Friday is the day I like to talk music, art, theatre, movies, books, etc. It seems I’m usually stuck on music, my lifetime love. So, today is once again music.
BUT, today I want to talk to non-musicians only. If you don’t play a musical instrument, this column is for you. If your kids or grandkids don’t play a musical instrument this column is for you. You must try to forget that I have a deep respect and love for playing music and I might be a tad biased. I am talking today strictly as an observer of our youth, a googler looking for truth, and a frustrated adult that sees our youth falling further and further behind the rest of the world in brain power. In this rather long diatribe, I will try to bring music back to the forefront. It is only one of the many changes we need to make NOW in our education system.
Every year our kid’s learning skills slip further behind and we aren’t even producing enough skilled workers to fill 2 million jobs available right now. We will have to hire the smarter kids from across the pond or north of us. That’s right, Canada scores far higher in all assessments than the USA.
The latest results on testing of 34 countries shows the USA stands 14th in Reading, 17th in Science and 25 in Math. All 33 other countries have longer school years and longer school days. Our schools have no money and are cutting back hours, days, and vital programs. Why? We are now paying the lowest tax rates of my adult life and I’m an old man. What the hell is going on? Is Grover Norquist really that brilliant? Is there what we want for our future? Leave us alone and let us be stupid!
South Korea and Singapore have the highest scoring kids at every age level in the universe. Why? They are not smarter than our kids. They just educate them differently and have higher expectations than we do. Their public schools are the most important legacy they give to their future generations. Every student knows they will be going on to higher education or in to a skilled apprentice program.
I’m talking about our Public Schools that between 85-90% of all children in American attend.
I have vowed to never talk about politics or religion in my little blog. Yet, politics is what our education system has become. We have politicians that want to lead this country that stand before us and say it’s snobbish for our elected President to want every kid to go to college or trade school. SNOBBISH? This particular politician has an MBA and a LAW DEGREE! Why do we look DOWN on education? Why do we look down on SCIENCE?
My own feeling is that people are scared to let Science discover or prove things that dispute their own arcane beliefs. I mean really, the world is NOT 8000 years old. The universe is 13 ½ billion years old. Our earth is 4 ½ billion years old. This is not disputable folks.
I was lucky to be raising my children in the 60s. There was a spirit of discovery that doesn’t exist anymore. We were so excited about going to the moon and beyond. I doubt if there are more than 10 kids in Bako that even dream of being an explorer of the stars, or a scientist.
With all the cuts of hours, days and programs in our school systems, the easiest cuts are to music, arts and gym class. We just want to teach kids how to pass English and Math tests. We could care less about making well-rounded, disciplined, reasoning humans that will contribute to this nation’s future.
Every child in South Korea gets handed a musical instrument around their 3rd birthday. It might be a small keyboard, a tiny violin, a guitar or a uke. There are NO expectations that they will become musicians. Parents in South Korea KNOW that giving music to a youngster will increase their learning ability in Math, Language and Science and bring about a natural self-discipline that our kids seem to be lacking lately. They also know that music is a gift that last a lifetime.
Please take a few minutes of your time and see what placing a guitar in the hands of a 3 year old can do by the time they get to Kindergarten. That’s right….Kindergarten.
A lot of my friends are about to become great-grandparents. The wisest thing you can do for those children is to get a musical instrument introduced to them around the 4-5 year old time frame.
Enjoy my musical interlude today and see what kids in Kindergarten can do when started early. By the way, how do you suppose those kids do at reading compared to our kindergarten kids?