Oct 20, 2007

On Kindergartners, Yard Signs, and Absurdity

Let me say from the beginning that I am proud of my children and their accomplishments, and I waste few opportunities to brag about the academic, artistic, and employment successes achieved by my kids. Furthermore, I listen politely when I encounter parents who are similarly enthusiastic about their progeny.

Yet I am a bit skeptical of the profusion of yard signs touting a new kindergartner entering school. After all, starting elementary school is hardly much of an accomplishment in a literate society. True, it is important to promote learning and scholarship, and to instill the value of education in our youth, but celebrating the start of kindergarten is like putting a medal around the neck of an Olympic hurdler for tying his shoelaces.

I also believe that a "Kindergarten Kid" yard sign will have scant influence on a child born to parents who place little or no value on reading, writing, and education. Children model their behavior on what they experience in their formative years, and if Mom and Dad are television addicts whose idea of reading does not extend beyond TV Guide, all the feel-good lawn signs in the world will not turn Kaitlyn and Connor and Hannah and Jayden into Rhodes scholars.

Once was the day in which parents silently shed tears over their babies growing up and starting school. Now we sing and dance over the mundane; will we next begin holding "starting school" parties for the over-pampered urchins, fêting them with presents, clowns, and pastries just because they are officially a part of the machine?

And, in a more sinister vein: do we really want to be broadcasting to potential pedophiles the location of the homes where small children reside? Now, I suspect that pedophiles are skilled at locating victims, and the presence of a seemingly inoccuous sign like "Kindergarten Kid" is not much of a tip-off, but do we have to make it any easier for pedos in their search for prey?

For all of you who are proud of the fact that Brianna and Aiden have achieved this important milestone of starting kindergarten, please forgive my peevishness, but know that I will be much more impressed when your little angels finish college and begin to contribute to society.


Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if these signs sprouting up in the fall connect with the schools that utilize them having levies on the November ballot?

historymike said...

Sweet! The evil political angle - I didn't think of that one.

And look at the bottom of the sign: "Sponsored by Washington Local Educational Marketing Group, Inc."

From their website:

The Education Marketing Group (EMG) is comprised of volunteers organizing their efforts to provide broad-based marketing support for Washington Local Schools.

While WLS does not have a current levy, I suspect that the planting of these signs by "marketing groups" is a way to keep the schools top-of-mind.

Mad Jack said...

My neighbors are so proud of their son. We live near an airport, and every so often you can see the little tyke pointing at the sky and yelling, "Plane! Plane!"

He's about nine years old...

Anonymous said...

madjack -

Are you sure that your neighbor's house isn't being haunted by the ghost of Hervé Villechaize . . .

de Plane! de Plane!

Tina Kubala said...

My first thought on seeing the picture was "please kidnap me"

This all goes back to our cultural issue of vaulting "self esteem" over all else. Sure, parents should love you unconditionally, but they should praise you publicly for actual accomplishments.

mud_rake said...

Those signs have been the result of the activities of former Ohio representative Sally Perz.

It was through her efforts that charter schools came into existence in Ohio. Today she and her daughter, Allison, run the largest chain of charter schools in Ohio.

They suck millions of tax payers' dollars from the local schools. Toledo public lost 18% of their revenues this fall through loss of students to these charter schools.

The results of this corporate greed are displayed in lawns all over the area.

Robin said...

While starting kindergarten is a big deal, it's a mile stone. I would not put a sign in my yard advertising my child.

I've also noticed signs in various yards advertising "student of the month" with the child's first and last name written on the sign. I keep thinking "are these parents crazy?" I don't want anyone driving by knowing my child's name.