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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Mariam Memarsadeghi, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mariam shares remembrances from her early years spent in the Shah’s Iran, and emigration to the U.S. shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979. They discuss the massive cultural and civic differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its government controlled by religious leaders, and modern liberal democracies like the U.S., with constitutionally limited government, and how this difference is manifested in the treatment of women and political dissidents. Mariam describes Tavaana, an organization she co-founded that is dedicated to a free and open Iran, and how it is using the internet and other means to advance democracy, civic education, and women’s rights in Iran. They also discuss her involvement with “We the People”: The Citizen and the Constitution, a nationwide civics contest for American high school students that is run by the Center for Civic Education. She descibes her experiences as a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and one of 43 individuals chosen as a portrait subject for President George W. Bush’s April 2021 book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.
Stories of the Week: From Texas, California and Colorado to Tennessee and Georgia, school districts are using some federal stimulus funding to award “thank you” bonuses to teachers to prevent resignations and boost morale after COVID-19. In New Jersey, one of nine states that have mandated in-person learning, some parents are raising concerns about the poor condition of the schools their children are being forced to return to.