour. We want him to get back to work, hit the ground running. And, you know, we know he can't run for reelection. So, I'd like to see him pass that minimum wage. That's a good start with making it up to the people of Virginia. As for other issues that you said...
NNAMDIWell, let's cover Northam for a second. Governor Northam has called a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to look at the issue of gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach. Do you think that's something he should be doing?
SUEOh, yes, definitely.
SUEI think he should. And I think he also -- he's running out of time. You know, he doesn't have that much left in his one-term governorship.
SUESo, I was for forgiveness and waiting for him to, you know, deliver for the people of this state. And as for, you know, other issues, I think the immigration/abortion issues are distractions. I think most Americans want Medicare for all, like what Bernie Sanders is...
NNAMDIDo you think that's what Northam should be working on?
SUEWell, yes, frankly. He did Medicaid expansion. That's a good start. And I think there's a lot of work to be done. A lot of work to be done, and. you know...
SUEAnd also one more...
NNAMDIMake it quick.
SUEOn the 4th of July issue, I think we should follow the Brits, and put the Big Baby Trump on the toilet, tweeting.
NNAMDIWell, that's what one of the protest groups are planning to have this balloon-sized figure of Trump that would be code pink. We'll have to see how that protest turns out. Thank you very much for your call. Here now is Allen, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Allen, your turn.
ALLENHello. My family and I have many times taken part in Washington, D.C. 4th of July celebrations and have paid attention to it. This year, we have no such intention. Since January, 2017, we have had a few taxpayer-funded events diverted from their original purpose and turned only into campaign rallies. And we've had many, many campaign rallies from somebody who does not do all of the steps of governing, but goes on campaign rallies instead. Thank you.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. It is your turn. You, too, can call us. How involved is your school in vetting third-party companies that provide afterschool childcare? What do you do for your childcare before and after school? It's your turn, (800) 433-8850. Up next, Kevin Durant. But here is -- well, not Kevin Durant himself, but the issue surrounding Kevin Durant. Here is Nathan in Anacostia, who I think may have weighed in earlier online. Nathan, your turn.
NATHANHey Kojo, thanks for having me on. I'm a social worker over at Anacostia High School. And I've got a great solution for the parents at Sidwell Friends, if you're ready for it. I'd say -- so, the Mayor has cut our budget by $400,000 this year. And I say the Sidwell Friends PTA hold a fundraiser for us to make up that money, and it'll serve to kind of, you know, teach the parents there a little bit of humility and gratitude for what they have in their school. And at the same time, it'll help out our community. Thanks for having me on.
NNAMDISo, have you made this suggestion to Sidwell Friends yourself? Or are you just making it here on the air?
NATHANNot yet. I just saw the issue come up today. And I thought, you know, hey, if there's any Sidwell Friends parents that are listening and they want to -- we just started a PTA in Anacostia High School for the first time in a long time. And we could really use some support.
NNAMDIOkay. Well said. Contact the school itself. You never know what kind of response you might get. But thank you for your call.
NNAMDINational Geographic Traveler Magazine released a list of the 28 friendliest neighborhoods in U.S. cities. And D.C.'s Logan Circle made the cut. But what makes a friendly neighborhood? Well, it starts with walkability, home affordability, public spaces and the prevalence of third spaces like restaurants, breweries and cafes, according to the magazines. Do you agree? What other factors should be considered? (800) 433-8850. Logan Circle earned a spot on the list, because, quoting here, “it hums with design-centric shops and dozens of restaurants.” Colada Shop and Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot are mentioned by name as places not to miss. You should know the other friendliest neighborhoods include Roger's Park in Anchorage, Alaska, the Back Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, Times Square and Hell's Kitchen in New York City, West Omaha, Nebraska, and The Block in Ashville, North Carolina.
NNAMDIWhat do you think constitutes a friendly neighborhood? This is your turn. Do you think that -- do you agree that Logan Circle is one of the nation's friendliest neighborhood, and even one of Washington's friendliest neighborhoods? Let us know what you think. We are interested. Here now is Claudia, in Washington. Claudia, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CLAUDIAHi, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. I've heard people talking about attending or not attending the 4th of July talk by the President. And I think it's terrific that we'll do everything we can to protest this before. But I strongly encourage people not to go on the 4th of July to be protesting him. Because he will simply have his people count the protestors as folks who are attending. He should look out on the Mall and see no one.
NNAMDISo, you agree with Al, who emails: the most effective protest would be if no one showed up for the Trump portion of the 4th of July festivities.
CLAUDIAI agree, totally.
NNAMDIOkay. Therefore, you and Al are on the same page. Thank you very much for sharing that with us.
CLAUDIAYou bet. Thanks for taking my call again.
NNAMDIHere's John in Falls Church, Virginia. John, your turn.
JOHNYes. Hi, thanks for taking my call, Kojo. I just wanted to, I guess, pose the question or make a comment about the 4th of July festivities on the Mall. For those people who don't want to support President Trump or even show up and partake in the festivities, I'd like to remind them that they can go to the completely other end of the Mall, to the U.S. Capitol, far away from President Trump, and listen to the National Symphony Orchestra perform their annual holiday Pops concert on the 4th of July. It's a great way to support our nation's birthday, and also the great institution that is the National Symphony Orchestra.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. Back to Logan Circle. How friendly do you think it is? Give us a call. Would you like to see more parking around Logan Circle, affordable parking? No one loves Kevin Durant the way the residents of Seat Pleasant and Prince George's County do. And the Golden State Warriors forward was injured in the fifth game of the NBA finals Monday night. He confirmed yesterday on Instagram that he ruptured his Achilles tendon, which could be a career-altering injury that might cause him to miss the entire next season. It was his first game back since May 8th, when he suffered a calf strain. A lot of fans are looking to someone to blame for Durant's injury. Was he put back in the game too soon? Did the Athletic trainers clear him to play when he shouldn't have?
