S/O: What don't you want your public school presenting to your DC - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Both the thread about the military band and the thread about kindergarten sexual assault educational presentation got me thinking that much of this is about a deeper issue. It's about what we feel is being presented inaccurately or biasedly to our children. This touches on a bunch of other threads we've had in the past, too. It touches on religious content in schools; saying the pledge of allegiance; celebrating certain holidays; providing health checks, screenings, and vax; what is thought to be healthy food; and many other things. If you start getting into some of the concerns over academic practices (sight reading vs phonics, or evolution vs creation) it gets really complex.

It is amazing that public schools function all things considered.

I'm kind of wondering what has been presented at your DC's school that you wish hadn't been or that you had been notified about.


I'll start off with being somewhat annoyed that a dentist came to DS's school without my knowing. We use Welleda children's toothpaste that has no saccharine, fluoride or sodium laureth sulfate (which triggers DS's eczema) in it. He was given a small tube of conventional toothpaste that he was excited about and used before I realized he'd taken it upstairs to the bathroom.

I just wish the school had told me ahead of time that a dentist would be doing a presentation.

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#2 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 02:05 AM
 
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I'm very mellow about things. I want my kids to exposed to different points of view. Our school has always been respectful, but I like the diversity of opinion.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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I hate it when they bring fast foods into school!
I know some kids brings it in and that can not be controlled, but my sons school has a pancake breakfast once a year and the pancakes are from McDonalds! next eyar they will sell pop in my son's middle.
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#4 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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I want commercial advertising kept out of the schools.

I'm not so worried about health/lifestyle/sexuality education. If my kids are presented at school with misinformation, we can address that easily enough at home and through the church. We believe in comprehensive, liberal sex education, so we don't really conflict with the schools on that point. I don't worry too much either about patriotic stuff, or about teaching kids about holidays from a multicultural perspective. But I would be seriously annoyed at any religious content that seemed to be promoting one particular brand of religion. I also would have a problem with any health screening or vaccination or anything like that that occurred without my knowledge or consent.

But I think the thing about public schools is that they're public, and they are therefore going to present children with the most "mainstream" perspective on nearly every issue and topic. I think that to a certain extent, that's unavoidable.

But allowing corporate advertising into the schools, and letting corporate agendas rule the curriculum, and offering corporate-sponsored food programs, seriously annoys me.

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#5 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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I hate it when they bring fast foods into school!
I know some kids brings it in and that can not be controlled, but my sons school has a pancake breakfast once a year and the pancakes are from McDonalds! next eyar they will sell pop in my son's middle.
I can't see complaining about a once a YEAR option. There are some schools that have fast food options daily or weekly. Once a year is a treat, and would not bother me at all. It is when it is a regular occurrence and moves from treat to everyday item that would get me upset.
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#6 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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I don't think the school should offer vaccine clinics like they did for the H1N1 vax when it came out, sorry but closing off a whole area after school for people for form a giant line and sending fliers home about how everyone needs the vaccine is crossing a line, If people want it they can either use their health insurance or go to a low cost health clinic someplace to get it.

Other than that i'm pretty much okay with what goes on at my daughter's school.


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#7 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Honestly I'm pretty ok with most things, but like in the case of sexual abuse education in kindy, I want to know what they're telling my child. As a kid I came home and told my grandma EVERYTHING that happened during the day. After having my own 2, I've realized what a complete anomoly that was - my kids don't tell me much of anything and it drives me nuts! Plus, to be honest, the perceptions and memories of a 5 and 7 year old aren't always accurate. Chances are, if I'm given decent information about what's going on, I'm probably not going to have an issue with it. I don't think vaccinations should be provided in the school, and I don't think any health screenings should either - though I have no issue with providing information on how to obtain such screenings and services for families that are low income.
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#8 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I can't see complaining about anything (DS is only in kindy) except DARE and giving out my children's names to military recruiters in high school. Those two things my children will NOT be participating in. I'm also a little peeved that they sent home Boy Scout sign-up info it's not a hill I want to die on so I'm not doing anything about it, just explaining to DS why we won't be participating.

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#9 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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Religion. I was outraged when my friend's daughter came home from kindergarten explaining the resurrection around Easter. When pressed about what she actually learned and from whom, she drew a picture of a crucified Jesus (with a big smile on his face!), which she certainly hadn't seen at home.

