Posts Tagged ‘school’

I asked a couple of friends to ask me a question about something they see in today’s world that they don’t sit well with. I’ve received good responses and I’m dedicating my next couple of blogs to shedding a different light on some of their views. One of the replies struck me because I hate the way the system is run and I chose this subject first. She writes “Ok, my most recent annoyance with the world is the fact that they are trying to eliminate music from schools. Choir, band, etc. I’m so pissed. In my opinion, music is very therapeutic. 90% of kids who come across a problem, or are just having a bad day, turn to music. They close their door and put on the radio. Some kids want to pertain music as a career. Without music in schools there will be total chaos. What, is it not “educational enough?”

I love music. It helps me cope with stress and just make it through my travels (bus rides can be very long). Music programs have been decaying in the public school system for years now and much of it has to do with funding, but there is more to it. So I do agree but I will use a different approach into what is happening. For those who see holes in my reasoning, please feel free to check me on what I say. This is solely based on my opinions and perspective.

Understand that the public school system is run bureaucratically. What that means is that the system is structured only be the most efficient at achieving their goals. The goal is to have the least amount of kids drop out and have the most number of kids go on to college. This sounds very ideal but I find it to be very idealistic because there is a dark undertone to the structure.

I’ve said in a past blog that public schools lack the unity of the school teachers, parents, students, and communities so if you want to read more on that I suggest reading that blog. I don’t want to touch on that again. What I see in this system, to get back on subject, is students are reduced to nothing but a number and a score. They reduce the passing scores on tests so more kids can pass such as the SAT and PSSA testing. This only gets students out of schools but it doesn’t mean they are prepared to face what lies beyond those doors and in life. Instead of preparing and educating the youth for life, all they accomplish is pushing these kids out their doors as fast as they can.

To step away from the subject at hand but for good reason I have to touch on American industry briefly (bear with me, it all comes together). America is in the “Information Technology” revolution. Our society is moving away from the industrial-labor society we’ve seen in the last century to the post-industrial society of today. We have moved from producing to servicing the world. What this means instead of back in the day where being in a skilled labor and physical jobs and make a decent living, we now work more with our minds. Our jobs have moved from factories to banks and marketing. These jobs require critical thinking and most importantly imagination.

That’s why, to me, music education is extremely vital to the development of the generations to come. I strongly agree with you in saying that schools may not see it being “educational” enough when all along it is almost fundamental to the development of a healthy mind in today’s society. When the youth feel individualism and expression, their imagination and horizons broaden. To bring everything together, music programs are very vital to developing the imagination and a sense of character in youth to better prepare them for the post industrial society we now live in. The problem then is with public schools being structured to pass kids through quickly, it may be seen as a “waste” to have kids involved in something that doesn’t generate good reports and numbers that schools want to show.

There is much that can be done to help with these problems, but to change the world we must first change ourselves. I hope I shed a little more light in the understanding of the issue, fixing it is a whole different issue.


Can you imagine an America being full of people who actually strive for the “American Dream”? Where most people finished high school and went on to college. Right now 25% of those who graduate high school go on to college,  that’s after all the dropouts. If the dropout rate drops and the college turnover rate were say 50% I think the world as we know it would explode.

Let’s dwell deeper into this apocalyptic theory. One in four dropout in the public school system so the graduation rate is about 75%. If the dropout rate were one in ten or 90% then what would happen to all the social problems in urban neighborhoods!? Without these dropouts turning to the streets for respect you would see a new level of boredom in America. Face it, without the next generation of “degenerates” who would carry on the legacy of crime and despair that happens in streets now. Our police officers would not be killed in the line of duty and would go back to just writing tickets and helping old ladies across the streets. Our media would have NOTHING to talk about. I cannot imagine turning on the TV and the news not reporting a crime but having something good to say… that’s ridiculous!

This also means that parents are involved in education and teachers are enthusiastic about their work and their students. We cannot allow this to happen. When teachers and parents get more involved with their children and students, the students feel more self worth. They have something to look ahead to in life. They broaden their horizons and we all know those kids shouldn’t have this. These parents cannot open up to the community. When that happens they become more involved and we all know a society with educated and informed people is a doomsday device.

If out of the nine and ten students that graduate 50% of them go to college, that’s where the apocalypse begins. For example, the average African American family makes about 65% of what the average Euro-American family makes (about 38,000 to 58,000 if I’m not mistaken). You mean to tell me if more African American students went on to college this gap would close? OH HELL NO! This would mean that not just African Americans but all groups of people would prosper. The average income of families would increase while crime and violence fall. The American culture would integrate diversity and the wealth and power in society would begin distribute itself evenly. What’s even scarier is these people who educate them selves and become diversified and aware of their society would have children and families who do the same thing!

