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Parents: are you okay with the school influencing your child's political view?

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posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 10:59 AM
My goal in having children for as long as I can remember was to implement my family's heritage and personal values into my children because they are the way of ensuring that I (and my family) have a future and place here in on this planet while at the same time bringing something new to our family name.

A value that is part of me, passed down through my family line, and being of the upmost importance to me is remembering that we are individual free thinkers that contribute our perspective in this world. For this reason, I want my children to understand fully the pros and cons of every type of governing system so that they can understand which ones allow for individual growth and free expression. I am VERY opposed to planting one candidate in their head because they aren't even close to understanding that every candidate brings something different to the table. To me, it is about the values and not the man as a person.

SO, imagine my surprise when I told my children the next morning as I was dressing them for school that the country had chosen a new president and upon saying the name, my 5 year old son said "that is who I wanted." I literally dropped what was in my hand because I had not discussed the individual candidates with them and certainly my 5 year old son has no clue yet the ins and outs concerning Obama's stances, therefore making his "choice" one that was implanted biasedly into his head based on SOMEONE ELSE'S values.

I asked him why he wanted Obama to win and he said because that is what his teacher told his class to choose in their "mock election."
I wanted to cry and then I wanted to kick some arse!

I feel like this is crossing the line in the same way that it is crossing the line for schools to be teaching children which religious view is right or that the African American heritage is more valuable in our society than their heritage, which is Irish American. I have no problem with them teaching my children math, science, english, etc and even have no problem with them teaching different view points in religion, government (including politics), and the different cultures; but I feel that it is stepping on the parents right to hand down personal values and beliefs when all the children are being influenced to pick or value a particular view over another.

These children do not belong to the school. They belong to us, the parents. I understand teaching children to function in society is not a bad thing, but I am highly livid that they are influencing personal desicions.

This is the danger of the public school system and shy of homeschooling them (which as a single mother, would be very difficult, if not impossible when I have to put a roof over their heads, clothe and feed them), is there anything that we as parents can and should be doing? It seems that writing letters and voicing my authority over what they do and don't have the right to teach my children isn't helping. I feel like I am losing a battle that shouldn't have to be fought.

Have any of the other parents experienced anything along the same lines with their children? Anyone else feel uneasy and livid by this? Anyone else out there who even cares?

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 11:20 AM
well my 6 year old son voted for obama is his mock election as well, and he pays attention to us grown ups, so i think that although i haven't spoken to him directly about which candidate i liked, he probably knew that his daddy liked obama so he would vote for him also. when i asked him how he arrived at his decision he put it in only the way a child can.
"well, the other guy kinda looks like a scrooge."
there ya go. i don't think his teacher had anything to do with the resukt, i remember mock elections when i was in school, and the teachers never told us who to vote for, if your sons teacher indeed did that very thing, you could probably sue the pants off them. but i'm not encouraging you to do that, but a strict verbal reprimand would be very appropriate for that teacher.
and maybe it's just a case of your son not wanting that "guy that looked like a Scrooge" to win.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 11:59 AM
reply to post by Enigma Publius

thank you for responding. I hear what you are saying. I was talking about it with my neighbor whose children are older and her opinionated daughter
hehe, told her that her teacher (also the same school) was influencing the Obama ticket as well. I don't care if it had been McCain or even my favorite, Ron Paul.. I just don't feel that it is a teachers right to do so. Certainly the verbal reprimand would be ideal if I thought it would work, but my worries would be that it could backfire on my child. I want him to have a good experience in school without being taught things that are better left up to me, the parent to teach.

I also don't want him basing opinions on superficial aspects. I want him to look at EVERYTHING a person stands for and never just choose who they like because someone looks nicer. That is just me though. I feel that there are some people that look scroogish and yet are the most kind and giving people with great values and ideas and then there are some ppl that look sweet and innocent (*ahem* palin) who are rigid and hypocritical. So, had my son used that reasoning, I would have explained why that was a flawed method of judging someone's stances and values.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by justamomma

