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how to give a parent a heart attack

Natalie came home from school yesterday with a "very important notice" that I was going to be "very angry" about. Great. What now?

I take a look at the note.

Dear Parents,

Because the state is not giving us enough aid and because the budget was smaller than usual this year, we have to make some changes in order make do with what we have.

It then listed the changes - which were not proposed changes, but changes already put in place, the notice said.

-After school extra help would no longer be free. It would cost $22.50 per hour, even if the instructor was your own teacher

-The price of school lunches would rise by 25% beginning in January

-Each student would have to pay a $250 budget fee prior to each school year to make up for lack of supplies

-Computer time in the library would now cost $20 an hour to make up for technology costs that the state isn't paying.

I nearly had a heart attack. I was all set to run for the phone, outraged, when I looked at the signature.

Richard M. Nixon
Director of School Propaganda

The lesson in history class this week is about propaganda and how people react to it.

I told Natalie to tell her teacher I'm suing him for distress.


I believe you child has ample proof now of what propaganda can do to people! :-) Thanks for sharing!


wait till she brings home the note that the ocuntry will be governed for 8 years by a geriatric movie star.

In California, there are some very really cuts being made in school budgets, due to a state budget shortfall of over $30 billion. Education is the single biggest expenditure for the state, so the cuts will be very painful.

I'm glad that yours was just a school project, and not real.


I'll take 8 years with a geriatric movie star with Alztheimers over 8 years by a sax player wannabe from Arkansas anytime...

Sounds like an effective lesson, but it also sounds like Natalie knows you pretty damn well. ;)

oh my god. did anyone have a heart attack? couldn't they have waited for april fools?

Funny, after all the threats coming from the Minnesota public school systems, that letter didn't seem too far out of whack to me.

MN is in about the same boat as CA, when you consider the population differences. We both have about a $1k estimated budget deficit per resident, and education is 40% of the budget. Makes me glad I don't have kids yet.

what is with all the budget shortfalls? Oklahoma is in the same boat. In a school system with roughly 1300 students, we are facing a 400k cut this year and a 600k cut next. 20 teachers to be gone. Elementary art and music programs expected to be cut.

Then again maybe a school district this size could have done without an assistant athletic director, a transportation dr, and 10 football coaches. Hiring people based on the "he's a good ol' boy" syndrome has its repercussions.

I don't know why, but knowing other states are suffering too makes me feel better.

Why'd they choose Nixon as the name? (No clue why that's sticking out to me.) Wonder if there were any parents whose children had to explain to them what propaganda meant. (Envisioning my parents sooo not getting it if I had brought that home.)

I have to wonder if this was a project designed to scare the hell out of the parents, teach a lesson to the children, or gauge the parents' reaction (were the kids supposed to tell their parents it was a joke beforehand?). Regardless, it's an effective tactic.

You know, if that had been signed by G. Pataki, I'd have believed it in a (New York) minute.

Signed by Nixon? Looks like this "letter" is using a bit of propaganda itself.

How can someone believe even the two first lines ? Sums don't even make sense.

Hell, this prooves once again that for propaganda to be effective you have to be a valid receptor for bullshit and you apparently are a good one...and that was reported back to the teacher...

Anonymous poster: Obviously you don't have kids in public school or you would realize that what the "letter" stated was not outside the realm of possibility.

I somehow doubt they'd take that extreme. In my home state of Louisiana, public schools are attrocious. If the public schools ever tried that extreme, Catholic school enrollement would go through the roof, as thsoe expenses strike me as more than the 2-4K tuition charged by a Catholic school.

My other ownder is how we have these Education budget crises when we pay more money per kid than Japan for education and the results are abyssmal.

Note to fellow (childless) Minnesotan Steve:

It doesn't matter that we don't have kids; the education leeches will make us pay through county property taxes.