“School Cutbacks: How to Educate Your Child When the Board of Education Gets Tired of Doing it for You,” by Todd Wells

Mar 4th, 2020 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Your child’s mind is her most valuable resource, and until she is old enough to become a gestational surrogate, that won’t change. But school cutbacks are a fact of life now, and though you didn’t sign up for it, you need to be prepared for the responsibility of having to teach your kid stuff.

Daunting? Yes, especially because you’re too poor to afford that nice private school. But it’s not all gloom and doom. While seeing laid-off faculty members scavenging for duck eggs in the city park is the new normal, there are ways to use the throttling of your local education budget to your advantage. Here are some handy tips for filling the gaps in your child’s schooling, depending on which teacher has the least amount of seniority:

Foreign Languages: Spanish is always first on the chopping block, and for good reason: learning an entire language takes way too long and is way too hard. But now that you’re in charge there’s a much better solution at the ready. Skip the actual language, and just teach your child to speak English with a Spanish accent. No one will ever know it’s a sham, and by the time he gets to college any professor who speaks the language fluently will long since have been deported.

Math: Don’t worry about this one. With recent advances in artificial intelligence, computers will soon be able to do math for us.

History: Here’s an opportunity to do one better than the so-called “professional” with a so-called “master’s degree in education” that you’re replacing. Instead of simple recitations of dry facts, turn your history class into something with real-life lessons. Sit the little one down and explain: “Hiroshima, the Bubonic Plague, Mount Vesuvius; yes, all terrible tragedies, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk. We need to put them behind us and move on. Now turn that frown upside down, and go watch a video on YouTube.” Your child will thank you later, trust me.

Physical Education: Whenever your child tries to do anything active, like picking up a ball or walking across the room, make fun of him for being fat and uncoordinated. Voilà, gym class.

Science: A little known fact is that any scientific principle – for instance, gravity, or osmosis, or clouds – can be explained and proven by mixing together vinegar and baking soda. You can buy both of those things in bulk on Amazon.

Music: C’mon, just sing along with the radio. Seriously, it’s like you’re not even trying.

Feel free to adjust these suggestions as necessary, but I still get the credit. And even if you do it wrong, and your child grows up too dumb to get into your dream college, there are other avenues to success. Remind your disappointed offspring that many of today’s leaders and innovators prefer candidates who are less accomplished and intelligent when they’re searching for a spouse.


Todd Wells lives in Chicago. He has three children and one wife. He dabbles in time-travel, in that he plays bass in a 1980s cover band. More? Yes, of course. Go here: traveldiaryofamadman.com.

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