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April 10, 2013

The education blame game

Thank you for downloading the Public Education Blame Game, now available for iOS, Android and all major video-game platforms. The Blame Game will provide entertainment for decades to come! Please read the following instructions carefully.

The Object of The Blame Game is to deflect blame onto other players when public schools are underperforming. Your goal is to maintain the status quo, while attempting to keep your town from academic genocide.

When you launch the game, you and your opponents will be assigned avatars representing players in the game: Governor, Legislature, Commissioner, School Board, Superintendent, Principal, Teacher, Teacher’s Union, Parent, and Taxpayer.

At the beginning, each player is given a can that is placed on the Road to Academic Inertia, along with 20 blame shields. Your goal is to kick the can down the road, using shields to deflect blame onto your opponents. Each player has special powers:

Governor: As the state’s chief executive, the buck stops with you. All players will be gunning for you, especially Legislature and Taxpayer. But you’ve got a secret weapon: Massive Bureaucracy. Hide behind Massive Bureaucracy and use your shields to deflect blame onto your opponents. Try to unlock Massive Bureaucracy’s hidden treasures: Platitudes, Statistics, and Construction Company Campaign Donations.

Legislature: Your special power is your own Inner Turmoil. By constantly staying at your own throat and opposing any semblance of tax reform or creative education solutions, kicking the can down the road and deflecting blame should be a cinch for you. But be careful! Add too much vitriol, religion or guns to the classroom and you could be appointed to a judgeship!

Education Commissioner: You’ll start the game mired in the Governor’s Massive Bureaucracy. If you are able to kick your can out of Massive Bureaucracy, try to embrace the Holy and Sacred Test. Use your shields to protect the Test from attacks by Parent, Taxpayer and Teacher. Tip: The Test gains power each time you add a nebulous goal and an ever-postponed date for achieving it.

School Board: You are an expert can-kicker! Your biggest challenge is reminding yourself why you’re playing the game at all. Frankly, you could retire to Aruba and spend your days drinking but noooooo. And why not? Because your handicap is The Sound Of Your Own Voice.

Superintendent: You have every incentive to go for broke because you’re going to be fired after two years anyway. Your special power is The Acronym. Speak in acronyms and add 50 percent more power. Beware: You and Commissioner have a “Hello, Newman” relationship.

Principal: You begin the game in a drone hovering over the Road to Inertia. From this vantage point, you can see both the power of The Holy Test and the attention-deficit, You-Tube-addled children tormenting Teacher. You also have reports showing 40 of your students spent last night in homeless shelters and another dozen huddled in fear of Immigration Services. Take consolation in your Excellent Salary.

Teacher: Your goal is to educate all your students, even though a third of them perform four grades below grade level. Another third have learning disorders, behavioral disorders or don’t speak English. And the other players will be gunning for you. Legislature will be trying to thin your ranks and Taxpayer and Parent will be your constant nemeses. Fortunately, you have a secret alliance with Teacher’s Union.

Teacher’s Union: Your mission is to run interference for Teacher, especially from stealth attacks by Education Commissioner, School Board and Taxpayer. You and Teacher are allowed to kick each other’s cans down the road. Your secondary objective is to protect your own existence. Tip: If your own death appears imminent, throw Teacher under the bus.

Parent: Your primary job is to ignore everything and hope it all goes away. If you are working two jobs and still not making ends meet, pick up 20 extra blame shields.

Taxpayer: Your goal is to keep opponents from unlocking hidden weapons that threaten Inertia, such as Year-Round School, Extra Teachers and Small Class Sizes. Special powers are Righteous Indignation and Double Standards. You also have access to a special gun you can use to shoot yourself in the foot. Try to unlock blinders you can use to look the other way when Legislature builds basketball arenas while cutting education funding.

To determine the winner: There are no winners. The game is also available in Climate Change and Health Care editions!