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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Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Titles Help Students Cope With High Stakes Testing

As students around the country prepare to take and fail a battery of state exams based on the Common Core standards, Amazon.com has compiled a list of books to help them and their parents cope.

Mending Jose's Broken Heart, "Even though we find out that Jose has failed the exam and will not be promoted and that his favorite teacher has been fired and his school is slated to close, the story is not maudlin, but uplifting and told with honesty, wisdom and much love."

I Used to Like School: A Parent’s Guide to Discussing the Common Core Standards With Your Child, "A Classic. Simply worded concepts with wonderfully colored pictures - that explain the changing nature of the school day from one of joy to one of pedantic exhaustion. It is one of those great books that feels written for adults as well as kids."

Helping Children Say Goodbye to Recess and Art: Coping Strategies for Testing Times, "Few books are able to explain the need to eliminate the 'extras' to children, let alone explain what happened to their fired teachers. This book does both and does it well!

Why Is Johnny Sad All The Time? Answers To Questions Posed During Standardized Testing Season, "This book will help children and their families move forward towards acceptance, understanding and hope as they prepare for the Common Core exams."

The Broken Pencil, "As Freddie experiences feelings of anger and frustration during test prep, he learns that misery is an expected and accepted part of life at school."

What's Summer School? "A gentle narrative following the conversations that pass between a mother and a young daughter in the days immediately after learning that the little girl has failed the state exams."

Reality Alert: 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teacher Bashing: New Olympic Event?

Sochi, Russia - Even before the games have ended, officials are debating what events to include at the 2018 Olympics to be held in South Korea.

Olympic spokesman Vladmir Grasmoski offered the short list of potential events to reporters yesterday during a press conference in Sochi. The proposed events include: ice fishing, ballroom snowboarding and synchronized figure skiing. But it was teacher bashing that garnered the most attention.  

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who cuts an atypical figure for an Olympian, is expected to serve as the team captain if the event is approved. "We have some Olympic quality players in our country with several of our athletes training for years for this opportunity," noted Christie. Though it would be premature to name team members before trial events, several names have been bandied about including, Michelle Rhee, Scott Brown and Tom Luna. "Our country is fortunate to have so many athletes at such an elite level," Christie smiled as he contemplated the possibilities. 

While teacher bashing enjoys wide appeal in America, representatives from other countries expressed doubts. "I don't think it will make it to the Olympics because the rest of the world doesn't want to play," said Luukos Veikko of Finland. "We have a lot of respect for our educators. I'm not sure we could even field a team," explained the head of the Finnish Olympic Committee.

"Every year we receive dozens of suggestions for events," said Grendalino in response to a question from an ESPN reporter about whether or not teacher bashing actually stood a chance of becoming an Olympic event. "You never know what will make it and what won't. The trick is understanding that trends should not always dictate decisions."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pearson Buys New York State Education Department

Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch wait patiently
for their turn to speak as their new Pearson overlord
announces the takeover
Albany, New York - Best described as "not your usual corporate takeover," Pearson PLC announced that it has acquired the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

The big announcement was made at a press conference attended in person by Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Education Department Commissioner John King and via satellite by Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino who is based in London.

A proud Scardino confessed, "Pearson has been calling the shots in New York State for quite a while now. So this just makes it official." According to sources in both organizations, Pearson had been slowly and surreptitiously acquiring the NYSED for more than four years.

Both King and Tisch nodded silently but enthusiastically as Scardino laid out Pearson's plan for "fully integrating all aspects of New York State public education into the seamless mission of helping people make more of their lives through learning what is important to corporations."

How did this come to pass?
With the promise of anonymity, a corporate insider disclosed the steps Pearson took to ensure the takeover would be successful. "Getting the politicians on board was easy; it just took some juicy political contributions. But getting the teachers and parents to go along... well that took a good deal of manipulation." He cited the adoption of the common core by almost every state as a game changer. "It made the acquisition fiscally wise."

According to our source, Pearson then set out to become an indispensable resource provider: textbooks to students, professional development to teachers and standardized testing to administrators. "Pearson expects to be greeted as liberators in New York State. After all how can you say 'no' to the corporation that guides your entire educational growth from cradle to grave." Apparently you can't, unless the federal government intervenes.

