Indoctrination? You decide what happened at Woodbrook

It started with a blog entry at, and now such esteemed journalistic sources as the U.K.'s Daily Mail, the Daily Progress, and the Schilling Show Blog have explored the question of whether the third-graders of Woodbrook Elementary School really could have written their own song expressing affinity for the so-called "99 percent," the Americans whose lack of wealth was highlighted in recent Occupy protests.


"You're not gonna tell me that the kids will come up with the lyrics that criticize people for their success," said J. Christian Adams, the man who first broke the story about a song students performed in October with assistance from Kid Pan Alley, a non-profit that helps professional musicians make music with children.


"You underestimate what our kids can do," said Albemarle County School Board member Steve Koleszar, as the two men debated Tuesday, January 3 on the Rob Schilling Show on WINA radio.

Kid Pan Alley has drawn many of Charlottesville's musical royalty, with annual financial donations from the Dave Matthews Band's Bama Works Fund and with musical contributions by the Hackensaw Boys, Ellis Paul, Jesse Winchester, Corey Harris, Sparky's Flaw, David Lowery, Sissy Spacek, and Terri Allard.

The voice of Allard appears in the audio recording of the Woodbrook kids posted by Schilling, but she referred a reporter to Kid Pan Alley for all comment.

What some critics seem to miss is that most of the song is more about loving what you've got than vilifying the richies. Yet on Monday, January 9, a few days after the group's board clarified its guidelines, board member and group founder, Paul Reisler, fell on his sword and admitted that he'd been too zealous by allowing such passages as “I’m part of the 99” and “they’re the one percent.”

–final three paragraphs and song lyric added January 9 and 10 in advance of print publication

Attached Documents: 


Kids sit in the living room and hear the news their parents are watching, and they absorb it like sponges. When I was eight, there was a presidential election and in our class on election day we had our own vote; we advocated for our candidates to our classmates and our outcome was roughly that of the nation's. When I was eleven, a teacher pulled me aside and told me that I'd misunderstood a classroom project: I was supposed to have written a poem myself, not copied one out of a book. I had written it myself & explained what I'd done wrong; the teacher gave me an "A", but I don't think he really believed me.

Our kids are smarter and more talented than we think. This kerfluffle is the revolting bit.

There is no way young children authored the lyrics, Occupy song along with other questionable Kid Pan Alley songs. In time the truth will be revealed.

"Esteemed journalistic sources including...the Schilling Show Blog..."

Are you kidding?

@City Dweller, I think Mr. Spencer may have had his tongue in his cheek as he wrote that. Or at the very least- a smile on his face.

Esteemed and Daily Progress used in the same sentence is referred to as an oxymoron. Somebody pullin my leg here?

My kids did the Kid Pan Alley thing a while back. Its facilitator-led, which means the kids suggest but are coaxed along. Maybe one of them suggested it since they could have seen it on the news, but I don't think the kids "wrote the song"... The session my kids were in had no politics but also no kid-written music either.

I was at the concert. I thought the lyrics unusual, but I askked one of the third graders that iI knew how theycame up with the lyrics. He said " It's been on all the news, haven't you seen it?" i think the kids picked up on something, tossed out some ideas and the Kid Pan Alley people fleshed out the ideas. I think they were more interested in making a song thana statement. Besides, if it was indoctrination, why specifically just the 3rd grade? Why not a higher grade so it would seem more likely. The other grades songs were about butterflies, etc. this was innocent, I think more likely is talk show hosts (liberal and conservative) trying to gin up an argument where there is nothing there. There are serious issues that need discussion in our community; let's work on those instead!

whether or not the kids wrote or were coaxed into writing that song, all the people who object have to do is create an organization that teaches kids to write and perform songs and get them to write some right-wing propaganda to counteract the effects of this.

Have at it. People who volunteer to help kids should only be criticized by other people who volunteer to help kids. If you aren't volunteering, what are you complaining about? "I disagree with the manner in which these people are helping children"?

Really? Then start doing something about it. Pitch in or shut up.

Kid Pan Alley is funded. Follow the money. Nothing is free.

3rd graders want their yachts and planes- and everything else- they are the ultimate "1%'s" ............ and all they have to do is cry and whine to get them............

Sound familiar Occupuds?

"You underestimate what our kids can do," said Albemarle County School Board member Steve Koleszar, as the two men debated Tuesday, January 3 on the Rob Schilling Show on WINA radio.

