July 13, 2011

Class Struggle by Steven Verrier

Class Struggle is a journal of a teacher in up to his ears.

Told in a diary like structure, Class Struggle tells the story of one teachers struggles at Webster High School located in San Antonio.  Told with a humorous and "educational" slant, you are taken on a guided tour through the jungle of urban education.

We learn of the red tape that goes along with the administration of state run schools.  The school board has no backbone when it comes to affluent parents and unruly children and the blame is placed on the teacher, whose hands are tied by the bureaucracy of the system.

When truancy is rampant and teenage pregnancy is the norm, teacher's today must learn to cope with the ever changing society.  Teaching today's students is a daunting task, keeping them on track and educated takes everything a person has to offer via the educational system.

Standardized testing has removed the humanity from children, categorizing them into sections of academic prowess while forgetting the tenets that keep them human.  Creativity is being removed from the classrooms, the freedom to express oneself as each of the children are being labelled, streamed towards the good, the bad and the ugly.  Extracurricular activities are discouraged if they aren't the "popular" choices, again classifying the students by the activities that they participate in.  On top of this all, the teacher must be the "law" without having any governing influence, giving the educational system a dead end road to nowhere.

This is a great read if you have any concerns about your children's education.  The bureaucracy of the system is enough to make anyone scream, "What are they doing to our children?", and yet, we stay silent and allow our children to be railroaded along a path they have no control over nor wish to have any part of.  I remember, not too long ago in history, when people weren't even ALLOWED to get an education, only the privileged and the theologians had any access to education, many people were unable to read, write or understand basic math, and when people aren't allowed to think and act on their own, they are nothing but sheep.  We should hold education dear to our hearts and it should be our foremost concern in our society, and yet, it takes a backseat to many aspects of life that do not contribute to society, such as, war for an example.  With the money that has fed the war machine over the years, leaving many without a hope, it would have more beneficial to have educated the country enabling them to lead productive and profitable lives, stepping up to the world plate as true leaders in humanity.

I fear for the educational system, and Steven Verrier's book has only added more worry to my beliefs.  I quite enjoyed how he reminded us of God's faith and how we need to put it into God's hands, offering a symbol of  hope to the future of our world.  I would recommend this to all parents, teachers, aides, students and the administration, showing everyone what is occurring and giving an edge on how to change it for the better.

Class Struggle takes you deep into the heart of San Antonio's "Webster High School," an institution that seems to revel in dysfunction. Told from the point of view of a bemused teacher, Class Struggle is a guided tour through the landscapes and minefields of modern urban education. Come along and meet intriguing characters - the brilliant student "on a quest to kill," the barking boy, the substitute teacher who won't shut up, and many others - who'll make you laugh, cry, and scream! This is a book you won't want to put down ... whether you're a student, a parent, a teacher - or just someone who loves roller coaster rides.

* Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **  

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