SWEAR THIS SENSE OF URGENCY

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2009

There were some students this year who found out that their newspaper program had been cut. This was supposedly do to a lack of interest in the program, although last years controversial issues and articles had, last we heard, generated a large interest in joining the staff if only to challenge the forward thinking of the writers. This cut doesn’t come as a surprise, tho it’s reasoning seems sketch at best. Resources are being cut left and right from our kids. What is to be done? What type of world do we live in where aggression, and mechanisms are taught and glorified but expression is quashed under the weight of a new football field? Something must be done. The future needs to know that it’s voice means something. The future needs to know that it’s tonality, and vision are important truths to be shared with paintbrushes, and pencils, fiction and fantasy, cameras and cadences. But instead the message is sent that “the man” has time to teach you how, but not why… to entertain, but not to experience,to tell but not listen. Ultimately Budget cuts are administrators ace in the hole when referring to programs being cut. Budget cuts are simply not a sufficient excuse for the neglect of personality perpetrated on our youth. Sprawling landscapes filled with construction workers and equipment that create buildings for learning with new electronic white boards and the latest incarnation of a Macintosh paint a decidedly pointed picture of a pocket which is not empty, but a priority which is. The priority of the administrations of the school system is sports and government standardized benchmarks. The issue of the students learning to process their inner dialogue into a healthy and tangible reality for the world around them is a second class goal, taught by ostricized teachers who are right in their hearts, but misguided in their often enabling class structures. An administrator who cares about their kids will not let money decide curriculum. They would quit before under equipping their children. Instead it is clear that their vision for their children is largely expressionless, rather than emotive and authentic. Their vision is one of benchmarks. Like the parent who blindly and vicariously shoves their kid into a sport which the child has no desire to play or need to learn from. “This’ll toughen the kid up… it’s good for them.” Not only has this epidemic of mechanistic parenting infiltrated our school system, but its encouraging our children to reach these benchmarks by creating emotiveless and inauthentic residuals which are seeded in pleasing the system rather than learning about how they can be who they are in an authentic and healthy way. With this said, the Arts which dictate the pulse of our American society, and demand a level of credibility for their work, by simply mentioning the name of a a notable author, actor, comedian, or musician, are relegated in the educational system as a less than noble pursuit… one which is prioritized less than learning the quadratic formula and playing football. Are we really so daft as a society?

Human beings of all ages are wired to express themselves, whether by words, drawings, music, or dance… we as a society need expression. Art has always gone before culture, whether it be the renaissance and the enlightenment… or pop art and the rise of MTV. By not providing an outlet for kids to express themselves in a way which is directed, mentored, and guided… we risk far more than a child who has discalculia having a lifelong love affair with a calculator. Art is seminal to existence, it can be cultivated and grown and is essential to our very being… it is the reason for science, mathematics, philosophy, and sports. There is a reason why at the deepest wells of human culture we find drawings depicting and emoting concerns and observations of life. Ask yourselves why accompanying these drawings we don’t find explanations, and mathematics around every corner. Where as food, shelter, and water are the basic needs of the body, relationships through expression is the basic need of the human spirit.

This need has always been seen as sacred to the American people. America was once a land which valued the voice of the people as an accurate meter for justice in society, and encouraged the free association and distribution of the press as a necessary polarity to balance the might of a government. But our microcosms of society where we learn the boundaries, and responsiblities of the world we live in choose instead to see the associated voices of students as a burden… a free-thinking radical danger that is best left forgotten through underfunding than fought for as a necessary vigilante in an overwhelmed Gotham. This week the students of Gladstone lost their newspaper program among the plethora of other forms of expression. I wonder how many of them will think that a new football field or an extra class room is an adequate trade for their freedom to think and speak and challenge a totalitarian system? If the answer is no one, than we are most to be pitied. But if we find that there is even one who knows better than to lay his freedoms and interests at the hands of machine. Who refuses to sell his voice for a parcel of land… send them to me.

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