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Teaching remains an art, and excellence remains rare – especially in a bureaucratic age. The ancient Socratic methods and modern enlightenment ideals have increasingly fallen out of favor in American public schools – from elementary and middle school to high school and adult school.
The gap between the desires and needs of our students and the bureaucratic mandates of our local educational authorities grows wider with each day. For instance, my local school board just opened a new high school in Los Angeles that cost a mere $350 million dollars. That comes out to almost $200,000 per enrolled student – just for the building! The principal also boasted that the new building, Roybal Learning Center, was “graffiti-free”. Wow! Can you imagine that?
How did this happen?
“God made the idiot for practice. Then he made school boards.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American novelist and humorist
Unfortunately, Twain’s quip remains as relevant in the 21st century urban America as 19th century rural America.
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