27 May 2013

Unhappy Captives in Education

My completely amazing wedding anniversary weekend included celebratory memory sharing, dining out in our own city sans children, and hearing live music together like we did when we were twentysomething.   We heard brilliant music, and I was completely struck by this one statement in description of the band, Night Beds, on the music venue’s website—

“…when one is studying engineering in Nashville, and the other remains behind, an unhappy captive of secondary education....”
Night Beds performing in Lexington, KY
May 26, 2013

This statement stayed with me throughout the evening while we watched the five member band play.  I couldn't help but wonder which musician was the unhappy captive because they all looked like they were enjoying themselves as they played music.  The musicians listened, watched, and communicated with one another to create an astonishingly pleasing sound.  

It happens that while at this show, we ran into some people we know who have children in our local public school system.  Since they know I’m an educator, they asked me about “the archaic disciplinary system” which punishes children by excluding them from end of the year celebratory events for the smallest offenses.  It’s no wonder these same young elementary school students go on to middle and high school to become unhappy captives of a public school system that wedges free spirited and artistic children into standardized robots.  Why do we insist on making children fit the school system instead of making the school system fit the children?  

Why can’t talent and artistry like we heard at this show be honed in more of our public schools?  Why can't we take the interest kids/teens have in music and use it to help them learn?  Don't get me wrong.  I know it happens, but it's obviously not the norm, nor the experience for the vast majority of kids in our nation.