We’re so sorry, Uncle Koleszar: Indoctrinated Woodbrook third graders sing “Part of the 99”; Kidpan Alley issues apology

| January 10, 2012 | 11 Comments

Kid Pan Alley (KPA), a music-based educational organization that inspires kids “to be creators, not consumers” has reversed course and issued an apology for the song “Part of the 99.”

Schilling Show Exclusive: Click to play Part of the 99 as sung by Ms. Murray’s 3rd grade class

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Initially, after becoming embroiled in a national school-indoctrination scandal, KPA along with Albemarle County School Administration insisted that the children in Ms. Murray’s third-grade classroom at Woodbrook Elementary wrote all of the lyrics to the controversial song themselves.

Phrases like, “Then the bubble burst” and “Though I lost my yacht and plane” raised suspicions that such lines likely were beyond the intellectual purview of contemporary eight-year-olds enrolled in a government school.

Still, in a January 3 Daily Progress story on the controversy, the group’s Executive Director, Pat Rogers said that KPA’s “sole mission has been and continues to be to inspire and empower children to work together to become creators of their own music.” [emphasis added]

Rogers also denied any political influence of children by KPA facilitators:

“Kid Pan Alley does not promote nor condone any personal or political agenda.”

In the same article, Albemarle County Schools’ spokesman Phil Giaramita stood by the apolitical claims of KPA:

“There’s no question in my mind that [Kid Pan Alley is] firmly committed to teaching kids, and they are not interested in a political agenda.”

The paper’s story continues with supportive remarks from Albemarle County School Board chair, Steve Koleszar, who confirmed his belief that the lyrics in dispute were, in fact, the sole composition of Woodbrook third graders:

“Sometimes, when kids are writing things, they say things that are controversial. I don’t think we need to be censoring what the kids are writing.”

And, in a January 3 Schilling Show debate with J. Christian Adams, Koleszar doubled down on his authorship claims:

“You have underestimate the breadth and knowledge of experience that children have these days when they have cable TV, uh, when they listen to the news, they are up on current events, you underestimate what our kids can do.” [sic]

Today’s KPA press release tells a different story.

In the dispatch, KPA’s Founder and Artistic Director, Paul Reisler, “takes full responsibility for the songwriting process that resulted in the song titled ‘Part of the 99.’”

The release confirms Reisler’s political and lyrical contributions to the song:

“Reisler acknowledges that he should have avoided the introduction of these phrases into the songwriting process.” [emphasis added]

And, KPA’s claim to be a politically unbiased organization has been debunked by newsbusters.org, who detail the left leaning politics of several “Alley” board members and leaders.

Aside from Koleszar, the majority of the board has been strangely silent on the Kid Pan Alley controversy, with the exception of newly elected Jason Buyaki, who during the Schilling Show debate called in to express his concern over the situation.

It remains to be seen when or if Albemarle County Schools’ administration will issue a statement acknowledging the falsehoods promulgated in previous communications regarding Kid Pan Alley vis a vis the charges of student indoctrination and songwriting process manipulation.

Read full transcription of lyrics from Kid Pan Alley’s “Part of the 99”

Some people have it all,
but they still don’t think that they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes-  they are 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
I Lost my pride
I Lost my home
Now I’m part of the 99

Some people have it all,
but they still don’t think that they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes-  they are the 1 percentI 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
I’ve got my friends
Here by my side
I don’t need it all
I’m happy to be part of the 99.

Some people have it all,
but they still don’t think that they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes-  they are the 1 percent
They’re the 1 percent
They’re the 1 percent

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
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11 Comments on "We’re so sorry, Uncle Koleszar: Indoctrinated Woodbrook third graders sing “Part of the 99”; Kidpan Alley issues apology"

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  1. Kid Pan Alley exposed! Hear our EXCLUSIVE recording of Woodbrook kids singing "Part of the 99."

    While everyone else talks about it, you can actually hear it! Audio and analysis: http://wp.me/p1x2fK-1Bv.

  2. Hank Martin says:

    Rob,
    Thanks for posting this. Hearing this in it’s natural state, as it was performed by the students is quite telling. As a parent, it is obvious that these children had little to do with either the songs lyrics or even its melody. If you listen with discernment, you can hear that the students are not familiar or comfortable with the lyrics they allegedly wrote. Hear how they sing with little confidence until the very last chorus? Why? Because they were learning it as it was being sung. The melody. Rather advanced for an age group that usually struggles with “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
    As I said on the air yesterday, it is a shame that “We The People” are forced to subsidize such reprehensible seditious behavior. Despite what Chairman Koleszar attempts to maintain, these students were a captive audience who were forced to participate in an activity that is in opposition to the very mission statement of Albemarle County Schools. It is more than self-evident, that this particular program stands in need of stringent review. Indeed, from a taxpayer’s point of view, I call for its immediate cessation, and that it be dismissed from any further consideration of coming into the school system.

