Education Week - January 16, 2019 - C1

VOL. 38, NO. 18 * JANUARY 16, 2019

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2019 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6


Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, at left. Clockwise from top left are parents Tony Montalto, Ryan Petty, Max Schachter, Andrew Pollack, Fred Guttenberg, and Lori Alhadeff.

A Broken Trust
Inside the
Rift Between
Parkland and Its
School District
Photographs by Josh Ritchie
for Education Week

By Benjamin Herold


Broward County, Fla.

n early June, Andrew Pollack returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, furious.
On Valentine's Day, his daughter, 18-yearold Meadow Pollack, had been murdered
inside the school, victim to a shooting rampage that left 17 dead and 17 wounded.
During the months that followed, Pollack's
grief had merged with a combustible anger. Much
of it was directed at the Broward County public
schools. Like other victims' family members, Pollack had come to believe that mistakes by the nation's sixth-largest district had helped make the
shooting possible. He had also grown frustrated
by what he viewed as a lack of urgency and empathy from Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Those emotions were ignited when the South
Florida Sun Sentinel published a story about
Stoneman Douglas campus monitor Andrew Medina, one of two people state investigators now
believe had a chance to minimize the carnage on
the day of the massacre. Medina had unlocked a
pedestrian gate at the school, then left it unattended. A few minutes later, he watched from a

distance as a former student carrying a black
rifle bag got out of an Uber, walked through
the open gate, and made a beeline for a threestory classroom building housing hundreds of
Medina couldn't remember Nikolas Cruz's
name, he told the Broward County sheriff's office
in a videotaped interview the Sun Sentinel posted
online. But he recognized Cruz as "crazy boy," a


I should have followed
my heart more."
Superintendent, Broward County schools

deeply troubled young man whom the Stoneman
Douglas security staff had once identified as the
student most likely to shoot up the school.
Worried that Cruz might have a handgun, and
recalling his training to "observe and report" suspicious or inappropriate activity, Medina never
tried to stop the intruder. He radioed ahead to
another campus monitor, David Taylor, that a
suspicious kid was approaching. Cruz entered the


Chance for Success

When it comes to viewing lifetime prospects through the lens of education, schools and test scores
are just one part of the picture. This first of three Quality Counts 2019 reports looks at how the
nation and the states tip the scales on 13 family, school, and socioeconomic markers-from a
person's earliest years; through high school, college, and postsecondary learning; and on into the
working world. Look inside this report for state-by-state grades, takeaways from top performers,
and insights into what's working and where. PAGES 20-25.

classroom building through a side door.
Twenty-two seconds later, the first shots rang out.
Still, Medina didn't call a "Code Red," the command to initiate a campus lockdown. Neither did
Taylor, who sprinted to the building's second floor
and hid in a closet.
Had the alert been called, it may have prompted
teachers on the third floor of the building to shelter
Meadow Pollack and hundreds of other students
behind locked classroom doors. Instead, when the
building's fire alarms went off, some of the teachers were unaware of the active shooter two stories
below. They began ushering the teenagers toward
the stairwells to evacuate.
As Cruz made his way into the third-floor hallway, Pollack was among the dozens of students
left exposed.
She was shot nine times.
After the massacre, grief and rumors and questions swirled through Parkland, a well-to-do enclave that had recently been named the safest
city in Florida.
As he read the June 1 Sun Sentinel story, Andrew Pollack could barely contain his fury. He
decided to head back to Stoneman Douglas to demand action. When the school had reopened, all
the security staff had been returned to their same
positions. Medina was still there.
"It's not respectful to me or my daughter to have
PAGE 14 >

Bumpy Landscape

Geography as Destiny?

The nation's middling score on the Chancefor-Success Index reflects the complex
challenges states continue to face. PAGE 20

No one likes the idea that where you live sets
your future. But there's division over how
education can help break that link. PAGE 22

Places to Thrive

State-by-State Rankings

What makes high-ranking states better able
to set up those who live there for long-term
success? PAGE 22

See how your state scores and compares
on the Education Week Research Center's
updated Chance-for-Success tally. PAGE 24

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 16, 2019