...but is anyone listening?
Yesterday I was walking down the hallway at Bollman Bridge Elementary on my way to teach a class. I passed an elementary student who was flanked by two staff members. I noticed as I passed that he was wearing a headset. I also found it interesting that they were moving down the hallway at a pretty consistent pace. That's not always the case with special needs students.
When I got a little further along I realized that the student was vocalizing. It wasn't clearly articulated, rather a monotone, but in an instant it struck me. I turned around.
"Is he singing?" I asked.
"Is he singing, "Let it Go?"
They were surprised. "Yes?"
I pumped my fist in a kind of triumph. "Yesss!" I exclaimed, with extra "s" for emphasis.
"Is that good?"
"Well, I'm a music teacher, so of course I think it's awesome."
"Maybe we should talk to you sometime, then." We smiled.
And all the while he walked, in perfect time to the song, which he sang, and then a few seconds later I heard him echo my "Yesss!" as I turned the corner to head to class.
Yesterday, the County Council passed a budget which will allow the Howard County Schools to cut back on Music and Art instruction in five Title 1 elementary schools. Yes, in order to fix the achievement gap, they're going to cut back on Music and Art. Just can't fit it all in. Nope. No more room.
In addition, this particular initiative is being touted as a "model for the future," so look for it to move to a school near you, and sooner than you might think.
Funny thing, on the very same day our County Council gave their assent, social media was ablaze with stories about First Lady Michelle Obama speaking out on the vital importance of Arts Education for at-risk students.
- Mrs. Obama said, "The bottom line here is very clear: Arts education isn't something we add on after we've achieved other priorities, like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It's actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place."
- Mr. Obama said, "The arts are central to who we are as a people, and they are central to the success of our kids. This is not an afterthought," he said. "This is not something you do because it's kind of nice to do. It is necessary for these young people to succeed that we promote the arts."
- Actress Alfre Woodard said, "Our kids are glimpsing the fact that they have an inherent value and that confidence just spreads across their lives."
But we don't have time for that. We just can't fit it in.
The Universe is calling...
Yesterday, because I was listening, I learned something:
Politicians may let you down,
People may let you down,
But Music will never, ever let you down.
Is anyone else out there listening?