yes i tried to explain to him that he shouldn't base it on that of course, but he still insisted to me that Mccain just didn't look nice. I was kinda secretly glad that us being in the deep south that my son wasn't one of the kids voting for Mccain just because he wasn't the black guy. But i feel the best soulution here is to avoid mock elections at school until some rudimentery understanding of the process has developed. But my son did say that he thought Obama was a better talker...a true observation, that also influences how many adults vote, so it was very telling for me to discuss this all with him. And oh yes, i did ask him "what about Ron Paul?" and he said "who's that?"
goes to show that they are not really teaching them everything.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 01:53 PM
I'm a photographer that freelances for our city's newspaper, and I cover a lot of the things that go on at schools, especially elementary level. Parents love their kids being in the paper what can I say. I'm all for people voting however they want and all, but when the teachers are WEARING Obama buttons and t-shirts, I get kind of peeved. I dont think it should be allowed at all. I would be saying the same if it was McCant t-shirts as well. I dont think it is their place to be forcing their opinions on these children.

This indoctrination is eerily reminding me of 1984's children SPIES. One of these days, if you speak out on Obama you might just get 'vaporized' by these up and coming Obama Youth.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:42 PM
reply to post by Enigma Publius

great reply and you are right about not teaching them everything. I just want them to be teaching every side if they are going to be teaching one side of an issue. I feel so strongly about children being able to experience and learn what they value and their belief system through their parents, and the way that I want my kids to believe is through their own eyes. If something they are taught is biased, that bias idea should be through me, not their teacher.

I do think that young children pick up on things that we don't and so I am not saying that your son wasnt picking up on something in McCain... You are the parent and the best one to decide what beliefs and values should be implemented into your son. Even if I had blatantly told my child to value Ron Paul over other candidates, that is my right as a parent. I don't believe that the teachers should feel they have that right with my children.
Again, thank you for your response. YOu seem to really care about your children and about the rights of the parent (as evidenced in other threads as well) over the teacher where your children are concerned. Thank you!

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:48 PM
Like this teacher was trying to influence the kids?


She 'asked' who the kids were pulling for.

When one little girl said 'John McCain' the teacher said 'oh jesus .. john oh jesus mccain' ...

The teacher was using her position of power over the children to intimidate them. No matter how many times she said 'it's okay for you to support McCain' .. her body language and her huffs and puffs and side comments said otherwise.

The kids aren't stupid. They know that this woman is in a position of power over them.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:48 PM
Well it's your child and I am glad your so involved with what they learn and experience at school. It's refreshing.

Have you discussed it yet with the teacher? Sometimes communication can clear up sooo many misunderstandings. Remembering that your child is 5 and says it how he sees it, not always how it really was.

In the end if the teacher abused her position, you as a parent have every right to find your child a new teacher or demand it never happen again.

Good Luck !

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:51 PM
reply to post by Contagion2012

I am very glad that you responded with that. That is kind of what I had seen from other schools where the children were being made to sing praises to Obama and/or being taught that Obama was the only right choice.

I honestly did not think that was going on at my children's school and it just hit me hard to hear that it was. It makes me sad because although I think Obama has good intent toward the country, he does hold to some stances that are against my values and against the values I want to instill in my sons.

Having said that, even though Ron Paul does hold to my values, I would have been just as livid if the teachers had imposed him on my child because I COULD have been anti Ron Paul.

I am glad to hear you speak up with what you have seen because I am starting to believe this is standard in schools.... that being pushing certain ideas onto kids that should be strictly left up to the parents in the home.

It scares me as far as the bigger picture to realize that are children are being more than taught basics, but being molded into whatever the schools deem fit. Their views should not be allowed to be spoken to the childrens minds unless it is done unbiasedly... meaning all the views are being taught w/out emphasis on one particular view. *sighs* I just fear that my kids will not be an extension of my family, but rather an extension of society. That, to me, is a more horrible thought than being tortured or even killed. My kids mean more to me than my own life and I want them to be them.. not society's idea of what they should be.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:52 PM
I remember when I was in grade school. Now this was years ago. I think I remember we wrote our lessons with sticks in the mud it was so long ago..but I digress..

We had mock elections. I remember one year we even had a mock electorial college. The teacher divided the room up into 3 sections and one section had as many students and the other 2. It was just to show us the process. We were never told how to vote. I remember one year a bunch of got together and voted for Superman.

