For the last couple of months, my second grade son, Dee, has been working on a Great American project. His teacher presented him with a list of Great Americans and he chose Christopher Columbus. While not a true American, Columbus did "discover" the Americas, becoming a key figure in American history. Dee has been reading books, building a time-line, writing a paper, and constructing a visual presentation all about Columbus for his project.
Today we had the chance to go to the school to see all of the second graders present their Great Americans. The mayor was invited along with several present day Great Americans: local firefighters, policemen, and military. The second graders had set up rows of desks in the gym, placing each part of their project on their desk and sitting in a chair next to it, ready to answer questions about their Great American. The program ended with the children singing a couple of patriotic songs. (Servicemen and women in uniform with little voices singing patriotic songs? Of course I cried. Like the red-blooded American mommy I am.)
The children were given the option to dress like their Great American or at least dress nicely. I had no idea how to make a Christopher Columbus costume and I couldn't bear to spend $30 on a costume that would be used once, so Dee dressed in his Sunday suit. He looked handsome and knew his stuff about good ol' Christopher Columbus. (Stuff I've been learning too as I've been helping him with this project. By the way, Columbus was "great" for "discovering" the Americas, but also wasn't so great in that he couldn't admit that he messed up and these new islands were not the Indies. Not to mention, he was rather nasty to his crew and the natives. At one point he was even arrested and brought back to Spain for being such a jerk. Hmm.)
As we walked around the rows of desks today, we saw lots of cute little Amelia Earharts, Abraham Lincolns, Thomas Edisons, and Eleanor Roosevelts. There was even a darling little Laura Ingalls Wilder (a personal favorite).
But imagine my surprise when we happened upon not one, but several Katy Perrys.
I'm all for making education fun and relevant, but since when is a cupcake-bra wearing chick like Katy Perry categorized with the likes of Sacajawea, Rosa Parks, and George Washington?! What has she contributed to our country? Besides a lot of trashy, provocative music and costumes that is. When did voicing a Smurf cartoon equate to dying as a martyr?
Unfortunately my little girls wouldn't hold still long enough to let me read the Katy Perry presentation or ask the Mini-Katys just what on earth made them "great" Americans. It was probably for the best because I probably couldn't have held back my laughter/disgust and would have tromped on some poor, little misguided second grader's self-esteem. A self-esteem that might be even more fragile since they are looking to the likes of Katy Perry as role models.
Pardon my geriatric rage but....WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?!?
P.S. At least Lady GaGa wasn't there. *whew*