WASHINGTON, DC—Calling current levels of funding "unconscionably excessive," thousands of schoolchildren descended on the nation's capital Monday to demand drastic cuts in math and science funding for public schools.
"Something must be done about America's bloated education budget," said Douglas Witherspoon, 11, director of the Committee To Cut Math & Science. "Each year, math- and science-education funding sucks an estimated $40 million out of taxpayer wallets. How much longer will we as a nation continue to prioritize the teaching of things like algebra and biology?"
"Besides," Witherspoon added, "you can just use a calculator anyway, so why learn all that math?"
"The U.S. has the most advanced space program in the world," Witherspoon continued. "We invented, among other things, the microchip, the PC and the Internet. We cured polio. Are these the accomplishments of a nation that lags in math and science education? Clearly not. But like a bloodthirsty leech, federal expenditures on laboratory equipment, textbooks and flash cards continue to go up and up each year."
Pointing to a chart of world standings in various educational subjects, Witherspoon noted: "The U.S. has consistently ranked in the top 20th percentile among industrialized nations in the test scores of third- through eighth-graders in both math and science. The sensible path for Congress to take is clear: Slash the budget."
Continued Witherspoon: "We'll never actually use any of that stuff in the real world anyway."
When asked where funds currently going toward math and science education might be better spent, CCMS associate director Kimberly Neesin, 10, suggested field trips.
"Shocking as it may be, our nation's students barely get to go on two field trips a year," Neesin said. "This leaves them woefully ill-prepared to enter a world in which they will frequently find themselves taking trips. Adults don't sit behind desks all day listening to boring teachers—they get in vehicles and go places. How else will kids learn how to do this than by taking field trips?"
Neesin also recommended an increase in gym-class funding.
"While we are wasting our precious time memorizing multiplication tables and learning the parts of a flower," Neesin said, "a Norwegian child is gaining vital physical-education skills that will prepare him for a productive career in dodgeball the day he leaves high school."
Reaction to the CCMS agenda has been mixed. While the group has been praised by Burger King Kids' Club officials, many education leaders are dismayed by its call for math and science cuts.
"Math and science are essential subjects, crucial to children's understanding of the world and their place within it," said Dr. Wilson Hanratty of the National Science Foundation. "The government would reduce funding for these crucial subjects at its own peril—and that of the nation."
Responding to Hanratty's remarks, Neesin said: "Nuh-uhhhhh!"