Chicago Public Schools student explains education

This year, I had the pleasure of working with a brilliant young man in my journalism class.  Juan Toledo possesses a passion for writing.  A couple of weeks ago, he told me about his poetry.  His social consciousness recognizes the inequalities that exist in education.  Despite his own educational challenges, something somewhere went right in Juan's life with words--and he wrote this thoughtful poem.  While it might be difficult for some educators to read something that criticizes a system we're a part of, isn't is valuable when we see a young person find and use his or her voice?

The Chair

Anxiety and Depression
all exulted from the iron congression
of brainwashed adults to continue the trend
of the discontinuation of modernized communications

We’re enslaved to a chair
persuaded success is a proceed of being college bound
only for our dead, wasted bodies to be found
words spilling out of our mouths
foaming into illiterate bounds
keeping our voices shut
like a muzzle on a mutt

Our hands are confined behind the metallic bars
“our” books are placed forcefully on our laps
fifty pounds of hard rock dogma led to our demise

Brainwashed adults grow our confidence on cathedrals delicately placed at the edge of the lake
they throw immense amount of information at us and yell:
hey you, it’s make or break!

We spend our lives plastered onto a seat
legs at a 90 degree angle
back obtused 160 degrees
wrist acute 60 degrees
eyes focused on the pythagorean jingle

We’re stuffed with endless literature and commanded to pull a non existent meaning
when the meaning is so explicit no implications are needed

Why are we here
with our heads lowered into textbooks sitting on our asses
while the rich and powerful are standing with their undeserving heads held high
when the seed needed for innovation is spread as easy as an STD
we decide to sit oppressed and depressed

With our heads in our asses
wondering why we cannot question authority
for authority is the reason we sit Oppressed and Depressed

Juan Toledo is on the path to becoming a professional writer.

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