Education Payola

Reform in Illinois

Snowman poop.

By Ann Momovitz, June 29, 2000

Recent legislation in Illinois promises to end educational payola. Shocked and appalled by recent revelations from an unnamed elementary school, the Illinois House took quick action for reform. According to informed sources, a fourth-grade student gave his teacher a gift consisting of 1 oz. Marshmallows in a crumpled ziploc, accompanied by a poem which follows:

You've been bad
So here's the scoop
All you get is
Snowman poop

Using guidelines graciously furnished by the National Endowment for the Arts, investigators rated the value of the poem alone at $53.49 and that does not factor in the artistic added value of the crumpled ziploc. This was clearly outside the $25 limit considered customary and some think it influenced the student's passing grade in fractions.

From now on, the $25 limit will be the law, and not a moment too soon. Fast-food stores are filled with teachers' families wolfing down the ill-gotten profits resulting from doctored spelling tests and bloated cursive-writing grades. A cursory look at the adults around us indicate that this problem has been one of long standing. How else can we explain legislators who confuse million with billion (place-value problems), don't know a bribe from a contribution (probably spelling), and are unable to define basic concepts such as sex and inhalation (science-impaired). There are probably retired teachers across the land living in luxury from the sale of stale hard candy, apple-shaped artifacts and stationary with tiny fluffy cats on it. The antique value of some of the older hand-made penwipers has been documented by e-Bay.

Nevertheless, there have been some positive effects of long-standing practice. In an interview with the author, Senator Maxwell (Mad Max) Purdy disclosed that he had given

"a bushel of beets every year that I was in fourth grade to Miss Murfee. She taught me at a young age that a little grease makes the wheel go 'round."

Miss Murfee, 106, could not be reached for comment, but Sen. Purdy has been named "Porkmeister of the Year" by his fellow senators.

Thanks to the Illinois House, long a leader in reform, kids who now need to be flunked will be. One teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to the author that she had immediately flunked two children of school board members and had put the Superintendent's daughter on probation. "Of course, that will be an end to my big spending sprees at Wal-Mart," she reported, "and no more vacations in Rockdale." Several other teachers were heard to exclaim, "What's the use of rounding up the improper fraction scores any more? There's no percentage in it!" As further school reform efforts unfold, your correspondent will keep you fully informed.

Teacher's Corner is a regular feature of The Snooze. This was submitted by a real Snooze correspondent who is also an elementary teacher in Illinois.

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