Thursday, February 13, 2014

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

Sometimes the best thing you can do to a school is to raze it. The pipes leak, there’s mold in the ceiling panels, rats are nesting behind the wainscot, and a strange black stain has appeared under the basement floor near the oil line. It isn’t worth repairing.

It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly noisy, but it was never musical. It could boast plenty of glaring neon colors, but it was never simply sweet. It was not grand, but only big, and big enough for musty corners of corruption to develop here and there. This is the room where the kids snorted coke. This is the closet where they stashed the porn. Here is the English teacher who hated great English literature. Here is the history teacher who taught no history. Here is the health class that spread confusion and disease.

If it stirs any affection, it is in spite of its unlovable self. Perhaps one of the teachers took pity upon you and sent you to the library to read something good for a change. Perhaps one of the coaches lent you his hammer and chisels, and you used them to make a present for your father. But in general, the thing might well be wiped off the face of the earth, and you would feel a moment’s twinge, and then not give it another thought.  (more...)

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