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Routes to safety

EDUCATION | Schools turn to digital maps for emergencies

Critical Response Group

Routes to safety
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THOUSANDS of U.S. school districts have turned to mapping technology to prepare for emergencies such as armed intruders. A recent analysis by the Associated Press and the bill-tracking software Plural found that at least 20 states in the last few years have passed or considered legislation requiring schools to provide digital maps of their grounds to share with dispatchers during emergencies.

Army special operations veteran Mike Rodgers mapped his wife’s school before launching his company, Critical Response Group, and developing maps for over 12,000 schools. Rodgers told the Associated Press the technique is based on similar maps for deployed military leaders. “When an emergency happens at a school or a place of worship, most likely it’s the first time those responders have ever gone there … which is exactly the same problem that the military is faced with overseas.”

During an overnight emergency at Kromrey Middle School in Wisconsin, dispatchers used a digital map of the grounds to access security camera footage. The footage showed the intruder was an unarmed teenager—and the map helped responding police track down the teen safely.

Harvard dreams

Harvard University has returned to the top spot in college-bound students’ aspirations, according to the Princeton Review’s 2024 College Hopes & Worries Survey. The Cambridge, Mass., school received the highest number of votes from the nearly 8,000 students polled earlier this year.

The Harvard preference comes despite the school’s recent political controversies. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Harvard’s affirmative action admissions policies. And Claudine Gay resigned as president of the school on Jan. 2 amid plagiarism accusations and criticism for her December congressional testimony about Harvard’s response to anti-Semitism on campus. Harvard also saw a drop in early applications from prospective students last fall.

While most students still say they prefer Harvard, the Princeton Review survey found Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in first place with their ­parents. —L.D.

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Regulating Aussie homeschoolers

Lawmakers in the Australian state of Queensland are considering a measure that would increase government control of homeschooling there. On March 6, legislators introduced potential changes to the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 that would require homeschoolers to follow Australia’s national curriculum. Home education in Queensland has ballooned since 2019, with secondary-student homeschooling growing by 260 percent. —L.D.

Lauren Dunn

Lauren covers education for WORLD’s digital, print, and podcast platforms. She is a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and World Journalism Institute, and she lives in Wichita, Kan.


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