** 1/2 Blackboard by Lewis Buzbee

Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom features the author, an English professor, visiting his old elementary, junior high, and high schools in Northern California, and reliving his experiences there. Priceless! It seems that the buildings have not changed much at all since their erection, and his reminiscing about learning cursive, using readers designed for East Coast seasons (and casts), being privileged to clean the blackboard erasers, or building a model of a California mission is spot on and very sweet. Unfortunately he takes the opportunity of the book to violently berate the state of K-12 schools in California and their funding (I sympathize) and ends with entirely unrealistic proposals of tripling teachers’ salaries and halving class sizes. Why besmirch a great memoir with silly recommendations?

 

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