Chestnut and I are in the midst of the hideous and byzantine New York City high school application process (shudder) (for more on how to survive it, according to us, see here). We were riding the subway home from touring Stuyvesant high school last night, too late and too tired, when we somehow got into the "Oh, the guy who designed the algorithm that matches you to your high school won the Nobel Prize" conversation.
Chestnut opined that perhaps he should instead have won the prize for making the most kids miserable.
I countered that the problem wasn't really him per se, but the matching system overall. But it got us to thinking: who would win the prize for making the most kids miserable?
We quickly realized that constant overwhelming forces, like hunger and disease, would win, so we changed it to: Who would win the prize for making kids hate school the most?
We nominated Pearson, designer of state tests in our fair state, as well as publisher of textbooks that suck the joy right out of learning. But we're not sure. For instance, a principal who terrorizes decades of students could arguably win, as could (for some people) various books, or even branches of subject matter (many besides Anne Shirley have met their Waterloo in geometry). We realized that, of course, we'd have to design an algorithm to figure it out.
But I wonder: do any of you remember (or know for your kids) what made school less fun? Was it the reading log? Was it diagramming sentences? For me I think it was middle school. But that's just me.