The priorities of our politicians often shock us, but they shouldn't. For years the leaders of our country and most things government related, have followed the money. We can't put the blame entirely on them, though, because it takes money to run a country, and no one gives money away without wanting something in return. It is a viscous cycle that has somehow allowed organizations like the NRA and representatives of the drug and insurance lobbies to have way too much control over the people we elect to represent us.
This policy of leaning towards the money makers' desires trickles down to the very places we expect to be bias free. Schools are there for our precious youth, and surely the curriculum in each school should follow what will best make them well rounded individuals. From my first day as a high school teacher, however, one thing was made clear to me...FOOTBALL IS KING. The players are treated better than the rest of the students, the stadium is kept up better than the rest of the school, and they never seem to lack funds for travel, uniforms, etc. Of course the better they play, the more seats they sell...hence the need to build up the team.
Unfortunately, art, music and debate classes bring in very little money. These are the first to be chopped when budgets get tight. I remember a principal telling me that I could certainly take my debate team to the various meets throughout the year, but there was no money for my substitute, so I needed to use my own sick days to keep the team going. In other words, it personally cost me a day's pay each time we competed. I can just imagine the reaction they would get if they presented that plan to the football/basketball/baseball coach.
Art, music, drama, speech...these are the hours in the day that round out our children. Of course they must learn to read and strengthen their academics, but without a bit of music in their lives they become robots. Beth teaches in a private school. Yesterday she took her writing class on a field trip to a local Japanese garden. They spent an hour writing under the most beautiful trees surrounded with lakes and waterfalls. Compare that with the straight rows in an overcrowded classroom. Where do you think the best writing happens? The most learning?
We as parents, grandparents and concerned citizens must make sure that money does not direct the hand of our school administrators. Our children need the classes that our politicians are calling a "waste of important learning time," because these are the very classes that teach them to appreciate the world they are being tasked to run some day.
Speaking of running the world, all leaders need a supportive staff. The White House has always staffed an amazing selection of loyal people, each proudly serving his/her President with no complaint. Kate Andersen Brower introduces us to over fifty years worth of people who served in the White House in her book, The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House. Her interviews with the various staff and family members who knew the workings of the house and the famous families who lived in it, help to paint a clearer picture of the President and his days in office.
I mentioned Tim Tigner's book, Betrayal, several weeks ago, and I finally reviewed it here today. It was one of the most difficult reviews I have written, because I didn't want to include any spoilers. The entire book had twists and turns that kept surprising me, and it is definitely a book to read.
As always, complete reviews will follow this blog.