A Personal History of the Classroom
Lewis Buzbee

“To find a silver lining in even the most embarrassing, most angst-filled moments of your school years? Such a thing seemed impossible . . . until I read Lewis Buzbee’s Blackboard.”—NPR

“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

About the Book

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

Additional Reviews

“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