The teachers never told us how to vote. They encouraged to pick either one of the major canidates we wanted, but never stopped us from writing in whoever we wanted.

I think what I just described is fine. Now, if the teacher is teaching a preference of one party or canidate over the other - that is not fine at all.

Right now my experience with school is limited to my wife going back to college. She tells me how some prof's expound on their political views in class. Not just saying, "I hope X wins"..but "teaching" how "X" is the one you should vote for and why "Y" is bad. I think this is wrong too. However, she says many of the students just eat it up.

[edit on 7-11-2008 by Frogs]

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:56 PM

Originally posted by FlyersFan The kids aren't stupid. They know that this woman is in a position of power over them.

Thank you for sharing that. You hit the truth spot on in this statement.. They are NOT stupid and in fact, their innocence clues them in on more than we are sometimes clued in on.

Schools should teach facts and not opinions. Question is, what can be done to change this short of pulling them out? It had been my intent to homeschool, but that is just not possible when I have to work just for their basic necessities. I am a problem solver, but I am having a hard time with this one because I feel trapped. Take them out and I can't provide. Keep them in and the school, who spends the majority of the day with them, is influencing their values which go against mine.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 03:57 PM
I am an assistant principal.

I do not condone any of my teachers sharing their political views with our students. They can discuss politics, but it's best a teacher facilitate a discussion and not dictate the direction of such conversations with their own personal views.

Unfortunately, some teachers do not have the common sense to realize their opinions can sway a classroom of eager learners and/or how to keep a classroom discourse from being too biased.

I also recently tore up a bulletin board posting promoting pro-life, pro-family, anti- same sex marriages in the faculty lounge.

Lack of neutrality carries over into all political parties.

Unfortunately, common sense does not always as well.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 04:04 PM
Okay JM. I want to ask as non-critically as possible, how come you didn't talk to your children about the political candidates?

While I agree that teacher overstepped her boundaries, I am curious why you didnt' discuss it with him yourself?

He might not understand every issue or the historical backdrops for them, but he could certainly understand them well enough to choose for himself if you helpe dhim understrand the election in simplistic issues, and to give him the strength to vote how he wants no matter what his teacher says.

I agree wholly with your choose-for-yourself philosophy but the difficult part in implementing that is remaining umbiased enough to let your children choose what they want, even if it is not what you would have wanted.

If it were my kid I woul dhave sat him down and talked about the issues and help your child to understand that he should choose based on his values, not because someone intimidates him.

I would absolutely speak to the teacher and the school management if she indeed tried to tell the kids who to vote for, but realize that there will always be someone trying to tell your kids what to beleive. You can't shield them from that--it's better, IMO, to give them the strength to stand up for themselves.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 04:26 PM
Same thing happened with my 5 year old. He told his grandmother that they voted at school and he picked Obama cause "he's the coolest." (Well, technically he called him the blue guy. You know red for republican, blue for democrat.) I was floored when his grandmother told me he said that. Not because of my own personal feelings about Obama, but because my husband and I have not discussed Obama or McCain in front of him and we have not had any political commentary turned on on the TV for him to hear anything about either of the candidates.

So on our way home I was talking to him about the election and asked if he knew we voted for a new president and if he understood why and all that good stuff and he said the teacher told them about it in class. He thinks voting for a new president every four years is cool and said they voted in class for president. I asked him who he voted for and he said "the blue guy" and I asked him what he knew about Obama and McCain, and he said that his teacher said Obama was "cooler" than McCain. Talk about a step out of bounds...

I would feel the same way if his teacher had told them McCain was "cooler" than Obama. It's not which candidate she supports, I don't care about that, it's the fact that she is telling children that one candidate is "cooler" than the other. She is, in effect, using her position of authority to impose her personal values on other people's children. I haven't spoken to the teacher or the principal about it yet because I too am at a loss as to what exactly I should do or say. Something needs to be done to prevent this from happening again, but what?

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 04:31 PM
Well for starters you should actually talk to the teacher and principal?

All the rage in the world will never change a thing tell you open up communication.

