Transparent Christina

A pull-no-punches commencement speech for teachers #TC #Columbia #LDH

 

A pull-no-punches commencement speech for teachers – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post

 

A pull-no-punches commencement speech for teachers

Here are excerpts from the commencement speech that renowned educator Linda Darling-Hammond recently gave at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she was awarded an honorary degree.

Darling-Hammond, didn’t pull any punches about how she views today’s school reform movement, which encourages new college graduates to teach in high-poverty schools with little training.

“Our leaders do not talk about these things,” she said. “They simply say of poor children, ‘Let them eat tests.’ ”

Darling-Hammond is a professor of Education at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. She was founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and a former president of the American Educational Research Association. Darling-Hammond focuses her research, teaching, and policy work on issues of school restructuring, teacher quality and educational equity.

Here’s a taste of the speech, which was published in full in The Nation: 

My first real glimpse of what Teachers College is and does occurred not in New York City but in a school in Washington, D.C., where one of my children had transferred into a first grade classroom to avoid the truly terrible teaching that was literally undermining her health in another school.

In her new school, Elena’s teacher, Miss Leslie, had created a wonderland of stimulating opportunities for learning: children experimenting and investigating in the classroom and the community, designing and conducting projects, writing and publishing their own little stories (one that my daughter wrote after the birth of her little brother was entitled “Send Him Back”). This teacher — who was in her very first year of practice — not only had created a classroom that any mother would want to send her child to, but she also had the skillful eye and knowledge base to figure out within weeks that Elena was severely dyslexic, to teach her to read without her ever being labeled or stigmatized, and to instill in my daughter a lifelong love of books and learning that has led to her being a literacy teacher working with special needs students today.

One day, I asked Miss Leslie how she had learned to do this miraculous work as a brand-new teacher. And she told me that she had learned to be this kind of teacher at Teachers College, Columbia University. She listed the courses she took in the Curriculum and Teaching department and the Special Education program that built her knowledge base and described what she learned with intensive supervision in a carefully designed clinical placement.

It was then that I knew that a profession of teaching was possible, and I learned much more about what is possible in building a profession from my colleagues here and in our partner schools when I later came to teach at TC. I became persuaded that policy-makers needed to understand how to enable all educators to acquire the knowledge and skills that could truly allow al children to learn — rather than to try, as so many have, to manage teaching through mind-numbing, and ultimately futile, prescriptions for practice.

 

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As scientific managers were looking to make schools “efficient” in the early twentieth century — to manage schools with more tightly prescribed curriculum, more teacher-proof texts, more extensive testing, and more rules and regulations — they consciously sought to hire less well-educated teachers who would work for low wages and would go along with the new regime of prescribed lessons and pacing schedules without protest. In a book widely used for teacher training at that time, the need for “unquestioned obedience” was stressed as the “first rule of efficient service” for teachers.

No wonder that obedience was prized, when the scientific managers’ time and motion studies resulted in findings like the fact that some eighth-grade classes did addition “at the rate of 35 combinations per minute” while others could “add at an average rate of 105 combinations per minute.” Thus schools were to set the standard at 65 combinations per minute at 94 percent accuracy. One speaker at an NEA [National Education Association] meeting in 1914 observed that there were “so many efficiency engineers running hand cars through the school houses in most large cities that the grade-school teachers can hardly turn around in their rooms without butting into two or three of them.”

During that decade, precisely 100 years ago, nationally distributed tests of arithmetic, handwriting and English were put into use. Their results were used to compare students, teachers and schools; to report to the public; and even to award merit pay — a short-lived innovation due to the many problems it caused.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In the view of these brilliant managerial engineers, professionally trained teachers were considered troublesome, because they had their own ideas about education and frequently didn’t go along meekly with the plan.