I know that's not a problem for a lot of people, but for this atheist mama, while I want dd to be aware of the religious influence in our culture, *I* want to know what she's being taught about it. And then there's the obvious church vs. state issue. But that doesn't mean there isn't some religious instruction happening in public schools.
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#10 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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Honestly if I was worried about what my kid would learn at school I wouldn't send him/her to school
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#11 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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This is why we're choosing to homeschool.

I don't like elementary school children being taught sexual education/orientation. Even the sexual abuse thing bothers me. A friend had an issue at her nephew's school over it. Her nephew was told, "If ANYONE touches you where your bathing suit covers it's ABUSE." Her daughter went to school the next year and she told the counselor that she was NOT okay with that kind of presentation because she still helped her daughter bathe.
She also had an issue with her daughter being taught about tattling. Her daughter came to the conclusion that unless she was physically assaulted she wasn't supposed to tell. So, being shown someone's private parts was not a reason to tell a teacher. She now homeschools.

Personally, I went to a private school until 3rd and a Christian charter school until half of 6th. Religion was part of class for most of it.

If you're going to cover the basics of most religions I see no problem with it in public schools. In the case of the girl being taught about Easter I'm on the fence.

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#12 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Honestly if I was worried about what my kid would learn at school I wouldn't send him/her to school
That's a really dismissive statement for those of us who work outside the home full-time (either by choice or necessity) and have no options other than public school.

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#13 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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There's nothing that I've seen in any school that we've not discussed at home first. I'm sure it will happen eventually, but to be blunt, I consider it part and parcel of choosing to send my child to a public school. All curriculum units are posted for all to see on the annoying district webpage (it's clunky, but eventually you can find it). I can immediately get access to all non-academic educational units by asking the goddess of the school, the office manager. I never assumed that I could be passive about stuff like that.

I guess I just assume more than other people that when I send my kids out of the home, I also expect that they will get exposure to ideas that I disagree with, which will put me in the sometimes uncomfortable position of having to talk to them about it. Almost all of the annoying things I have had to deal with have come from other students (Like the kid who told my DD that gay people were bad and liked to hurt children, so that's why they can't get married). Of course, I live in an area that reflects my values. If I lived in, say, and area that wanted to portray America as being divinely excused from practicing genocide because God gave us this country, and wanted to put a Bill Gothard youth seminar in the school--admittedly, I'd go to war.
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#14 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Religion. I was outraged when my friend's daughter came home from kindergarten explaining the resurrection around Easter. When pressed about what she actually learned and from whom, she drew a picture of a crucified Jesus (with a big smile on his face!), which she certainly hadn't seen at home.

I know that's not a problem for a lot of people, but for this atheist mama, while I want dd to be aware of the religious influence in our culture, *I* want to know what she's being taught about it. And then there's the obvious church vs. state issue. But that doesn't mean there isn't some religious instruction happening in public schools.
This is an interesting perspective. Because, Easter is about the Resurrection. Without the Resurrection, there would be no Easter.

As a Christian mama with kids in public school, I hate seeing Easter being about bunnies and eggs. I'd rather they skip it all together.

To the OP - I hate how they teach nutrition based on the government food pyramid. My kids know the food pyramid isn't a healthy representation of diet. But, it still drives me batty.
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#15 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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This is an interesting perspective. Because, Easter is about the Resurrection. Without the Resurrection, there would be no Easter.

As a Christian mama with kids in public school, I hate seeing Easter being about bunnies and eggs. I'd rather they skip it all together.
I guess they could combine it with the pagan fertility stuff...*shrug* That's the only way (other than cutting it out totally) that it's "fair"

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#16 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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I think that there are very few things that I would want to keep out of my child's school I think that exposure to other POV, even ones I don't agree with will benefit my child in the long run.
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#17 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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I guess I just assume more than other people that when I send my kids out of the home, I also expect that they will get exposure to ideas that I disagree with, which will put me in the sometimes uncomfortable position of having to talk to them about it.
Same here. I'm learning that this is the hardest part about parenting: instilling one's own values in one's child despite the mixed signals in the outside world. I believe my DD is exposed to more objectional things just walking down the street in my neighborhood than she will ever be exposed to in school. While discussions with her about these things may be hard, ultimately DH and are responsible for how she processes the information received from various sources. I can't think in terms of compartmentalized parenting (i.e. my parenting stops at the front door and I have no power over her learning until she returns home). If there is no line of communication between the parent and child regarding tough issues, then I can see how things that might be objectional to some parents would pose a problem if those things are being taught in school. But, I strongly believe that my role as a parent is to not shield DD from certain information, but to provide her with a basis as to why I think those things are objectionable. Hopefully as she matures, she will learn to make value judgments in the same way.

