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Virginia school indoctrinates students, #occupy-style

It’s like they’re not even trying anymore:

School defends ‘Occupy’ song for 8-year-olds

A Virginia school district is defending a song allegedly written and performed by a group of third graders about the Occupy Wall Street movement that conservative bloggers are calling a form of indoctrination.
The song, “Part of the 99,” was performed by children at Woodbrook Elementary School in Albemarle County, Virginia.
A spokesman for the school system said as far as they were concerned there isn’t a controversy and called criticism of the program unfortunate.
“We really don’t censor the topics that students come up with,” school spokesman Phil Giaramita told Fox News & Commentary. “This is the first time we’ve had the lyrics of one of these songs criticized.”

In case you just nodded along with the BS that just spewed from Phil Giarmita’s maw, here are the lyrics that sprang from the mouths of babes:

“Part of the 99″

Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes — they’re the 1 percent

I used to be one of the 1 percent
I worked all the time
Never saw my family
Couldn’t make life rhyme
Then the bubble burst
It really, really hurt
I lost my money
Lost my pride
Lost my home
Now I’m part of the 99

Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes — they’re the 1 percent

I used to be sad, now I’m satisfied
’Cause I really have enough
Though I lost my yacht and plane
Didn’t need that extra stuff
Could have been much worse
You don’t need to be first
’Cause I’ve got my friends
Here by my side
Don’t need it all
I’m so happy to be part of the 99

That sounds like something I would have written when I was 8. Because every 8-year-old normally writes about their “yachts” and their “rides” and the ravages of unemployment. Normal 8-year-olds also use words like “content” and “satisfied”, instead of simply saying that they’re happy.

I call bullshit. Very, very obvious bullshit.

We have an organization called Kid Pan Alley to thank for this. (Don’t click the link unless you’re prepared to be subjected to Suzy Bogguss.) I went through the site, and encountered a lot of touchy-feelitude about community and diversity and embracing self-awareness. Here’s their mission statement:

Kid Pan Alley uses the group songwriting process to inspire and empower children to become creators of their own music, not just consumers of popular culture. Kid Pan Alley’s songwriting residencies and character development assemblies give children the opportunity to express their creativity and learn how thinking creatively can lead to future success, and:

Promote self-awareness and self-confidence by attaching value to the students’ creative impulses;

Help children experience creative expression as a means of embracing diversity, teamwork, and collaboration by supporting creativity as a prime skill to all critical thinking and problem-solving;

Help children learn and increase their ability to learn. Kid Pan Alley addresses national learning standards in the areas of creativity, music, English, performance, and connects to other areas of learning including History, Civics, Science, and Health. We think this is one of the most important outcomes of our program.

Promote community awareness of the arts as essential elements of instruction in the lives of children; foster collaboration between students, teachers, administrators, artists, and the community through working together in a creative process.

Teach respect for intellectual property. Children who have written their own songs have a first-hand understanding of the negative effects of “pirating” on creators and their communities;

Raise funds for more arts enrichment programs through sales of professional CDs of Kid Pan Alley songs.

Okay, fine. Go be creative; I’m creative too. I’ve been a musician since I could pick up a trumpet, and it did me good. “The arts” are great, but “the arts” under the influence of a “facilitator” (that’s what the program leaders call themselves) has the potential to go off the rails, as is evidenced by what happened in Albemarle County.

The site itself says that the “facilitators” (HERR FACILITATOR!) give the kids as much creative license as possible when it comes to writing these songs; the kids can write about anything, from school, to family, to “social issues or events in the world around them.” In Todd Starne’s article over at Fox, he mentions that the songs produced through this program aren’t allowed to promote a personal or political agenda. Kid Pan Alley’s reaction to the uproar surrounding the song in question?

“This was written four months ago,” he said. “And I think this particular issue of the Occupy movement was being looked at in a different way than it is today.”

Wrong. If you’re going to put the skids to ideas that involve personal issues or politics, you have to put the skids to all ideas that involve personal issues or politics. The Occupy movement was a political movement long before all the raping, murdering, rampant drug use, public defecation, and shameless violence got bad enough to annoy Tony Villaraigosa. This song should never have happened, and Kid Pan Alley, as well as the Albemarle County schools, should be held responsible.

I’m all for creative expression; a year ago, I participated in a clinic where I instructed young journalists about their free speech rights in school. I am vehemently anti-censorship in schools, but I put that vehemence on the shelf when it comes to school-endorsed activity–especially when the school (or its agent) uses the students as a conduit for a particular sociopolitical message.

This was inappropriate, but what’s even more inappropriate is the complete lack of accountability on the part of either the school or Kid Pan Alley. In today’s education system, it’s unreasonable for parents to expect judgment on the part of teachers and administrators, and it’s even more unreasonable for those same parents to expect their children to exit the public K-12 system unscathed by liberal propaganda. I’d like to see what would happen if a student wanted to write a song about a bootstrappy small businessman whose life goal was to stitch American flags and teach people about liberty; I’ll bet it would be classified as “hate speech,” and the student suspended for marginalizing Mexicans. Or something. Whatever–you get my point.

As far as Albemarle County is concerned, the damage has already been done; but for all you parents out there, consider this yet another example of the corruption, indoctrination, and plain old dishonesty inherent in the government school system.

(h/t Todd Starnes,by way of Weasel Zippers)

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