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Chapter 8
March 19, 2017

Ouchers Hurt Us All [ARNS]

by MAJUMDER SAKRASHUMINDERATHER, Alternate Reality News Service Education Writer

Education Secretary Betsy DeVolution-Ross' plan to give parents of children enrolled in public school education ouchers has run into some unlikely opposition: the far right of the Reduhblican Party.

"More and more, we're finding that our members can't read," said American neo-Nazti Maxamillian Greibflischflachulah. "I mean, we had to publish the latest edition of People We Hate as a colouring book to maintain their interest. It was embarrassing. Piotr can't draw worth a shi -"

Greibflischflachulah blamed the education system.

"Hey, don't blame the education system," DeVolution-Ross countered. "Yeah, most of our schools are so starved for funds that the buildings are shakier than jello in a blender during an earthquake. And, yeah, sure, teacher pay is so low that high school graduates would rather work with old farts greeting people in Prison-Mart than going on to getting a degree in education. And, yeah, sure, okay, some schools have so few resources that nuclear power plant models at science fairs are made of paper clips and chewing gum wrappers (preferably with the chewed up gum inside). I grant you all of that.

"Still, the education system is not to blame for illiteracy in this country. Absent fathers are. Bastards."

If the education system (using the term so broadly that if it was an antibiotic it could cure a wide variety of STD (Sophistry Transmitted Disease)s) is not to blame for illiteracy, why create a national oucher programme? "I don't want to piss off the neoNaztis," DeVolution-Ross explained. "They're mean!"

Ouchers have been the holy grail (cue the coconuts) of Reduhblican education policy since Potganreabumbom palled around on the set with monkeys. Put simply, families are given coupons worth about $10 (23 piastrums at current cross-temporal exchange rates) and told that they cannot redeem them for burgers and fries at the cafeteria of their local MultiMaxiMegaMart, that they must put them towards the cost of enrolment in a school they want their children to attend. After five to 18 repetitions of this message, it finally sinks in to most parents that they cannot, in fact, redeem the coupons for burgers and fries at the cafeteria of their local MultiMaxiMegaMart, at which point most tear them up in frustration and/or try to eat them. (I was told by many subjects I interviewed for this article that they go down reasonably well with ketchup.)

They have been called ouchers because finding out how little value they have is like a punch to the gut, although, given the ultimate use many people find for them, indigestion may also be involved.

"How is that supposed to help anybody learn?" moaned Dumbopratic Party gadfly (that insect sure gets around!) Bernie Macsandbinoffman. "Oh, sure, I suppose eating the oucher will give your child enough energy to learn something that day, but how will it help them in the long term?"

Of greater importance, an oucher would only buy parents 12 minutes of class time or three chapters of a textbook in any school worth sending their children to. "Yeah, yeah, I was getting to that," Bernie Macsandbinoffman grumped.

Of course, this inconvenient truth is offset by the fact that such schools can usually be found in a different neighbourhood/city/state than the students who need them most. Travel costs can eat up their ouchers faster than a family of moths at a fabric buffet in your closet. "Oh, come on!" Bernie Macsandbinoffman angrily mumbled, "I would have said that if you had just given me the chance!"

Honestly, poor parents would be better off eating the ouchers. Ketchup makes everything taste like chicken (if the chicken had been drowned in ketchup).

Is DeVolution-Ross the best person to craft education policy, in this country? After all, the first time she stepped foot in a public school was the day after her confirmation. "It was...nice," DeVolution-Ross, trying to say something positive about the experience, failed miserably. "It had...walls. And, doors. Mostly. And, I'm pretty sure I saw a book, although, honestly, I hustled through there so fast that it could have been a small dog."

Students from Patrick Dempsey Junior Low School in Texas had planned to protest DeVolution-Ross' appearance, but, not being able to tell time, they got to the school between three and seven hours after she left. This did not stop White House Press Secretary Sean Spirochetericer from accusing the children of being paid $15 each by George Sorobororos to disrupt DeVolution-Ross' tour of their school.

The irony that that non-existent payment was more than the school ouchers was lost on him.

If she hadn't been indisposed with an undisclosed illness, token smart person Amy Sheshutshotshitbam might have suggested that it was absurd to put somebody who had no experience with, and, indeed, seemed antagonistic to the public school system in charge of it. "What can I say?" DeVolution-Ross might have responded, grinning. "I came by my ignorance honestly - I was home schooled!"

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