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Secretary Spellings Unveils the Mushroom Plan

One more item in the series you will read nowhere else.

NCLB has been part of an historic grassroots
movement, supported by a unique alliance, to equip
every child with a high quality education."
--Margaret Spellings,
Press release, Jan 31, 2008

Eggplant News

WASHINGTON�Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings unveiled a bold new fiscal stimulus package that calls on local school districts to ease the NCLB budget shortfall by raising mushrooms. "As part of our historic grassroots movement, evidenced in a unique alliance of Fortune 500 leaders and Congressional yes-men, we see the school cultivation of mushrooms as a win-win endeavor. We call on teachers and students to get on board with this unique grassroots opportunity to save their schools."

Spellings stressed, "By putting classrooms at the center of a local money-making operation, we boost consumer confidence in their public schools." Spellings added that students who learn about mushroom production today will be tomorrow�s entrepreneurs.

Spellings pointed out that as the public becomes more informed about calories and nutrition and gourmet cooking, the market for mushrooms will explode.

NEA Manager of ESEA Policy Joel Packer affirmed, "We�re on board with the Secretary�s plan. It is time to stop divisive criticism and join hands and partner with corporate leaders in this vital endeavor." Packer added, "We�d like to see pilot project tested in each of grades 3-8 and one grade in high school." Packer added that National Education Association has no official opinion on extending school hours, though NEA would likely support the idea if teachers could choose whether to work the extra hours farming mushrooms. "It is NEA policy that teachers must be adequately compensated and have a say in setting the goals of any such effort."

AFT spokespersons, busy figuring out the New York City merit pay plan, were unavailable for comment.

Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. George Miller expressed disappointment that the U. S. Department of Education has not pursued his idea for establishing casinos in school cafeterias under the terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. "Casinos were beneficial for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, and they will be beneficial for schoolchildren." Miller added, that school casinos would pump much-needed capital into local districts, and solve the sub-prime mortgage crisis. "Unlike mushrooms, the roulette wheel is not weather-dependent," cautioned Miller.

Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions., Hillary Clinton, said, "As the person most qualified to be the next president�based on my record�I applaud the Secretary of Education for finding a creative way to resolve the funding shortfall of NCLB. Throughout my career, I have fought to raise education standards in our nation's schools. I believe that every child should be taught by a qualified teacher and that schools should be accountable to the parents of the children they serve. That is why I supported the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and continue to believe in the principles behind the landmark law. One of the goals of the No Child Left Behind act is to ensure that all students receive the education and services needed in order to compete in the 21st century market place. Let them learn capitalism through mushroom cultivation."

Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Barack Obama said, "No Child Left Behind Left the Money Behind: The goal of the law was the right one, but unfulfilled funding promises, inadequate implementation by the Education Department and shortcomings in the design of the law itself have limited its effectiveness and undercut its support. I support a plan that can get a quality teacher into every classroom. If mushrooms will do it, then bring in the mushrooms."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve, called the Spelling plan an explicit monetary objective. Bernanke pointed out that his mother was a schoolteacher.

A member of the PTA who asked not to be identified expressed concern that parents will be pressured to buy mushrooms that children grow in school. "Right now my children are selling something every week to support band, sports, drama, field trips, the library, classroom copier paper. We buy scented candles, gourmet cookie dough, themed popcorn, magazines, magnetic jewelry, T-shirts. . . . How many mushrooms will we be expected to buy?"

Secretary Spellings' complete remarks and related information on the "mushroom manifesto" are available on the Department of Education web site.

— Staff
The Eggplant



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