Without social stratification the world would shatter. We thrive off of the uneducated and underprivileged in our society. We love turning on the news and reading newspapers only to see the top story being someone killed last night. We see it in the media everyday and it never gets old. If you ask me, it’s the perfect joke. We love to walk down the streets and ignore the bum begging for change because we know he has the same oppurtunity to better himself like we have, so screw him for his laziness. We love walking into Walmart to be greeted by the 40 year old who dropped out of school and being served in the Mc Donald’s by the woman with 3 kids. We cannot allow these people to be replaced by students working afterschool a couple hours to make some spending money or college students working for their books. It’s no fun!! We wont feel good because these people are bettering themselves and America can’t have that. This would pull those at the top of capitalist-bureaucratic pyramid closer to middle America. They cannot have the plan they set into motion fall apart in front of their eyes. We all helped in building this world and it feels good, so why shake things up now with an educated, informed, effective, and diverse society!?

I am personally tired of all the negative talk that comes from the disparities of society. I live in the city of Philadelphia and our public school system isn’ t the greatest. People, I see, often look at our public schools in disgust and hatred. We do this because it is much easier “to point the finger than to lend a helping hand.”

The public school system has been deteriorating for many years now and it’s well known to be this way. Schools are in old and dilapidated conditions, books are outdated if not torn apart, and faculty aren’t enthusiastic if they have not already conformed to the behavior and attitudes of students. We place the blame on the government and those representing the school systems for the unsatisfactory education being provided, saying the schools would benefit if they had more money. Yes, I do think that is part of the problem, but just like money is to many other problems, it can only provide a temporary relief from the bigger problems that lie underneath. It’s like putting a bandage on a burn.  Our problem with the public school system will take big steps to recovering and prospering as a good source of institutionalized education when we learn to hold ourselves accountable for the problems in the first place.

Nearly 1 out of every 2 students who attend public school in Philadelphia do not graduate high school. When this is often heard, we downplay those who don’t fit the status quo. We automatically place dropouts into a caste of society because failure carries such a negative burden. Dropping out is throwing in the towel, but people don’t realize the fight that came before and that’s where we are wanted the most, in the corner of the student in the ring.  These kids that drop out when they inertly see they cannot achieve what we would define as success and reject the institutionalized means of achieving those goals. We see these people as delinquents and deviants and cast them aside. They often then turn to gang violence to seek self respect adopting a “street code” or drop out of society completely by becoming alcoholics or substance abusers. This is not to say everyone turns out this way, there are some who gain success and/or finish their education, but I feel there are a couple steps we can take to help revitalize our institutions and students alike.

First, start supporting our kids in school. With our full support behind them, they have more confidence in their work and more of a moral responsibility to succeed. Far too many times have I seen parents that don’t know what subjects their children take in school but get upset at their bad grades. Get more involved in their school work and teach them the personality and character traits beneficial to success. If you don’t know them yourself, get more involved in your community and in the schools themselves. Small steps like reading your neighborhood paper, volunteering in neighborhood projects such as street cleaning, and attending PTA meetings not only improve you, your neighborhood, and your immediate society, it instills character in your child. Remember that they do look up to you even when they detest you.

Second, show them the possibilities of success. Many inner city kids often don’t know the different avenues of success. This can be due to the fact that there aren’t many options in the inner city and the avenues that aren’t shown aren’t known to the community.

Third, get involved in your child’s imagination and likes. If your child loves music, maybe they would like playing an instrument. If they like to rap, maybe they will like exploring slam poetry. Exploring the imaginative part of your child’s mind from any age helps them define who they are and gives them the desire to explore and educate themselves more. At one point or another, all of our children dream.

The city has a great plan in effect to drop the graduating rate of our students. They are holding school officials more accountable and have counsilors participate more with the community of the children. More arts and sport programs will be introduced and even work with unions and health facilities to better project oppurtunity, not alternatives, to the students. They are also trying to revitalize the enthusiasm of the teachers and bring the vets and new teachers closer together. I hope they live up to the expectations they have publicly set but we have to do our part also. Recogninzing that we have much to do with problem is the first part to solving the problem. I believe in the city of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia public school system, and us Philadelphians to do our part in helping fix this problem.