The Classroom Is Dead
Eli Horowitz

When I was in eighth grade, we were asked to memorize and recite the preamble to the constitution. I knew I had this one nailed, as I was a big fan of School House Rock, and knew the preamble word for word via song. On the day of our recitation, the teacher looked at us and said, “No singing it.” I raised my hand and asked why not. “Because all that proves is that you learned a melody, not the preamble. You must recite it. Furthermore, you must recite it as if you understand it and not just string the words together.” I was outraged. Hadn’t I learned it the fun way through School House Rock? Well, as I attempted to say the words as if I understood them — stumbling through my recitation, I realized, reluctantly, that my teacher was right. I learned the preamble by having to say it , not sing it— We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, secure domestic tranquility, etc. Not knocking School House Rock. Loved it then; love it still. But having to process the preamble the old fashioned way taught me more than the words to the mission statement of our constitution. It taught me why my parents risked everything in order to come to this country. Hilarious piece, btw.