By Deborah Williams
No doubt you’ve seen them so much over the last few decades in schools across the country that you don’t even think about them. The Model 114, or the “super stacker,” is a staple among classrooms. Replacing the wooden students desks of old, the super stacker came gained popularity in the 1990s. Al Baker, writer for The New York Times, reports in the article, “Some Schools Buy New Chairs, in a Break With the Past,” that this sturdy staple is being replaced in some New York public schools.
It is not that the super stackers are not functional or safe. The problem is that they are considered outmoded, reflecting an outdated philosophy of education: the industrialization of education. New York school officials reject the vestiges of the Industrial Age, which required students to sit up straight, respect their elders, or speak when spoken to. While some of those ideas are still coveted by many educators, the super stacker is seen as uncomfortable, inflexible, and not conducive to the hands-on, interactive classrooms of today.
The replacement chairs are more expensive, but their design is more reflective of student needs in today’s classroom. Dr. Michael Stanton, principal of the nex+Gen Academy High School furnished his new school with these new chairs because they match the school’s progressive philosophy of “learning studios” and common areas instead of classrooms. Dr. Stanton says that they are popular: “They come in two styles, both with wheels. One model has holes like a Wiffle ball. The other is fully cushioned.”
View this manufacturer’s video with for a closer look at this new design for student seating in a classroom: