I don’t think I have *ever* before received a comment from all three of the Regenstreif sisters on one post. They are my cuzzints and npJane *was* born in February 1962 around the time we [apparently] bought that lemony Corvair. Boy was she CUTE! I was not crazy about babies as a kid but I loved the baby Jane. Nowadays, when the two of us are occasionally out and about in downtown Planet Ann Arbor, she almost always runs into some of her gazillion friends and I love to embarrass her with, “Jane is the Baby Cousin!” It could well be that The Commander drew a correlation between buying the Corvair and Jane being born. I’m just trying to figure out what earlier events The Comm may have been drawing that pattern from. Oh well, I will probably never know… (Except it seems we did buy a new two-tone 1957 Ford something and The Engineer was born in 1957…)

@Tonya, I am also puzzled by my very carefully written (if a little wavy) *cursive* letter to my grandparents. I also thought that I remembered cursive being taught in third grade. The GG says, “I learned cursive in second grade.” Okay, kiddo, you went to the “C’mere so I can hitya” (aka Catholic) schools then. I *definitely* remember having my tonsils out in second grade and that letter was written before the operation… I must have learned it in second grade. Mrs. Bishop was my second grade teacher and she was hands down the best of the best of my excellent grade school teachers. My best guess is that she took some of us who were ready to learn cursive writing and *taught* it to us. And *still* managed the classroom. Politicians, take a note…

You would’ve had to be there but I once cracked up a whole roomful of software developers and systems analysts and the like by saying something like, “Talk Like a Pirate Day? This is Talk Like a BA Day!” BA = business systems analyst, a job title that didn’t exist in the Jurassic Age when I graduated from college. With a music degree. Flute performance. Yeah. Very marketable.

I am humble about my small and rather late success in the world but, when someone seems actually interested in my life and job, I love to give them a thumbnail sketch of my employment history — IT careers bookending a looonnnng stretch of mooooooom (and very active volunteer). I am not an expert on education but I have been a student, a parent, and a student again. I have *always* been interested in what goes on in the schools and I am very disturbed at the direction that our politicians and business folk seem to want to take education. I have *many* concerns but the one I want to focus on for the moment is the eradication of arts education from our schools.

I get that STEM is where all the money is. What do I not get? First, that not all students *want* STEM careers. Then there’s the rather nebulous thought that life would be pretty damn boring if we didn’t have art and drama and music. Why should we not support those areas of expertise? Many of those people would be very successful at STEM-type careers but, if they are not interested in those, why force them into that area?

Finally, I had a bit of an epiphany today. If you are a professionally trained musician or even if you are a pretty darn good high school musician, you will know the discipline involved in playing two-against-three. What does that mean? In its simplest form, if you are playing a keyboard instrument (like the piano), it means that one hand is playing triplets and the other is playing duplets. I was a pro at doing stuff like that from an early age. Recently, in my life as a systems analyst, I had to write some relatively gnarly javascript. We have a need to display a variable number of items in an html data table where the background color of the rows alternates (think online banking, you guys). As I was writing the function that accomplishes this, I realized that it was kind of like the old triplets vs. duplets thing.

It’s maybe a stupid example in some ways but please, let’s not eliminate the arts from our schools. I don’t have the steam to write about this coherently and comprehensively tonight and you are pretty much done reading for now. I just think that for a lot of people, a good liberal arts education with some STEM stuff sprinkled in is a good thing. Because who the heck knows what careers are coming down the pike. As I think I began with, I doubt many people back in the 1970s could envision the career that I have now but being a *music* major and liberal arts person in general has given me the critical thinking skills that are necessary to be successful at it.

5 Responses to “Trifecta!”

  1. isa Says:

    I learned cursive in 2nd grade!

  2. kayak woman Says:

    @Isa and you had the most wonderful Ms. Treutler! Another fantastic teacher!!! 🙂 Remember your seed collection? 😉

  3. Margaret Says:

    The arts are incredibly important to students and to society. They MUST NOT BE BANISHED. I think I learned cursive in 3rd, but I really don’t remember. I’ll have to ask my mom. P.S. I’m still not very good at it.

  4. jay Says:

    I actually can write more legibly in cursive. That is if the people know how to read cursive.

  5. Tonya Watkins Says:

    I remember being in 2nd grade and feeling jealous of the 3rd graders getting to learn cursive — and they got to use PENS! (Provided by the school!!) When it was finally time to learn, I coveted that pen. (I’ve had quite a pen fetish ever since. Fine point).

    Music. I don’t know what life would have been like for me if it hadn’t been for playing in the band — clarinet and tenor/bari sax. I wasn’t uber-talented, but I WAS good at it, and played in the advanced bands, including stage band (jazz band), which was my love. It gave this rather wallflower girl a huge boost of self-esteem all through school. Plus, it was so much fun. Band trips, concerts, contests, special functions that got us out of school early, and such camaraderie among an interesting, bright, eclectic bunch of folks who all shared that love of playing in the band. Having an absolutely wonderful band director was the glue that bonded us together. My fondest memories are of band. While I was a good student, it was BAND that drove me, and I swear it was also what kept a fair amount of students from dropping out of school. It would be a travesty if schools did away with music. (I’ll betcha they never even entertain the notion of doing away with athletics…)