The people vs the school system

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Prince EA’s poignant rap lyrics on the outdatedness of our schooling system.


Prince EA: Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody’s a genius,” but, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today on trial we have modern-day schooling. Glad you could come, not only does he make fish climb trees but also makes them climb down and do a 10-mile run.

Tell me school, are you proud of the things you’ve done, turning millions of people into robots? Do you find that fun? Do you realize how many kids relate to that fish swimming up-stream in class, never finding their gifts, thinking they are stupid, believing they are useless?

Well, the time has come, no more excuses. I call school to the stand and accuse him of killing creativity, individuality and being intellectually abusive. He’s an ancient institution that has outlived his usage.

So, your honor, this concludes my opening statement, and if I may present the evidence of my case, I will prove it.

Judge: Proceed.

Prince EA: Exhibit A – here’s a modern-day phone. Recognize it?
Here’s a phone from 150 years ago.
Big difference, right?
Stay with me.
Here’s a car from today and here’s a car from 150 years ago.
Big difference, right?
Well get this: here’s a classroom of today and here’s a class we used 150 years ago.

Now, isn’t that a shame? In literally more than a century, nothing has changed, and yet you claim to prepare students for the future?

But with evidence like that I must ask: do you prepare students for the future or the past?

I did a background check on you and let the record show that you are made to train people to work in factories, which explains why you put students in straight rows nice and neat, tell them, “Sit still, raise your hand if you want to speak,” give them a short break to eat and for eight hours a day tell them what to think.

Oh, and make them compete to get an A, a letter which determines product quality, hence, grade A of meat.

I get it, back then times where different, we all have a past. I myself am no Ghandi. But today we don’t need to make robot zombies; the world has progressed and now we need people who think creatively, innovatively, critically, independently with the ability to connect.

See, every scientist will tell you that no two brains are the same. And every parent with two or more children will confirm that claim, so please explain why you treat students like cookie cutter frames or snapback hats, giving them this one-size-fits-all crap.

Judge: Watch your language!

Prince EA: Sorry your honor.

But, if a doctor prescribed the exact same medicine to all of his patients, the results would be tragic, so many people would get sick.

Yet, when it comes to school this is exactly what happens. This educational malpractice, where one teacher stands in front of 20 kids, each one having different strengths, different needs, different gifts, different dreams, and you teach the same thing, the same way? That’s horrific, ladies and gentlemen, the defendant should not be acquitted.

This may be one of the worst criminal offenses ever to be committed. And let’s mention the way you treat your employees.

Education System: Objection!

Judge: Overruled, I want to hear this.

Prince EA: It’s a shame, I mean teachers have the most important job on the planet yet they are underpaid? No wonder so many students are shortchanged. Let’s be honest, teachers should earn just as much as doctors because a doctor can do heart surgery and save the life of a kid. But a great teacher can reach the heart of that kid and allow him to truly live!

See, teachers are heroes that often get blamed. But they are not the problem, they work in a system without many options or rights. Curriculums are created by policy makers most of which have never taught a day in their life. Just obsessed with standardized tests. They think bubbling in a multiple choice question will determine success.

That’s outlandish. In fact these test are too cruel to be used and should be abandoned. But don’t take my word for it. Take Frederick J. Kelly, the man who invented standardized testing who said, and I quote, “These tests are too crude to be used and should be abandoned.” Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if we continue down this road the results will be lethal.

I don’t have much faith in school but I do have faith in people. And if we can customize healthcare, cars and Facebook pages, then it is our duty to do the same for education: to upgrade it, change it, do away with school spirit, because that’s useless, unless we are working to bring the spirit out of each and every student. That should be our task. No more common core, instead, let’s reach the core of every heart in every class.

Sure, math is important, but, no more than art or dance; let’s give every gift an equal chance. I know this sounds like a dream, but countries, like Finland, are doing impressive things; they have shorter school days, teachers make a decent wage, homework is non-existent and they focus on collaboration instead of competition. But here’s the kicker, boys and girls, their educational system outperforms every other country – in the world. Other places like Singapore are succeeding rapidly, schools like Montessori, programs like Khan Academy – there is no single solution.

But let’s get moving because while students may be 20% of our population, they are 100% of our future. So let’s attend to their dreams and there’s no telling what we can achieve. This is a world in which I believe, a world where fish are no longer forced to climb trees.

I rest my case.

Lyrics based on and amended by Osho News

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