Monday, November 03, 2008

The Open Classroom Is So Over!

The "open classroom" wars of the seventies have given way to the closed classroom ideas of the fifties. How many school districts in the country built these monstrosities? I can recall whole communities practically coming to blows over these controversial designs, school board elections lost and won. Afterwards, if the open-classroom adherents won, teachers and students were stuck with unworkable schools perpetrated by educrats. The teacher in this picture must use a microphone to be heard over the voices in the wall-less classrooms around her.

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun [see Across Maryland, a Call for Classrooms with Walls], this educratic mess finally is sinking into the oblivion it so richly deserves. According to the article,
"The open-space school model, a British import, was embraced in the United States amid shifting social, cultural and political dynamics - the civil rights movement, the rise of feminism and anti-war protests - of the 1960s and '70s, according to Larry Cuban, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University. Americans were increasingly questioning notions of societal norms, including traditional thoughts on classroom and school organization and teaching methods, earning the model acclaim, he said."
Speak for yourself, professor! Parents and teachers knew at the time it was a crock, but in most cases they were powerless to stop it.

Parents of the twenty-first century face similar stupidities, one being the idea that neighborhood schools are outdated. Another is the ideology perpetrated by Bill Ayers and his ilk as "constructivist" learning. A third is the push for every student to take a college prep course in high school and get a college degree.

When will they learn? THEY won't. The edublob is too busy soaking up funds from well-meaning (usually) non-profits and government to listen to common sense. And common sense is not being taught in schools of education.

Parents and teachers unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains.


Anonymous said...

You know I attended an doorless high school classroom and had no problem in my education. I wonder what kind of education you truly root for. The tired old version that lead us to the door of the 21st century which only served a small percentage of a student population and left the rest to fend for themselves. You sound as if the old system of school rocked and it didnt. Just a hundred years ago only about 25 per cent of the population actually graduated for high school which would mean that 75 per cent dropped out of school. Lucky for those folks, they could still find work. But we don't hear of that. We just hear about the good ole days which were not good for the majority of Americans. What do you have against open classrooms? What was the point of this post? Why do you list Bill Ayers name? Who cares what he has to say? Just curious what you have to say.

West Ashley said...

I remember when Spring Valley High School opened in the upscale suburbs of NE Columbia in the late 1960's. Everyone said its new open pods with multiple classrooms sans walls were the wave of the future.

I played hooky one day from my traditional school just so I could drop into Spring Valley to see for myself. It was the loudest school I have ever attended, even if for me it was just for a day. The constant drone overwhelmed every classroom in the pod. The order, peace and quiet of my old fashioned school was never more appreciated after that experience.

The Spring Valley regulars (teachers, students and parents) were already in retreat on this concept when I visited in the spring of its first year. By the end of that year (1970) those in charge had raised solid walls between each classroom. Their experiment with the future came to a quick and quiet end, almost as soon as it had begun.

When the new Wando High School was announced locally to be of the same design, I already knew that wouldn't last. It didn't.

Babbie said...

To poster #1--a doorless classroom is hardly the same as one without walls. Have you ever been in one when classes where being held? If so, you truly don't know what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Babbie!!

Anonymous said...

I went to an open classroom school in the 70s. If you didn't have ADD when you got there, you did when you left! 120 K-2nd grade kids in one room learning 15 different subjects=Insanity!