This article was originally published on Humorality, on April 5, 2010.
Part of new No Child Left Behind without Due Process strategy
As states continue to spew red ink, many school districts are taking immediate action to stem the financial flow. And it comes with a dose of good news: no teachers will lose their jobs in the process. The solution? Laying off money-losing students.
“Students cost money, plain and simple,” said Mark Gravenstein, principal of Walla Walla Middle School in Chula Vista, California. “They represent the single highest cost in our schools. Get rid of students, get rid of the problem.”
Some districts, especially those in urban areas where poverty is on the rise and mongrel dogs run wild in the streets, are looking at deficits in the tens of millions of dollars. For schools in these areas, it’s not just a question of how many students to let go, but of which ones to eliminate first.
“All kids are precious,” said one anonymous yet totally kind and responsible school administrator. “But some are more precious than others. If we are going to kick ten percent of the students out, we might as well kick out those who cost the most money and consume the most resources.”
It turns out those students at the bottom end of the educational scale, as well as those at the top, consume a disproportionate share of each dollar that schools are able to extract from area taxpayers. “Good students are a burden on the system,” said Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education for the Obama Administration. “They use more books from the library, require greater expenditures in gold stars, and put indirect pressure on teachers to enhance classroom materials. Do you know how much it would cost to provide adequate training to teachers to educate students of this caliber? I know I don’t. Math wasn’t really my strong suit.”
Katie Rockefeller, a straight-A student from New York who was recently let go from her eighth-grade class, saw the decision as a net negative. “I invested nearly a decade of my life into that school, and for what? The two security guards that escorted me from the building didn’t even give me time to clean out my desk. I lost my favorite copy of Shakespeare’s Works.”
Kids with low grades, including Brad W. Teaeff, a recent layoff from a school near St. Paul, Minnesota, were equally disturbed. “You make one lousy mistake on your finger-painting assignment and they discard you. I’m already six years old. Where am I going to find another educational institution at my age?”
Despite such troubling stories, many teachers are putting a positive spin on the situation. “We’ve already reduced our school’s carbon footprint by eight percent,” said Paula Limestone, a high school teacher in Seattle, Washington. “But the best part is the hope it gives me for the future of education. With all of the students at the ends of the bell curve gone, we can finally teach from an average curriculum that touches the greatest number of mediocre students ever.”