One of the first steps in formalizing Pearson's
takeover: new stationary
The proposed merger still needs approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  While refusing to comment on the merits of the merger, "uncommon" is how chair of the FTC, Edith Ramirez, described it. "Generally corporations takeover governmental agencies in a more low-key manner like lobbying the legislature or placing former employees inside of them," noted Ramirez. Despite the lack of corporate finesse none of the merger experts we contacted saw any obvious reasons for the FTC to block the takeover. And very few other individuals or groups seem willing to come out against it.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was unavailable for comment. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which initially voiced objections to the Pearson-NYSED deal, has backed off since accepting a sizable grant from the Gates Foundation to research successful government/private industry partnerships. Some teachers have even expressed excitement about the takeover. Justin of Pennsylvania tweeted, "Maybe now, as a shareholder, I could have a say in my own profession." Meanwhile education bloggers have been angrily spouting off about the merger using terms like "conflict of interest" and "privatization of public education" but honestly who listens to them?

When asked if Pearson would be acquiring other state education departments, Scardino gave a tight-lipped smile, though John King mumbled something about there being "no place to hide."

Reality Alert: 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Sitcom Star Is Born?

Will Duncan become a television star?
Los Angeles - The celebrity news website TMZ is reporting that former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was spotted at cable and satellite television network TLC corporate headquarters.

After handing in his resignation to President Obama earlier today, Arne Duncan then flew to L.A. and met with several Hollywood bigwigs.

Reportedly Mr. Duncan is in negotiations with producers for his own prime time program.

Several sources have confirmed that the show will likely be a sitcom that pokes fun of Arne's penchant for misspeaking. Possible titles being bandied about include:
  • That's So Arne
  • Sons of Inanity
  • The Clumsy and the Clueless
  • IArne
  • Curb Your Enigmatic Spasms
  • That Darn Arne
  • Oops I Did It Again, and
  • Arne the Quagmired Mansplainer

"I'm not saying it's a sure thing," cautioned TLC producer Tampa Talla. "But given Arne Duncan's ability to both infuriate and bemuse... well let's just say he's got an unusual talent."

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Go to: A Top Ten of Duncan's Inanity

Sunday, November 17, 2013

White Suburban Moms Declared A Terrorist Group

Anti-Common Core terrorism will not be tolerated
Washington D.C. - Citing national security concerns, "white suburban moms" have been classified as a terrorist group.

The announcement was made by Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference held late Sunday evening. In an unusual move, Kerry stood alongside Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who was a key player in the decision. "It has been well-established that the poor state of public education is a grave national security risk. Given that the Common Core Standards (CCS) are the only acceptable solution to this security crisis and given that a good deal of the opposition to the CCS comes from these mothers, it has become obvious that the White Suburban Moms (WSM) are a threat to our national security."

Several reporters expressed concern that the administration's position was extreme. Duncan responded, "Unusual? Yes. Extreme? No. Have you seen these women when they attack? They are a voracious group. New York State Education Commissioner John King has tried to engage them on several occasions and each time he barely escaped with his life."

Although President Obama has not yet asked Congress for a declaration of war on the WSM, Secretary Kerry wouldn't rule it out. "We are looking to end this peaceably but at the same time, we are keeping all our options open.  In many ways, it reminds me of of Syria."

Asked if the moms who voiced complaints about the Common Core would be considered enemy combatants, Kerry looked at Duncan who responded, "Perhaps."

One such potential enemy combatant is Mary Bellmar of Long Island, New York. Mother of three and a part-time real estate agent, Mary began to grow concerned about the new standards when her sixth grade daughter declared that she hated school. "I spoke to her teacher about it and the woman told me the new standards coupled with testing pressures have led many students to make the same declaration. So I decided to get involved."

She began attending local school board and PTA meetings. "I spoke out against the Common Core Standards because they are untested. Is the government going to come after me for voicing my opinion?"

