Who Let the COW Into the Classroom?

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Yes, that’s right you heard me. Who let the COW into the classroom? No, no, no, not the mooing, milk-producing, four-legged bovine. I’m talking about COW: Curriculum On Wheels, a teaching device produced by Ignite! Learning.

COWs are the latest gadgetry in a long line of "easy teaching" scams swallowed by incompetent school administrators, lazy teachers and helpless parents desperate for any sign of learning from their children… like a grade of C+ in "health studies."

Basically, COWs are self-contained software projectors complete with all the bells and whistles one wants in the "iStupid" age. Miss Crabtree is being replaced by a machine. Real teaching is going down the swirly bowl in favor of catchy jingles and cute cartoons. Hey kids. Let’s see how Mr. Bighead explains Pluto’s demotion from planet to mere space rock.

Let’s see, our kids spend all morning and all afternoon watching cartoons or playing video games, so we don’t have to actually raise them. Why not fill up the classrooms with cartoons and video games so the teachers don’t actually have to teach them. What a stroke of genius!

The benefits are apparent and far-reaching. With classrooms full of COWs, teachers no longer have to know how, let alone what to teach. It’s all done for them. No more silly requirements of prior education required. School districts won’t have to hire even marginally qualified teachers. All they need is an individual who can keep the kids in line and throw a switch. Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Igor should do nicely. Nobody seems to have any respect for teachers anymore anyway so who cares? Now school districts can simply yank some yahoo out of line at the welfare office and turn them loose. Think of the savings. Lesson plans are a thing of the past with COW. Teachers have more free time to hit the bars at night in preparation for a classroom full of eager, smiling faces.

Best of all, kids will learn only what the manufacturer, Ignite! Learning chooses to pack into their COWs! Whew, that’s good news. No more Scopes Monkey Trials in the future. Come to think of it… with COW we can avoid teaching about the Scopes Monkey Trial entirely.

For the moment, COWs are available only in Science COWs, Social Studies COWs and the ultra spiffy deluxe SUPER COW, which has both Science and Social Studies combined. No reading, writing or arithmetic here. Nope, Miss Crabtree still has to (try to) inculcate those skills in her pupils. Thankfully, COWs have not ventured into the tricky area of the three "Rs"… yet. Maybe that’s because the folks who go in for COWs aren’t too eager for kids to be able to read, write and do arithmetic. The three "Rs" can result in… and I shudder at the thought… independent thinking, literacy, the ability to add up the national debt, and a population of hard-to-manipulate individuals! God forbid!

You see COW helps America’s future opinion leaders grasp the fundamental wisdom that multi-media sources with catchy music are the source of all truth and knowledge, you know like MTV, "reality television" and televised State of the Union Addresses. Those future opinion leaders will be able to deal with American subversives (readers) who actually doubt the veracity of FOX News [sic].

As well, your kids will be ready for the new American Economy which consists of workers in what Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao has cunningly described as: "professional and business services, health care, hospitality, and retail trade." In plain English, that means government lackeys (including nubile pages), cleaning women, hospital orderlies, bellboys and Wal-Mart shelf stockers.

Kids, teachers, parents and administrators love COWs! So let’s ignite a book burnin’ bonfire tonight! Like one "student" says in the official Ignite! Learning webpage, "I think that COW… totally rocks"!

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? You ask: where can my school get a COW or better yet a whole herd of COWs? It’s easy! Just give Ignite! Learning’s big boss, Neil Bush a call and… Oh wait… Did I forget to mention that little fact? My oversight. The head of Ignite! Learning, the makers of The COW, is none other than Neil Bush, President George W. Bush’s little brother. Well, dang! We don’t want no one who’s gonna be better speakin’ than The Decider do we? With COW that’s one less worry we have.

And your school can get a COW by using funds from President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program! COWs only cost a piddling $3,800 each! Not only will your school be actively supporting the War on Terror by helping to brainwash the next generation (your kids and grand kids won’t have a clue why so many people hate us), but also you will be supporting the Bush Family. Just so happens that former president, George H.W. and Barbara Bush are investors. Well, like all good parents, they’re just trying to help out one of their boys. They’ve always done that. Besides, a good, solid investment helps protect The Dynasty built on selling both kinds of oil, dino and snake. I’d say that counts as "with us."

Of course, maybe I’m all wet here. Maybe real qualified, experienced teachers would do a better job than a machine. Maybe cutesy cartoons and jingles are insulting the intelligence of the next brood of obeyers… while they still have intelligence. Maybe taking kids on a field trip to see a real cow at a real dairy might be more educational. Maybe actually teaching them to read, write, do math and think for them selves is better.

What am I saying?! That’s insane! I must have Mad COW disease! Let there be a stampede of COWs across America!

Elizabeth Gyllensvard edited and contributed to this story.

Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.

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