Both films celebrate the role of the teacher, but in different ways. Mr. Holland's Opus shows a man who has given up what he says he really loves, being a musician and composer, and become a teacher more by accident than design. In the end, of course, even he sees how valuable his choice has been, but for much of his life he has avoided accepting his place even as he works to get young people interested in music, music being the one thing he loves no matter what job he is doing. The lead in Music of the Heart also loves music, but she is more directly and intensely dedicated to getting through to young people with her teaching because she knows that music is more than the music itself--it is a key to changing the human being and to getting young people interested in the world around them.
Both films recognize the importance of education in American society, as should we all. Education in a democratic society holds a special place for improving social standing, educating the electorate, and providing opportunity to all. Educational level is a powerful indicator of social inequality on several levels. The level of educational attainment achieved by the individual determines to a great degree the type of job that person will be able to get and thus the economic and social level to which they may aspire. In many businesse