Watch our 5-minute music video on reimagining education:

Old School School Lyrics

Alright class, we’re gonna get started. Everyone, please don’t take your seats, close your textbook, stand up, and dance to this song.

What do you think of when I use the word School?
You might shrug your shoulders and be like, ’S cool –
A needful but imperfect institutional tool
To make the people on the planet not be absolute fools.

Or you might have the view that it’s only half true
What they teach, and that in truth it’s a tool that uses you –
Subject to abuse, and the subjects you take
Are designed to make your mind subjects of the state.

…Some say it’s great tho  — A-OK –
And the best way to go is to go and get A’s –
But whether you B for it or don’t C it as best,
Society D-mands that you go or you’re F’d.

When we were kids
We would sing this hook:
‘No more pencils,
No more books’
When they made us go to school.

And yet in the days when the tradition began
Way before the institutions and the social demand,
The Ancient Greek “schole” from which “school” is rendered
Didn’t mean work you had to do, it meant LEISURE.

Leisure? — Yessir — Free Time? — yes!  —
If you had food to eat, and other needs didn’t press,
You might read or write, if you liked — free of stress –
So yes — in a sense, School meant Recess.

You might spend your time with a Socrates
And talk thoughtfully about God and Being,And contemplate concepts of cosmic things,
With no obligations or college fees.

And speaking of ironic etymologies:
‘Education’ from the Latin educare means
To lead out from, not to sit inside
And ‘study’ meant passion for a task — yeah, right.

Now you might ask why, like — Bruh, what da fuh…?
How’d it all become the opposite of what it was?
School meant Days Off; study meant fun;
Why’s it upside down? I’m confounded. It’s dumb.

Welcome to the club. Are you really surprised?
Humans have a tendency to systematize –
And the systems are fine, until the systems are blind
To the very human beings for whom the system’s designed.

It’s a means to an end. And in the end that means
That whoever’s at the head gets to set the meanings,
And assign the readings, and to set the times,
And to regulate the rhythm of our lives and minds.

Way before pencils
And way before books,
And way before the tests
That everybody took,
There was Old School School.

Alright let’s go ahead and walk outside now, put our hands in the soil. … Don’t forget your improvised song is due…at any time.

It ain’t about your interests, kid –
It’s how ya get ‘er done:
Better aggregate your passions into learning outcomes.
You’re burnin’ out, son!
Reevaluate your goals:
Crack another statue from the economic mould.

Got you docile till you’re old –
‘They don’t want us to know!’
But the thing about ‘Them’ is,
The ‘They’ is Us, bro –

Life is short, learning’s slow –
Why go back to the source,
When you could simply get it second hand?
A requisite course.

And yes, you’re being forced –
And while at times it may be free,
So is all your social media –
It’s not that hard to see
That that’s another way of saying the commodity’s me,
And the product is becoming what they want me to be.

You’re so lucky –
Old school study –

So what are we to take from it,
And what disintegrate?
How to disentangle
The age-old angle
Of obligation in the way,
When we educate –
How to make it relate
So it ain’t Disembodied,
And a Knowledge but in name,
Without making the very same knowledge all but impossible to gain?

Make it a GAME — make Work Play –
Never have to go to, and yet learn everyday –
Make it into songs, teach lessons over beats,
And not just on the internet but also on the streets.

Education is an art,
And performance is a part
Of its method and its manner,
‘Cause the head needs the heart –

Hip-hop History,
SchoolHouse Rock,
Indigenous traditions –
Times change. TikTok.

Here’s a thought — honour teachers in the game that go the hardest:
‘Cause in the end the teacher is the same as the artist –
Let em play their part as pop-stars, getting famous
Being bona fide philoso-rapper viral sensations.

…I’m biased. … Should I even talk?
I’m a product of the system, a philosophy doc –
And my knowledge, on which I base this critical thought,
Is predicated on the privilege of having been taught.

– I’ve thought of that a lot. …If we lost what we’ve got,
Is it tantamount to tossing out the board with the chalk?
But it may be worth a shot: and here’s the reason why:
Like nails on a chalkboard, we’re just squeaking by.

Education is the basis of society’s design –
The system that instills what’s in everybody’s mind.
And under this system, the society we find’s
Economically unequal, ecologically awry.

So redefine School: Not a tool of the state,
But a movement that arises from those who create –
Whose mode of exchange isn’t monetary wealth
But Relationship and Wisdom. An end in itself.

No more tests,
No more rules,
No more half-truths;
Back to the roots –
Back to Old School Schools.

You’re so lucky –
Old school study,

No more hassles,
No wack books,
No more teacher’s dirty looks,
No more bureaucratic crooks
And school boards with too many cooks;
No more standards,
No more rules,
No more half-truths;
Back to the roots –
No more half-truths;
Back to the roots,
Back to the roots,
Old school schools.

Alright, that’s it for me today … But we’ll meet again for our next session … whenever we meet again. …Until then… study!

Old School School Symposium

After Old School School went viral on socials, to celebrate we held an impromptu free online symposium in July 2022. Here's the video invitation:


A recording of the symposium is available in our Video Library. (Grokkist Network login required)