Posted by: Brad Nixon | September 13, 2010

Introducing SkoolCenter!

Of the three major cultural events that follow Labor Day, only two receive in-depth media attention. The start of the professional football (AND college AND high school) season is covered with blather 24 hours a day in myriad channels that range from ESPN to grandpa Silas’ local call-in show out of Medicine Hat. Secondly, the “official” start of the political campaign season is, well, it’s everywhere and inescapable on land, sea and in the air. Probably in outer space, too, which is where many of the candidates’ so-called ideas originate.

The circumstances that have led to this situation are baffling. Neither enterprise does a bit to improve the world for humans, animals, trees or stones. While it’s true that professional football distracts the attention of millions of people who might otherwise turn their energies to some truly harmful activity, it’s more than balanced by the furor aroused by campaigning, which, with the amount of attention it generates, provokes thousands of patently ill-qualified individuals to run for office, and millions of the voting and non-voting populace to convince themselves that they should be supported.

Meanwhile, something that DOES merit our concern, directly impacts the future of The Republic and the welfare of the world goes unnoticed: the start of the school year. While football and political fans alike can get a fix for their need for endless blather 24 hours a day, until now, the only coverage of the critical school subject has been the dreary locked-down single camera shot of school board and PTA meetings on cable local access channels. No more!

To address this disturbing Blab Gap, Under Western Skies announces our exciting new program, “SkoolCenter!”

Let’s join our hosts, Dee Tension and Tai-Shu Wong in the Under Western Skies studio! Take it away, Dee and Tai-Shu!

Thanks, Brad. Hi, everyone! And, Tai-Shu, welcome to our first broadcast of SkoolCenter!

Thanks, Dee. Great to be here. There’s a lot of breaking first-week-of-school news. So let’s get right to the report.

All right. As you would expect, the start of school across the country has resulted in traffic tie-ups and long lines of cars as parents jockey for position to drop off their children. Let’s go to reporter Sylvania Bell in Savannah, Georgia.

Dee, I’m here outside Bucephus T. Beauregard Elementary School, and, as you can see, there’s practically gridlock surrounding this little residential area as parents line up to drop their kids off on the first day of school. I’m sorry to say I’ve witnessed some pretty awful behavior, though, so far, no violence, just shouting and gestures. I’ve talked to a number of parents, and everyone seems to live within a few blocks of this school. I asked the parents why their kids didn’t just walk to school, but that didn’t seem to be something that had occurred to any of them.

I did talk to one of the unsung heroes of the day. It’s Alim, a sixth grader, the head of the School Crossing Guards. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’ve been doing this for three years, and I still don’t understand why all these parents are acting this way. If they don’t watch out, someone’s going to get hurt.”

There you have it, Dee and Tai-Shu. This is Sylvania Bell in Savannah.

Thanks for that report, Sylvania. Although there are scattered reports of violence at school drop-offs around the nation, so far, no deaths are reported, but we’ll continue to monitor this situation. Tai-Shu?

Dee, our next story comes from Meridian, Mississippi. Students at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School there were asked on the first day of school to tell who Thomas Jefferson was.

And how did that turn out?

Not too well, I’m afraid. Answers ranged from, “The guy who started our school” to “Some dude on the Dallas Cowboys.”

Did anyone know the answer?

Yes, one student knew that Thomas Jefferson was a former U.S. president who wrote the Declaration of Independence. That was young Wun Sai Ki, an exchange student from South Korea.

OK. Let’s go now to Framingham, Massachusetts, where we’re joined by reporter Donaldson Donal.

Hi, Dee and Tai-Shu. I’m here outside Crispus Attucks Intermediate School, and with me is Ozzie Washie, the Principal of Crispus Attucks. Principal Washie, how are things shaping up on this first day of school?

They’re great, Donaldson. We had a great week last week of getting the entire team and the facility in shape. We have all the graffiti off all the surfaces that we could reach, the teachers have each spent about a thousand dollars of their own money to buy the supplies the voters wouldn’t approve, and we managed to get most of the school buses running after the Fire Department came over and worked in their off hours to do some of the maintenance that was needed. And our town librarian says the summer reading program was more successful than ever this year. Our students read 25 books over the summer, thanks to all the involvement and encouragement from parents.

Wow, every student read 25 books?

No, that’s for the entire school. Uh, 25 books. Pretty good, don’t you think?

Okay, back to you, Dee!

Thanks for that insightful interview, Donaldson. Tai-Shu?

Dee, our final report today takes us to the William Bonny Elementary School in Socorro, New Mexico. We’re joined by a reporter from the El Defensor Chieftain newspaper, Maria Sansesperanza.

Thanks, Tai-Shu. I’m here with Geraldine Cabezaloco, who teaches fifth grade in Socorro. Geraldine, how does the coming school year look here in at Bonny Elementary?

Well, it’s going to be a difficult year. The economy has been tough on our local families and the local tax revenues are down, so we’re up to forty students in every class. We were able to keep the cafeteria open, though, so we’ll be able to provide lunches, though we had to let the breakfast program go.

Geraldine, I understand that some parents are unhappy with the new class sizes and the attention students can get.

Yes, it’s true, Maria. I had one parent this morning who complained that it was my fault that her child didn’t get into the Gifted and Talented program here, and didn’t seem to accept my explanation that she never did her homework, never handed in her assignments on time and cried whenever I called on her to give an answer in class. I’m really concerned that this will cause our school to be graded lower on the national rankings when we have lazy students.

OK, um, thank you, Ms. Cabezaloco, and good luck this year. Back to you, Dee.

That’s all we have time for today, everyone, but we hope you’ll join us again in the next edition of SkoolCenter, when we’ll have a report on the latest in school backpack technology, and the results of the annual first-day-of-school spelling contest at Dan Quayle Elementary School in Indianapolis. For Tai-Shu Wong and the whole SkoolCenter team, good-bye, everyone.

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