School funding will be a big topic for discussion as the lawsuit against the state goes forward and during the upcoming legislative session. So when I saw this headline and accompanying story, I felt that it fit perfectly within that discussion.
Faced with ongoing budget crises, underfunded schools nationwide are increasingly left with no option but to cut the past tense—a grammatical construction traditionally used to relate all actions, and states that have transpired at an earlier point in time—from their standard English and language arts programs.
A part of American school curricula for more than 200 years, the past tense was deemed by school administrators to be too expensive to keep in primary and secondary education.
Then the response from fictional educators in The Onion story sounded just like our school administrators as they are announcing the latest funding related cut.
“This was by no means an easy decision, but teaching our students how to conjugate verbs in a way that would allow them to describe events that have already occurred is a luxury that we can no longer afford,” Phoenix-area high-school principal Sam Pennock said. “With our current budget, the past tense must unfortunately become a thing of the past.”
And yes I know it is satire but not far from the truth here in South Dakota, especially for those of us with children in rural school districts.