.....perhaps Albemarle County and the voters have over-estimated Mr. Koleszar's intelligence- THEY ARE 3RD GRADERS- get them through the "3-R's" first!

Yes kids in the mid-21st century are more savvy today then they were even 20 years ago. Let them use their 1st amendment rights to freedom of expression. Here read this :

At 9 years of age, Christina was interested in politics to the point that she went to meet Gabrielle Giffords, at an outdoor constituent event, held by the representative on that fateful Saturday morning. Having just been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School, she was eager to ask her Congresswoman questions concerning the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and what it was like being a politician.

Christina Taylor Green was the 9 year old killed one year ago on Jan 8 2011 pursuing her interest in the political news of the day..

So tell me again how 3rd graders are not aware of their world?

yes kids now are more savvy. In an earlier time in Charlottesviile we didn't think about hating the people out at Farmington or the big estates being the 1% or need to check the occupation of someone who was killed in a plane crash first so we would know how to comment on their deaths (the Buckalew (sp?) comments on this website.

More reason to reign in academia land and force them to teach our kids and not fill them socialist ideology. This type of endoctrination is rampant from k - college.

"Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world."
From your idol. V. Lenin.

A third grader worried about bubbles. Yeah right.

"Kid Pan Alley is funded. Follow the money. Nothing is free."

You are VERY right. And what a coincidence that Kid Pan Alley is funded by the William and Mary Greve Foundation which support liberal causes. Yep, it's indoctrination at it's finest and should not be allowed in any school.

If my children went to this school, I would have pulled them out. Period.

Just remember, Hawes is in this for the money. If he can gain advertisers by schlock articles, he'll do it. It is how all media does it.

re: "Just remember, Hawes is in this for the money. If he can gain advertisers by schlock articles, he'll do it. It is how all media does it."

'Hawes Spencer' is an anagram for 'Preaches News'

The tea-party is the definition of indroctrination, reality and facts be damned. Robschilling's dribble, drapple, blah, blah, blah, yip, yip yip is mind numbingly depressing, painful, idiotic junk.

My kids have participated in KPA in the past and there is a LOT of coaxing. They start by asking for a topic, and I can believe that one or more of the kids came up with the Occupy Movement since it was in the news. But "the bubble"? And how the quest for wealth is evil and one should spend less time pursuing material things? Show me how many of these darlings went right home and threw away their wide screens, iPods, Nintendos, wiis and xBoxes, so that they would have more quality time with their parents and siblings, and then we can talk about how THEY wrote the song.
And if the song belongs to the students, why does KPA own the copyright? And why do the kids have to pay for a CD with the songs on it?
Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of encouraging children to use their imaginations, and self-expression through music is a wonderful idea, but this was KPA staff pushing THEIR political agenda.

cvillemom can't believe that kids might come with the idea that "one should spend less time pursuing material things"? SERIOUSLY? you think that the ideal of putting family and immaterial pleasures over the pursuit of consumer goods is going to be foreign to kids? have American churches stopped praising this ideal? do YOU not praise this ideal with your own kids? my god....I really, really thought that it was a widespread, non-controversial, standard human ideal that focusing on acquiring earthly/consumer goods at the expense of relationships and simple pleasures was a mistake. I'm kind of shocked to hear that Cvillemom thinks this is a something beyond an 8 year old's mind.

and why would the 8 year olds need to have "thrown away their wide screens" in order to prove that the came up with that idea? you can't wrap your mind around the idea that kids who have consumer goods might also be capable of simultaneously critiquing the desire for more-more-more consumer goods at the expense of immaterial values? is it your experience with your own kids that makes you think so little of other people's kids?

Hey meanwhile... so should crack addicts only be judged by other crack addicts? Should millionaires only be judged by other rich people?

Presumptious twit....

Hey new guy, you're comparing people who volunteer for children to crack addicts? Don't put words in my mouth and stop using logical fallacies.

Ntk, Whether or not you like it, Schilling's show is very popular, vibrant, and garners a growing listening audience. Libs like you are obviously furious for his success. Yes, Schilling is a master in exposing entire facts for any, all to then know. There is another side to Charlottesville, Albemarle politics. Remember, not even Obama's costly visit to Charlottesville could save a pathetic Perriello. This time Kid Pan Alley got caught with pants down big time. Thanks to Schilling and The Hook for the exposure. NTk, Hawes obviously recognizes and appreciates Schilling's effectiveness in relaying a message. The radio man is gaining ground. Your baseless whining won't stop him.

so if kids wrote a song about the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction as untruthfully espoused by the bush administration or that "corporations are people" is not true.if "corporations are people" when will corporations be tried for crimes such as the Bhopal Union Carbide disaster that killed untold numbers of innocent civilians.can we talk about drone warfare or our children? or global warming ? or race relations ? where exactly does freedom of speech begin?

