Magazine | April 16, 2018, Issue

Wakanda Middle School



A note to the parents: All of us at Wakanda Middle School have been impressed and moved by the energy and passion of our students. They have shown us what real courage is, whether choosing to stage a two-day walkout to express solidarity with their fellow students in Florida, or refusing to participate in state-wide exams to protest the use of the word “mastery” in describing academic knowledge, or orchestrating the “No Homework, No Home Woke” month-long boycott of all academic expectations from late February until earlier this week. While all this activism has meant that only two full days of classes have been held since early 2018 — the administration and faculty are prepared for the school year to come to a close with only nine more minutes of instruction time — it has been an amazing experience for the faculty to learn from the students.

It only made sense, therefore, to rethink the traditional “report card.”

Attached is the report card written by your middle-schooler evaluating the skills and learning of that student’s instructors. We think you’ll agree that this “reverse” report card is more representative of present-day realities, where it really is the kids who are doing the teaching.


“Voices and Visions: The Literature of the Oppressed”

Instructor: Margaret Talbot-McKee

Ms. Talbot-McKee — known to her students as “Meg” — is a fine teacher who shows some real promise. She connects well to the students, and with this student in particular made great strides in communication, woke-awareness, leniency with deadlines, and the willingness to listen, and grade papers, without judgment or grades.

While Meg has been in many ways a valuable member of the Wakanda Middle School community, I am still troubled by the thoughtless inclusion of cis-gendered white-male discourses in the curriculum, especially since many of them are quite long and have difficult (and therefore oppressive) words.

It is therefore deeply regrettable that I must ask that Meg be removed from her position as one of my instructors in language arts until such time as she aligns her course workload with my busy schedule of activism and social outreach.

Grade: D+


“The Physical World: An Inquiry into the Scientific Method”

Instructor: Dr. Frank Cropper

Dr. Cropper, or “Frankie,” as he is known, is a charming and entertaining teacher who would be more effective if he did not insist on experimentation, evidence, and the timely completion of assignments. Frankie’s classroom is a lively and unstructured space — replete with burning thingies and glass cups and whatnot for boiling stuff and mixing this and that — and his often tiresome insistence on “lab reports” —
which remain a mystery — only takes away from the creative expression of his students as they mix whatever’s at hand and set it on fire.

What should be a fun and stress-free 50 minutes becomes instead a problematic and stifling experience. 

Grade: C–


“Preparation for Algebra”

Instructor: Theresa Sanchez

Theresa is one of the most popular teachers at Wakanda, which is a shame because I did not manage to attend any of her well-known (and, it turns out, required) classes in introductory algebra. This is as much my fault as it is Theresa’s, though perhaps Theresa could brainstorm with me on ways in which she might improve her course’s appeal.

I recommend that Theresa be placed on academic probation until such time as she figures out a way to make pre-algebra not so tedious.

Grade: Incomplete


“American History, 1600–1865”

Instructor: Barry Lewman

Barry is a disruptive and reactionary presence on campus, an almost perpetual problem area for students of all grade levels and gender expressions. Barry has been a loud and often strident voice opposing almost every student-led reform — he was against the instituting of the Tuesday All-Day Movie Day school-wide film-appreciation festival, he fought the new school policy of randomizing gender assignments for incoming students, he refused to comply with the Reflective Friday Initiative canceling all formal school activities on Fridays, and worse, he insists on continuing to teach American history, despite its tendency to trigger students and create an unsafe atmosphere.

I therefore have to insist that Barry undergo retraining to improve his sensitivity and obedience to the students in his class.

Grade: F


“Introduction to Television Appearances”

Instructor: Jenna Golden

Jenna is a delight! Her class is a popular and thorough introduction to the challenges and pitfalls of making appearances on television news programs. While I was forced to miss many of her classes — ironically, I was appearing on television news programs — her simple, easy-to-read laminated card reminded me of the basics: Keep hand gestures to a minimum, be mindful of the back of your jacket riding up, and always be aware of which camera is “hot” and which is “cold.”

Grade: A

In This Issue



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