Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mr. Holland's Opus

Sunday, August 20, 2016
I just caught the last 15 minutes of the movie Mr. Holland's Opus on Showtime.
Normally I would have just clicked to the next choice on my multi-channel cable feed which constantly shows movies I have no desire to watch.

I stayed with Mr. Holland’s Opus because I knew that Jay Thomas played a supporting role and I love Jay Thomas on Sirius/XM radio. He is a very funny guy.  The scene I clicked into was the very scene, where Jay Thomas, who plays “the buddy” to Richard Dreyfuss was saying goodbye to him in the music room.

I stayed with the movie past this scene as I was getting dressed and the TV was just on as background.

Now Mr. Holland’s Opus is a very well made mainstream movie. There should be more movies like this but marketing and sales dictate what gets made.

The movie was perfectly, emotionally manipulative, and hooked me right into Mr. Holland.  It romanticized the role of Humanities in education in the same fashion that Hollywood movies like An Affair To Remember or You’ve Got Mail romanticized love and relationships.

Mr. Holland’s Opus presents the pleasantly romantic, even innocent, notion that our school systems are or should be, places of enrichment and development of our youth. The movie’s climax illustrates the fact that teachers, and music teacher, Mr. Holland in particular, shape our young people into adults who create tomorrow’s society.  This is an idea which should be at the core of our education system.   Unfortunately, one could not recognize this sentiment when one looks closely at the reality of the educational system in America.

I'm sure we'd all like to believe how important the humanities are to a person's education and development but as a nation we continue to cut budgets for education because we view education as an expense which needs to be streamlined and made to run efficiently.  I cannot help but think that this view is hurting our society.  The humanities are far more important than school boards realize.

Believe me, I am a true capitalist.  I recognize the importance of the vocations and training our educational system provide to prepare students with the skills they will need to keep the capitalist society going forward.  But education should be more than glorified job training.

Like so many things in life, and in business, something’s dollar value sometimes is not really equivalent genuine value.

I just heard a quote but cannot find to whom it is attributed.  "Not everything that can be measured is valuable and not everything valuable can be measured.”  I struggle with this everyday in business.

The moral of Mr. Holland’s Opus, although the movie is a fairy tail, a fable if you will; is that under appreciated teachers all over our country are indeed touching our youth’s lives with subjects such as art appreciation and music who’s value cannot be measured or tested.

Education, at both the high school and university level needs to be much more than preparation for the jobs our society needs filled.  Yes that is important, but the true value of education cannot be measured on tests.  There is no metric for the love of learning that comes from a well rounded education.

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