“Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, school leaders, educators and parents have the latitude and freedom to try new approaches to serve individual students. My message to them is simple: do it! Embrace the imperative to do something truly bold… to challenge the status quo… to break the mold.” — Betsy DeVos, in a January 2018 Keynote Address to the American Enterprise Institute

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You want to send your child to public school (who doesn’t — it’s free!), but you don’t want to send your child to a Good Enough public school. You want the Best public school, one that doesn’t have too many brown kids, or too many kids eating off-brand Honey Buns and frozen pints of apple juice in the halls before class. This is where charter schools come in. Through their lotteries, you can choose a bougie white school for your child just like the bougie white private school across town, except this one doesn’t cost anything. Elitism for the masses!

And since you value school choice — because all free-market principles apply to schools, where students are consumers who vote with their feet, even the ones who can’t afford to buy shoes for those feet — why don’t you consider the latest charter opening in your town? It’s not the performing arts charter or the evangelical Christian charter or the Mandarin-immersion charter or the all-boys charter or the didn’t-you-hear-one-of-them-was-run-by-Muslims? charter. No. It’s the latest in an education landscape that is growing increasingly specialized (and hey! fun fact: increasingly segregated by race and class).

You’ve heard of STEM. You’ve heard of STEAM. Now comes STEAMR — science, technology, engineering, arts, math, and raccoons. That’s right, raccoons. Studies show that jokes get 73% funnier with the mention of raccoons. As a charter school that focuses exclusively on developing raccoon humor in children, we provide a stimulating environment where students will develop the essential critical thinking skills to become top-grade consumers and mid-level marketing employees — and the ability to make others laugh about this bleak existence.

At the North Carolina Academy for Raccoon Humor, we have a playnasium full of raccoons where students will experience hands-on, kinesthetic learning (gloves will be provided). Exposure to raccoons in their natural habitats — garbage cans — allows children to make finely tuned observations about these quirky creatures. The years spent watching raccoons do funny things, like teeter on the edge of a windowsill only to fall off or squabble with another raccoon over a dish of sodden cat food, will pay countless dividends in the future. Your child will have the ability to adapt any joke or sarcastic aside to include a raccoon, a true 21st-century skill (or is it a disposition? never mind). We use a research-based, data-driven, Common Core-aligned, raccoon-friendly curriculum, driven by the essential question: What Would Raccoons Do?1

You may have a budding raccoon comedian living right under your roof. Did your two-year-old point to the hole in your jeans and ask, “Oh! A raccoon give you bite?” Did he grin slyly afterward? This child has a gift. He intuitively knows what the scientists have told us: raccoons are funny. Their big bottoms. Their tiny paws. The rings around their eyes. Their clumsy aggression. (Of course, if you are particularly bougie, your child may glimpse a raccoon in the wild and say, “Look! A ring-tailed lemur!” In that case, there is a different STEAM2 charter school for you, also run by our corporate affiliate.)

Some parents express concern about too much humor specialization. “If every joke references a raccoon,” they ask, “won’t these jokes cease to be funny?” The answer is no. Raccoons are always funny. And standardized specialization is the way of the future. Jokes, too, should be standardized. We teach our students only to tell jokes between 8-17 words long. Nothing worse than a long, rambling raccoon joke — except for a long, rambling joke that doesn’t reference raccoons.

Other parents have asked whether children can be dismissed from the Academy for behavior infractions, a common criticism lobbed at charter schools. The answer is no. We pride ourselves on a commitment to keep all children within our walls. Students with behavior issues, however, may spend extra time in the playnitentiary (where we keep the raccoons with behavior issues).

So apply today to get your child’s name entered in the lottery for the Academy of Raccoon Humor. Unless, of course, you don’t have internet access; or you can’t drive your child to and from the Academy each day, because we don’t provide transportation; or you can’t pay for your child’s lunch to be delivered from Chik-fil-A daily, because we provide neither free-and-reduced meals nor a cafeteria (also, parents, we need you to come in and sort the lunches. Thanks. And try to keep the Chik-fil-A bags away from the playnasium. And the playnitentiary.). Finally, please note that ours is a nut-free school, and absolutely all food must be dunked before it is consumed.

ARH. Nurturing the whole child — and the whole raccoon. Let’s do something truly bold, together.

(Raccoon parents: apply to enter your kit in the lottery for our internship program!)

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1 The answer is almost always “steal it” or “dunk it.”

2 STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Madagascar.