Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Clearing Out The TiVo

Today, The Wife and I went out for breakfast. Turns out that she's at the high school every Tuesday, which means that her school day starts at 8:30 and goes until 4:00. This means that she has an extra 60 to 90 minutes in the morning. Since The Boy gets up at 6:30 regardless - 7 days a week, baby - we decided to celebrate the end of marching season by going out to breakfast.

It was nice, because we got a chance to TALK for an hour. During that time, we did not talk about baby poop, sleep, diapers (note the anal fixation we all get when the baby is not potty trained), naps or toys. We talked about education, activities for kids, and our job situations.

We're planning on strongly encouraging The Boy in a musical sense. I don't think that it'll be difficult, as he's already been to a half-dozen football game / marching performances, three or four dozen marching band practices, two chorus contests and two marching band competitions. He's around singing every single day, whether it's Mommy or Daddy singing to him or being the (forced) attendee at a rehearsal. The apple rarely falls far from the tree, so we're hoping that he'll choose a musical route in school.

As for music education, we're concerned. The "No Child Left Behind" nonsense has really put a damper on good musical situations - and caused some borderline ones to slip over the edge into nothingness. When your district's state and federal funding is dependent upon test results - and nothing in this mandate provides extra money or resources to help at-risk districts pass or bring up scores, and all benchmarks for improvement are arbitrary numbers instead of those that make sense - many districts choose the panic route, devoting more and more and more class time towards pounding these kids with a pencil and paper, sitting in class and listening to lectures and taking practice tests, instead of doing what the schools SHOULD be doing - providing a well-rounded liberal arts education.

This means that rehearsals are getting cut, and students who are academically borderline - who, emotionally and mentally, desperately need the release and creativity that a band / chorus / orchestra provide - are being barred from the arts and forced to take more academics in order that their test scores are raised. I'd love to see the numbers on that - students who are forced to leave arts classes for remedial classes. I'd bet any amount of money that their test scores and their school satisfaction sink down through the floor instead of improve.

Whatever. I've had the professional curse of being right approximately 99% of the time. This is what happens when children's education is being run by people with no experience or training in actual education or pedagogical practice

Enough with the education rant. I get in enough trouble for making wide-sweeping generalizations. The Boy is sleeping on me right now - he's moved from falling asleep in feeding position, stretched across my lap, to falling asleep on his belly on my chest. He's got a stinky, poopy diaper, but I'm not going to wake him up to change it for a little while. It's the Mutual Non-Aggression Pact that we have; we don't bug his sleep, and he doesn't wake up every 20 minutes at night. He's been on & off asleep since about 8 o'clock this morning, so I'm assuming that he's going to wake up in about twenty minutes (he ate at about 9:30 / 10:00) and want to play for a while. That's fine. I have a school call at noon that I need to be ready for.

Cushioned around the feedings, he slept through last night's Chuck (good episode - the show is growing on me), the last half of last week's Heroes and the first quarter of last night's Heroes (best episode of the season).

He's still very cute.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Amen on No Child Left Behind. I can (and do) rant for hours about that bullshit, and you're usually my "case-in-point" for them. There's a reason most every valedictorian graduated from my high school was in band or choir.