What could be worse, for kids who desperately desire a feeling of connection, than to plop them down in a giant factory of a school, a huge, seemingly uncaring place where they feel invisible, anonymous, lost? (Those are the exact words many students use to describe their situation to anyone who bothers to ask.) It’s not that most teachers are indifferent or sadistic people; it’s that something is seriously dysfunctional about the structure of high school. Too many people are thrown together, and too little time at a stretch is provided for any subset of them to come to know one another well. From early every weekday morning until well into the afternoon, it is rare for students to have much meaningful contact with adults-or even with one another. Moreover, any sense of community that does manage to develop is snuffed out by practices that set kids against one another. When students must compete-when, for example, they are not only rated but ranked-the lesson each learns is that everyone else is an obstacle to one’s own success.
Quote ID: 01526
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