Putting Students First (Whether They Like It Or Not)

Why won’t these Philly students let us put them first?

Putting students first is THE civil rights issue of our time. So what to do when students don’t seem to want to be put first but instead demand to remain in their union-stifled public schools and even want to continue to be taught by their union-stifled teachers? Alas, putting students first is so fiercely urgent that we can’t afford to give students the choice of whether or not they want to be put first. These quick and easy steps will put students first—whether they like it or not.

School’s Out 4Ever
The most efficient way to put students first is simply to close their existing schools, thus providing them with enhanced choice. While this logic may seem illogical at first, it will quickly become more logical as you suspend disbelief or make a *choice* between wine box varietals. (Note: this choice is currently available for adult interests only).

All aboard the adult interests bus.

Hold the Amenities
Putting students first by closing their schools can prove difficult when the students are still inside the school. For students who stubbornly cling to playing second, third, fourth or even fifth fiddle to “adult interests,” a more subtle approach known as budget cuts may be required. At this Chicago school, for example, a principal recently made a choice between providing students with non-essentials like science and Spanish or toilet paper. This teaches students an essential lesson that such choices are inevitable as long as they are not put first and their school remains open.

We’re Number One
Another way to put students first is to convert their formerly public school into a school that puts students first. For example, students at a Boston elementary school, one of the city’s largest, will be put first starting this fall thanks to a private operator which currently puts students first at this miracle charter. Among the firsts upon which these students are put: the state’s suspension rankings. UP Academy suspended a full 38% of its students last year, one of the highest suspension rates in Massachusetts.

Common Core of Choice
Thanks to the Common Core, which has nothing to do with mind control, robots or biometric brain mapping, our students will soon be put first in their age-old rivalry with such nemeses as China, Poland and a new breed of standardized test taking zombies who have been bred to excel. So may I take this opportunity to suggest that students en route to being put first enhance their reading skills by reading about other students who are already put first? The new CREDO study of charter excellence, aka an “informational text,” will introduce students who have not yet been put first to those who have, and whose reading skills are 8 days ahead of them as a result.

Cash money
Putting students first isn’t easy—or cheap. In fact, this Arizona charter school came up with a great idea of paying students $100 if they enrolled and survived a full year of being put first. Alas, not enough students accepted this great offer, delaying the school’s opening for at least a year. For you stifled public school types that’s another 12 months of not being put first.

Should students have a choice about being put first? Send comments to tips@haveyouheardblog.com.


  1. This was particularly excellent! And not the wrong kind of excellence! Thank you for the laugh..

    P.S. In Utah, 41 % of charter students being put first are actually BEHIND their union stifled schools in math. Go figure (ha!).

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