NNAMDIWhat do you think? It's your turn. Here now is Brian in Washington, D.C. Brian, your turn.
BRIANHey, there, Kojo. Thanks so much for taking my call. I just want to inform your listeners, those of us who are paying attention to the initiative to do away with the tips minimum wage for the restaurant workers in the District. I wanted to make sure people are aware that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez partnered up with the Restaurant Opportunity Center, or ROC, and that she strictly advocating in support of doing away with the minimum wage. For the record, that is something that I think would be a huge detriment to all tips workers to the District of Columbia. And...
NNAMDISo, you are for the tips minimum wage?
BRIANThat is correct. Yeah, I'm for the tips minimum wage. And I couldn't be happier with the DC Council for (unintelligible) initiative while it was going on here a few months ago.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you for sharing with us. It is your turn. Here is Rozzie in Washington, D.C., about Logan Circle. Rozzie, your turn.
ROZZIEYes. Hi, Kojo. Thank you for taking my call this afternoon. Just with respect to that most recent ranking considering Logan Circle to be one of the best neighborhoods, I think there was that recent murder, you know, just a few months ago, last September, there was that jogger, you know, they killed by Logan Circle. And it just seems a little bit disorienting to hear, you know, beyond the surface level, you know, I mean, it is a very, you know, like nice place to walk down upon. But, I mean, but Washington in itself still has its security blight. You know, that needs to be addressed. I mean, like just recently, I also had like my car just broken into, recently. I live by north of Van Ness. I mean, so, it seems as if, you know, like, we also not only have our work cut out with crime, but also, like, with our infrastructure. I mean, like, considering that we're the nation’s capital, we have one of the worst roads, not only in the region, but I would say, even in the country. I mean, like, there are...
NNAMDISo, your bottom line is, you don't seem think that there are any friendly neighborhoods in Washington?
ROZZIEI mean, like, yeah. What would be the evaluation of being considering too friendly? I mean, like as opposed...
NNAMDIWell, why do you stay here?
ROZZIEI mean, my lease is running out. So, I don't know. That's a good question. I mean, I'm trying to stay here. I mean, like, I'm trying to stay here as far as work is concerned. But, I mean, I'm not really having much luck there, either. So, I don't know.
NNAMDIOkay. We'll see what happens. And good luck to you in your job search. Here now is Douglas in Tacoma Park, Maryland. Douglas, your turn.
DOUGLASYes. Tacoma Park, it should be one of the friendliest, nicest places to live, I think. I don't know how they missed us. Anyway, I spent the morning in the District Court in Maryland, because I received a letter that I was hereby summoned to appear as a witness for the state, blah, blah, blah, it continued. Failure to obey this subpoena may result in your being charged with contempt of court and being taken into custody under a warrant or body attachment. And considering that people like Barr and Mnuchin and other people in the administration are ignoring subpoenas and getting away with it, and that I get this, it really causes a whole lot of...
NNAMDIDoes it make you want to join the administration?
DOUGLAS(laugh) Hmm. I hadn't thought of that option for avoiding civil penalty. Yeah...
NNAMDIBut I can tell you're upset. And you feel that members of the administration should be held to the same standard that you are.
DOUGLASIt causes tremendous cynicism with people that I've talked to about this. And I will be down on the 4th, I think, but they won't mistake me for a Trump-ist. Because I will have a large clown that once belonged to, probably, a circus. And I found it in the trash decades ago. And it's my opinion about Trump.
NNAMDIYou sound like a vintage Tacoma Park resident.
DOUGLASNo, I'm actually fairly new here. But it's my kind of place.
NNAMDIApparently. I can tell that. But I'm afraid that's all the time we have. So, thank you so much for your call. On the issue of Amazon, D.C. uplink tweets: what about non-degreed workers? The local industry uses applicant tracking systems and rejects perfectly capable candidates due to lack of a degree. Whatever happened to experience in lieu of degree? And Suzanna, on Sidwell Friends, e-mails: it is not clear how colleges accept donations without scrutiny of the origin of the money, especially millions from a coach. Scott tweets: July 4th, we're taking the train to Baltimore on July 4th to watch fireworks over the harbor. And Claudia emails on Logan Circle: it appears to me that the fact that Logan Circle is walking distance from the National Geographic office might it helped it be included. Who knows?
NNAMDINevertheless, it was included. But I'm afraid that's about all the time we have for the show today. Today's show was produced by Cydney Grannan and Kayla Hewitt. Coming up tomorrow on the Politics Hour, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax joins us in studio to talk about the Commonwealth Primaries and his political future after he was accused of sexual assault earlier this year. Plus, Maryland is wrestling with how to fund its public schools. Prince George's County Board of Education Chair Alvin Thornton joins us to discuss what the recently passed $850 million education funding bill means for students and teachers. That's on the Politics Hour. It all starts tomorrow, at noon. Until then, thank you for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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