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U.S. Department of Education Unveils New

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

by Susan Ohanian

Washington D. C.
At a luncheon for education journalists, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings unveiled TUHVQT (Tonsorial Awards for the VERY Highly Qualified Teacher) as the latest initiative to honor teachers and to promote educational excellence for all Americans, rich or poor, black, brown, or white, male or female, or undecided.

According to handouts made available before Secretary Spellings spoke, a tonsure refers to a haircut, or, more specifically, the part of the head, usually the crown, left bare by shaving the hair.

Under U. S. Department of Education guidelines, teachers deemed VERY highly qualified under the auspices of the NCLB Act will be eligible to receive tonsure each August from officials certified by the state departments of education in which they perform their services.

Their bald spots will offer public testimony to their expertise.

Secretary Spellings explained that following consultation with Education Trust and the NEA, U. S. Department of Education officials have adopted the Roman tradition on tonsure: the crown of the head will be shaved. This was deemed preferable to the St. John the Celtic tradition whereby the front of the head is shaved from ear to ear.

According to an NCLB amendment, the diameter of the tonsure will vary, depending on the qualifications of the wearer:


Ascendant Teacher.....
Master Teacher.....
Mareschal Teacher.....
Inspector Inquisitor.....


1 1/2
1 3/4
2 1/2

With support provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Broad Education Foundation, each state department of education will certify and maintain correct tonsures. Speaking before the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, Bill Gates observed that "tonsures can be a potent vehicle for preparing our youth for their role as workers in the Global Economy." He added, "Tonsures will take their place as the living symbol of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships in our schools."

Eli Broad has committed $6.42 million to training state education employees in perfecting a tonsure delivery system.

Asked to comment, Sen. Edward Kennedy said, "We are making progress with revising NCLB. When students spot their teacher's bald spot, they will know they're in good hands."

— Susan Ohanian
The Eggplant



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