Tom Chapin . . . our kind of guy

tcmc406I just discovered the video below by Tom Chapin and simply love it. I would have blared it from all the intercoms in the schools where I worked as a school psychologist. I hated the testing so much and what it was doing to the curriculum that I would tell parents to keep their kids home on test days. I could not believe the number of hours that elementary students were subjected to through this testing. It was and continues to be awful. And, don’t get me started about no child left behind and how worthless that is. Too much negativity is not good for this blog.

Be sure to pass this on to any of our under appreciated and often maligned teachers out there. You can get a copy of the song for free by going here:


Not On The Test
by John Forster & Tom Chapin
© 2007 Limousine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)

Go on to sleep now, third grader of mine.
The test is tomorrow but you’ll do just fine.
It’s reading and math. Forget all the rest.
You don’t need to know what is not on the test.

Each box that you mark on each test that you take,
Remember your teachers. Their jobs are at stake.
Your score is their score, but don’t get all stressed.
They’d never teach anything not on the test.

The School Board is faced with no child left behind
With rules but no funding, they’re caught in a bind.
So music and art and the things you love best
Are not in your school ’cause they’re not on the test.

Sleep, sleep, and as you progress
You’ll learn there’s a lot that is not on the test.

Debate is a skill that is useful to know,
Unless you’re in Congress or talk radio,
Where shouting and spouting and spewing are blessed
‘Cause rational discourse was not on the test.

Thinking’s important. It’s good to know how.
And someday you’ll learn to, but someday’s not now.

Go on to sleep, now. You need your rest.
Don’t think about thinking. It’s not on the test.


In April 2008 Tom brought his musical message to the New York State United Teachers Convention convention. In a morning session highlighting the arts, delegates were brought to their feet with his satirical song, “Not On The Test.”


Tom Chapin performed this song, Puppy at the Pound, LIVE at Acoustic Long Island on April 16, 2008. This charming video was produced and directed by Rob Dircks. While it is online as a podcast, it kept skipping and restarting so we thought we’d share it here so folks could enjoy it.


And, for my political pals, we love this video as well (Go Away, Sarah Palin! written by Michael Mark, Jon Cobert and Tom Chapin.) This was performed for the first time on December 28, 2008 at The Turning Point in Piermont, NY. Tom is right when he said, “We keep thinking the song is already out of date, and she pops up yet again!”

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