As if in response to Mary's concerns, Kerry closed his press conference with these words, "We are willing to negotiate with the WSM but we are not against using force if necessary. The Common Core will not be stopped. And these moms should know that Guantanamo Bay is capable of handling thousands of detainees if it comes to that. We're hoping, of course, that it won't come to that but well you never know."

Reality Alert: 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The King's Dictionary

The King's Dictionary has altered the meaning of
several terms. 
New York - The reigning Commissioner of Education for the State of New York, John King, has released the following dictionary of terms that he would like distributed at any other town hall meetings he deigns to attend.

accountability: fireability, what the King is above

child: learning unit available for sale to corporations (notable exceptions include: King's child(ren))

critical voices: that to which the King is deaf

democracy: a form of government in which people choose their leaders and their leaders choose not to listen to them because it is time-consuming and inconvenient

dissent:  that to which the King is impervious

education: marketplace

educators: pawns

experience: overblown requirement for teaching

evidence:  that which does not exist to support the use of Common Core Standards

knowledge: facts, information and skills not necessarily required before implementing state-wide learning standards

money: short cut around democratic process

parent:  easily manipulated adult unit in charge of child (see above)

Ravitch: she who must not be named

respect: what silent acquiescence shows

rigor: developmentally inappropriate

schooled: what the King got on October 10, 2013 in Poughkeepsie, NY

special interests:  those who disagree with the King's policies

Town Hall meeting: gathering at which the King speaks and you listen

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Go to: Parents Voice Concern About Common Core: NY Dept of Ed Cancels Further Hearings and video Commissioner King Gets Spanked.  

To call for John King's resignation, go to:  Terminate the Employment of John King

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Haunted School

The Michelle Rhee room proves scary
for both children and adults
New York City - Outside of P.S. 129 in the Bronx is a sign written in chalk on an old blackboard that invites children and adults to "Brave the haunted halls of education reform....if you dare." But if you plan on accepting the chilling invitation to enter, be prepared to wait a while because this modern take on a haunted house is so popular that getting inside can take as long as two hours.

The brainchild of PTA president Molly Shannon has been raking in thousands and thousands of dollars. "We do something like this every year to raise money for the school. But this year the response has just been incredible. We've made more money on our first weekend than we did all last year." The idea came to Shannon when she overheard a conversation between some teachers. "They were talking about how frightening all the changes in education were. Basically it just mushroomed from there."
Governor Cuomo is pro-death penalty for schools

So what exactly is so scary about the Haunted School? To find out, my husband, our two children and I decided to enter at our "own risk."

Upon entering the school, we were greeted by a robot-like coed sporting a Teach for America t-shirt and a forced smile. She promised to guide us through the house but one minute later she mysteriously disappeared and we entered the first leg of our tour without her. Jarring though that was, it was nothing compared to what awaited us. Without warning, "Michelle Rhee" leapt at our oldest child trying to tape his mouth shut. As my son cowered behind me, she threatened to remove my tenure while menacing me with a copy of the Common Core. As we escaped into the hallway, a new TFA guide greeted us. We asked him what happened to our old guide to which he cryptically replied, "She moved on."

In the next room, "Executioner Andrew Cuomo" threatened to execute our school if it failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress. "AYP," Cuomo screamed as he brandished his axe. That made my little girl cry so we stepped into the hall for a breather. Yet another new TFA guide got her some water. She too had no idea what had happened to our previous guides. "Change is good," she said to no one in particular.

Common Core bubble tests prove to
be the most frightening thing of all
Two kids were crying outside the room we next approached. One of them sniffled, "Please don't make me go back in there." What lurked inside? The scariest thing of all, a standardized test hanging from a corporate shill was enough to make both my children ask to go home. So unfortunately, I cannot tell you about the other terrible things that lay in wait for you at the Haunted School.

On a funny note, as we were looking for the exit (our guide had abandoned us again) we wandered into what we thought was a roomful of zombie children but it turned out they were actual kids just preparing for the specialized high school exam.

The haunted school is open daily from 4pm - 10pm. Admission is $5.00 for children under 12 and $10.00 for adults. There is also a hay ride, pumpkin patch and an Arne Duncan clown who hilariously attempts to juggle ethics and money.

Reality Alert: