You Know who the Dave Matthews Band is, right???

The lovely 20 year old neighbor-boy asked today.

Not the question I needed following the “youthanizing” of my 40 year-old neighbors (see boob post below) this past winter.

“I was dancing naked at his concerts when you were still playing tee-ball, bucko,” I said.

Okay, I didn’t, but I was thinking it.  I mean, I can’t be that old, I just can’t be.

Neighbor-boy came home from college this weekend and my four year-old daughter watched him mow the lawn all day Monday.  When he was finished, Beth yelled out the window to his mother telling her she should send the boy back outside so Beth could look at him some more.  Then I shouted out the window that she definately should send him back out.  All right, I didn’t do that.  I didn’t even think it. 

So You Think You Can Dance is back on and I love, love, love that show.  As you know, I’m a sucker for people making their dreams come true and so far this crew doesn’t disappoint.  Mary the judge and choreographer cracks me up with her laugh and there’s something about that artsy/dancey crowd that is so interesting to me.  Plus, I’m sure that Kathleen Marshall and her brother Rob (director of Oscar-winning Chicago) will be on at some point and don’t I just love to see Pittsburghers on TV?  Yes, I do. 

I opened the paper this morning and this was on the front page.  Duquesne City is a teeny, one-square-mile town outside of Pittsburgh that’s drowning in a sea of social problems so complicated I’d need an entire year to peel back every troubling layer.  What sickens me is that Duquesne sits in the middle of another district–a huge one that boasts astro-turf on its football field–and it won’t do anything for the kids who go to Duquesne. 

It’s like West Mifflin is standing on the banks of the Monongahela River, pointing into the center of it, saying “Wow, would you take a frickin’ look at little old Duquesne.  The mills closed down, the infrastructure is gutted, there’re seven businesses left, they graduate twenty-one kids a year (there are approx. 900 kids in the district), they have three extracurricular activities available, no honors classes, no art or music or band, isn’t it a shame they aren’t doing as well as we are?”

Then the guy from the state says “Can’t you do something to help them, West Mifflin?”

“F-no, are you kidding me?  It’s not my fault the mills closed down.  I moved the hell out of there.  It’s not my responsibility.”

And I guess West Mifflin would be sort of right.  But it demonstrates the need for government in education.  No one is willing to help the guys who need it.  Pennsylvania’s structure for funding education is frightening–it basically operates on the “If you were lucky enough to be born in a wealthy district then you deserve a good education,” policy.

Don’t these blockheads realize if they don’t contribute to the education of those less fortunate than them, they’ll be paying for their jail-time later?  Seriously.  Do the math.

And no, vouchers will not solve the problem. 


6 thoughts on “You Know who the Dave Matthews Band is, right???

  1. Like you, Kathie, I’m not for the voucher system. The problem in Duquesne is a serious one with no simple solution. Providing stability and consistency (in the form of qualified teachers, well-run activities with real coaches/instructors who know what they’re doing, etc.). Of course, like many social problems, they are cyclical — the cause feeding off of the effect that has fed off of the cause… The bottom line is that quality teachers and coaches cost money. And if the district doesn’t have money (as a result of lower taxes, for one thing), someone has to step in to help. The state government sounds like a good place to start. Though, as you know, they don’t have any money either.

    Thank you for raising awareness on this issue, Kathie. It is an important step for us all to take!

  2. Utah is in the middle of the voucher vote bru-ha-ha. What the lawmakers in the city-fied areas forget is that MOST OF UTAH IS RURAL. There is no choice of schools besides the little schoolhouse in the middle of the town grazing pasture. What are these people supposed to do with a voucher besides wipe their butts with it?

    But then, Utah law doesn’t effect me since I now live in Nevada. Vouchers won’t work here either. Our next closest schools are fifty miles away. Hell, I don’t even know what they do in Vegas, uh I mean Carson City.

    These rural and inner city poor issues are the same reason NCLB doesn’t work. It only works in upper middle class surburbia.

  3. Okay, I’m going to take the low road on your post and tell you how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, So You Think You Can Dance. My daughter and I are addicts. After just watching tonight’s auditions I said to my daughter, “It is so much better than Idol.” I’m so glad I have some good mindless television for summer.

  4. Judy and Becky, I think people like to feel like they have a simple answer so that they feel like something’s been accomplished.

    Becky that’s funny that vouchers are being discussed in Nevada and Utah where like you say, there’s nowhere else to realistically go. That actually gave me a nice chuckle.

    Judy, at Duquesne, unfortunately the problem isn’t just good teachers and coaches it’s about leadership (they’ve had something like 25 administrations in 30 years) and also social problems. There is a strong correlation between poverty and school achievment. Not because poor people don’t have the ability to achieve, but there are so many hurdles to cross just in getting out the door in the morning, that unless something progressive is happening to alter the social landscape in school and surrounding it, its like being dropped in quick sand and told to hurry up and get across the bog. Yuck, I don’t mean to preach holier than thou!!!

    Kathy, I’m so glad you find joy in SYTYCD. Those people are amazing. And the good thing about the show is it only gets better as it goes…

  5. I serve as educational and medical guardian for children who do go to the Duquesne school district (and others– weathly and not)–just paying for “good teachers and coaches” will not change anything. NCLB doesn’t work as far as I can see. Pennsylvania needs to change and go to a state or county funding system. Schools need to be all inclusive- afterschool care, snack if you need it, a functional place to do homework. We can’t change the way people raise their children or live their own lives and giving “money or subsidies” doesn’t work if the recipient doesn’t feel the need to change….blah, blah, blah…..

  6. Mimi, unfortunately teachers are first in line to be blamed for failing schools. It’s an enormous problem no one wants to really get to the heart of. What you suggested is a step in the right direction, but the prevailing attitude in PA is “Why should I give a damn about the kids in Duquesne? I take care of my family, they should do what’s right for theirs and screw the kids, meanwhile.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.