[Ed. After writing this article, it became known that the CISD School Trustees failed to launch a program due to the prior administration’s decision not to comply with the wishes of the School Board. This failure came at a time when the School Superintendent Dr. Turner resigned. In November of 2014, I moved from Coppell, Texas. I have not continued to advocate for school orchestra in Coppell ISD schools. I have no knowledge about any progress that may have occurred since the 2014-2015 school year. The football program is fine though. The School Board managed to build another large facility for the sports programs.]
It appears that Coppell ISD will offer string orchestra instruction this year. I operated as the lead advocate for this important curriculum offering. This was my second attempt to encourage the School Board to offer orchestra. The first attempt occurred in 1997 and was eventually undermined by certain unknown actors who held more influence.
The second attempt came ten years later. I entered into a letter writing campaign to the School Trustees, and persisted for three years, even though I found that body politic to be stubborn in practice and delusional about their responsibilities to the voters.
So I find myself divided on how to celebrate this event. On the one hand, the proceedings convinced me that school management, under its present form, is unbelievably incompetent. On the other hand, by some master stroke of persistence and good fortune, a small number of children will now be able to learn how to play one of the stringed instruments.
I did not have a hand in the design of the projected offering, nor did the School Board ask for any assistance during their deliberations. No trustee informed me of their intention to introduce orchestra or contact me after the fact to let me know they had acted to do so. It is not the program I would have designed, and if it fails, it will be due entirely to the lack of competence, misaligned values and mule-bullheadedness of those several actors in the ISD body politic that delayed its creation for a period of fifteen years.
My plan (just so you will know) was to canvas the entire community and to redesign the ENTIRE music curriculum, which would leave orchestra as an equal partner in the arts community. I believe that little effort would be required to write a persuasive argument in support of the idea that children who join band are being exploited to support the football program. There are simply too many trumpets, clarinets and trombones laid to rest underneath the beds of former band students to believe otherwise. Curricula of the academic studies are designed to create lifelong learners. The band program is said to cause much “burn-out” among students, many of whom never again play their instrument.
And although I could say much more about the limitations of the School Borg, a moniker I devised after learning that they have each abandoned individual accountability to the voters who elected them, in favor of working as a “collective” who is inclined to only speak with one voice, please know that I also have an endless list of complaints I could levy against the voters themselves, who by comparison make the School Borg look like Saints.
If not for the will and persistence of a very small number of truly inspired individuals, (of which I am one), no political system or social group would ever be able to produce a single program of merit, to the benefit of the great masses of free loaders who are intent and expectant that others will perform the lion’s share of a community’s work, and to the chagrin of those stalwart institution-lovers who are so fearful of changes of any sort, that they stand in the roadway of progress like dumbfounded jackasses.
So the good children of Coppell will now have orchestra. It is done. And if ever again I enter the arena of school government, I am now mindful that it would be an action which would stand as due cause to have my head examined. I retire with what sanity I have preserved, which is decidedly more than is required to work within the insanity found in the hallowed halls of our governments.