I frankly worry more about what she learns from her friends than what she learns in school. Peer pressure (even from neighborhood kids) is, IMO, a much different animal. DH and I have our work cut out for us!

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#18 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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I don't really object to learning anything as long as it's taught truthfully.
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#19 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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The D.A.R.E. program. Study after study has shown it to be useless at best. It actually has to be an opt-in program, but most schools disregard that. We keep our kids out.

Most health-related stuff. I don't mind them teaching factual stuff, but I don't want them practicing medicine on my kids. So things like taking BMIs or checking for scoliosis bother me greatly, and we opt out wherever possible. We have a perfectly good pediatrician, with whom we have a relationship. I don't want my kids to feel like they have to let anybody who wants to measure or touch them, etc.

"Patriotism." Because how schools define patriotism and how we define it are two entirely different things.

I also object to corporate influences, the military or police in schools and anything religious other than strictly studying comparative religion.

History is still taught almost entirely from the point of dead white European men, and is wildly inaccurate.
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#20 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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Corporate influence is my real biggie, and that covers the food too.

I support sex ed but I could see there being approaches to it that I would not agree with. But I think I'm fairly mainstream on that, it would have to be an approach that most people would disagree with.

Stranger-danger is not something I particularly like, because my DD is young and it complicates what I teach her. If she were, I dunno, 8 or 10 I think it would be easier for me to say "They teach X at school, but we believe Y." But at age 4 I want DD to understand better about how to use her judgement to choose an adult to help her if needed, and it does really get confusing since she's taught "stranger danger" in other places. (She doesn't even go to school, I'm talking about the YMCA and the library).

I don't like public school encouraging peer orientation but I suspect that's different from the original topic.
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#21 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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I am right there with everything that EFMom posted.
I also have a huge problem with abstinence only sex ed, but I feel pretty confident that we'll be able to give her access to good information.
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#22 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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The only thing I have objected to was when my son's teacher let me know after the fact that the school counselor had talked to the class about punishments and consequences that adults impose on children to help kids learn better behavior.

I objected to this because I didn't find out until after the fact, I didn't get enough information to know for sure if I was comfortable with the information given, and because it was in response to behavior problems the teacher is having with her classroom due to her own poor classroom management. Poor classroom management that I feel over relies on consequences and punishment.

Basically, I felt the teacher needed better classroom management skills more than I thought the classroom needed to understand why adults impose consequences and punishments.

But overall there is nothing I can imagine objecting to being presented in school as long as I am given advance notice it is happening, adequate information about what will be presented, and the option to opt out if I so choose. Other than the above mentioned issue my son's school has always provided plenty of notice, information, and the option to decline to have my child participate.

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#23 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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History is still taught almost entirely from the point of dead white European men, and is wildly inaccurate.
I've started referring to DD's history lessons as "Study of The American Myth." After doing that for 2 years, I realized that this is still something important to know (commonly assumed knowledge), but we supplement the rest at home.

For most everything, we talk about the issues at home so much that so far she's clear on where the line is between "this is how it is," "some people think X, others think Y," and "some things we learn in school just aren't true."

I most object to the mixed messages kids get -- eat healthy and get plenty of exercise at the same time they're getting rewarded with candy and the "opportunity" to stay in for recess to play computer games.
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#24 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I don't want my dd to be exposed to vending machines or actors. I don't like junk food being in schools where only healthy food should be (except for during celebrations). I don't like acting being presented as a job choice because all of the actors I know also work as waitresses or baristas, they don't make a living wage even with two jobs and acting, and they are waiting to make it big with all the actors while also worrying about how they are going to pay for rent and food for their kids. I want my dd to see people who have more secure jobs and don't have to experience the stress that comes with trying to provide for a child on very little money. As someone trying to do that I want something different for my dd. I am putting my dd back into public school in the fall though and am fine with her being exposed to a wide variety of people, I just wish that variety would be expanded beyond ballerinas and actors.
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#25 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 06:35 PM
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Wow, OneGirl. That's a really strong position on actors.

