Oh, oh do you remember Classic Comics. Those of us who were a little more serious about reading than the Egyptian Cobras (remember Chicago’s first black street gang?), read the upscale and slightly more expensive Classic Comics. I think they were a whole quarter, so you were a committed academic if you read these. According to Wikipedia, the series went out of publication while I was overseas in the Air Force in 1971. A terrible loss that i did not notice until 1994. Today they are valuable collectables. Culturally, they filled a gap for kids, especially poor kids. It is far better to read something than suffer the fate of those who read not; and comics had plot, characters, and a beginning, middle, and end that made more sense than reality tv or Hip hop music.
But why are the results often mixed or uneven? Very simply, we do not pay kids enough money to create a really strong incentive to learn. While 00 may look like a huge sum for a high school student, it really is not that much in New york city. I dare any of you adult readers to prepare for and pass an AP exam in any of the subjects other than what you know professionally. You will see it is not easy, and certainly requires a lot of work. And you won’t do this for a 00 bucks.