Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote However You Like

It's hard to deny this video is cute.

But it's also something else. I took me a while to sort through my feelings about this one. The link was sent to me from a friend who regularly contributes to this e-mail conversation chain that I'm so privileged to be a part of - I feel smarter just for being invited.

Anyway, below is the response I sent to the group. And, beneath that, is a typically nuanced response from the friend, who I'll refer to as SDH (no one else should be incriminated by a relationship with this blog):

It's definitely cute. And I love the message. But I'm struggling to put this in its proper context because I'm as silly and goofy as anyone on this list when I want to be: why are we always the ones singing and dancing?

Stevie (blackink note: someone else on the list), do you know of Joe Shyne?

I was covering a City Council (in Shreveport) meeting when one of Shyne's rival council members brought up a middle-school choir that had done really well in whatever competition. The council member brought them to the meeting because Shyne had criticized the school and the district for its poor test performances. So, anyway, everyone applauded and agreed the kids were cute.

After the meeting, Shyne sidles up to me and goes: now why didn't they bring their math team up here? Everyone already knows we can sing and dance.

Is this wrong? I'm certainly open to criticism on this one because I know I'm not completely right here.

I get the point you're making, I truly, truly do. And 9 times out of 10 I'd agree with you, but here I think you're assuming that those students didn't write the lyrics themselves. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't, I don't know. But if they did and it was a part of a social studies assignment and they learned what the candidates (and their parties) stood for while doing it, I'm okay with that.

You may recall from the Texas schools suck debate (blackink note: yeah, Texas schools most certainly suck) which morphed into the school choice debate, one of my biggest problems with public education is the lack of creativity. This is the kind of stuff we used to do in my montessori-like elementary school and the knowledge stuck.

I am horrible at history, but I still remember the story books we wrote and illustrated in 3rd grade as our exam on explorers. I'm also partial to learning by singing and rhyming because it actually works for me, lol. You cannot imagine the inordinate amount of"ditties" I made up to get through law school.

Plus, this is the Ron Clark Academy (the same guy who was awarded for what he did with that class in Harlem) - he's known for using methods like this, so I don't doubt these kids actually learned. Heck, he may have made them deconstruct the melody and learn to play it on the flute.

UPDATE: SDH also included the lyrics to the song. If anyone is truly interested, I can add them to the post. Either way, if the kids really did retain this stuff, then I'm all for this sort of classroom creativity.

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