Decision-making 101

GadflyA fierce school-choice debate rages in Alabama—but the threat to the Common Core standards has receded, for now. When it became clear that the Senate Education Committee would not approve a bill to revoke the Heart of Dixie’s commitment to the standards, the sponsor of the bill himself withdrew it from consideration. This is well and good. Now maybe they can get back to safeguarding the separation of powers—and implementing the Common Core.

South Dakota has the (dubious) honor of being the first state to explicitly authorize school employees to carry guns to work. State groups representing teachers and school boards expressed concern that the bill had been rushed to a vote, did not actually make schools safer, and ignored other approaches to safety, such as employing armed officers. In related news, a Texas school employee recently shot himself at a concealed-carry class for teachers.

Boston has approved a new school-assignment plan that reflects not just geography but also school quality—amounting to the greatest change in the way that the city assigns students in twenty-five years and “finally dismantling the remnants of the notorious [1970s] busing plan.” Mike Petrilli is optimistic; for his take, check out this week’s Education Gadfly Show podcast.

The opposition to KIPP DC’s plan to build a new high school is indicative of challenges that most charter schools face: Its future neighbors resent the fact that their children won’t have admissions preference. Thus far, the mayor has not put the land up for public sale—but KIPP is undeterred: They already have an architect, a building design, an artist’s rendering of the proposed campus, and a plan to open the doors to students by summer of 2014.

On Monday, to the boos of a clamorous crowd of teachers, students, and parents, New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy rejected a proposal to place a moratorium on school closures—and, early the next morning, voted to close twenty-two low-performing schools. As school districts around the country face these hard choices, Andy Smarick weighs in with a refreshingly nuanced perspective.

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