Much ado has been made about the decline of math and science test scores in US schools. The root problem? It’s not teachers or school boards. The true saboteurs of our educational systems: Mothers — and their motivation will shock you to your Christmas core.
Moms have an almost desperate need to deliver a wonderful holiday season, full of wonderment and good cheer. The compulsion to make Christmas perfect leads to extreme measures, particularly when it comes to preserving the legend of Santa.
Take our household. When our kids were little, Christmas was a clandestine operation. We communicated gift list ideas through Morse code; used different wrapping paper from “Santa” so as to not arouse suspicion; and placed presents under the tree in the dark, wearing night glasses as we tiptoed through the house.
All these precautions, despite the fact the kids were infants and hadn’t yet developed the ability to speak.
But the worst was yet to come.
When my son hit sixth grade, he began to question the mathematical possibility of Santa delivering presents to so many boys and girls. One day, he took a calculator in hand and said, “If there are 1.9 billion children in the world, and Santa had to deliver each one a present…”
“What are they filling your head with at that school?” my wife screamed. She ripped the calculator out of his hands and threw it into the fire. She then tossed his math book in too.
My son shrugged, and turned to his science book. “Ok, well I also don’t see how any physical properties in reindeer that allow them to fly—“
Into the fire went the science book. My wife clasped him by the shoulders. Her eyes wide, she was panting as she said, “Santa has magical reindeer, and he uses them to deliver presents to all the little boys and girls in the world. Now you just sit down and write out your Christmas wish list.”
“But mom –“
“WRITE!” she screamed, plunging a pencil into the back of my hand for emphasis.
“Listen to your mom,“ I gulped. “Please.”
‘Tis the Season to Re-write Curriculum
Later, as I tended to the wound, I overheard my wife on the phone. From what I could gather, she’d initiated a conference call with every mom in town. “All this math and science is putting ideas in their heads,” she hissed. “He doesn’t believe anymore. They’re ruined his childhood!”
My wife stole out into the night, as I was left home with the children. Reports cannot be confirmed, but I believe she led a contingency of pitchfork-bearing women to the home of the school principal, and a serious snip-snipping of the math and the science curriculum occurred.
Since that fateful night, I believe similar revisions have taken place across America, and that it’s why most people aren’t taught long division until they’re forty-two. By that point, our brains are incapable of doing any sort of complex math, which is also why we max out credit cards at Christmas.
It’s up to you, America. We can keep getting our butts kicked by the Chinese and Indian kids on standardized math and science tests, or we can come clean about the man in red.
Just one request: If you decide to move forward on this, don’t tell my wife I was the one who put you up to it. Okay? Please?
photo by xenia