Monday, December 8, 2008

Back to Basics II

I guess I'm calm enough to explain. It just irritates me that our education system continues to sell accountability to parents with the "back to basics" and more recently the "standards-based education."--as if the score on a test would make a child's life better.

No-one escapes the pain of grief and the challenges of life and when the basics fail you, what sustains you, I believe, are the those intangible, seemingly "frills" of education--music, visual art, dance, theatre, poetry, and literature. This struck me on a personal level, when I tried to respond to a prompt to use some visual art as a medium for expressing my grief, but I don't have any skills. I have no education to draw from; no understanding of perspective, light, or color, and instead of rendering an image from my mind's eye, I wrote in CAPS, my protest. It just seems that there is so much "putting in" and not enough providing of the vehicles we need for "letting out." There's no money in providing youth with the tools to enhance their lives---much better to "sell" comfort, enjoyment, and fulfillment. Ha.

When you're gone, no one cares about your score on a reading test, but they will remember if you sang a loving song to them as they grew, read a story with the excitement of an academy award winning actor, or helped them see the beauty of a sunset or sunrise. And that's back to the basics that count.

There, I said it, and I'm glad.

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