“1984” Meets Education System: A Satire


Erica Bourland, Assistant Editor

“Okay, students,” announced Ms. Bee. “You know the drill. Clear your desk. Sharpen your two number two pencils. And remember: NEVER leave an answer blank; ALWAYS use the “rule-out” method; bubble CLEARLY, filling in the circle COMPLETELY; go back and CHECK your work, but don’t over think it! This is just a practice test, but the real D.E.A.T.H. test decides not only whether or not you graduate, but also how many Raider Bucks you get!”

“RAIDER BUCKS!?!?” the students exclaimed in unison. “YAY!”

Ms. Bee clicked around the room, passing out the tests.

THUD, THUD, THUD, the packets landed on the desks. BANG, BANG, BANG, the shotguns sang.

Mrs. Bee smirked. “Less tests to grade,” she said with a shrug. “Okay, you have thirteen minutes to complete the test before your tenth period class. Ready….go!”

The students scribbled furiously in their test booklets. After a few minutes, a sweaty-haired boy ran to the front of the room to turn in his test.

“First!” he exclaimed.

Ms. Bee smiled. “You’re really improving, Dunlap. I believe you’ll do well on the weekly D.E.A.T.H. test this Friday.”

“Thanks. Oh, b-t-dubs, when is our next teaching day?”

She glanced down at her lesson plan and pursed her lips. She flipped a couple of pages. “Ah! Three weeks from now, right before Thanksgiving break.”

“That’s real soon,” remarked Dunlap. “I can’t believe there are 46 days this year devoted to teaching!”

“Well, when I was a kid–ah!” She broke off in a cry of pain. She brought her hand to her throat, touching the steaming shock collar.

Dunlap laughed. “Were you about to say something unorthodox, Ms. Bee?”

“Go sit down, Dunlap,” she said in a monotone voice.


Ms. Bee’s eyes widened. “No,” she murmured. “No!” Her collar shocked her once again.

Suddenly, the door burst open and two men dressed in black grabbed Ms. Bee and dragged her, kicking and screaming, out of the room.

All the students laughed at the spectacle. Dunlap told them that she had almost said something unorthodox. They made bets on what they thought her punishment would be. Little Johnny swore they’d shoot her, but Margo disagreed.

“Ah, I bet they’ll just make her work on the 11th Edition of the Newteach Dictionary during her conference period.”

The students took advantage of the fact that Ms. Bee was out of the room.

“What’d you get for number 47?” asked Little Johnny.

“C,” Dunlap answered, glancing over at his test.

“How’d you know?” he asked incredulously. “How is anyone supposed to know who the 16th president was?”

Dunlap smirked. “It’s easy peas-y, bro. You don’t actually have to KNOW the material. You just have to know the pattern.”

“The pattern? What’s that?”

“If you have to ask, you’ll never know.”

Little Johnny muttered something under his breath.

“Okay, Dunlap, Lord of The Standardized Tests,” said Margo in an admiring voice, clinging to his arm. “Please, tell us peasants how to get full credit on the essay portion!”

“Ah,” Dunlap remarked. “That’s elementary, my dear. Spell everything write and follow all the rules of grammar”.

“But don’t they care about the effectiveness or clearness of the prose?” asked Little Johnny.

“Nah,” Dunlap answered. “When’d you ever use that in real life?”


Dunlap frowned. “Nuh-uh. Really?”

“Yeah. That IS why we’re taking AP.”

The corners of Dunlap’s lips sank down to his chest. “I thought it was just for the extra grade point?”

Little Johnny rolled his eyes. “I know that’s how you see it, but some of us actually want an education.”

Everyone burst out laughing. The other children began pelting him with spitballs.

“You’ll never amount to anything!” taunted Margo. “You’ll never get commended on the D.E.A.T.H. test!”

Little Johnny burst into tears. “Why are you guys so mean to me?” he wailed.

“Because you’re stupid!” the students yelled while reloading their spitball machines.

“No, I’m not!” cried Little Johnny. “I just don’t understand the point of D.E.A.T.H. I’m an original thinker! What’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong with that?” repeated a deep, outraged voice from the front of the room. A daunting figure, eight feet tall at least, stood with arms akimbo. He wore a black trench coat and a black fedora that cast a shadow over his face. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that.”

“I only want answers,” Little Johnny said sniffily.

“Those of you with weak stomachs better leave the room. I’m going to tell you a story about the past. Many years ago, teachers were allowed to teach however they wanted. There was no government regulation. Bad teaching ran rampant. Some teachers lectured. Others made their students take notes. And–I’m not making this up–some science teachers actually made them do experiments. There was very little test prep. Because of this, the students became so stupid that many of them died.”

Dunlap coughed, “Little Johnny,” who began to cry again.

“Dunlap is right, Little Johnny. You certainly are on your way to death. You’re too stupid. You try to be independent. You try to understand things instead of just learning them. But, you know what, Little Johnny? I’ll tell you how to save yourself because I love you. The secret to defeating death is D.E.A.T.H.”

Little Johnny thought for a moment. “Wait, I think I understand…I love D.E.A.T.H.!”