“Looking Outside” by Noah Bogart

My son wrote the following poem during a math test in tenth grade. I doubted my ability to teach him Algebra II so we had enrolled him one hour a day at the local high school. Imagine my surprise when in the middle of the year, he came home from taking a test to exclaim: “During my math test, I wrote two poems!” I cringed. Wasn’t he supposed to be double checking his answers?

I stumbled across one of the poems this afternoon and it spoke so eloquently to coerced education and its failed power in the lives of kids, I had to share it with you.

Looking Outside

Looking outside, I yearn for freedom, not French.

Looking outside, longing like never before,

Looking outside, and feeling trapped in this cold,
government-imposed facility.

Looking outside, I’m caught between math and history,
English and Spanish…
everything but interesting

Looking outside, I inwardly cry,
but fail,
and die.

Noah Bogart (age 15) 4/02/2003

Melodrama aside, I love the way he expresses the essence of the struggle to learn in a canned environment.

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