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Why the Parkland Tragedy Happened

February 17, 2018

The average salaries in Florida of public school teachers are improved, $46,598, but not the administration of those schools. My graduating class in 1960 in North Miami Florida was 1,025 graduates!

Florida’s population grew from 5 million in 1960 to 20 million in 2015.

That has led to attempts to limit class size:

“As of the 2010-2011 school year, the maximum number of students in each core class are:

  • 18 students in prekindergarten through grade 3
  • 22 students in grades 4 through 8
  • 25 students in grades 9 through 12″

What has not changed is the industry-style organization of Florida public schools.

Parkland, Florida’s high  school serviced 3,000 students. One of those students with a troubled history was expelled, reportedly exhibited violent behavior and “treated’ with mood altering drugs.

In a school of 500 students, he might have been identified much earlier as a potential threat to society–not in a school with 3,000 students.

I know how schools like that cope. I graduated from North Miami high school in North Miami, Florida. North Miami was a Mecca for employment in Florida’s tourism industry and attracted tens of thousands of persons from northern states and rural areas of Florida. Teachers did their best, even using new technologies (television) to teach basic courses, but were overwhelmed by sheer numbers of students.

In any large population of high school students, some gifted students will find their calling. Jeff Zucker, president of NBC, is a North Miami graduate. The founder of Planet Hollywood, Keith Barish, was my classmate, as was Stanley Ringler, later a Rabbi and executive with B’nai Brith. Public speaking and debate programs brought us together and ameliorated the “mass education” we were compelled to endure.

I’m appalled, but not surprised, that even today, schools the size of Parkland high school still “house” so many students. Maybe Jeff Zucker, Keith Barish and Rabbi Ringler will think of something!


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