As one such teacher wrote in The American Teacher in 1912:

We have yielded to the arrogance of “big business men” and have accepted their criteria of efficiency at their own valuation, without question. We have consented to measure the results of educational efforts in terms of price and product—the terms that prevail in the factory and the department store. But education, since it deals in the first place with human organisms, and in the second place with individualities, is not analogous to a standardizable manufacturing process. Education must measure its efficiency not in terms of so many promotions per dollar of expenditure, nor even in terms of so many student-hours per dollar of salary; it must measure its efficiency in terms of increased humanism, increased power to do, increased capacity to appreciate.

 

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We live in a nation that is on the verge of forgetting its children. The United States now has a far higher poverty rate for children than any other industrialized country (25 percent, nearly double what it was thirty years ago); a more tattered safety net — more who are homeless, without healthcare and without food security; a more segregated and inequitable system of public education (a 10:1 ratio in spending across the country); a larger and more costly system of incarceration than any country in the world, including China (5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its inmates), one that is now directly cutting into the money we should be spending on education; a defense budget larger than that of the next twenty countries combined; and greater disparities in wealth than any other leading country (the wealthiest 1 percent of individuals control 25 percent of the resources in the country; in New York City, the wealthiest 1 percent control 46 percent of the wealth and are taxed at a lower level than in the last sixty years). Our leaders do not talk about these things. They simply say of poor children, “Let them eat tests.”

And while there is lots of talk of international test score comparisons, there is too little talk about what high-performing countries actually do: fund schools equitably; invest in high-quality preparation, mentoring and professional development for teachers and leaders, completely at government expense; organize a curriculum around problem-solving and critical-thinking skills; and test students rarely—and never with multiple-choice tests. Indeed, the top-performing nations increasingly rely on school-based assessments of learning that include challenging projects, investigations and performances, much like what leading educators have created here in the many innovative New York public schools.

Meanwhile, the profession of teaching and our system of public education are under siege from another wave of scientific managers, who have forgotten that education is about opening minds to inquiry and imagination, not stuffing them like so many dead turkeys—that teaching is about enabling students to make sense of their experience, to use knowledge for their own ends, and to learn to learn, rather than to spend their childhoods bubbling in Scantron sheets to feed the voracious data banks that govern ever more decisions from the bowels of the bureaucracy.

These new scientific managers, like those of a century ago, prefer teachers with little training — who will come and go quickly, without costing much money, without vesting in the pension system and without raising many questions about an increasingly prescriptive system of testing and teaching that lines the pockets of private entrepreneurs (who provide teacher-proofed materials deemed necessary, by the way, in part because there are so many underprepared novices who leave before they learn to teach). Curriculum mandates and pacing guides that would “choke a horse,” as one teacher put it, threaten to replace the opportunities for teachable moments that expert teachers know how to create with their students.

The new scientific managers, like the Franklin Bobbitts before them, like to rank and sort students, teachers and schools — rewarding those at the top and punishing those at the bottom, something that the highest-achieving countries not only don’t do but often forbid. The present-day Bobbitts would create “efficiencies” by firing teachers and closing schools, while issuing multimillion-dollar contracts for testing and data systems to create more graphs, charts and report cards on which to rank and sort … well, just about everything.

And the new scientific managers cleverly construct systems that solve the problem of the poor by blaming the teachers and schools that seek to serve them, calling the deepening levels of severe poverty an ‘excuse,’ rewarding schools that keep out and push out the highest-need students, and threatening those who work with new immigrant students still learning English and the growing number of those who are homeless, without healthcare or food security.

Are there lower scores in under-resourced schools with high-need students? Fire the teachers and the principals. Close the schools. Don’t look for supports for their families and communities, equitable funding for public schools or investments in professional learning. Don’t worry about the fact that the next schools are — as researchers have documented — likely to do no better. This is the equivalent of deciding that if the banks are failing, we should fire the tellers. And whatever you do, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

But public education has a secret weapon — a Trojan horse, if you will: the members of the profession like yourselves who have mastered a strong body of professional knowledge, who hold a strong ethic of care and who are determined to transmit this knowledge and this commitment to others throughout the education system.

