Everything I Learned About the American Education System, I Learned From The Simpsons–Testing and Government Funding


The link to this episode is here.

After yet another long Sunday morning at church, Homer takes the family to a local store for Sunday brunch, by eating the free samples. After being stuffed into a freezer, by Homer who wants some ice cream, Lisa comes down with a bad cold and is forced to stay home from school. In order to keep her mind off school, Marge encourages Lisa to play one of Bart’s video games. Lisa becomes addicted to playing the game “Dash Dingo”. She claims to still be sick for many more days to play video games…until Marge stops believing her.

When Lisa returns to school Miss Hoover has her take a test on The Wind in the Willows, a book she was supposed to have read while she was sick. Lisa panics and excuses herself to go get a drink. While in the hallway she runs into Bart who refers her to the boy’s restroom. There they meet Nelson who is selling test answers.


Lisa completes the tests with Nelson’s answers and gets an A+++. Later she is summoned to Skinner’s office. He tells her that her A+++ increased to the school’s GPA allowing the school to receive an assistance grant. Lisa admits to Skinner that she cheated. Both he and Chalmers agree that Lisa’s cheating should be kept quiet so that they can still get the grant money, Lisa initially refuses to hold her tongue until she is taken on a tour of the school to show how under funded and in desperate need of money the school is for even the most basic of equipment and she relents.


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(My favorite scene is here, when Ralph spells cat and say’s the line on the picture.  I also like it when he says hit to Principal Skinner and “Super Nintendo” Chalmers.)

At the ceremony, however, Lisa’s inability to hold the truth for her own guilt even at the expense of others shines through and confesses to cheating on stage. The comptroller decides to give the school the money anyway to reward Lisa’s honesty.


All the family, except for Bart, leave the auditorium. It is then revealed that the ceremony was fake, orchestrated by Principal Skinner and Chalmers who knew Lisa well enough to know what would happen and the comptroller was really Otto wearing a mask. The real ceremony takes place without Lisa’s knowledge and the real comptroller gives the school the grant money.


This episode made me think about how a lot of public schools are in disrepair and have trouble receive the monetary help that they so desperately need all because they are seen as low performing schools.  What if the reason that these schools are struggling because they don’t have the money to properly teach their students?  But of course, the mentality is that if they don’t perform well the school doesn’t receive any funding to better themselves.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Why can’t the schools receive funding from the government because they really, really need it.  If standards were also carried over to the quality of resources that are available or amenities that the school has, instead of just academic performance, then maybe some of the inner city and rural schools could compete with the rich, white suburban schools.

I feel that this might level the playing field for some schools.


About jamesthoughtsblog

I like turtles!

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