One man's education reform

Attention parents! just in time for the new school year, I now announce the opening of New Paradigm Academy. Classes will fill quickly once this news is out, so act fast to sign up. And don't be dismayed by my lack of scholarly credentials in the field of education reform.

As we all know, when it comes to education reform, everybody's an expert.

This cutting-edge institution should get high marks on the report card of public opinion. That's because the curriculum isn't based on academic think-tank mumbo-jumbo.

My lesson plans have been culled from truly credible sources, the popular national forums where groundbreaking social theories originate: CNN Crossfire, Sunday morning TV interview shows, and talk radio.

Here are just a few of the revolutionary innovations that will create a better, brighter learning environment for children of the next millennium.

Staffing. The word "teacher" is obsolete at New Paradigm. Instructors will be known as "service representatives," and will be accessible nights and weekends by dialing 1-800-LEARNIT.

This reflects our philosophy of running the school more like a business, and making sure every student is also a satisfied customer.

Uniforms. Seasonal attire will be provided at no charge through a licensing agreement with the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. Plan on selecting the team your child will represent at the first school assembly. League monitors will conduct spot checks throughout the year to ensure full compliance.

Note: To minimize embarrassment and enhance every child's self-esteem, you may wish to avoid franchises symbolizing perpetual mediocrity such as the St. Louis Rams and Los Angeles Clippers.

Fund-raising. No more exhausting door-to-door sales of candy and wrapping paper! The entire New Paradigm campus has been declared an enterprise zone, allowing us to tap private-sector revenue sources.

Playground space will be leased to local farmers' cooperatives, warehouse liquidators, and traveling carnivals. The gym has already been booked for a self-help lecture series headlined by Anthony Robbins and Jerry Springer. Negotiations are also under way for a winter holiday nostalgia concert starring Alice Cooper, Buffalo Springfield, and Grand Funk Railroad.

Accountability. Say goodbye to those interminable parent-teacher conferences.

Personal videocams will be issued for spontaneous documentation of school and home activities. This will allow all families and staff members to conduct mutual ongoing assessment of each other's goals, expectations, and standards. Students who demonstrate outstanding hidden camera aptitude may apply for prestigious summer internships with the Drudge Report.

Admission is not guaranteed, but the first 50 applicants to New Paradigm Academy will receive a special Fox-TV collector's edition video of "America's Wackiest Classroom Capers!" hosted by Henry Winkler and Jerry Mathers.

Don't hesitate or you'll miss this remarkable opportunity, and that would be very bad - it might even go on your permanent record.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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