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Two visions for CMS: Moms for Liberty's and board member De La Jara's

Jennifer De La Jara, left, and Brooke Weiss
Ann Doss Helms/WFAE
Jennifer De La Jara, left, and Brooke Weiss

In this episode, we’re getting into a topic that we haven’t really addressed in the podcast: school board elections.

We’ll focus on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, but school board elections across the country mirror many of the political debates in campaigns for state and federal office. To name a few: LGBTQ and gender identity politics, the effects of pandemic closings and how to recover from learning loss, and how issues concerning race should be discussed and taught in schools.

Our guests are CMS board member Jennifer De La Jara, who is not on the ballot but has been outspoken in her disgust with conservative critics like our other guest, Brooke Weiss. She’s the chair of the Mecklenburg County chapter of Moms for Liberty.

Joining Steve Harrison or regular co-hosts, Tim Funk and Jim Morrill. Also joining this conversation is WFAE education reporter Ann Doss Helms, who of course has been covering school board races.

The first guest is Brooke Weiss. She’s the chair of the Mecklenburg County chapter of Mom for Liberty. It’s a nationwide group that formed in Florida in early 2021 in response to frustration over COVID-19 safety restrictions in schools. It’s since grown to about 250 chapters across the country, and so have the issues the chapters address.

The second guest is CMS board member Jennifer De La Jara. She has held an at-large seat on the board since 2019. She’s a native of the Burke County town of Valdese and a graduate of both UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte. She’s taught English as a second language and has served as director of diversity and inclusion for the transit authority in Louisville, in addition to owning two restaurants in Charlotte. She’s also run a consultant company focused on cultural-competency training for educators.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.
Tim Funk is one of the hosts of the "Inside Politics: Election 2022 podcast." He spent most of his 40-year journalism career at The Charlotte Observer, covering politics in its Raleigh bureau and, later, as its Washington correspondent. His other Observer beats over the years included race and immigration, TV and radio, and faith & values.
Jim Morrill is a native of the Chicago area who's worked in the Carolinas since 1979. He covered politics and government for the Charlotte Observer for almost 40 years. He's won several press awards and in 1999 was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He's taught about NC politics at UNC-Charlotte and Davidson College.