What you are about to read is NOT real news. It is satire. Where possible we have provided links to the real stories/issues that inspire us at the bottom of each article.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Common Core: Education Aberrations

Please note: This is NOT satire. 

Visited a school the other day and saw this:
How did China's command economy change in the 1980's?

To which grade was this question addressed?
Third grade, which for most kids is 8 years old. Any answer they give will only be a parrotting of what the teacher said. It will not reflect any true understanding on the part of these young students. How could it? 

It is a perfect example of the crap they pass off as education today. More difficult work does NOT automatically mean more learning - particularly when it is not cognitively appropriate. If it were otherwise, then kindergarteners should write theses.

Please share your own Common Core aberrations of education.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This Test Brought To You By....

McDonalds is just one of many
 corporations interested in the program 
Albany, NY - Responding to budget cuts, officials at New York State's Education Department unveiled a new program for public schools that has the potential to raise millions of dollars - product placement. At a press conference on Friday inside the newly named "Staples Building," Commissioner of Education Dr. John King was all smiles as he described the novel program. "With a nod to the movie-making industry and the recognition that many of our school districts are financially strapped, we have decided to allow corporations to place their product names in state and local tests administered to students throughout the year."

As described by Commissioner King, the program works much as it does in Hollywood, with corporations paying for the right to have their name (or a product's name) featured prominently during a movie or in this case, an exam. The program has already been tested at several schools around the state, including on this year's Common Core English Language Arts exam. "Oh sure, somebody always complains about something," responded King to a question about selling the state's young to the highest bidder. "But we need the money and the kids are so used to advertising anyhow. They probably won't even notice."

Students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, which was part of the pilot program, may or may not have noticed that their eighth grade science exam featured several questions "bought" by corporations. For instance, one of the questions prodded students to, "Name a carnivore you see in this drawing." The drawing showed an idyllic pond surrounded by trees and animals such as hawks, deer, fish and a bear. In the background was a factory bearing the name, "Union Carbide."

Another question was sponsored by energy company Con Edison which paid to have its name placed on the roof of a building in a diagram of an electric power plant built next to a river. The accompanying question read, "Describe one positive impact on this type of power plant on the environment." Later Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke admitted that the company doesn't actually operate a single dam.

Other companies wove their product placements in more subtly. For example, one question related to the sexual reproduction of rabbits, featured a footnote that read, "Offspring can be prevented with the use of protection." Although the company's name was not present, Dr. King revealed that Church and Dwight Company, which produces Trojan condoms, had paid for that footnote.

"Sometimes a company wants to put out a message but not have their name directly affiliated with that message and we're o.k. with that," explained King. Though the Commissioner was all smiles at the press conference, there have been some hitches.

Commissioner King enthusiastically
described the program.
An anonymous source at New York's Education Department revealed that Walmart was hoping to sponsor the United States History and Government Regents Examination. However, the company objected to the number and nature of questions related to the rise of labor unions. The state refused to change the questions on the test but a spokesperson said that they might reconsider for next year's exam, "If the price was right." And Walmart wasn't the only disappointed corporation. Although R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company negotiated for days with an elementary school in Somers, NY, they were unable to convince officials to place sunglasses on the picture of a camel which accompanied a story about the desert on a third grade English exam.

Still King is enthusiastic about the program's potential. "It could raise an enormous amount of money for some really strapped schools." He gleefully pointed out that Citicorp, Goldman Sachs and AIG are currently in a "very competitive bidding war" to gain the rights to sponsor every exam given at Stuyvesant High School, located in the financial district. "I think they see a natural affiliation with the student body," commented King. "I have instructed my staff that their top priority is to speed and facilitate negotiations between interested parties so that we can see the results on this year's tests and of course in our budgets."

When asked if he saw anything ironic in Dunkin' Donuts sponsoring the final exam for a Mt. Vernon High School class entitled, "Nutrition for the 21st Century," Commissioner King said he would not make such judgments. "Our attitude is that everything is open for discussion."

Several corporation heads were also on hand to answer questions from reporters including, Pepsico's CEO Indra Nooyi. She described the opportunity as, "a marketing dream." "Getting our message out to young people when they are in an excited state, as they most certainly are during an exam, is giving us the chance to create a mental tattoo for our brand." Pepsico paid an undisclosed amount to place their Frito Lay brand throughout the health class midterms at Niagra Falls High School.

Although not yet sponsors, the Education Department admitted that they are currently in negotiation with several high profile companies including: Anheuser-Busch, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, BP Global and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Go to New Standardized Tests Feature Plugs for Commercial Products and Learn ABC's - & IBM's.