Friday, November 30, 2018

A Scam

For years I have wanted to express my opinion of the Music Department of The American School of The Hague. Well, now, here it is. 

Back in the late 1980’s a couple of guys took over both the instrumental as well as vocal portions of the middle school and high school music education at the prestigious American School of The Hague. The school was first located in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, but in 1990 moved to the impressive blue wave building in neighboring Wassenaar. 

I was always quite suspicious and even envious of the interest that my middle school students showed toward the music teachers and the music program. Our school of grades pre-k through 12th grade students prospered over the years I was there (1980-2006), and it seemed that the music department did also. Don’t get me wrong, I did not see any evidence of monetary embezzlement made by the personnel involved in that element of the school. But I feel that families and students were far too often encouraged to hire “so-called music tutors” to teach our students during after school hours to play musical instruments. For some reason this just did not fit. 

As an English teacher for over 26 years at that same school, I rarely recommended to a parent to hire a tutor to teach what I had not taught the students myself in my classroom. I realize that teaching an English lesson to 25+ students per class is not the same as directing the band or chorus. But if you are hired to teach, you teach. I never felt that there was much teaching going on in either the middle or high school band or choral departments. The actual teaching was left up to inexperienced, mostly young musicians/tutors who had found a great source for earning money that they received “under the table.”

The cost of attending such a prestigious educational institution in an ideal location has always been an eye-opener for me as a former teacher, as well as others. But to realize that one area of that school was able for years to scam and bamboozle the parents is still amazing me. Was I the only one who saw this? I doubt it.

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