Mid afternoon, the eve of Thanksgiving. We sit at round tables in the Blind Pig Cafe on First St. and drink wine or beer. The expresso machine is broken. There is no expresso. There is no capacino either. The proprietor is collecting $800 from patrons to fix the machine. The patrons, gratefulfor the unique cafe, are donating. "What do you want to talk about," Allen Schreiber asks a reporter who has come to hear about Pioneer II, the altemative high school program housed in the Fritz building on N. Maple Rd. Schreiber is there with fellow teacher Torn Dodd for lunch and to describe a more secure program in this educational experiment. Here is what tfiey said: "Uh, no pictures, Lawry. No pictures." They're wild men out at Pioneer II. The community would be scared to death if it knew what they're doing. But the community doesn't know. It's a good thing. What they do at Pioneer II keeps the roof on at Huron and Pioneer. It isn't Pioneer II anymore. A field trip and subsequent vote took care of that. Earthworks. Man. it's the Earthworks. Down in South Ohio. Three days. These big 12th century A.D. Indian mounds like Fort Hill and Great Serpent and Seip. "Built before the tribes organized," said Tom Dodd, one of the wild men. "They were organized. That was unión labor that built that mound," says Allen Schreiber. Allen Schreiber? Yeah. Nick's kid. Super-straight, over-achiever, Class of '56 in the old Ann Arbor High his oíd man ran like a well oiled machine. Too well, says Allen. People carne to expect miracles from the big, 2,000 plus enrollment, factory. Even Nick couldn't do it in the end. He used to know every student and every teacher in his rambling building. ' The new teachers all came to Labor Day picnics when Allen was a kid himself. When Nick retired to Arizona he didn't know them anymore, The kids were strangers and he didn't even know all the teachers. Bigness. It swallowed us all with false pride and we stifled in impersonalization. That is where the Earthworks is at. Eighty-five kids. Down from 100 last year with more staff. Correct teacher-student ratio as spelied out by union contract. "It's a lot better this year," boast Dodd. Earthworks? Yeah. Named from those Indian mounds. But no direct adoption. Stuck with democracy. They had one hundred names on the ballot when they struck out for anew identity. Fifty kids voted and pared them down to the top five. Hit Included "The Fritz Trucking Company." Earthworks won. Wow. The coming tide in education. What does it mean? It means that kids and teachers take one another seriously without talking about it that way. "We don't talk about this with one another," says Schreiber. "No," says Dodd. "I don't talk to you about this," he saysto Schreiber. "We only talk about it this way outside of school. Want to here my rap on Earthworks outside the school?" Schreiber asks Dodd. It means only 15 minutes for a class when on one is interested or prepared. It means three days intense concentration on a subject that grabs everyone and when everyone works. Like the Indian mounds in Ohio. Wow. Discipline. First time I saw Schreiber he said the (Please turn to page 28) (Over Please)
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