From Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual

Published by WW Norton, New York, London

Copyright 1997 Sam Smith

Here are a few questions that may help you find out what's right and wrong with your community's schools. Add or subtract points for any statment that is true:

1. The principal

is seen regularly in classes finding out what's going on . . . +10
is seen regularly in hallway in conversation with students . . . +5
is seldom seen in the hallways . . . -5
uses a bullhorn in hallways . . . -8

2. The school

has less than five hundred students . . . +5
has more than five hundred students . . . -5
is still trying to figure out this year's actual enrollment . . . -8

3. The worst teacher in the school

just started this year. . . 0
has been in the system five years . . . -3
is working on 20 . . . -5
is now a principal or downtown administrator . . . -8

4. Older students are typically considered

discipline problems . . . -10
members of a community . . . +5
potential teachers and tutors for younger students . . . +10

5. In history and social studies classes

students don't use textbooks since the teacher prefers primary sources . . . +5
students don't use textbooks because the system ran out and the new order hasn't come in . . . -3
What history and social studies classes? They were replaced by the anti-drug program years ago . . . -8

6. Parents are
are regularly used as volunteers in elementary school . . . +3
are regularly used as volunteers in middle and high school . . . +5
are required upon coming to the school to sign a log and explain the purpose of their visit . . . -5

7. TV is used

to teach critical thinking about the media and advertising . . . +10
to make curriculum more informative and interesting . . . +5
to view purple dinosaurs and show business kids from hell . . . -5

8. Deduct one point for every TV commercial seen during the typical school day. [ ]

9. As students grow older their performance tends to

get worse . . . -10
stay about the same 0
get better . . . +10

10. The school

is open to the community after regular classes . . . +5
offers classes for adults and families . . . +5
teaches its community's history and culture . . . +5
practices a wide variety of teaching styles and techniques . . . +5
has lots of field trips and out-of-school activities . . . +5
offers assistance to students affected by drugs/alcohol, pregnancy, parenthood, truancy, abuse, gangs, etc. . . . +5

11. The school

offers anti-drug program but not drama classes . . . -5
offers driving lessons but not civic lessons . . . -5
offers JROTC but not mediation or peer conflict resolution . . . -5

12. Students learn

how to ask searching questions . . . +5
how to get around locker searches . . . -5
how to argue persuasively with their parents . . . +5
how to argue persuasively with their parole officer . . . -5

13. For security and discipline the school uses

city police . . . -10
security guards . . . -5
school faculty and administrators . . . +5
school faculty, administrators and the students themselves . . . +10

13. Upon encountering a young person in the hall, a school official would typically say something like

"I need to see your ID." . . . -5
"Good morning, Jannine" . . . +5

14. The school believes that students largely learn by

listening . . . -10
doing . . . +10

15. In preparing for life after graduation, the school

concentrates on the needs of college-bound students . . . -5
is as interested in student not going to college as those who are . . . +5

16. Deduct three points for every audio-visual aid or computer in the school that is not working [ ]

17. Extra-curricular programs such as the arts, sports and skill-oriented clubs are considered

nice but in today's competitive environment must give way to other things . . . -5
an important part of what makes the school great. . . . +5

18. BONUS

The school is a happy place that I would enjoy attending . . . +20

SCORING YOUR SCHOOL

Top of the class: 145 and up
Tries hard : 100 and up
Needs effort : 60 and up
Get a new school board : Below 60