Gawd help us, now we argue about what comes out of the mouth of babes. Any more ludacris posts like these and I give up on the Hook forum. No one makes a point, just complains about the other guy. No wonder Wall St has us by the buttocks with you self centered morons blabbering.

I listened to the debate on the Schilling show: Kudos to Steve Kolezar for standing up for the creative process of group songwriting, for acknowledging and accepting the authentic work of students, for enduring the obvious contempt and derision of the narrow-minded and partisan guest, and for refusing to be backed into the host’s “I’m right, you’re wrong” corner of “gotcha” questioning, and for recognizing that issues can be examined and discussed with civil discourse.

I also listened to the interview (Steve Kolezar Schilling Show). Kolezar did not do well. He fumbled and didn't do a good job in defending his position. On another note, I also spoke with a Woodbrook student about the situation. The child explained adults from Kid Pan Alley wrote "most" of the words in song. Who are we to believe, the adults trying to defend one another or the innocent child? The child has no reason to lie.

I think we got our answer today (1/9). The writers were adults; and should we be surprised at the ideology? I recently saw a letter in the Fluvanna Paper from the head of the Fluvanna Education Association (i.e., the teachers) which, I suppose, is just a parrot of the Va. and National EAs. This teacher defended the FEA as non-political and not pushing any agenda. I would like to ask this teacher about her views on school choice and vouchers. To think a public school group of third graders wrote a song pro-Occupy Movement on their own with no input from their liberal adult government employees is naive.
As for Koleszar, he is so typical of school boards. Speaks before he knows his facts because he is intoxicated by ideology and power. He HAD to defend the song; he could not say "no comment" or "let me look into this more." He definitively said the words were the kids'. He should apologize for his little ideological rant.
As for all the pony-tail-through-the-pink-ballcap moms who posted the immature "my third grader goes to public school and could easily write that song because they are so smart"...remove the stupid stick-people stickers from the back of your van. I care not how many kids you have, how dumb they are, if they play lacrosse, if you have a dog, and any other aspect of your private life. Your kids could not have written that song.
R.I.P.: Blossom Rock

Sigh. Liberalace, you need to cite your source, or else you just sound like an idiot.

Well, guv'nor, I'll give it my best shot...
A story this morning on Newsplex is quoting the artistic director finally responding to the controversy by saying "It was my idea to introduce these phrases in the song. The song was only supposed to be about life having its ups and downs and being happy with what you have, and I take full responsibility for the song." I am just taking this person at their word.
Now, if anyone ever thought these kids came up with these lyrics, they probably also think Sinatra composed "My Way." And what thought process took a song about something as benign as life's ups and downs and turned into a rhyming diatribe against the one percent? I think I know.
As soon as one saw the reaction of people like der Kommissar Koleszar, the red flag should have been raised. With politicians, the more vigorous the defense, the more the charge is likely to be correct.
R.I.P.: Buddy Atkinson, Sr.

See, that's not so hard, is it? Even better is to do this:

Sorry, I made the conservative assumption in my first post that news-wise citizens would have seen the Newsplex story this morning and known that the cat was out of the bag. I should have followed the liberal assumption that people are dumb, need to be protected by a big government so they do not harm themselves...then I would have cited a source that had already been broadcast on multiple newscasts assuming that none of the fine posters on this site watch local news.
And I do not include links for web sites from news media. I'd rather them not get the attention and web hits. I check the site for news; no need to send other people there.
R.I.P.: Steamin' Steve Clark
P.S.: Get well soon, Tony Iommi

Yes, GG, I agree that it's sorry, as you say, that you didn't know enough to post links so that readers (who might be across the country for all you know) can see for themselves that you've done your research. And it's also sorry that you assume everyone follows the exact same path in checking the morning news that you do.

Thanks for writing a song about me.

And now, hear the controversial "Part of the 99" being sung by Ms. Murray's Woodbrook 3rd graders! Exclusive audio and analysis: