How To Close The Achievement Gap

By: Gardner Mounce

Dear teachers, administrators and faculty of Tennessee public schools,

I am your new Secretary of Education, Mark Jessler, and I was elected to accomplish one thing: to close the achievement gap between the underprivileged and the privileged schools. As you know, every time the underprivileged schools raise their test scores, the privileged schools raise theirs even more, so that year after year the achievement gap is wider. How are we to fix this?

Easy. We unteach the privileged students.

Unteaching the privileged students will be easy. The state is working hard on rewriting the textbooks incorrectly, but until those are ready, the teachers at the privileged schools should stop using the current “correct” textbooks and start utilizing a little technique I like to call Uplifting Misinformation (UM). UM is the process of transforming the hard facts of life into fun-filled lies. From now on, the Holocaust was a summer camp and the Trail of Tears was a prog band. UM achieves two purposes: it makes our privileged children happy to believe that history is as pleasant as a puppy’s yawn and it ensures that they fail all of their state history tests.

But UM is not enough. That’s why there’s stage two: Evasive Reinforcement by Motivation (ERM). ERM is the technique of praising a student instead of providing them an education. If a student asks who the president of the United States is, tell them that they are if they choose to believe! If a student asks what’s two plus two, tell them nice shoes! If a student says of their shoes, “Thanks,” you say, “George Washington! 5! Your eyes are baby stars!”

Pretty soon our dumb kids will be as smart as our smart kids, and our smart kids will be as dumb as our dumb kids, and then who’s the smarter? Me, Secretary of Education Mark Jessler, that’s who. Or is it whom? Who cares? Now for both cases it’s “whum.”

There are some of you whum may be wondering: “Mr. Jessler, are UM and ERM enough? What should we do about our privileged students whum are about to graduate? Those whum have spent ten or eleven years in our state’s finest, most privileged schools?” In that case we move to the most extreme stage, stage three: Willful Utilization of Ze Actual Truth (WUZAT). It was created by an Austrian colleague of mine. WUZAT may come as a surprise to you, because it is the undoing of everything we have taught our students in public schools. WUZAT means to reverse the traditional teachings of the public schools and divert our students through honesty. If we tell high caliber students the dismal truths about public school and its curriculum, they will inevitably question everything they have ever been taught in our school system, and their fragile psyches will crumble. It is our final stand when UM and ERM have failed. You will all receive the WUZAT pdf that contains the WUZAT truths, but it should only be used in extreme cases. Some sample WUZAT truths:

• Truth #5: We made up Sine, Cosine, and Tangent to mess with you.
• Truth #9: If you suspect that your teacher hates you, you’re right. In fact, all of your teachers hate you.
• Truth #102: Years ago we were supposed to revise the mandatory sixth grade reading list you all received (which includes Lolita, American Psycho (Illustrated), and just the baby-on-a-spit scene from The Road). That’s on us.
• Truth #20: Diagram this sentence: The unemployment rate for young high school graduates is 29.9%.
• Truth #58: You think you choose the prom king and queen? Grow up. This is bigger than you and me.

By using UM, ERM and, in extreme cases, WUZAT, we can save Tennessee. Just think, if the underprivileged schools increase their pass rate by 10% and the privileged schools decrease theirs by 15%, then we can eliminate the achievement gap in two or six or some number of years — I don’t know. Don’t ask me to do math. I was homeschooled.

Mark Jessler

Secretary of Education


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