Rate this book

Blackboard: A Personal History Of The Classroom (2014)

by Lewis Buzbee(Favorite Author)
3.83 of 5 Votes: 4
1555976832 (ISBN13: 9781555976835)
Graywolf Press
review 1: DISCLAIMER: I received this book from a Firstreads giveaway on Goodreads.Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroomby: Lewis Buzbee★★★★☆Read in December 2014Before I read this book, I had my doubts about it. While the beginning starts off slightly unfocused, it quickly snowballs into a wonderful combination of history and personal experience for a enjoyable read. Buzbee, a relatable narrator, also included his own observations of his daughter’s education, which were nice additions to the overall story. Describing himself as an average student, Buzbee explained how important his public school education was to him. He started off with his kindergarten and elementary school years, and finished with his college education. By giving examples of his favorite te... moreachers, or teachers that made an impact by going the extra mile, Buzbee showed how impactful school can be in someone’s formative years.When pointing out the differences between public schools when he attended them and the state of public schools now, Buzbee made sure to point out the real culprit in all of this, the amount of money being put towards the public school system. My favorite quote from ‘Blackboard’ is about this issue, “The bounty and luxury that were my public education were very expensive. And they were worth every penny.”
review 2: This book is a warm meditation on what it means to go to school, to get an education, and to give one. It's clear that the author actually think these things are synonymous. His description of how California went from a ranking in U.S. of number two when I as in school to number 49 today is a replay of the heartbreak I witnessed as the years went by and the lunatics on the right systematically destroyed most of what made California great in our lifetimes. I remember a high school officer telling us that “these people got theirs, and don’t want to spend their money giving others the same benefits that they themselves enjoyed to get where they are”. I had no idea how right he was. Proposition 13 and the subsequent Reagan “tax revolution” very quickly set up the seeds of the destruction of the opportunity machine that California had created for us all, including immigrants Ronald Reagan from Illinois and Howard Jarvis from Utah (the Proposition 13 proponent).Buzbee, a native Californian from the Santa Clara (Silicon) Valley, walks us through the pedagogic structure, the sociology, and physical components of pre-school, Kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, junior college, and the university. Having been in at least one of each of these in his lifetime, he uses a physical re-visitation regime to conjure his own memories of what going to school was like. I was startled and pleased to hear that, like my daughter, his daughter went to French American International School, which he spends a lot of time discussing in detail. This was great; he nailed the description of the school, and its benefits. The greatness of that school is unquestionable. However, it costs us about $25,000 a year, which means we had to make $35,000 in salary just to pay for it. Ask me if I’d have preferred to pay higher taxes and have great schools for everyone to be able to go to, including my kid. To paraphrase Buzbee paraphrasing Bush the father – “Read my lips – raise my taxes”, if the intent is to use them to cut class sizes in half, equip schools with enough materials so that teachers don’t have to buy them on their own, and pay teachers a six-figure salary so that they quit to get jobs selling cell phones to make a better living. Let’s do this soon, so that our children’s educational fate isn’t dependent on bake sales.Buzbee and I are both California natives, both San Franciscans, and have had similar education trajectories through the same kinds of school, right through to my time after I entered the workforce studying Design and Typography at night at U.C. Berkeley Extension. So my empathy for what he wrote here is probably higher than usual. But I think and hope that his observations and prognosis are universal.I loved this book because it made me realize in the most personal way possible that I was extremely fortunate to be raised in California and to receive the education I enjoyed at that time in recent history.Five stars; this is a great book. less
Reviews (see all)
LOVED this book. If you are feeling nostalgic about or grateful for education, you'll love it too!
Sweetly nostalgic. What a good time of year to release such a book.
Elegant, heartfelt, nostalgic and intelligent.
Write review
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)