We Temporarily Interrupt This Blog . . .

If you’ve been reading any of my entries about education or academics, you know how important I think it is for children to learn to play classical music. It’s been a proven key to success later in life. In my neighbourhood, it just got a whole lot more important. And if you don’t believe me, the new DISD Grading Regulations[link opens pdf file] (a “policy” would require the vote of the trustees) makes my point all the clearer :

Under the new school district grading guidelines, students can retake tests if they fail the first time. Also, a homework assignment that is not completed does not count against the student’s final grade. There is no penalty for late work, or work not turned in at all. Homework can only be recorded in the gradebook if it raises a student’s grade average, not if it lowers it.

Not to mention that 0s can no longer be given, nor that the minimum grade is now 50 (a policy implemented last year). Having been one of the smart kids, even without studying classical music as a youngster (although I listened to tons of it), let me see if I can figure this out. I take the first day’s homework assignment and work hard enough on it to make 100. Since anything below 100 can’t be recorded in the gradebook, I can give homework a miss the rest of the year, or do joke homework if it amuses me enough. Since I can retake a test without penalty if I fail it, it actually makes more sense to fail it and then go home and study exactly what was covered in the test.

Parents, you can no longer rely on the schools to educate your children. Whether you keep them in public school and give them additional education at home, send them to private school, or homeschool, now is the time to sign them up to study some classical music–piano, violin, oboe, anything! Whatever you have to cut out of the budget, however you have to get the children there (riding the bus is an excellent skill for teaching children independence), if you are a parent, music is not a hobby for your children, to be chosen from amongst dozens of other possible hobbies; it’s a necessary developmental skill. School districts all over the world have recognized it, and if your school district doesn’t–your child may be an adult before it does. This isn’t science fiction, it’s research, and it is your job as parents to train your children for adulthood.

And why do I care? Because in a few years, the children who are in DISD now are going to be the ones rewiring my house, figuring my taxes, running my local government, reading my X-rays, flying my planes, and driving on my street. We should all care. They’re going to be doing the same for you.

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