I have been a teacher all my life; in fact I once figured out that I have taught at least one class every year since 1968, the year after I graduated from college. Most of that time has been spent teaching high school Latin, with high school English a distant second, and college courses third.
I started out teaching English on an Indian reservation in Montana, as part of the old VISTA program, a kind of domestic Peace Corps, but soon went back to school and learned Latin and Greek. I think the Indians got me interested in learning more about my own cultural background. I eventually got a Ph.D. in Classics.
I have taught in some of the "best" secondary schools in the country, and in some of the "worst," including Collegiate, in New York City, where all the kids went off to the Ivy League, and Edgemont, a suburban public school next to Scarsdale, NY, and the school on the reservation, which supposedly ranked at the bottom of the schools in Montana, and Park West High School in New York, which was closed due to its low scores, and Bronx Latin, a small public school in the South Bronx, where I finished my career with the New York City Dept. of Ed. I am now retired from high school teaching and teach courses in mythology at Montclair State University, in New Jersey.
Working in both public and private schools, at all levels of success, has led me to the conclusion that the problems of the public schools have little to do with the staff, or the children, or even the bureaucracy involved. The differences that a public school in the South Bronx has in these areas with the high-end schools are actually quite minimal. They cannot account for the severity of the problems. There must be some "structural" differences between the strong and the weak schools; differences in the way we organize them. This has led me to the problems with our state-run public school system, and the need to replace this structure with a national system of public schools.
I live in the Inwood section of northern Manhattan in New York City with my wife. We have two grown children.