Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Does This Sound Kosher to You?

I received my Kindergarten son's weekly school newsletter today and this was one of the subjects of note:

This program, called STRIVE (Schools/Students Taking Responsibility for Important Values of Excellence), is not just an occasional emphasis on character but a comprehensive and systemic character education program that will be part of the daily activities of our school including grade level curriculum.

Our children are exposed to many influences within our society, and we know that children develop character
by what they see, by what they hear and by what they are repeatedly led to do.
STRIVE will provide our school additional ways to partner with parents and stem the tide of children learning their moral values too heavily from our media saturated culture and other negative influences. STRIVE will help develop our students ethically, academically, and socially and provide enriched learning experiences for your student. We anticipate measurable positive results in the areas of:

• Academic performance

• Promotion rates

• Student attendance

• Student behavior

• Enhanced school climate

Um, ok.  What the hell is all that?  "Stem the tide of children learning their moral values too heavily from the media".  WTF?  What "moral values" are they "stemming the tide" from?  Better yet, what media?  Because, we're the family that doesn't censor sex and "teh gayz" from our children.  They have seen movies with people kissing, and with boobs, and with "teh gay peeplz".  We don't think there is anything wrong with "exposing our children" to people who love eachother.  Granted, they're not watching XXX porn (and neither am I frankly), but if two people are making out on TV, gay or straight, we're not the parents who are screaming "COVER YOUR EYES!" to the kids.

On the flip side though, we ARE the parents that won't let our children watch "realistic violence".  When all the boys and girls are at the movies watching Iron Man, our children are wondering who the hell he is.  Now mind you, Dante (the five year old) watches movies like Clash of the Titans (the original, not the remake), Tron (again, original not "legacy" bullshit) and Transformers.  You may say, "but hey, those movies are violent too" but there is a difference.  In the first few scenes of Iron Man, Tony Stark is in Afghanistan with a bunch of US soldiers on a Humvee.  They get hit by an IUD and people go flying and blood is everywhere.  The next scene is Tony Stark with guns pointed to his head and a gigantic hole in his chest. (spoiler alert) When he escapes the underground compound, he shoots people and blood flies everywhere.  In Transformers and its subsequent movies, giant CGI robots kick eachother's asses.  In other words, NOT REAL.  Same with video games.  The kids watch us play games where we blow up aliens, robots, dragons, giant spiders (aaaaaaaccckkkk!), worms, zombies, etc. but they are forbidden to watch, play, or even look at the realistic war games like Call of Duty, Black Ops, Killzone, etc. that depict humans killing humans in actual historical REAL events.

So I guess we're "weird" like that.

Anyhow, back to this S.T.R.I.V.E. program.  While I have yet to get a list of the "points" they strive each child to attain, I do know that some are Co-Operation, Self-Respect, Independence, and Community.  Ok, ok, I can live with that.  But what the hell is Patriotism and Justice?  I already have "issues" with my son being indoctrinated into kowtowing to the American Flag every morning (or any flag, mind you) but now it's a requirement in being an "ethical" person?  And Justice?  What the hell is that at 5 years old?  Is he interning with Nancy Grace or learning shapes?

And not to continue my rant, but everytime I hear the words "moral values" in the same sentence, I get the feeling that I'm going to find a right-wing conservative on the other side preaching from the pulpit about "morals and values" that don't jive with mine.  I'm sorry, but it's mine and Randy's responsibility to instill morals and values and ethics into our kids, not some weird school program that is giving me the creeps.  And who or where are these "moral values" coming from?  Who runs S.T.R.I.V.E.?  What if it's a spider-lover who thinks everyone should keep spiders as pets and kiss them?  What if it's someone who has posters of Sarah Palin all over their house and has a "I *heart* Sarah" tattoo on their left butt cheek?  In the same respect what if its this crazy person with a clown fetish who wants everyone to worship clowns?  See what I mean?  WHOSE "morals and values" are they planning to instill on my kiddo?  They should only be mine and my husband's.

I don't want to jump to any conclusions or be "that parent" that is always asking questions, but I would really like to know more about what this S.T.R.I.V.E. is.  Website searches have turned up nothing and I really don't want it to end up the way it did when I joined the Publix Toddler Club and then discovered it was run by uber-Christian parenting group "MOPS" and dropped my membership like a bad habit.  I guess I will have to wait and see.......or drill the principal for more information.



Andy said...

You should definitely do some follow-up on this. My kids' school sent Boy Scouts propaganda (they won't allow atheists in)home last year and I shot a respectful email to the principal on why that nonsense should stop.

Alessia said...

Yes, the Boy Scouts are not welcome in my home, not just because of the "we hate atheists" bullshit, but also because of their "teh gayz" will rape our children idiocy as well.

I plan on posing some pertinent questions at the PTA meeting tomorrow. I want to know what these "14 points" they keep talking about are because the two that I know of "Patriotism" and "Justice", are iffy with me. They sound way to propagandish for me. I would rather see "Humanitarian" and "Philanthropist" instead.

Thanks for reading, Andy!

DJsham said...

Why must schools get involved in any aspect of morality? Other than don't lie, don't hurt each other, why not leave the rest of morality up to the people who brought them into the world? Isn't the curriculum enough to keep them busy? The whole idea of a stranger giving my kid a morality lesson gives me the Catholic school shivers, and makes me want to look into that homeschooling thing I'm hearing so much about.