A Reformer’s Nightmare

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Each of us has had nightmares in our lifetimes.

Here is one nightmare that a fervent school reformer might have.

I am in a classroom. The doors are locked. The windows have wooden blinds and slats are pulled shut. There are close to 50 adults sitting in bolted-down desks arranged in eight rows of arm-chair desks facing a teacher and whiteboard. I am sitting at a graffiti-rich desk at the end of the third row. The teacher looks like Miss Bowler, my eighth grade English teacher who had required each of us to recite “Abou Ben Adhem” publicly. In my dream, the Miss Bowler look-alike is berating us for not listening to the report that each adult is giving. She wants us to fold our hands on our scarred desks and give each “student” our fullest attention or, she says, we will not be able to leave the room….ever.


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