Back to School!

Today’s post returns to Pete Seeger’s 1958 Folkways LP, Gazette, a collection of twenty topical songs which remain surprisingly relevant all these years later. We are also fortunate that this nearly sixty year old record remains surprisingly playable as well.

Seeger was a music teacher for a time during the years he, as a member of the Weavers, was blacklisted from radio and television and found booking difficult. Imagine sending your children to summer camp to have their counselor be the legendary Pete Seeger!

His song “42 Kids” describes the work and passion of a teacher through the melody of Merle Travis’ “Sixteen Tons,” a song which was a #1 hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford a couple years before Seeger recorded the songs on Gazette.

March may seem like a long time ago, but the decisions that Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff announced then may have affect life inside your neighborhood school this week. Announcing plans to cover a $28 million budget gap, Graff planned to maintain current class sizes in keeping with the voters’ wishes expressed in a 2008 referendum. Most schools in Minneapolis saw staff reductions going into this starting school year, a subject which has made for at least one contentious and emotional school board meeting this summer.

We have two kids returning to Minneapolis Public Schools this morning. They have had an incredible and positive experience and we are very optimistic that will continue into this coming school year. We hope the same for all of you readers with your own kids starting school today (and we’re jealous of those of you whose school districts don’t start until next week!) and we’re thankful for all the Minneapolis teachers who have worked so hard to have everything ready for today.

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