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Bill Gates quote (Long) - what you won't learn in school

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From: LarrySeiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Feb 27 2005 - 04:51:55 PST


Speaking of Bill Gates, he is having an influence right now on what IS going
to be learned in high school...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7033821/

according to MSNBC.com this morning...in the Education section, he is
putting much money via foundations to reduce class sizes...which seems an
honorable cause. Yet, is pushing for harder courses and getting kids ready
for colleges...don't we imagine that "fluff" subjects seen as not
particularly necessary might be in danger of getting the axe?

Its a triage MASH unit concept, that bedside manners go out the window, as
does concern for the warm and fuzzy side of personalism and individualism.
The worse get treated first in a combat situation, and limited resources,
personnel to treat them, few medical supplies means that those that might
have been saved often die. The one life we might ordinarily rally behind as
worth saving in peace times becomes tragic collateral damage during war time
with hardly so much a shrug and a "so what?"

As our schools are looked at by legislators and financiers as severely
lacking and incapable, it will very likely incur a triage treatment
mentality. All the aesthetic synthesis necessary to assure a cultured
preparation into adulthood the arts provide may very likely suffer in lieu
of the existing enemies industry perceives.

All I want to know from Bill Gates as concerns his 80,000 square foot home
and technology he has wired into it...is how much art graces his walls,
floors, audio spaces, and time? I'd like to know what he has to say about
the value of the arts.

The world sure seems hell bent that the ideal person is simply an answer
maker for greater production.

What amazes me, and perhaps unless one exists in the day to day classroom
they do not see it, is how these social engineers for greater capital and
gain miss that to a girl whose mom is in the hospital beaten half to death
by an oft absent father that came home drunker than a skunk the other night,
preparing for an English or Math test does not quite reach her top rung of
priority.

My first or second year at our high school...we had high school kids
experience a friend drowning thanks to alcohol, one boy that committed
suicide that was a friend of those out on the water that day, another commit
suicide two weeks later, and a fourth before the year was over. Seemed like
we were attending funerals as an extra curricular activity. Some here will
remember back when I went thru that.

This year...a sweet little girl I have has a father suffering from Desert
Storm military duty that went off the deep end, chased a guy down for
hitting his mailbox with his truck...and shot him four times. The father is
looking at life to 30 years in prison. Convince his daughter how important
it is she do well in business ed, or to set her sights high in improving
math scores.

We keep getting the blame for students lacking a sense of a higher purpose
to excel, but we are often called to be parents, role models, friends,
motivators, and provide a shoulder to cry upon. If anything should get top
priority with all that is going on in young lives today, it is that which
helps the young person get in touch with recovering their soul, their life's
meaning such that they can see a vision of a greater noble cause.

A great saying comes to mind as I step off my soapbox, "where there is no
hope for the future, there is no motivation for the present."

It seems if there is one thing I find myself having to do as an artist/art
teacher...it is to continuously give answer to students for the hope that I
have within that keeps me creative, stretching, reaching, growing. It is in
finding new ways to direct their eyes to the possibility of better times,
greater hopes, in digging deep. Do these social engineers of industry in
pushing for greater standards in high schools think mandating for tougher
standards will suddenly put the "want to" into the hearts of these kids?

Okay...(catching breath) I'm stepping down now....

Larry S.

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