For three years, I've been trying to get my books into the schools in South Florida to no avail. I took copies of my soft cover books to the school board purchasing department and received a letter weeks later stating that the materials contain rich information about music, women in jazz and blues and the business of music, but they were not interested in purchasing them at that time.
Then, a few weeks ago, I called a school board employee, whom I met at a Christmas Party. I never got her on the phone, but her colleague, whom I knew from previous encounters told me that I should call the supervisor of the man I had been trying to get a meeting with for three years! He's in charge of purchasing music materials for our school board. Lo and behold, the very next day, after I sent an email to his supervisor, the man called me saying, "Ms. Cartwright, we spoke before." I said to him, "When was that?" He said, "Right after I got your books." I said, "Well, that was three years ago!"
Anyway, we met on Friday, January 28, at his office and he assured me that he would walk me through the system to get my books into the schools, once the Florida Sunshine Standards revisions were completed. He also said he would notify the Music Supervisors of all the school boards in Florida. I left feeling confident.
Then, I got home to receive his email stating that I needed to get copies of my books to the review committee. "Ah, ok," I thought, "now, we're back at square one. Where were the first set of books I took to this same office, three years ago?"
He said, "They are probably still there," meaning that after they were ponied to him three years ago, he ponied them right back to that office. So, on the following Friday, I called the office and a young lady answered the phone. By this time, I was slightly riled and asked very unpolitely, "Where are my books?"
She assured me that, when her supervisor returned to the office the next Tuesday, I would get an answer. Sure enough, on Tuesday morning, I received a call from the supervisor who reminded me that she had reviewed my books and sent me a letter stating that the materials were "rich" but weren't good enough to be included in the core curriculum.
Having put 20 years of experience into one of the books, SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? I know how valuable this material is to youngsters aspiring to be in the music business. I'd tried the material out on 8th graders that I taught at a charter school, where I worked for three months, until I was the first teacher to be laid off, when the budget was cut.
We wonder why our children are failing. I know it's because the education bureaucrats have little respect for music and art studies. They treat the arts as hobbies or extracurricular activity without understanding or admitting that few subjects are learned by Kindergarteners without music and art.
I believe, wholeheartedly, that the powers-that-be fully understand that by omitting the means for children to be creative they can create robotons that obey each and every command or those who don't are fodder for the prison industrial complex. It is a travesty to expect 5-10-year olds to sit in classrooms day after day simply learning to read and do math without the opportunity to express themselves through music and art.
Every musician I know began musical studies as a four or five year old. No doctor, lawyer, teacher or accountant began their practice at such a young age. Yet, each and every professional in the world spends time and money on music and art that they love and use to relieve stress in their daily lives.
Until people in power do the right thing with regards to Music and Art Teachers and children who need music and art, the downward spiral of humanity will continue. Instead of putting an instrument or paint brush in the hands of children, the system puts guns in their hands and tells them to go fight for their country in foreign lands where inhumanity prevails.
It is my contention that musicians and artists have the unalienable right to bring the message of peace and love to humankind. If they cannot do it in schools, where can they do it?
If books like mine are not acquired in school media centers and libraries and musicians and artists are forced to be certified before they are welcomed into schools, we as human beings are doomed to the dull reality that reading, writing and arithmetic are all we need to know.
"Music is the mastery of mind. It keeps you in a place of being for moments at a time. Get caught up in its labyrinth, leading through a thousand doors to one simple end - LOVE!" - LOVE TRANSLATION by Joan Cartwright