Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

The Eggplant


in the collection  

The Three Sisters Answer Your Education Dilemmas

NOTE: Three prominent educators, whose combined savvy in classrooms across America adds up to more years than they want to admit, have volunteered to answer questions vexing teachers. If you have a question, send it to:


Terms of Service

All questions submitted by the party known as "The Client" become the property of The Three Sisters, who wish to offer excellent service to each and every Client, but make no warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, for services provided. The Three Sisters Inc. who will not be responsible for any damages Client may suffer from disgruntled administrators, Boards of Education, or U. S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, who is known to be vindictive when she gets a bee up her ___, wherever.

Furthermore, the Client will hold harmless, defend, and indemnify The Three Sisters from any and all demands, liabilities, losses, costs and claims, that may arise or result from any advice provided or performed or agreed to be performed by The Three Sisters. In other words, if your test scores don't go up, don't blame us.

AND the Client agrees to use advice only for lawful purposes. Any use, or attempted use, that violates any local, state, federal, or international law constitutes unauthorized.

HOWEVER, any use, or attempted use, that violates any provision of NCLB is encouraged and applauded.


Dear Sisters,

I volunteer one day a week in my second-grade daughter's public elementary school. The principal has banned recess because "it would take away from teacher planning or specials (music, p.e., and computers)." For exercise instead, he encourages the teachers to walk the kids back from lunch by taking "the long way" to their classrooms.

I have spoken with him about the improvement in learning that recess brings, the need for kids to have run-around time, and the basic need for humans of all heights to PLAY. He is not listening. Additionally and given that the school requires 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours a day (in a 6 and 1/2 hour school day) be given over to Reading First, I suggested that worrying about exchanging recess for teacher prep time or "specials" time was to look at the wrong exchange, but he has remained intractable.

My question is this: what can I do to keep from clamping my teeth into his torso and shaking him until his fillings fall out?

Anonymously yours,

Dear Phideaux,

We suppose that if you pointed out that in Finland for every 45 minutes of classtime, children have 15 minutes of recess, he'd just say your kids aren't Finnish.

We might point out that those Finnlander children score at the top on international tests. . if we weren't so adverse to making any use of standardized test results in our argument.

We think the only solution is to organize parents to kidnap the principal and make him sit all day at a desk.

Before you do this, make sure it doesn't violate the Geneva accords (approved on January 12,1949. UN Treaty series, volume 24,195052).

If you are reluctant to kidnap your principal, You might bring to his attention Article 17 of the Geneva Convention:

Art. 17: belligerents shall encourage as much as possible the organization of intellectual and sporting pursuits by the prisoners of war.*

Even prisoners of war get to play. Why not children?

*[Admit it: You thought we made all this stuff up.]

— The Three Sisters
advice column



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.