Anderson Cooper, Fake News, and #54!


Right now news, political and otherwise is so hot, we don’t need an oven to cook the turkey. 

I read that 40% of American’s will avoid discussing politics this holiday season for fear of it escalating into a fight. Heck, my family doesn’t call it Thanksgiving UNLESS there’s a political argument and a fight. 

Yes, politics gets my family going. We have some tree hugging liberals, constitutional conservatives, and everything in between. You name it, we got it, and there is NEVER a dull moment during a Lang family gathering and I suspect tomorrow will be no different. 

I don’t care where you stand on the spectrum, we can all agree that the news is questionable at times! Forget Russia. Forget Gropegate (I just make that up, you can use it if you like). Forget MSNBC, FOX News, and CNN. Yes, especially CNN! Sure Anderson Cooper is unusually handsome and has a boy next door quality to him, but you still can’t trust him! Don’t believe me? 

Just yesterday, the Coop (another original) and CNN reported on the top 100 jobs in America. Do you know where "Music Teacher” landed? FIFTY-FOUR! Yep, smack dab in middles-ville! Talk about FAKE NEWS! 

Apparently, despite our lack of ability to telecommute, CNN gave us high marks for "personal satisfaction, benefit to society", and wait for it... "lack of stress?" 

WHAT? Lack of Stress? What music person did they interview? Jerry Garcia? Bob Marley? 

By November, every teacher I know looks like a cast member of The Walking Dead. What was it that made music jobs seem so carefree? Was it the 90 hour work week? Was it the lack of personal time and space? Was it the abject humiliation of being rated and reviewed in front of an entire community? Was it dealing with dozens of emotionally stunted, pre-pubescent, half-grown persons that made what we do so appealing? 

#54? FAKE NEWS! 

Yes, of course it’s fake news, because REAL news wouldn’t be talking about the bad behavior of a few over the good behavior by the many. REAL news would focus on our real and overwhelming successes in America’s public schools. REAL news would highlight the people like YOU who teach our children each and every day, who give them a creative outlet and a reason to smile. It would talk about teachers who provide opportunities to connect with something other than technology, who challenge their minds and nurture their students' souls.

Another thought, as I look at that list: 

  • How many of those jobs get to change people's lives?
  • How many of those jobs positively impact their society at large?
  • How many of those jobs have their workers go home knowing they made a real difference?
  • How many of those jobs promise kids will learn better, have better life coping skills, have a better chance at further education, have a real impact on graduation rates? 
  • How many of those jobs lower drugs, alcohol and crime in their communities? 

How many of those jobs have kids come back to them 30 years later to say, “Thank you, Mr. Smith, for being my database administrator. It changed my life!" 

Listen, I can easily make a case why teaching music should rank #1 on the list of America’s Best Jobs. The impact we have and opportunities we provide young people are life changing. Our profession leaves a legacy of impact that is unrivaled and cannot, and should not, be underestimated. But to be clear, I can also make just as good of a case that we should be dead last. This profession is a personal, emotional, and physical beat down that also should not and cannot be underestimated. 

I have always said, “Teaching music is a life-draining, soul sucking activity… That’s because participating in music is a life-changing, soul enriching activity.” You can’t have one without the other. 

Yes, on our good days this profession is certainly #1! And on bad days, we are likely dead last.

But we sure as heck aren't #54! 

Now someone go get my musket and gun powder, cause it’s Thanksgiving and I got a score to settle with Coop! 

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.