    As a parent. As a taxpayer. As a citizen in this county, I am angered, appalled, and ashamed, that such a subversive activity was allowed to take place in our schools. It is more than apparent that the implied trust that we parents are supposed to have fostered by our educators, is misplaced. A stem to stern scrutiny of policy and procedure, as well as educational objectives is certainly in order.

  3. Hank Martin says:

    Rob,
    Thanks for posting this. Hearing this in it’s natural state, as it was performed by the students is quite telling. As a parent, it is obvious that these children had little to do with either the songs lyrics or even its melody. If you listen with discernment, you can hear that the students are not familiar or comfortable with the lyrics they allegedly wrote. Hear how they sing with little confidence until the very last chorus? Why? Because they were learning it as it was being sung. The melody. Rather advanced for an age group that usually struggles with “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
    As I said on the air yesterday, it is a shame that “We The People” are forced to subsidize such reprehensible seditious behavior. Despite what Chairman Koleszar attempts to maintain, these students were a captive audience who were forced to participate in an activity that is in opposition to the very mission statement of Albemarle County Schools. It is more than self-evident, that this particular program stands in need of stringent review. Indeed, from a taxpayer’s point of view, I call for its immediate cessation, and that it be dismissed from any further consideration of coming into the school system.

    As a parent. As a taxpayer. As a citizen in this county, I am angered, appalled, and ashamed, that such a subversive activity was allowed to take place in our schools. It is more than apparent that the implied trust that we parents are supposed to have fostered by our educators, is misplaced. A stem to stern scrutiny of policy and procedure, as well as educational objectives is certainly in order.

  4. Harrison says:

    “The bubble burst, it really really hurt”–what? Uncle Koleczar hears 8 year olds bemoaning economic woes all the time! If you doubt it, you’re underestimating them!

    I’d like to ask Mr. Koleszar, if these kids were workaholics also, as the song indicates?

    Hank Martin is correct, the students were a captive audience, and we are captive subsidizers of reprehensible seditious activities.

  5. Carole Thorpe says:

    From the KPA confession and apology: “We deeply regret that a program that has provided such a positive experience for so many children has resulted in generating negative media attention and comment.”

    Their regret is for soiling the KPA name and reputation.

    Where is Reisler’s regret for tainting the work of Woodbrook Elementary 3rd graders? For dishonestly putting his words into the mouths of eight and nine year olds to sing publicly in a school assembly? For allowing an entire week to pass before owning up to his responsibility? For putting the Albemarle County School Board in a volatile situation?

    Of course, Steve Koleszar owns the egg he put on his own face by accepting KPA’s insistence of non-interference without proper investigation. As now proven – and as I and others insisted – the lyrics to “We Are the 99″ did not come exclusively from 3rd graders. I look forward to hearing from Mr. Koleszar and spokesperson Phil Giramarita about the KPA apology soon.

    I hope that people will attend the next Albemarle County School Board meeting this Thursday, January 12 at Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building (401 McIntire Road) beginning at 6:30 p.m. and sign up to speak during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.

    Kudos to school board member Jason Buyaki for voicing his opposition and I encourage him to pursue the establishment of guidelines AND effective oversight to prevent a similar occurance in the future.

    Finally, I have a side observation.

    This is from the Kid Pan Alley website: “The songwriter asks for a tune to go with the words and writes the music to match a child’s suggestion – it’s always original.”

    Listening to song in the recording provided by Rob, am I to believe that the 3rd graders wrote THIS tune? Really?
    Of course, the controversy involving the lyrics is the critical issue at hand — but I am left to wonder just how much of the overall songwriting is the actual creative work of the kids? What is the fine line at KPA between “guiding” and “doing”? I think this is something to consider while trying to assess the educational value of this particular program.

    One of the tenants of KPA’s mission is to “teach respect for intellectual property”. Based on what I am hearing, the definition of intellectual property at KPA seems rather vague.

  6. James Moore says:

    This recording speaks for itself–The coercion of children.

    Parents should request a criminal investigation.

    .

  7. Ken says:

    The political leanings of individuals don’t by themselves make an organization they’re a part of political. That’s just basic logic. And KPA, according to its website, has helped kids write 1500 songs. If they were a political group this would hardly be the first time they would have been forced to apologize. More basic logic for you.

    As for the songs about the Obama inauguration and Michelle Obama, it takes a real grinch’s heart to take offense at songs celebrating the American political process or the First Lady encouraging children be good role models and dream big dreams. Why are so many Christian conservatives are such nasty people? Love your enemies? You disdain yours and you’re proud of it.

    Also, “avoided the introduction of these phrases” doesn’t specify who actually introduced the phrases, just that Reisler, as the adult in the room, was ultimately responsible for them being there. Yet more basic logic.

  8. Mike Webb says:

    Is that a teacher playing the guitar?

  9. Mike Webb says:

    If one of my children came home with this bunk I would have been raising the dickens at that school.

  10. Hank Martin says:

    Additionally, Steve Koleszar seeks a new term as chairman of the Albemarle County School Board. Given his seeming lack of knowledge regarding the KPA debacle, it seems the only vote he should be concerned with, is a vote of "No Confidence"!

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