Tuesday, March 17, 2009

City High Anthem

This post was inspired by a song I have heard dozens of times. The song is called "City High Anthem." The artist, City High, is/was composed of three twenty somethings, all of which were born and raised in Willingboro, NJ. I was also born and raised in Willingboro, NJ.

The group gained some notoriety from their song 'What Would You Do?' but the aforementioned song off their self-titled album is what made me write this post.

The song talks about their collective disappointment over teachers in their public school. As a resident of the town, I was never allowed to entertain the notion of attending any school in the district beyond grade school. The middle school is INFAMOUS and the high school's reputation is less than stellar. I attended private school for middle and a vocational school for high school.

"City High Anthem" is heartbreaking to me as a teacher and as someone who "should have" attended school there. It begins, "They just gave up on our entire generation / So we were all pushed to the side cuz we didn't see the world through our teachers eyes /When all we needed was a little bit of motivation, But because we wore our pants saggin' y'all labeled us gangstas And said we wasn't worth the time."

I have met students, parents and other people in education that admit they know teachers who hate students. You may think this is an oxymoron because it is. Still, a lot of people teach because of the job security and the schedule. I think this is incredibly selfish and damaging because students know you don't care about them.

It continues,
There are so many things I never asked you /There are so many things I still don't know /There are so many things you never told me /And still so many things that I will never know /and why, cuz I went to City High

In college, I went to school with a girl who graduated from the school. The transition from high school to college was incredibly difficult because as a college freshman, she was reading at a 9th grade level. I suppose this is the basis for the NCLB Act, but the school has very little change.

A school with more drop outs than sign-ups at registration
And the pregnancy rate is at an all-time high, we all know why
Now you would think the classroom's the place for mental stimulation
But it's some brothers outside sellin' that stuff, that'll really stimulate your mind, (talk about gettin' high)

I know a woman who works at the high school. She was in tears the day she walked into her classroom. She was hired at the last minute and when she walked in to her room, there were no chairs, no desks, no books. Nothing. She called her father who was able to find her supplies so her students would at least have a place to sit on the first day of school.

I can completely understand their frustration,
So, We don't need your education /We don't want no pacifier/We are the leaders of your nation/We're gonna make sure the world survives /There ain't no justice there's just us /What happened to the meaning of 'in God we trust'/So as we get older and our children grow up /We ain't gonna teach them what y'all showed us

Teachers play an integral role in the development of our future leaders. I play an integral role in the development of our future leaders. I have a soft spot in my heart for at-risk youth because I should have been one.

All at risk students need someone who cares. Someone that really wants to help. If not, they are left feeling neglected and abandoned all over again. And there were so many things that needed explaining /But you said it was too late for me to learn /You were suppose to be my shelter when it was rainin'/But instead you left me out here all alone, so I gotta make it on my own

Teaching is too important to be taken lightly. It is not something you do for convenience or as a stop over. You teach, I teach because I know I can, and do, make a positive difference in the lives of the future of our country. I don't want my kids to ever have to write something like this because I didn't care enough about them.

For people who did believe what we could do to change our future: You knew the world was in our hands. Help build them strong so they can withstand all the pressures, all the war, all the prejudice. And the others who were sure we couldn't fight the stress in life, for those of you who didn't believe us: Listen to my words for you. Listen to your children sing to you--

We don't need your education
We don't want no pacifier
We are the leaders of your nation
We're gonna make sure the world survives
There ain't no justice there's just us
What happened to the meaning of "in God we trust"
So as we get older and our children grow up
We ain't gonna teach them what y'all showed us

Hear the song here.


  1. You write quite contrivingly (If that's not a word should'nt it be) and I must say I am enamored. You must continue to manifest your truths!

  2. I shall. I've got a good one cooking up as we speak. Thanks for reading!


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