April 23, 2021

Odds & Ends: Florida Arrests, LAUSD, Culture Wars…

By Bellwether

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“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” Happy Birthday William. Kids like him! He’s relevant today!

If there is a policy issue you really want to tackle Emma Vadehra is organizing the next cohort of Next100.

Security experts generally agree the 2018 Parkland massacre, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting, was a preventable tragedy. The shooter telegraphed his intentions and security protocols at the school were not followed. The South Florida Sun Sentinel won a Pulitzer for its critical coverage – coverage that deviated from the posture a lot of media and education advocates took toward the school administration. Even accounting for the understandable confusion around an event like this, there was some reason to believe the district leadership was not being forthcoming about all aspects of what happened – particularly the discipline history of the shooter and awareness of risk. The debate since has largely been blue v. red despite the seriousness of the stakes and despite the facts that are known not actually fitting cleanly into the various political narratives.

Now the superintendent and a school board member are indicted for perjury as part of an investigation into the shooting. They were arrested late this week. There is a big difference between a perjury charge and a conviction, but this seems likely to invite more scrutiny into what happened.

In Rhode Island it’s blue on blue as education politics there heat up.

Local pollster Joe Fleming, who has advised McKee in previous elections, said in an interview that he expected voters to judge the governor mostly by his performance in guiding Rhode Island through the vaccination and reopening process, noting that the massive infusion of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan had put him in an enviable position. But he could also face further dissension in his own ranks.

“Obviously, the General Assembly knows that if they pass it, it’s going to be vetoed by the governor,” Fleming said. “At that point, it becomes more of a political decision if they have the votes to override a veto and if they want to go that route. But the unions are really pushing the [charter school] moratorium, and there are a lot of union-affiliated people in the General Assembly.”

So you want to run LAUSD?  Here’s your chance.

Significant student free speech case coming up at the SCOTUS. Real First Amendment implications and also jurisdictional questions for schools in terms of the scope of their authority and responsibility. As these student free speech cases usually have, bonus fun fact pattern.

Culture wars…here’s a dispatch from the front in AZ. I’m not a fan of this Florida transgender athlete bill and wouldn’t vote for it if I were in the legislature there, but it’s being mischaracterized in the media based on advocates’ claims and an echo chamber about what it says. Read it for yourself here.

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