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U.S. Department of Education Unveils New Plan

Another in the series of News You'll Read Nowhere Else.

Susan Ohanian

Washington D. C.--
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings unveiled a new $32.63 federal initiative Wednesday, announcing the creation of PERT! (Parents, Engage in Rigor Tonight!), a special program to help parents introduce the rigor their children need to become Twenty-First Century scholars preparing for their roles in the Global Economy.

"Responding to Bill Gates' important and necessary call for rigor in our schools, my department already directs Reading First coaches to eliminate all touchy-feely activities in primary grade classrooms," announced Spellings. "But scientific data, which is the cornerstone of everything we do, reveals that this is not enough. And so, with this critical initiative, we call on parents to bring rigor to the dinner table."

Spelling made this announcement during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the doormat outside Chicago Mayor Daley' office. An aide to Mayor Daley confirmed that although the mayor embraces any program supported by members of the Business Roundtable, "our 'show us the money' pragmatism prevents us from opening the door for a two-bit operation."

The opening ceremony for the launch of PERT! was originally scheduled at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in Washington D. C., but relations have cooled since the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has accused Spellings of sabotaging the Reading First program and launched a Freedom of Information request requesting full disclosure.

Praise for the new program has been widespread and immediate. The New York Times supported it editorially, also publishing an op ed by Bill Cosby titled "Parents Need to Turn Off the Rap and Serve up the Rigor." A spokesperson for Oprah confirmed that a special is in the works, depending on the availability of blind and/or deaf homeschooling moms whose children have gained acceptance to Harvard.

Glencoe, one of the 6,842 companies owned by The McGraw-Hill Company, announced a new parent program titled Reading, Riting, and Rigor at the Dinner Table. According to program creator Zigfried Peter, BHk, MSc, M.Ac, "These easy-to-use scripts are based on a scientific, skill-based data set which provides parents with the basic information they need to effectively introduce rigor into the family conversation." Peter added, "This product is ideal for the millions of busy parents who care about their children finding success on career ladders in the Global Economy. Twenty minutes of rigor today adds up to big payoffs tomorrow."

Milly Goodheart, spokesperson for PULL (Parents United for Leisure and Laughter), denied that her group plans a nude sit-in outside the U. S. Department of Education. "We'll you're right that we'd probably have to pose naked to get any media notice, but we do draw the line: we wouldn't shame ourselves by appearing anywhere near that silly little hut."

Senators Obama, Clinton, and McCain declined comment, education issues not being on their radar. In McCain's words, "We've got a war to win."

— Susan Ohanian
The Eggplant



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