The views and opinions expressed by Brick and Mason Peerson are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of We Love Metal, the We Love Metal staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Mason: Our school district is hurting financially. Much like many nationwide, deep cuts are being made, and one of the first places the school board and administration look is the arts. Meanwhile, the baseball team literally has 4 different sets of uniforms, the football team takes chartered buses to away games, and the community somehow found a way to raise over $100,000 dollars for extra portable bleachers. The school play doesn’t matter, band and chorus not important enough to fight for, but the weight room just received four new machines and a floor with cute logos and encouraging quotes built right in. Why is it that music, and the arts, are instantly placed at the bottom of the totem pole in schools?
Brick: Blame society as a whole in my opinion. James Hetfield from Metallica recently went back to his high school and took a camera crew with him to see the sights. Much to my disbelief the trophy case was covered with three guys that went on to the NFL. Actually went on to the practice roster of numerous NFL teams. At the very bottom was a signed picture of James. Are you fuckin’ kidding me. Hetfield is in one of the biggest rock bands in history but he is playing second fiddle to failed NFL wannabes.
We place sports on this pedestal and make the people in it out to be absolute heroes and the best society has to offer. Look on your TV. You have two music stations and 50 sports stations. It baffles me because the odds of making it as a musician are basically the same as a professional athlete, yet we put all our resources into sports. Makes me sick. Sports, the trades, the arts, studies, and clubs should all have the same slice of the pie. Children should be encouraged in all fields of interest. This subject makes me madder than a gator in a dried out pond.
Mason: Education has become fueled by research. At least, when asked why tough choices were made, what you’ll be told is that all decisions are now data-based decisions, not ones of the heart. This is a curious lie, and a tremendous cover, allowing administrators a political excuse to chop whatever and whomever they see fit (and usually saves them the most money). But don’t fall for it.
Numerous studies have found measureable positive links between immersion in the arts and higher academic test scores and grades in general. If we are going to worship at the altar of the almighty ACT or SAT, and it’s all really about quantifiable data that results in elevated scores on high-stakes tests, then music and the arts would be pushed instead of decimated. Math and music are really one in the same, just with different visual cues and symbols. I’m not sure counting the numbers on the plates for your bench press is quite that cerebral. Sports are vital, they motivate many students, their lifeline to keeping them in school, but let’s be real, they are used for adult enjoyment and entertainment. They can’t come close to the academic gains offered by music.
Brick: Sports also have a tendency to make those administrators money, through sponsorships and community partners. That creates a huge conflict of interest to me. When we used to run the swamp juice stand schools would come to us with their hand out for every sport allowed on a field or in a gymnasium, yet I never once had the principal come to me and ask for money to help buy band uniforms. Never once had them ask me to help buy guitar strings. In the same vein having our Swamp Juice logo on a guitar might not have the same visibility as our logo running around on jerseys. We need to level that playing field as well.
What would happen if we had a system where teams, clubs, and groups registered as official by the school; if there was 100% of funds available it is equally divided amongst those registered. At that point all the administrators and board members stay out of the process. If these groups need more money they are responsible for raising it. No conflict of interest, no harassing of everyone for everything as businesses would then have the ability to deal directly with the group and know where their money was going. Could this work and stop the bullying that administrators running sports teams ultimately leads to?
Mason: Your idea, while thoughtful, is always rebuked because of the disparity of cost involved in activities. For example, football costs 5 times as much as basketball or softball, and it brings in 10 times the amount of revenue through gate admission and concessions. Schools thus feel justified allocating more funds for football, and the cycle continues. In defense of football (or whatever main sport you choose), a Saturday playoff game can bring in 4,000 paying fans, while a free band concert draws less than 200. Is that fair? No, but it’s true.
Just today, our head football coach announced that the school board approved brand new scoreboards for both football and basketball. But, in this very same week, I asked how much money is spent on a new class my buddy is teaching, and I was told the budget was $250.00 for the entire year. Hmmm, that isn’t exactly a statement that screams academics first, now is it?
Brick: I do understand the economics of this, at the same time any money the school brings in should be put towards the school as a whole, not just a program that happens to be popular. The scary part is we need to find a happy medium here that puts the kids first. Parents, coaches, teachers, administrators, and fans need to go to the back of the line. Kids should be the priority when it comes to education. If that means hand flipping the score so the chess club can go to Nationals then so be it. The kids that play chess have the same likelihood of making it to the NFL as the football kids do in reality.
Imagine a society where everyone was taught their talent was important? Imagine a world where differences were celebrated? Imagine a collaborative learning method where the dance team worked with the football team on movement; or where the drama kids taught the soccer team how to dive. Imagine a world where education knew the true meaning of mentoring children!
Our commentary is about honesty, so prepare yourself if you want to hide from the truth. – Brick & Mason Peerson
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