In my research, Ravitch’s ‘The Language Police’ clearly depict that textbooks and standardized testing procedures are props that maintain the greed of writers and their publishers; they fail to tell the truth about the history of America’s past in detail. But wait, isn’t education free? Are we not living in democratic society where we can gain knowledge freely? If so, why aren’t school districts and their administrators initiating real life experiences for our students? One reason, in my opinion, is the ongoing pressure school districts place on teachers and administrators to fulfill state-mandated testing requirements. As long as public educational systems operate in this manner, breeding the democratic student will always remain problematic. And it is for this reason; the charter and private schools have taken flight in the opposite direction. Many charter and private schools have envisioned an alternative format of schooling. They have come to realize that students need to be in a learning environment where they can have input on what they are to learn. With overcrowded classrooms in the public sector, charter and private schools offer a smaller enrollment with an average class of 10-15 students. In frustration with public education, many parents are enrolling their children in kind of learning environment that these schools offer. They are willing to wait on the lottery list to provide their child with the education they deem appropriate. A quality education for each and every student should not be something that has to be debated; it is what our forefathers had in mind within the ideals of democracy. However, as I mention before, our educational system has become a bleeding bureaucracy of failure in providing students with the education they deserve. And if one school district in America fails, the ideals and principles of democracy are surely in vain. For all those who have sacrificed for the freedom of democracy, hung from trees (slavery), denied the vote (women and civil rights movement), and slaughtered for being who they are(holocaust), there’s no excuse for failure in our endeavor to provide our students with the best education possible. For history teaches us what to do next and not what to do in it’s past. I breathe again from Frederic Douglass’s narrative in this passage:
“The young Frederick Douglass had heard his master rage about the dangers of slaves learning to read. He had overheard his master say “If a slave learns to read…it will forever unfit him to be a slave.”This speech, Douglass later wrote, was “the first decidedly anti-slavery lecture” he had heard, for from that moment he “understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom.” Own his own, spurred by his conviction of the trans-formative power of knowledge, Douglass taught himself to read.His master was right about the incompatibility of literacy and slavery.With knowledge, the adolescent Douglass became increasingly sullen and obstreperous. He was turned over to a man who was known as a negro breaker. After six months of backbreaking labor and the lash, Douglass determined not to submit to the next beating. He defended himself in a two-hour, hand-to-hand fight which the Negro-breaker was enable to win. Douglass was never whipped again. Writing about this incident in his autobiography,Douglass said “ I had reach the point at which I was not afraid to die. This spirit made me a freeman in fact, though I still remained a slave in form.”
This passage led me to inquire more about the life of Frederick Douglass. Moreover, it reinforced why I decided to enroll in the Educational Leadership Program. As an advocate for Music Education in our public and private schools, I seek to even the score.
Is my belief that Music has no social, political or economic limitations; it cannot and will not be bound by anything. Therefore, I can’t understand why some schools won’t provide the adequate space, resources and tools for Music Education. It is for this reason alone that I must take the initiative to evoke change. Our children deserve the best education possible.