Love Letter to Albuquerque Schools

(Miguel Figueroa, Reed Bobroff, Olivia Gatwood, Eva Crespin)
(1 = poet 1; 2 = poet 2, 3 = poet 3; 4 = poet 4)

1-- Please take your designated seats
2-- Do not talk,
3-- no need for creativity here.
4-- Just the ability to fill in bubbles.
1,2-- No colors,
3,4-- no drawings,
1-- no poetry,
4-- no music,
ALL-- no individualism.
3-- Just a checklist of bulleted statements while we work our way down the list.
1-- We seem more and more like sheep,
1,2,4-- bouncing from standard to standard.

2-- We are the antithesis to this new era of standardized retardation.
ALL-- Slowing down the way you think.
4-- Every classroom comes fully equipped with a bucket for you to shit in.
3-- Regurgitate everything you've learned onto the answer sheet.

1-- Do not look at any test but your own,
2-- no eating, no drinking,
4-- no cell phones.
3,1-- No coughing, no sneezing
2,4-- no laughing, no breathing.
4-- Just quiet.

2-- Eyes on your test,
3-- fill in the bubbles completely.

4-- My standards don't consist of being put into a wooden desk,
1-- with my hands bent to fit the curve of pencil.
3-- Open your test to page one.
You may begin.

2-- Our intelligence is measured with a number written across our foreheads.
1,2-- There are things we need to know to live.
4-- But the system won't ever know that we've learned them.

3-- Private corporations make money off our low scores.
2,4-- Their salaries are boosted from ignorance.
They sit on a pedestal of a trust funds and fancy degrees.

1-- These companies teach us what to think,
1,3-- neo-slaves, bolted to a machine
ALL-- that grinds and spits their money out.

2-- We're taught in poor schools with a new revised whitewashed history book.
4-- Kept from the truth.
3,4-- We are their products,
1,2-- not their students.

1-- There were never enough books in the classroom.
1,4-- Tattered, torn, tagged.
3-- Never enough money to replace them.
2-- In our neighborhoods, more money was spent on removing graffiti,
1-- a stronger police force.
ALL-- Because the crime rate was higher than our test scores.

3-- Our critical thinking skills are turned to mud,
2,3-- we're taught only what's necessary to live in a corporate America.

2,3,4-- In math, I sat below and science dwindled to the floor.
3,4-- In English the bar sat just above proficient.
ALL-- Now our report cards sit in a recycling bin.

4-- Numbness runs through the body
3-- straight through my fingers to the oval I'm bubbling in.
2,3-- Over and over again.
1,2,3-- Question after question.

3-- We're buried under academic letters and standards.
2-- Tests that tell you what kind of person you will be.
4-- We're made in black and white,
1,4-- tinted to match a mold, and molded to match a score.

3-- Not a speck of individuality shines.

4-- Living up to the standard of the world.
2-- guiding everyone down a single path of conformity.

1-- Since when are the results in numbers?
4-- You want to see how good we're doing?
3-- Walk through the inner city.

3-- We're put down, time and time again by rules and regulations,
1,3-- guiding us to a duplicate destiny.
2-- Brainwashed and manipulated,
1,2-- trapped in a box of black and white routine
1,2,4-- like ants in an ant farm, black dots digging holes
ALL-- traveling down tunnels, close and consistent,
1-- all following the exact same path as the one before itself.

2-- Its breaking us down.
2,4-- Pushing us into a hole deeper than our minds can fathom
1,2,4-- to pull ourselves out.

2-- When we're finally allowed to break away from our "designated" seats,
3-- we stretch our limbs in all directions.
2--  Our fists will be raised.
1-- Tuck that F word into your file folder

2,4--  or your mountains of boxes
2,3,4-- with repeated facts that state
ALL-- whether or not we are drones to this cookie-cutter test.

ALL-- I refuse to conform to a segregated education.
2-- Only I,
3-- Only I,
1-- Only I,
4-- Only I,
ALL-- can determine who I am.

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