Let them know it's not ok. They may be so shocked someone actually said something they never do it again.

posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 06:20 PM
I intend to, it's just a matter of deciding what exactly to say so that I get the point across that what happened isn't ok with me without coming across as a few words that would be censored if I typed them out. I'm not exactly enraged about it, I just don't think teachers should be using their position of authority for anything aside from teaching what is in the curriculum. I highly doubt personal feelings about politicians is in that curriculum.

posted on Nov, 8 2008 @ 11:36 AM
reply to post by justamomma

OP, have you considered putting it up against the school? I think this issue should be brought up to their attention so they either discipline the teacher, or fire him/her

For the person that mentioned that perhaps the parent should have talked about it with their children, I say this: THEY ARE 5 YEARS OLD! I'm sorry, but during these times of their lives is when children suck in any and all information they get and personally, I'd rather that they absorb practical and useful information, as opposed to what is basically, a biased opinion from their teacher. I do not want my child's identity to be molded by a teacher when the teacher isn't even bothering to do a good job at presenting both sides of the story, only that Obama is "cooler" that's ridiculous!

You want to do something useful for your kid at the age of 5? instead of trying to impose a biased opinion on presidential candidates, teach them another language, or 3 foreign languages or teach them other useful skills. But I don't want my kid to have his opinion shaped by someone who is over stepping their bounds as an EDUCATOR!

[edit on 8-11-2008 by Question]

posted on Nov, 8 2008 @ 11:50 AM
Let me try to answer that question as a retired educator, even though I am a parent and a grandparent.
There are many things that an educator NEEDS to be concerned with. First, and foremost, of course, is providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the world. Those skills include basics such as how to read, write, study, and plan their time. In addition, teachers need to encourage critical thinking. If a teacher TELLS a student WHAT OPINION they must have, such as WHO is a "good" candidate, and who is a "bad" candidate, they are NOT teaching them critical thinking, they are, in fact, doing just the opposite. Just from that point of view, a teacher FAILS his/her responsibility as an educator. There is certainly nothing wrong with encouraging students, in an age appropriate environment, to discuss issues, and there is nothing wrong with the teacher, during that discussion, asking a student why he/she has a specific opinion, but AT ALL COSTS, the educator must REFRAIN from making judgment statements about OPINIONS.

posted on Nov, 9 2008 @ 10:55 AM

Originally posted by Jenna
I intend to, it's just a matter of deciding what exactly to say so that I get the point across that what happened isn't ok with me without coming across as a few words that would be censored if I typed them out. I'm not exactly enraged about it, I just don't think teachers should be using their position of authority for anything aside from teaching what is in the curriculum. I highly doubt personal feelings about politicians is in that curriculum.

yes, but my result would probably be something similar to if my son had Hunter S. Thompson in a PTA meeting, i mean, i am not crazy or on a lot of drugs like that, but i am quite eccentric i am told, and i tend to be a bit like a bull in a china shop when i go anywhere. i don't want things getting harder for my son because of how i would be perceived after my first visit. My ex wife even tried to kinda warn the teacher about this, (god bless my ex wife, she always has my back out in the big nasty world) of the fact that i can come off wrong to the person i'm meeting the first time. it's just that if i believe in something strongly enough to go try and talk to the teacher then i am already pretty P.o.'d; and i tend to be very dramatic and what have you. I just wouldn't want him getting a harder time because of me. it may be hard to understand because here in the written word i think ii seem basicly quite normal, but i typed all of this reply out in about 2 minutes or so if that tells you anything about how i actually talk and conduct myself. as for the assistant principal that responded, that's shocking, well maybe not shocking, but surprising that you had to remove a poster board like that, that is blatent disregard for a non biased enviroment, sounds like you try to run a tight ship, i'll bet your shcool is nice!

posted on Nov, 9 2008 @ 03:50 PM
reply to post by justamomma

My 10yo participated in a mock election as well. There, they taught him that he doesn't have to tell anyone who he voted for, and that no one should tell him who to vote for. They instructed him to vote based on his own values, not his neighbors.

I thought that was great. He came home having learned about the Electoral College, as he told me that Obama won the Popular vote and McCain won the electoral vote at his school.

This really prepared him for Election night as he understood what folks were talking about.

OP sounds like your childs teacher needs some civics training :-)

Even as an Obama supporter, I asked my child to consider his vote based on what he had seen thus far. I still have no idea who he voted for.

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