 

Teachers of Year fight test-based assessment

Teachers of Year fight test-based assessment – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post

 

Teachers of Year fight test-based assessment

Here is a letter that eight New York State Teachers of the Year wrote to the state Board of Regents about their decision to evaluate teachers based on student standardized test scores.

Starting in the fall, 40 percent of the evaluations of teachers and principals in New York public schools will based on student test scores. State officials had reached an agreement on assessment with union officials but then unilaterally changed it.

I previously ran a letter sent to the Regents by a group of assessment experts who said that such test-based evaluation methods are not reliable and should not be used.

Here the teachers explain why test-based evaluation is unfair and it offers stark examples of problems students and teachers face.

 

Dear Chancellor Tisch, Vice-Chancellor Cofield and Board of Regents,

 

It is with sadness, pain and frustration that we write this letter. We, the undersigned New York State Teachers of the Year, are deeply concerned about recent changes to the State Education Department’s Annual Professional Performance Review system. These changes, while politically popular, will neither improve schools nor increase student learning; rather, they will cause tangible harm to students and teachers alike.

The changes to APPR will kill the spirit of collaboration that developed from NYSED [New York State Education Department] and NYSUT [federation of unions] working together. Evaluating teachers based on test scores is a huge paradigm shift. The fact that NYSUT was willing to work with NYSED to develop a fair evaluation process shows good will on the part of teachers across the state. To unilaterally change the terms of a jointly crafted law at the eleventh hour poisons the atmosphere. Without buy-in from practitioners in the field, this reform effort is unlikely to succeed.

 We believe in appropriate use of data to improve student achievement. Likewise, we believe that schools should develop rigorous systems to evaluate teachers and support professional growth; however, to allow 40% of a teacher’s evaluation to hinge on a single standardized test score risks great harm to our schools and the people therein. We could quote the research of educational experts like Diane Ravitch, Richard Rothstein and Jonathon Kozol as to why poverty and parental support affect test scores significantly more than any curricular changes a school can provide. We could refer to myriad child psychologists who have documented the deleterious effects of high-stakes testing on our nation’s youth. We could call upon assessment experts who insist that standardized tests were not developed to evaluate teacher effectiveness. And we could examine the last decade of educational results that followed No Child Left Behind: rampant gaming of the system to provide the appearance of growth, narrowing of the curriculum, excessive teaching to the test and virtually no change in the achievement gap. All of the above would lead the reasonable person to be skeptical about using standardized tests as the engine for school reform. Worse yet, we fear that the competition generated by this approach will reduce the collaboration necessary for true school improvement.

 To illustrate the challenges of the new APPR system, we offer these stories from our schools:

 

1) Andrew has a severe learning disability. He is a hands-on learner who struggles on written exams. His resource teacher, counselor and mother thought he would be best-served taking a challenging science course, even though everyone knew he would fail the Regents exam. When 40% of a teacher’s evaluation depends on that test score, will schools still make this sort of humane, pedagogically sound decision?

2) Jason missed two days of school this week for golf sectionals. He is a weak student and will struggle to pass the Regents exam. He will miss yet another day next week and perhaps more days if he advances to the state tournament. These golf matches were scheduled during school hours by officials representing New York State. Does the coach or sectional committee bear any responsibility for Jason’s performance on the Regents exam?

3) Tranh moved to America in January to live with his uncle. He speaks very little English and missed half a year of instruction. Who is accountable for his standardized test scores?

4) Simone will miss school all next week because her parents are taking the family on vacation. She will miss five days of instruction for this illegal absence.  Will her teachers get an asterisk placed next to Simone’s test scores?

 5) Emily finally told her doctor and her parents that she is struggling with depression. She is starting counseling and medication. Needless to say, her grades are suffering. As Emily’s life hangs in the balance, how do we find the strength to show her compassion when we know her poor grades will negatively affect our evaluation?

