The increasing number of self-inflicted decisions by public officials are causing the local scientists down at Steiners to suspect that a debilitating neurotoxin has infiltrated our water supply. Known by its chemical signature, ST2P1d, the compound was thought to be largely confined to ecosystems around the nation’s capital, but now appears to be spreading westward in the droppings of congressional representatives flying home for town hall meetings with constituents.
Technicians caution that tests have not definitively isolated the compound locally, but note that telltale signs of a ST2P1d outbreak have intermittently appeared in the decision-making of local officials.
As example, they cite the recent determination of the School District to feed a 100-year-old fig tree at the Adele Harrison Middle School into the chipper to make way for an all-weather plastic soccer field deemed vital to the education of District children. Some who supported the tree’s execution suggested that soccer is necessary to prepare students for public service in our local government, where kicking the can down the road is a time-honored skill.
The hallowed tree came down despite a last-minute public outcry to simply re-locate it a short distance away during its dormant season. Crestfallen tree-huggers noted that (a) the ancient tree and its fruit were long a feature of the school’s horticulture program, and (b) no reputable college admission office requires attendance at a school with an all-weather soccer field. They pointed out that the number of local graduates receiving college soccer scholarships to prominent universities has soared into the single digits. Zero, at last count.
Though the decision to ax the tree provoked widespread anger and sadness, some took comfort in the fact that the end of the tree’s 100-year existence — recorded in a YouTube snuff video — was not without educational value. One Trustee, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted: “Witnessing senseless disregard for our natural environment helps to prepare our graduates for life in 21st century America, and with Artificial Intelligence now the rage, allowing students to play on artificial turf is a vital part of an artificial education.”
But dissenters insist that the School District (whose beloved superintendent recently resigned in a hissy-fit following the election of a Trustee who some regard as rudely over-inquisitive) should utilize less artificial intelligence and more of the real thing.
Recently, a chaos-weary parent en route to a school board meeting extinguished her torch, leaned on her pitchfork and vented her complaints. “Just look at the sorry performance of our schools,” she said, jabbing a finger at a printout from the Dept. of Education’s latest Smarter Balanced Assessments of schools. “Adele Harrison is getting an artificial soccer field but nearly 60% of its 8th graders aren’t proficient in Language Arts – reading and writing stuff — and 60% aren’t proficient in math.”
She flipped the page. “See here? It doesn’t get much better in high school. In 11th grade, 38 percent still aren’t up to speed in language arts and 54% are behind in math. But if history is any guide, 90 percent will graduate anyway! It’s obviously easier to kill a helpless 100-year old tree than to teach kids to read about it!”
A passer-by saw she was becoming over-wrought, and leaned in reassuringly. “Yes, dear, but our Trustees are changing things for the better, don’t you think?”
“Oh, sure,” she scowled, pointing to where the tree once stood. “Look how they’re Making America Great Again.”