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Friday, March 14, 2014

A New Kind of Cramming in Schools

The 1950s had some pretty unusual fads.  People stuffed themselves into phone booths.

Ordinary people, not clowns, stuffed themselves into Volkswagens.

Oddly enough, others crammed themselves into outhouses.  Perhaps the phone booth was not available.

note the old-fashioned toilet paper on the roof.

Today, we face a new fad in NYC, a legacy of the Bloomberg-era D.O.E., cramming children into school buildings.  In the hallways of some schools, students are packed like sardines; some spill over into oversized classes.  Are we cramming our way to a new record in the Guinness Book?  If so, will the photographer be able to fit in the building to snap the photo at the most crowded point of the day? 

Thank goodness, the kids are good.  I'd be hard pressed to think of any I would want to see go, but gradually downsizing incoming classes seems to make more sense than the apparently intended policy of attempting to stuff more students into some already crammed buildings next year.  If you disagree, perhaps you should try to navigate the hallways of an overcrowded building between periods in the middle of the school day.  It might prove a jolt from sitting in a comfortable office and crunching numbers that look good on paper while students must crunch their way into classrooms, or, at some locations, spill out of buildings into trailer parks across frozen tundra in the wintertime. 
A new take on Schoolhouse Rock:  Schoolhouse Trailer.  With some school crammed and some in decay, RTTT and the Common Core seem like grand distractions from the underlying issues of inequality in education.

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