 6) Trudy is a veteran teacher. She volunteered to teach a class of at-risk learners because she has the skills to do so. Her passing rate on the Regents exam will be significantly lower than her peers teaching the stronger students. Under the new APPR, what motivation will teachers have to take on the most challenging students?

7) Marcia teaches art, Beth teaches Special Education and Craig is a Guidance Counselor. There are no standardized assessments attached to their jobs. They are gifted educators, but they—like many others in our profession—will not feel the same pressure as those teachers who have a high-stakes exam attached to their course. How do we deal with the divisiveness caused by this inequality?

 8) Diane teaches 4th grade. She worked diligently to prepare her students for the ELA. She went to workshops to learn about standards and her passing rate suggests great skill as a teacher. Last spring, the cut scores were changed without warning. Suddenly both Diane and her students seem less-skilled. How do we ensure that the vagaries of testing don’t harm people like Diane and her students?

 

 All of the above issues are real and will take time to work out. That’s why the new APPR system must be implemented slowly and thoughtfully. Increased time would allow schools to grapple with these thorny issues. Forcing schools to implement a plan without proper preparation will produce anger, stress and confusion, none of which will help kids.

 We fully understand the desire to improve accountability. Using external assessments for a small part of a teacher’s evaluation, as agreed to by NYSUT, seems fair and reasonable. Changing the law without warning seems less so. On behalf of our colleagues across the state, we ask you to please reconsider the original plan that was agreed upon by all stakeholders. This collaborative approach would ultimately provide the most benefit to our students.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jeff Peneston                 2011 New York State Teacher of the Year

Debra Calvino              2010 New York State Teacher of the Year

Vickie Mike                  2009 New York State Teacher of the Year

Rich Ognibene              2008 New York State Teacher of the Year

Marguerite Izzo            2007 New York State Teacher of the Year

Stephen Bongiovi        2006 New York State Teacher of the Year

Elizabeth Day               2005 New York State Teacher of the Year

Patricia Jordan            1993 New York State Teacher of the Year

 

Biology Teacher Eviscerates Obama’s Education Secretary h/t Nancy Willing

Great find here: this is why Duncan has no respect, he does not earn respect from our professionals. Governor Markell worships this man…..so sad…..

 

Daily Kos: Biology Teacher Eviscerates Obama’s Education Secretary

 

I really can’t add anything to this but to say, I agree.

Via Progressive Review

A letter from David Reber, who teaches high school biology in Lawrence KS.

Mr. Duncan,

I read your Teacher Appreciation Week letter to teachers, and had at first decided not to respond. Upon further thought, I realized I do have a few things to say.

I’ll begin with a small sample of relevant adjectives just to get them out of the way: condescending, arrogant, insulting, misleading, patronizing, egotistic, supercilious, haughty, insolent, peremptory, cavalier, imperious, conceited, contemptuous, pompous, audacious, brazen, insincere, superficial, contrived, garish, hollow, pedantic, shallow, swindling, boorish, predictable, duplicitous, pitchy, obtuse, banal, scheming, hackneyed, and quotidian. Again, it’s just a small sample; but since your attention to teacher input is minimal, I wanted to put a lot into the first paragraph.

Your lead sentence, “I have worked in education for much of my life”, immediately establishes your tone of condescension; for your 20-year “education” career lacks even one day as a classroom teacher. You, Mr. Duncan, are the poster-child for the prevailing attitude in corporate-style education reform: that the number one prerequisite for educational expertise is never having been a teacher.

Your stated goal is that teachers be “…treated with the dignity we award to other professionals n society.”

Really?

How many other professionals are the last ones consulted about their own profession; and are then summarily ignored when policy decisions are made? How many other professionals are so distrusted that sweeping federal legislation is passed to “force” them to do their jobs? And what dignities did you award teachers when you publicly praised the mass firing of teachers in Rhode Island?

