Occupy-Themed School Song Angers Conservative Bloggers

By: Carter Johnson Email
By: Carter Johnson Email

Kid Pan Alley Response

The Kid Pan Alley Board of Directors has released this statement:

Kid Pan Alley does not promote nor condone any personal or political agenda. As a result, our programming over the years has consistently received high praise and commendation from children, parents and schools.  

Last November, when the Kid Pan Alley Board of Directors was made aware of the song in question, we took swift action to clarify our guidelines for lyrical content. Our sole mission has been and continues to be to inspire and empower children to work together to become creators of their own music and to rekindle creativity as a core value in education.

January 2, 2011

Conservative blogs are buzzing, discussing what they call "an indoctrinating sing-along" with an Occupy Message. In one blog, Weasel Zippers, writes "to have third graders sing about class warfare and rail against the one percent is evil and a violation of the trust parents put in them [schools]."

The song in question is titled "Part of the 99" and was performed in an Albemarle County Elementary School in October. Those opposed say the song is in reference to the Occupy Movement which has the slogan, "We are the 99".

"Just as I wouldn't promote a Tea Party song in a third grade class, I think the same is true for any song of political ideology." says Jefferson Area Tea Party Chair, Carole Thorpe.

The song was written and performed by third graders on October 21, 2011 at Woodbrook Elementary School during a Kid Pan Alley program.

Kid Pan Alley is an organization that helps kids write and perform their own songs. Their mission is to inspire kids to be creators.

Students write the songs and school officials are standing by the lyrics.

"They don't censor what the kids write. They don't shape what the kids write. It all comes out of the kids own mouths and the kids own words," said Albemarle County School Board Chair, Steve Koleszar.

But some are questioning if third graders were able to write these lyrics and others say regardless of who wrote the song, it does not belong in school.

"Does this also include religious content of lyrics? Would it include profanity? Does the school at any point say this content is inappropriate for an eight-year-old?," questions Thorpe.

Kid Pan Alley leaders have addressed the song, saying "we have taken swift action to clarify our guidelines for lyrical content."

School officials are standing by the Kid Pan Alley program and also the lyrics.

"The kids choose the topic, this class chose the topic and those are their words." explains Koleszar.

Here is a transcript of the song:

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

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