With the budget cuts a lot of schools are facing, a lot of teachers are facing financial hardship and picking up second jobs, just like actors do. How do you feel about exposing children to other freelance and temporary workers? What about exposing schoolchildren to people in fields that are becoming obsolete? People who work for companies that are going through financial trouble and who are therefore likely to be laid off? I know a lot of writers who have day jobs. Should children be protected from writers too?

I think people from a huge variety of fields can face financial hardship, and I don't see why children should need to be shielded from seeing people in those fields as role models. And, I'm a little jealous of a school that has frequent visits from actors and ballerinas.

I'm planning to keep my dd out of DARE because research on the program shows that it's unproductive at best, and counter-productive at worst. Otherwise, I'm planning to expose her to the school's full program and maintain open lines of communication about our family's values.
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#26 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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I don't want my dd to be exposed to vending machines or actors. I don't like junk food being in schools where only healthy food should be (except for during celebrations). I don't like acting being presented as a job choice because all of the actors I know also work as waitresses or baristas, they don't make a living wage even with two jobs and acting, and they are waiting to make it big with all the actors while also worrying about how they are going to pay for rent and food for their kids. I want my dd to see people who have more secure jobs and don't have to experience the stress that comes with trying to provide for a child on very little money. As someone trying to do that I want something different for my dd. I am putting my dd back into public school in the fall though and am fine with her being exposed to a wide variety of people, I just wish that variety would be expanded beyond ballerinas and actors.
I'm PMing you I didn't want to hijack the thread

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#27 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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I don't think the school should offer vaccine clinics like they did for the H1N1 vax when it came out, sorry but closing off a whole area after school for people for form a giant line and sending fliers home about how everyone needs the vaccine is crossing a line, If people want it they can either use their health insurance or go to a low cost health clinic someplace to get it.
You're lucky that your clinic was after school. I would prefer the after school clinic to the in school clinic. The former is a convienence to some parents and does not bother me but doing it in school without the safe guard of a parent bothers me .

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#28 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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I'm not worried about what my kids are exposed to in our public school. We live in a pretty progressive town and the school reflects that.

Now, certain things that I've read about at other public schools around the country, I would have a problem with. Those would be:

abstinence-only "sex ed"
DARE
mandatory Pledge of Allegiance
no teaching of evolution
corporal punishment
commercial advertising/corporate sponsorship

I don't have any problem with health clinics or screenings in public schools.
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#29 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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I also have a huge problem with abstinence only sex ed, but I feel pretty confident that we'll be able to give her access to good information.
I write in response to this not to debate on the topic of sex ed per se, but this kind of made me realize that there is a difference to objecting what schools teach and what they leave out.

I don't believe in abstinence-only education but I would feel fine about it being taught in the school that DD went to. I would teach my DD whatever else I wanted her to know.

I do realize that realistically not all parents will take up the slack (on sex ed), but I consider that a shortcoming of the parents, not the schools. I'm ok with having more sex ed in schools as a result, because it affects all of us when kids are left without proper knowledge of how to decrease the chances of pregnancy and STDs. But just for MY family? Or theoretically? I'd probably be happier with the abstinence-only curriculum at school and leaving the rest up to me and other parents.

I guess my point is that abstinence-only is easy to "undo" - because you don't have to "undo" it but expand on it, teach what the schools left out.

Whereas corporate influence in schools is extremely difficult and possibly impossible to "undo."

ETA: I guess one argument to what I'm saying is, we expect the public schools to do their jobs and that it's a tall order to have parents just fill in all the blanks. If parents have to fill in a bunch of blanks, what is the point of public school, right? I think that's a good point but I think sex ed can still be something that parents can be expected to fill in. Schools don't teach a lot of things kids have to know, like money management - we expect parents to take that on themselves (though, of course, many don't). Religion obviously is up to the parents unless they choose a religious school - which is still a choice of the parents.
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#30 of 72 Old 04-26-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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I'd probably be happier with the abstinence-only curriculum at school and leaving the rest up to me and other parents...I guess my point is that abstinence-only is easy to "undo" - because you don't have to "undo" it but expand on it, teach what the schools left out.
I see what you are saying here, but I'm curious (not trying to start a debate!) about where you're coming from. If you'd be giving your daughter comprehensive sex education anyway, why would you be happier if the schools didn't cover it? Do you not trust them to be factual, or is it the methods you suspect would be used?

ETA that I agree that many schools don't teach a lot of things kids ought to know, like money management. But I think they should!
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