You acknowledge teacher’s concerns about No Child Left Behind, yet you continue touting the same old rhetoric: “In today’s economy, there is no acceptable dropout rate, and we rightly expect all children — English-language learners, students with disabilities, and children of poverty — to learn and succeed.”

What other professions are held to impossible standards of perfection? Do we demand that police officers eliminate all crime, or that doctors cure all patients? Of course we don’t.

There are no parallel claims of “in today’s society, there is no acceptable crime rate”, or “we rightly expect all patients — those with end-stage cancers, heart failure, and multiple gunshot wounds — to thrive into old age.” When it comes to other professions, respect and common sense prevail.

Your condescension continues with “developing better assessments so [teachers] will have useful information to guide instruction…” Excuse me, but I am a skilled, experienced, and licensed professional. I don’t need an outsourced standardized test — marketed by people who haven’t set foot in my school — to tell me how my students are doing.

I know how my students are doing because I work directly with them. I learn their strengths and weaknesses through first-hand experience, and I know how to tailor instruction to meet each student’s needs. To suggest otherwise insults both me and my profession.

You want to “…restore the status of the teaching profession…” Mr. Duncan, you built your career defiling the teaching profession. Your signature effort, Race to the Top, is the largest de-professionalizing, demoralizing, sweeter-carrot-and-sharper-stick public education policy in U.S. history. You literally bribed cash-starved states to enshrine in statute the very reforms teachers have spoken against.

You imply that teachers are the bottom-feeders among academics. You want more of “America’s top college students” to enter the profession. If by “top college students” you mean those with high GPA’s from prestigious, pricey schools then the answer is simple: a five-fold increase in teaching salaries.

You see, Mr. Duncan, those “top” college students come largely from our nation’s wealthiest families. They simply will not spend a fortune on an elite college education to pursue a 500% drop in socioeconomic status relative to their parents.

You assume that “top” college students automatically make better teachers. How, exactly, will a 21-year-old, silver-spoon-fed ivy-league graduate establish rapport with inner-city kids? You think they’d be better at it than an experienced teacher from a working-class family, with their own rough edges or checkered past, who can actually relate to those kids? Your ignorance of human nature is astounding.

As to your concluding sentence, “I hear you, I value you, and I respect you”; no, you don’t, and you don’t, and you don’t. In fact, I don’t believe you even wrote this letter for teachers.

I think you sense a shift in public opinion. Parents are starting to see through the façade; and recognize the privatization and for-profit education reform movement for what it is. And they’ve begun to organize –Parents Across America, is one example.

. . . No doubt some will dismiss what I’ve said as paranoid delusion. What they call paranoia I call paying attention. Mr. Duncan, teachers hear what you say. We also watch what you do, and we are paying attention.

Working with kids every day, our baloney-detectors are in fine form. We’ve heard the double-speak before; and we don’t believe the dog ate your homework. Coming from children, double-speak is expected and it provides important teachable moments. Coming from adults, it’s just sad.

Despite our best efforts, some folks never outgrow their disingenuous, manipulative, self- serving approach to life. Of that, Mr. Duncan, you are a shining example.

 

We have a Zero Tolerance policy for these types of things….that happen in front of witnesses. LOL

Christie gets bitch slapped for trying to defund high needs schools

NJ Supreme Court orders Christie admin to spend millions more on education – Yahoo! News

 

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state must spend an additional $500 million on public education in 31 historically under-funded districts next year.

The narrow 3-2 decision comes after Republican Governor Chris Christie’s more than $1.3 billion in education cuts to all districts.

Christie’s cuts were the impetus that led the Education Law Center to file suit against the state, arguing that the cuts represented “a deprivation of the constitutional right to a thorough and efficient education to all at-risk children throughout the State.”

The state argued that the fiscal plight of the state was reason enough to restrict funding.

Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia delivered the court’s majority decision saying that Governor Chris Christie’s education cuts needed to be reduced as they represented a “real, substantial, and consequential blow to the achievement of a thorough and efficient system of education.”

 

“We order that funding to the Abbott districts in FY 2012 must be calculated and provided in accordance with the (School Funding Reform Act) SFRA formula. In making the calculation for FY 2012, the formula must adjust to correct the State’s failure to provide SFRA’s statutory level of formula funding to those districts during FY 2011,” the court’s decision stated.

While criticizing the court for deciding how taxpayer money is to be spent, Christie said he would not fight the order, instead leaving it up to the legislature to decide where to find the money.

 

“I intend to comply with the Supreme Court’s order,” Christie said at a news conference after the decision. “The constitutional ball is now in the Legislature’s court.”

Everyone agrees that American schools need help. But as Diane Ravitch argues, the fixes proposed by billionaire savior Bill Gates will only make things worse.

Everyone agrees that American schools need help. But as Diane Ravitch argues, the fixes proposed by billionaire savior Bill Gates will only makes things worse.

Over the weekend, The New York Times published a startling expose of Bill Gates’ successful efforts to shape education policy in the United States.

Article - Ravitch Bill Gates Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates poses on April 4, 2011 in Paris. (Photo: Miguel Medina, AFP / Getty Images)

As I showed in my recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Gates is one of a small group of billionaires that is promoting privatization, de-professionalization, and high-stakes testing as fixes for American public schools. I called this group “the billionaire boys club,” which includes Gates, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

The Times article documents how Gates has put almost everyone concerned with education policy in his debt: advocacy groups and think tanks of left and right, education journals, public television programs, leaders in academia, local school districts, and state education groups. In addition to what is reported in the Times, Gates has significantly influenced the policies of the U.S. Department of Education, especially its signature program “Race to the Top,” which encourages more privately managed charter schools and recommends that states judge teacher quality by student test scores.

Gates appears to mean well, but he has obviously—and repeatedly—gotten bad advice.

About a decade ago, he decided that the biggest problem in U.S. education was the size of high schools, and he proceeded to spend $2 billion to persuade school districts to downsize their high schools. He told the nation’s governors that the American comprehensive high school was “obsolete.” Districts lined up to get grants from his foundation to break up their high schools, and more than 2,000 of them converted to small schools, with mixed results. Some fell into squabbling turf wars, some succeeded, but Gates’ own researchers concluded that the students in large schools got better test scores than those in his prized small schools. So in late 2008, he simply walked away from what was once his burning cause.

The main effect of Gates’ policy has been to demoralize millions of teachers, who don’t understand how they went from being respected members of the community to Public Enemy No. 1.

Now, he has thrown his support behind the idea that America has too many bad teachers, and he is pouring billions into the hunt for bad teachers. As the Times article shows, he has bought the support of a wide range of organizations, from conservative to liberal. He has even thrown a few million to the teachers’ unions to gain their assent. Unmentioned is that Gates has gotten the federal government to join him in his current belief that what matters most is creating teacher evaluation systems tied to student test scores.

Gates seems not to know or care that the leading testing experts in the nation agree that this is a fruitless and wrongheaded way to identify either good teachers or bad teachers. Student test scores depend on what students do, what effort they expend, how often they attend school, what support they have at home, and most especially on their socioeconomic status and family income. Test scores may go up or go down, in response to the composition of the class, without regard to teacher quality. Students are not randomly assigned to teachers. A teacher of gifted children, whose scores are already sky-high, may see little or no gains. A teacher of children with disabilities may be thrilled to see students respond to instruction, even if their test scores don’t go up. A teacher in a poor neighborhood may have high student turnover and poor attendance, and the scores will say nothing about his or her quality. But all will get low marks on state evaluation systems and may end up fired.

So far, the main effect of Gates’ policy has been to demoralize millions of teachers, who don’t understand how they went from being respected members of the community to Public Enemy No. 1.

