[Still looking for that pair of No. 2 red-handled safety scissors required for Mrs. Flunkum’s eighth-grade algebraic lit. class? You’re not alone. As government spending on education has gotten smaller, school supply lists have grown to the size of a Nasa space mission checklist. Never mind that Nasa doesn’t actually go into space anymore. The point is, this week’s Wednesday Rewind doesn’t require a protractor…]When I was a kid, our school supply list consisted of a Star Wars notebook and a Pee Chee folder. The notebook helped us organize our assignments; the Pee-Chee folder was used for entertaining ourselves during class by drawing thought balloons for the athletes on the cover.
Football Guy: (Getting tackled) “Oh sure — run the old L-42 play, THAT always works…”
Tennis Girl: “If my skirt gets any shorter, I’ll be playing Olympic volleyball…”
You get the idea.
Just about everyone remembers this folder because, like Al Sharpton’s hair gel, it has remained virtually unchanged since 1964. What has changed, however, is the growing list of items parents must provide throughout the school year. This comes in addition to rudimentary things, such as clothing, snacks and a recent urine sample. The reason is simple: The government is tired of wasteful spending, particularly in the educational system, where a special task force has discovered that schools routinely get bilked into spending thousands of dollars on paper alone.
“And, shockingly, most of this paper has turned out to be blank,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The study, code-named “Operation: Waste Storm,” was described by Duncan as “the first step in a three-pronged approach to end overspending in four areas of education.”
White House press secretary Fred Netterman later apologized on behalf of Duncan, saying his initial figures were incorrect, and that it was actually a four-pronged approach.
“The point is, he’s been promised as many prongs as it takes to get the job done — that’s how serious we are,” said Netterman, who revealed that scissors, glue and construction paper were other pork barrel items targeted by the study.
“Obviously, we’re approaching construction paper with a great deal of sensitivity since, in addition to money, it involves issues of color,” said Netterman.
Duncan, meanwhile, went on to explain that a less frivolous educational budget will encourage schools to do more with less, which will go further in preparing children for the real world than making paper hats and collages — items which, as Duncan pointed out, could be outsourced to children in Taiwan and imported for half the price.
“In addition to the cost savings, think of how it would bolster our relationship with the Taiwanian people,” said Duncan, who underscored his statement by pointing to a map of Japan.
So, how will all this affect our children’s education?
I honestly don’t know..
But I’m sure, eventually, everything will be just Pee-Chee.