Under Gov. John Kasich’s newest initiative, Ohio would eliminate 90% of its teaching positions by utilizing the free encyclopedia website Wikipedia. Revealed in a report published by the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, the plan calls for the phasing out of teaching positions across the state and the implementation of a new curriculum based on the website’s database of more than 3.6 million articles.
Already facing intense criticism from educators over proposed reductions in school funding and the Senate Bill 5 legislation, which has weakened the collective bargaining rights of public employees, Kasich further fanned the flames with the release of the report. Less than one hour after its release, more than a thousand protesters had congregated at the Capitol, spitting on the grounds and screaming about how incredibly pissed off they were.
Despite recent changes to the state budget easing the cuts to school districts, the governor insists that his new strategy is the way of the future and that the state has to embrace new, creative strategies in order to curb school spending.
“The Senate’s budget modifications are a stop gap measure,” Kasich said in a statement accompanying the report. “What the Ohio education system needs is a new direction. It’s important that we’re honest with ourselves in admitting that our current system is inefficient and wasteful.”
According to the governor, the educational dogma regarding the importance of teachers is misguided.
“I have known for some time that the money we spend on teachers is wasted,” Kasich said. “They’ve made a fortune off of our negligence and it’s time we put a stop to it. Ohio is going to show the rest of the country that there is a better way to educate our young people.”
The governor added that teachers would be able to find work elsewhere, perhaps editing Wikipedia articles or reading them to blind children.
Expounding on the governor’s position, Education Czar Robert Sommers said that, in their current role, teachers amount to nothing more than high priced babysitters and that they’re no longer needed thanks to advances in technology.
On a conference call with reporters late this afternoon, Sommers quoted directly from Wikipedia, defining technology as “‘the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose.’”
“Using that definition, our plan itself can be viewed as a new technology, one that uses another form of technology (Wikipedia) to create an endless cycle of problem solving and purpose serving,” Sommers said. The comment was followed by a prolonged period of silence as everyone tried to figure out what in the hell he was talking about.
Sommers later revealed that he himself had received a Wikipedia education.
“Sure, I’ve thought that Tony Blair worshipped Hitler for a while, and that John Seigenthaler helped assassinate John and Robert Kennedy, but Wikipedia has nonetheless fully prepared me for my job in the Kasich administration,” Sommers said.
According to the plan, the website would be used to replace both teachers and textbooks, a combination that could save the state more than $1 billion annually. Instead of listening to teachers lecture while following along in their textbooks, students would be responsible for reading material from the website themselves.
Not all education positions would be eliminated under the proposed plan. Certain administrative positions would be kept in order to determine which articles would be read and to record audio articles for grade school students who haven’t yet learned to read.
If signed into law, public school systems that adopt the governor’s new strategy would receive significantly more funding than those who do not. The statement said districts that insist on wasting public money on teachers are clearly in better financial shape than they have let on.
“Any school district that wants to continue relying on traditional teachers is welcome to do so,” the announcement said, “but they will receive less funding from the state, and the people in charge will be placed on the governor’s ‘List of Undesirables.’”
Nobody in the Kasich administration would openly comment on what it specifically means to be on the “List of Undesirables,” but an anonymous source in the administration said everybody should avoid being placed on the list, if they value their lives.
Columbus City Schools superintendent Dr. Gene Harris said the governor’s proposed plan is “absolutely asinine.”
“We all know that Governor Kasich doesn’t care much for education, but this is ridiculous,” Harris said. “Even if kids could learn using Wikipedia alone, how is a website going to tell these little hellions to stay in their seats or to stop selling crack during class?”
The governor’s office responded by saying they aren’t worried about inner-city children and that Dr. Harris should be more concerned with prison-related initiatives since those affect more of her students.
Because Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, critics say it is not a reliable source and that it is prone to extraneous, biased, and often inappropriate information.
Ohio Education Association Chair Sarah Reynolds said there are countless examples of Wikipedia’s inaccuracy, including an entry that defined room temperature as “a common term to denote a certain temperature to which humans are gay” and another which described politician Joe Wilson (R-SC) as a “douchebag.”
Kasich dismissed these allegations against Wikipedia, saying he has never heard of any false information appearing on the website before. He added that Reynolds should not be surprised to find a modified article about her which says she is an “uptight, brainless twat.”
Asked how students would learn to read and write, complete homework, organize pizza parties, or take tests under the new model, Kasich said some other free website will probably need to be created. He also suggested that surveillance cameras be placed throughout every school room and hallway in order to “make sure the children are being watched at all times by some sort of authority figure.”
“I don’t know, uh, we could call the new website Teacherpedia, or Bingstructor, or Yahooman, or whatever… I don’t really give a shit,” Kasich said. “As long as the solution doesn’t require a salary or much upkeep, I can get back to spending time on the more important issues facing Ohio, such as why firefighters still have such a cushy job in this state. Something needs to be done about that. Maybe water spraying robots could be effective… Well, I’ll let you guys know. I’ve really got to get back to my dungeon.”
Administration officials said they expect house legislators to begin discussion on the proposal early next week.