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Book Title


A Personal History of the Classroom
Author 1
Lewis Buzbee
Lewis Buzbee looks back over a lifetime of experiences in schools and classrooms, from kindergarten to college and beyond. He offers fascinating histories of the key ideas informing educational practice over the centuries, which have shaped everything from class size to the layout of desks and chairs. Buzbee deftly weaves his own biography into this overview, approaching his subject as a student, a father, and a teacher. In so doing, he offers a moving personal testament to how he, “an average student” in danger of flunking out of high school, became the first in his family to graduate from college. He credits his success to the well-funded California public school system and bemoans the terrible price that state is paying as the result of funding being cut from today’s budgets. For Buzbee, the blackboard is a precious window into the wider world, which we ignore at our peril.

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A captivating meditation on education from the author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

About the Author

Lewis  Buzbee
Lewis Buzbee is the author of Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, After the Gold Rush, and Fliegelman’s Desire, as well as three award-winning novels for younger readers, Steinbeck’s Ghost, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, and Bridge of Time. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.
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  • “Simultaneously a memoir and treatise on educational reform. . . . An important and humane perspective on what happens to us as individuals as we engage in education.”Inside Higher Ed
  • “I hope more voices will join in the conversation about the state of public schools. Blackboard gives us a place to start—by recalling our own experiences in school.”Kansas City Star
  • “[Blackboard has] a fierce anger and frustration . . . directed at the neglect and, occasionally, contempt politicians and taxpayers have displayed toward public education.”Chicago Tribune
  • "A lyrical, graceful appreciation of the transformative force of teachers . . . and a poetic reflection of the redemptive power of school."—Montreal Gazette
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