Fake education year in preview: 2012 highlights, Part II

As promised in my previous entry, here’s the second half of the year-in-preview for 2012:

  • July 2: An alternative weekly newspaper uncovers a scandal at a charter-school educational management organization (EMO), documenting fraud that cost that state more than $10 million in 2011-12.
  • July 3: Friends of an executive of the accused EMO in turn accuse the Obama administration of planning a series of fake exposes by alternative weekly newspapers of for-profit education firms.
  • July 5: With nothing else to do, 70% of the education bloggers in the U.S. cover the back-and-forth accusations over an alternative-weekly newspaper’s column. The other 30% comment about the NEA Representative Assembly that just ended.
  • July 6: The alternative weekly’s publisher sells the outfit to News Corp. for an undisclosed figure.
  • July 9: A blogger writes that Rupert Murdoch and Eli Broad are never seen in the same room and wonders publicly…
  • July 10: The nation’s bloggers explode again with allegations that fly back and forth. A few bloggers point out that Dennis Van Roekel bears a stronger resemblance to Broad than Murdoch does.
  • July 13: Blogs settle down with a clear consensus: Murdoch and Broad do not look much alike, and they are not the same person, but there’s a strong likelihood they are from the same alien species.
  • July 16: The News Corp. publishes a firm public denial that Murdoch is an alien or that he had anything to do with the fast-moving lights seen over Brisbane on July 18, 1969.
  • July 20: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announces a Giant Kumbaya Summit he plans to hold in early September where Susan Ohanian and Lisa Graham Keegan will break bread, hug each other, and declare that everyone can live with Race to the Top. Meanwhile, in the last day Congress is in full session before its summer break, Senator Tom Harkin and Rep. John Kline agree that Congress will reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as the Hell We Can’t Figure Out What to Do But This Is Embarrassing Us To Death Act. They change nothing but the title, in hopes that the next Congress really will be embarrassed enough to act.
  • July 21: A school district in Florida opens for the school year in hopes of stuffing more test-prep in before FCATs.
  • July 24: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker loses the recall election, and new governor Bill Cronon tells the state’s residents that it’s time to put sanity back in state government and respect the public school teachers across the state.
  • August 1: An alternative weekly newspaper in California reports that half of the state’s public debt is now owned by the mythical being Cthulhu, who has been using a Los Angeles law firm to buy up coastal assets and debt instruments with a range of maturities.
  • August 6: Several mediums in the San Francisco Bay Area report sensing a deep and troubling voice say “Delicious!” at 5:03 a.m.
  • August 7: University of California President Mark Yudof is reported as missing to state police by the UC system staff.
  • August 8: California State University chancellor Charlie Reed announces a 120% increase in fees for 2012-13, starting with the fall semester. “I apologize most deeply for the sudden and late fee hike, but we have some … um, creditors … who are requiring an immediate response to a partial call on several bonds.” Reporters are told they did not hear Reed mumble “and he’s hungry” at the press conference’s end.
  • August 10: At 4 pm on a Friday in early August, the U.S. Department of Education releases a study suggesting that the turnaround strategy the department has pushed for a number years “does squat.”
  • August 15: New York Times columnist Tom Friedman argues in one of his biweekly opinion pieces that “teachers are the highest foundation we have in this society, but teachers unions must grab the reform bull by the nettle, for if there can’t be reasonable compromise about how to evaluate teachers, the general public and policymakers will realize that there’s more than one way to skin a potato.”
  • August 27-30: Hurricane Isaac threatens Tampa and the Republican National Convention but veers away at the last minute to hit the Florida panhandle instead. Relieved convention delegates open the convention by approving a GOP platform that denies the existence of global warming and opposes any regulations of greenhouse gas emissions as well as promoting vouchers and full-time online learning for five-year-olds, before nominating its 2012 ticket: Mitt Romney and Tina Fey.
  • September 3-6: The Democratic National Convention nominates Barack Obama and Joe Biden for a second term. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan makes an appearance, talking about how he will defend the role of the humanities by making sure there are multiple-choice tests in every subject from philosophy to music.
  • September 13: The U.S. DOE publishes data that if the NCLB waivers were not in place, 63% of public schools would have failed AYP by fall 2012. “See, that’s not close to Duncan’s asserted 87% at all!” exclaims a critic of the waivers.
