Education: Student Apathy

Why high schoolers don't care

Dropping SAT scores and school violence have been making headlines, but a more insidious malady has been infecting high schools everywhere: apathy. Teachers are regarded as adversaries; students work below capacity to avoid being seen as teachers' pets. Why? Ellen Glanz, 28, a popular social sciences teacher at the 1,700-student Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in suburban Boston, decided to try to find out.

For 18 weeks last semester, Glanz gave up her keys to the teachers' lounge, traded in her office for a locker, and started going to classes. Students did not see her as a threat. "I...

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