As a nation we now have a toxic combination of a failed federal policy—No Child Left Behind—which made testing the be-all and end-all of schooling, and Bill Gates’ misguided belief that teacher quality can be determined by student test scores. In the years ahead, American students will undergo more and more testing, the testing industry will fatten, and the quality of education will suffer. To save their necks, teachers will teach to bad tests, school districts will drop the arts, and shrink the time available for subjects like history, geography, civics, science, and foreign languages to make time for more testing. And there will be more cheating scandals as test scores determine the lives and careers of teachers and principals, and the survival of their schools.

What is most alarming about the Times article is that Bill Gates is using his vast resources to impose his will on the nation and to subvert the democratic process. Why have we decided to outsource public education to a well-meaning but ill-informed billionaire?

Budget Mix-Up Provides Nation’s Schools With Enough Money To Properly Educate Students | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

 

Budget Mix-Up Provides Nation’s Schools With Enough Money To Properly Educate Students | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

 

Budget Mix-Up Provides Nation’s Schools With Enough Money To Properly Educate Students

   
Members of Congress say they are “mortified” to be associated with a bill that gives more money to schools.

WASHINGTON—According to bewildered and contrite legislators, a major budgetary mix-up this week inadvertently provided the nation’s public schools with enough funding and resources to properly educate students.

Sources in the Congressional Budget Office reported that as a result of a clerical error, $80 billion earmarked for national defense was accidentally sent to the Department of Education, furnishing schools with the necessary funds to buy new textbooks, offer more academic resources, hire better teachers, promote student achievement, and foster educational excellence—an oversight that apologetic officials called a “huge mistake.”

“Obviously, we did not intend for this to happen, and we are doing everything in our power to right the situation and discipline whoever is responsible,” said House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), expressing remorse for the error. “I want to apologize to the American people. The last thing we wanted was for schools to upgrade their technology and lower student-to-teacher ratios in hopes of raising a generation of well-educated, ambitious, and skilled young Americans.”

“That’s the type of irresponsible misspending that I’ve been focused on eliminating for my entire political career,” Ryan added.

Ryan went on to tell reporters that the $80 billion budget slip-up will “unfortunately” help schools nationwide to supply students with modernized classrooms and instructional materials. Struggling to control his frustration, Ryan said he prayed the costly mistake would not allow millions of American students to graduate with strong language skills.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called for a full investigation into how the nation’s schools were able to secure the necessary funds to monitor teachers and pay salaries based on performance.

“The fact that this careless mistake also ended up financing new teacher training programs, allowing educators to become more than just glorified babysitters, is disgraceful,” Reid said. “Now we are left with a situation where schools can attract talented professionals who really want to teach our children, which will in turn create smarter and more motivated students who wish to one day make a contribution to society.”

“In all my years in government I have never seen such a shameful error,” Reid added. “Our appropriations process has gone horribly awry, and I for one demand to know how it happened.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) echoed congressional leaders and vowed to do “everything in [his] power” to resolve the costly error that led to schools updating their curriculums to emphasize math, science, and language arts, and provided students with instruction on how to use newly purchased computers to aid their research.

“Once these kids learn to read and think critically, you can never undo that,” Boehner said. “In 20 years, we could be looking at a nightmare scenario in which vast segments of our populace are fully prepared to compete in the new global marketplace.”

“It could take a whole generation to cancel out the effects of this,” Boehner added.

Congressional leaders also stressed that providing the nation’s students with an adequate education that prepared them for college or supplied them with a solid grasp of basic knowledge could also have a devastating impact on the economy by creating a new class of citizens uninterested in settling for fast food meals and useless plastic knickknacks.

“And politicians will be adversely affected as well,” Boehner said. “What will our nation do if the next generation knows that all we care about is our own selfish interests and pandering to the wealthy elite? Is that the future you want? Not me.”

 

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