  • September 18: President Obama makes his fourth annual “back to school” speech at a school, again webcast to the world. And once again it is controversial. Talk-show host Glenn Beck accuses the president of using the speech to promote his reelection with such “socialist concepts as hard work, equal opportunity, and resilience.”
  • September 24: President Obama signs the Hell We Can’t Figure Out What to Do But This Is Embarrassing Us To Death Act saying, “This is the first sign of bipartisanship since the seventh extension of the payroll tax cut last week, and while this is but a small step towards true reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it’ll keep the late-night talk show hosts distracted and may motivate Congress next year. What the hell!”
  • October 3: In the first presidential debate, moderator Chris Matthews asks, “Gentlemen, both of you advocate school choice for parents, but in different ways. If Congress agreed with you, through which route would you have public funds sucked up without much accountability?” President Obama said, “private management of charter schools.” Governor Romney said, “opportunity scholarships, which some people erroneously call vouchers.”
  • October 10: A study by Amy Cherubim is published and widely reported on, showing that children whom their parents describe as “totally obnoxious brats” generally grow up to have a harder time than “perfect little angels who volunteer for chores and don’t claim that you’re over the hill and stupid.” She advises parents who have children with troubling behavior “to get a spine, already.”
  • October 12: Amy Cherubim is found by police in the alley by her home after being beaten by a pack of twelve-year-old girls.
  • October 25: As part of a last-minute get-out-the-vote effort, several million teachers receive clothespins in the mail from their unions along with reminders to vote.
  • November 6: Barack Obama wins re-election with a projected 283 electoral votes. Joe Biden is overheard to whisper to the president that his re-election is a “big f$#%ing deal, and can my brother get on with a deal with Jeb Bush now?”
  • November 8: European stock futures drop precipitously with the publication of an op-ed by Voldemort that more austerity is needed across the entire European Union, and he is sending out his Debt Eaters to enforce the austerity regime that circumstances require.
  • November 15: California Governor Jerry Brown announces that within six weeks, it will be clear to the entire world how California’s debt will be wiped out. “It will be much faster than what Voldemort is trying in Europe,” he tells press in Sacramento, “and I assure everyone in California that college students in the state’s public colleges and universities will find their costs dropping dramatically by the end of the year.”
  • December 2: A twelve-year-old girl living in southern Mississippi, Christina, prays quietly to herself before school. Like all other cases where children pray to themselves without disrupting the school day, the First Amendment protects her rights, and no one tries to interrupt her praying. Later in the day, a talk-show host tells his national audience about how the re-election of Obama guarantees continuation of the “War on Christmas” and that “they’ve thrown prayer out of the schools.”
  • December 11: In a lame-duck session, the 112th Congress passes its thirty-fifth and last extension of payroll tax cuts. It fails to extend the Bush tax cuts, either for those making more than $250,000 or anyone else. President Obama threatens dire consequences if taxes are raised on those making less than $250,000. New Speaker of the House Eric Cantor promises dire consequences of taxes are raised on the wealthy.
  • December 18: As California school districts and the state’s colleges and universities start to distribute IOUs instead of paychecks, Governor Brown reassures public employees that this is entirely temporary and there will be no more IOUs as of January 1. “All debts will be paid,” he promises.
  • December 24: A generally happy nation celebrates one of the biggest shopping seasons in years, with unemployment down to 8.1%, GDP rising at 2.8% for the year, and hoping that the new year truly brings peace.
  • December 27: Cthulhu rises from the deep and eats California.
  • December 28: In his daily radio show, Rush Limbaugh describes the eating of California as “an Obama conspiracy,” for if Cthulhu had risen before the election, Mitt Romney would be President-Elect with a majority of electoral votes cast from the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.
  • December 29: The blogosphere is absorbed by arguments about the redistribution of Congressional seats, with a fairly convincing argument by Nate Silver that even if California had been eaten before the election, President Obama would still have won.
  • December 30: In Tampa, Florida, a middle-aged historian of education attempts to write something funny on his blog and is strangled by the laptop’s power cord before he can finish.
  • December 31: Aliens surround the earth and demand an instant surrender, though they’ll allow Twitter, Google, 30 Rock, and WordPress to continue. An education blogger notices a remarkable resemblance between the alien spokesbeing and Rupert Murdoch…
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