With a novelist's eye, Elinor Burkett takes readers behind the school system's closed doors, revealing a world of mixed messages, manufactured myths, and political hype.
In the wake of school shootings across the country, one question haunted America: What is going wrong inside our nation's schools? To find out, award-winning journalist Elinor Burkett spent nine months -- from the opening pep rally to graduation day -- in a suburban Minneapolis high school. She attended classes, hung out with students, listened to parents, and joined teachers on the front lines.
She soon discovered that, post-Columbine, fears about loners and misfits, "Smoker's New Year" (a pot holiday), "Zero Tolerance" policies, and school lockdowns have become as much a part of a teen's high school experience as dating and Clearasil. But Burkett goes even deeper and makes some startling conclusions in this poignant expose of the real problems facing educators, parents, and the children they try to teach.