Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Three Year Old Could Paint That

The Washington Post published my letter to the Editor yesterday, (That’s Ancient History) and like Pinocchio, I felt like a real person momentarily. Classics and History majors don’t get no respect sometimes, and it made me burn to see my major disrespected by the kind of people who always ask, “But what use is it?” These Practicality Police also say the same line about Art, (my 3 year old kid could do that), quilting, (why cut fabric into small pieces only to sew it back together again?), sewing, (you could get that cheaper at Target), cooking (why bother? It messes up the kitchen and takes too much time out of our busy schedules). (What on earth are they so busy doing?)They are the same kind of people that cut the budget for schools so deeply that the schools have gotten rid of or cut back on classes for Art, PE, Music, Home Ec and other valuable subjects , yet not perceived as necessary to the Budget Hounds. Listen up, Modern Spartans, because I know who you are now – I recognize you from my Classical education. You are the kind of people who take all of the joyful, beautiful things out of life and replace them with grey dreary usefulness. The Spartans lived only for War. Women were prized for their usefulness at bearing and raising strong sons. Men were admired for their skills in battle. Sons were told to come home “with your shield or on it”. They did not have dinner parties with friends; they ate in useful, practical mess halls. They did not invent delicious recipes, they ate gruel. It was practical. They did not sew lovely clothes in beautiful colors; they wore plain serviceable cloaks and tunics. It was a grim existence enlivened only by going to war and fighting. Currently these grim Spartans have been trying to seize control of our schools and state and national government. They claim, like the ancient Spartans did, that anyone who disagrees with them is effete and an elitist, and the things that we like are useless. Like the Spartans of old, they do not care to take care of the old, the sick or the disabled. Like the Spartans of old, they want to devote all of our resources to preparing for War It’s time for all of us who believe in a better life and better way to push back against their grim vision of the United States. We can all start by registering to vote, and making sure everyone we know does as well. And by doing something impractical today and every day, just to shake them up.


Mary said...

I could not have said this better. Those who complain about expenditures for art, education, research etc are driven only by fear...and are mean spirited souls.

badmomgoodmom said...

Hurray for your letter to the editor. You put it quite well.

Our new superintendent of schools organized a series of meet and greets at all the neighborhood schools and really rubbed me the wrong way. Among other things, he said that:
- he wanted 100% of the HS grads to go to college or further vocational training (worthy goal, but hyperbole for our severely developmentally disabled students)
- he wanted the students to train for careers for the 21st century
- he compounded the insult with the joke, "Home ec won't cut it in the 21st century."
- music is spared because it raises math test scores (what about music for it's own sake?)
- art is spared because of its importance to our local economy (see my comment ibid)
- pe is spared because of the cost of rising obesity in our area

I would like to note that music is partially funded by grants from outside foundations, PE is funded by our local health district (which has it's own taxing power) and art is funded by the PTSA and taught by parent volunteers.

He has grudgingly earned my respect for how much he has cut at central administration and how little he has cut in the classroom in these difficult budgetary times. But he had a shaky start there with his flip remarks while I sat there listening and knitting.

Beangirl said...

Being in the possession of a terminal degree in an applied art (and seriously, people now days don't even seem to understand the term "terminal degree", which I think points to a serious lack of... something) and having spawned two children in one year (and thus having two paint-splattered toddlers to deal with), I can honestly and with absolute academic surety say to those highly annoying Spartans, "YOUR FLIPPIN' THREE YEAR OLD CAN NOT DO THAT."

Unless the three year old in question happens to be a certifiable genius. I suppose that could happen.

And god forbid we all enjoy our lives.

Now I have to go check out the WP online and see if the editorials are posted there. Awesome!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Congratulations on your publication!

Barbara at Cat Fur Studio said...

Well said. A wake up call to we who evaluate education as purely a dollars in/dollars out ROI analysis.