Theme Songs for MCPS

Things are changing in MCPS. Here are four social-justice theme songs that might just fit the mood.

I thought I would revisit my love of music and somehow relate it to the Montgomery County Public Schools and its current fascination with all-things social justice. And so here’s a shot at a list of four social justice warrior-like songs that might provide MCPS with some theme music as it does battle with "da man":

(Click here to read a previous blog about our social justice warrior superintendent Joshua Starr.)

A Change is Gonna Come (1965), Sam Cooke: Under Starr’s leadership, a lot in MCPS is changing—will we recognize, for example, the Seven Keys in two years? So, is there any better song to capture the mood? “It’s been a long, a long time coming, But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.”

The Message (1982), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: With the U.S. Department of Education (da man) pushing Race to the Top, I can actually see MCPS rapping “Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, I'm trying not to lose my head.”

Get Up, Stand Up (1973), The Wailers: I cannot think of a better song to hum in the background (“We sick an' tired of-a your ism-skism game …”) as Starr rallies the troop around his three-year moratorium on standardized testing used to evaluate teachers.

Imagine (1971), John Lennon: We live in a county that never gives up on the notion that everyone is the same and equal (and that is why I love living here).  Although, this moral imperative hasn’t helped us close the academic achievement gaps. Still, we continue to “Imagine all the people sharing all the world.”

Got a song that you think fits the mood in MCPS?  Leave your suggestions in the comment box.

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Theresa Defino February 04, 2013 at 03:01 PM
What does "social justice" in education mean to you, Mr. Hawkins? And what do you think it means to Dr. Starr? I read your other story and don't know why you've tagged him a "social justice warrior," which at one point you say you're not "against progressive schools," yet the balance of all your comments use this description derisively.
Joseph Hawkins February 04, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Theresa--as always I like your questions. For me, I usually think of Rethinking Schools when defining social justice for educators (or those working in school environments). You can link to the Rethinking Schools website here: http://www.rethinkingschools.org/index.shtml. In my own words, I would say that those committed to social justice—regardless of the context—are trying to bring about change where inequities exist between groups. And so if you’re the superintendent of MCPS, you might take on the inequities of student outcomes, creating programs—for example—that attempt to eliminate academic achievement gaps. Or even creating new programs that expand opportunities. So, the new county ACES--college program--might be labeled as "social justice." But social justice, from what I’ve also read (and participated in), is about giving groups skills and tools so that they can force change themselves.
Theresa Defino February 04, 2013 at 10:07 PM
I thought perhaps you were referring to perceptions of short-shrift being given to special ed and shadowy attempts to dismantle G&T...
Joseph Hawkins February 05, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Theresa--You could include a long list of issues that could be address because we have failed to address them from an equity stand point. For example, addressing the issue of special education graduates not finding meaningful employment opportunities (which is even a serious problem in wealthy and well-resourced MoCo).
Lyda Astrove February 05, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Stevie Wonder: "You haven't done nothing"


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