Chris has an excellent post over at A Blog About School, about the songs we make kids sing.
I had a conversation with the Local Public Elementary principal many years ago that went like this:
Principal: We have a very advanced music program. Music has been shown to improve math scores.
Me: I think kids should learn about music because it's a basic part of being human.
In a similar vein, my Older Daughter was part of a musical at Local Public Elementary called "It's Saturday!" Some of the lyrics described the kids' joy that the school week was finally over. (Also see a discussion on the old StopHomework site about a song called "Homework Blues".)
What do we teach our kids? We teach them that the only possible reason to learn something is to increase their score on a test. We teach them that it's normal to hate school and homework.
One of my rapidly multiplying pet peeves is a recurring plot that I see on kids' TV shows (yes, my kids watch TV.) This plot revolves around a kid finding some object that she decides must be lucky. The kid decides she needs this object to perform well, then she loses the object but performs well anyway. The message: there is no such thing as lucky objects; only hard work can lead to success.
Adult athletes, actors, and musicians are famous for their lucky objects, clothing, and rituals. Why shouldn't kids be allowed to have the same? Human beings are not completely rational.
What a joyless, driven, competitive world our kids live in.