I became a non-believer in January 1992.

I was teaching in a school district that “balanced” the schedules of teachers of “gifted/talented” students by assigning each a section of non-college-bound seniors. It was the tried-and-true way to cover classes that nobody wanted to teach.

From day one, my seniors made clear that they didn’t want to be in class. I shared that sentiment. The course had clearly been designed to ask so little of students that they could not fail to graduate. It inspired nobody.

Fortunately, I saw in those reluctant students glimpses of my dad, a brilliant drop-out. I unilaterally jettisoned the approved curriculum, substituting materials and strategies I used with my advanced classes. Doing so violated district policy and put my job in

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