This article, What’s Wrong With Our Schools, is worth reading.
What’s Wrong With Our Schools?
by Jennifer Fox
What was high school like when you were there? How were your classes taught? Thirty-two years ago, I sat in a chair attached to the desk with a shiny silver tube. The trouble with these chairs is that you could not lean back in them, although some boys tried. There was a wire basket attached to the back to put our books in, but nobody ever used it for that. Some kids threw paper balls at the baskets, trying to score points. The desks were set up in rows, or sometimes, if the teacher was cool, in a semicircle. Most classes used a fat textbook that
weighed between two and three pounds. I had between four and six classes a day, and each one of them assigned some kind of homework, usually an end-of-chapter series of problems that we were supposed to solve and turn in the next day. My classmates and I knew that the teacher never read the homework problems; she just walked up and down the aisle scratching a check next to our names in her grade book if she saw that we completed the work sheet. Some kids didn’t really complete the homework; they just wrote some answers on the page so it looked as if they did. The teachers never really looked closely, so the kids got away with it. I thought this was awful until I became a teacher and learned that some teachers don’t really keep track of the homework; they just pretend to mark a check in the book so students think they have to do the homework.
Thirty years later, classrooms look pretty much the same as they did then, except instead of green chalkboards, many classrooms now have white dry erase boards. The basic configuration of the room is still the same — desks in rows or semicircles. Some classrooms have everyone sitting at a seminar table. Fat textbooks still abound, at least for math and science . . . and history . . . and literature . . . and foreign languages.