WASHINGTON, D.C. A bi-partisan, blue-ribbon panel of educators and politicians said a new study showing half of U.S. students to be below average was a “wake-up call” for the nation, and pledged to do everything possible that did not involve time, money or effort to correct the situation.
“If somebody had told me when I was in school that in the twenty-first century half of America’s kids would be below average, I would have said they were crazy,” said Oren Swanson, a retired superintendent of schools. “The Japanese would never put up with those kinds of results.”
The release of the study touched off a flurry of finger-pointing, with parents blaming teachers, teachers blaming parents, and Eydie Gorme blaming the bossa nova, with its magic spell.
The study was the first comprehensive look at American education since “A Nation At Risk,” a 1983 report that found large numbers of high school boys drew pictures of cars and electric guitars in their algebra notebooks. “I guess we’ll have to call this study ‘A Nation at Riskier’” said Morris Steinwert, president-elect of the National Association of Vice Principals.
Steinwert favors a return to corporal punishment, which kept America ahead of foreign countries throughout the 1950s. “Back then, if somebody was a ‘cut up’ in class you’d call them into your office and throw a quarter on the floor,” he recalls wistfully. “When they bent over to pick it up you whapped them in the butt with a wooden paddle that had big holes in to raise welts.”
After taking a moment to compose himself and wipe a tear from his eye with a pocket handkerchief, he added ”Those were great times.”