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Sundial

Closing gaps in education, and what's to come during the legislative session

A large, empty classroom.
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We speak to FIU Sociologist Anindya Kundu about his popular TED Talk on education. Plus, Dem. State Rep. Dan Daley of Coral Springs about COVID, redistricting and what's on deck for the legislative session that starts next week. Finally, we share moments of joy from 2021.

On this Wednesday, Jan. 5, edition of Sundial:

Legislative session starts soon

Florida lawmakers will be making their way to Tallahassee next week in preparation for the 2022 legislative session.

This year’s session starts earlier than non-election years – that's because of midterm elections.

WLRN is committed to providing South Florida with trusted news and information. As the pandemic continues, our mission is as vital as ever. Your support makes it possible. Please donate today. Thank you.

Once again Republicans hold both the House, Senate and the governor’s office. So the question is, what can Democrats achieve when they have such big hurdles to overcome?

We spoke to State Rep. Dan Daley (D) of District 97, which includes Coral Springs. He spoke about his concerns about lack of COVID protocols in the Capitol during session, after having recently recovered from his second round of illness from the virus.

"We're going full steam ahead into a very person-to-person contact process with no actual standards in place. But that's really what you've seen in other parts of the state as well is really a lack of leadership and seriousness when it comes to COVID in general," Daley said. "I actually had it again about a week and a half ago. I have a negative test and I was doing all of those things. I was wearing a mask. I was social distancing...That's how transmissible Omicron has been...I don't know that we're prepared to fully address a lot of what's been going on."

Daley also spoke about gun safety legislation he hopes will move forward through the legislative process this year, as well as redistricting. You can listen to his interview in full, below.

State Rep. Dan Daley (D) Coral Springs
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Fixing Education

Sociologist Anindya Kundu gave his popular TED Talk called "The "opportunity gap" in US public education — and how to close it," before he was a parent.

Kundu is now an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Florida International University and a father of twins. He argues people need to care about the educational opportunities for other peoples' children, not just their own.

"The better educated communities we have, the stronger communities we will have in the future ready to tackle social problems such as potentially climate change, the next pandemic, mass incarceration, dwindling Social Security," Kundu said. "Education is the one place where I think we can get to be a little bit more social. And then, you know, we'll let the best and brightest duke it out. But first we have to create the ladders of opportunity for all students."

He went on to speak about what he is observing in South Florida and challenged the notion that not all kids have what they need to succeed.

"We're at this moment right now that I think is pretty pivotal. Businesses are booming, venture capital is booming, startups are fleeing to South Florida. But we have to think about what communities are being invested in and which communities are being disinvested from," Kundu said. "You know, we can look at the gentrification of Wynwood — some businesses thriving and other communities are being kind of pushed out. So how can we connect sectors? How can we connect businesses to high schools and offer job opportunities to low income students so that those communities can lift up their future generations into economic sustainability."

You can hear Dr. Anindya Kundu's conversation on the program where he shares his ideas in full, below:

FIU Sociologist Dr. Anindya Kundu
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Finding more joy

Also on the program, we spoke with WLRN Keys Reporter Nancy Klingener about her project to compile the WLRN Newsroom's moments of joy from 2021. And we played the project. You can read more and listen to that, here.

Moments of Joy
a four year old boy helps plant trees at an event at a park in Miami Dade County

Stay Connected
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.