“My only regret in life is that my name cannot be erased from the history books; pity on those who must suffer the use of my monstrous creation”: the last words of James Pillans (inventor of the blackboard). The chalkboard was created over 200 years ago as a torture device for school houses. Its purpose, at the time, served as a training tool for young children to learn that fixing all of your life’s mistakes will leave a white chalky residue that cannot be wiped away. Now, in the modern context, a slightly different method is used. A hot button topic that is discussed by anyone who is #awake is whether whiteboards should be the staple board in the classroom and uproot the ancient chalk-smeared blackboards. Simply tradition or grave controversy: that is the question now that the academic departments here at Holy Cross have again turned away yet another donation of whiteboards. So, I caught up with Father Creta who is buried in the Jesuit cemetery and wanted to get his thoughts on the matter. His response was unintelligible but I used a shovel to dig a hole and was then able to faintly hear him give his support towards the effort to uproot the chalkboards, claiming that he had prayed several times a day for God to rid the hill of our chalky hell.
Students have been pleading for the eradication of blackboards for years but the teaching staff holds their ground strong. Through tears, “I die every time a piece of chalk scrapes against a blackboard,” exclaims a junior chemistry major William Nye. I caught up with William at a protest that was held in lieu of the academic department’s annual denial of the whiteboard donation. The donation is known to be sponsored by an anonymous 1960 graduate that simply attaches a single piece of paper with a $500,000 check that reads, “God hates chalk.” William Nye leads the pro-whiteboard activist group who, at the moment, are currently looking for anyone interested in filling the position of “Expo Communication Secretary.” In the day and age of autonomous cars one might ask themself how and why chalkboards are still used in classrooms. The pro-chalkboard argument comes solely from the academic department staff. Physics department chair Meil Ofgrass Byson released a statement on the matter saying, “It’s the chalk, that’s why we will never let the blackboards go. We educators know first hand the cognitive benefits of consuming large quantities of chalk. It’s well-known that Einstein had chalk in his coffee and lit chalk incense daily to reach genius level cognitive abilities. I myself go through three boxes of chalk sticks a day, my IQ is now positive and has risen 150 points since I was first introduced to chalk consumption.” In addition, teachers from the English department who wish to remain anonymous profess that chalk helps them comprehend literature at a level they claim is superhuman. “There’d be no way we could teach Shakespeare to freshmen unless we had our chalk supplements combined with use of the blackboards. Be the chalk, be the text.” Every academic department’s reason for keeping the chalkboard leads back to their affirmation of its prodigious mental power.
Here lies the only argument for keeping the blackboards, a pseudoscience defense of chalk. Is this claim of chalk as a wonder supplement for your brain actually true? I called the leading researcher in the country on cognitive advancement from chalk to find out. Count Von Count out of the University of Sesame is two years into a study that is looking to see if there are cerebral benefits to ingesting chalk. He claims, “Although our study is not yet conclusive I can without a doubt expel the notion that claims any benefits from chalk consumption. We actually strongly advise against it due to the fact that through all of the 30,000 mice trials we have performed, not one has lived from the 10000 mg shot of chalk.” Expert testimony, schoolwide activism, and the outspoken hatred of chalkboards would be enough for most schools to make the switch to whiteboards, but will Holy Cross? It’s up to us to make a change and to stand up against hate; let’s be the generation to #switchtoexpo.