- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2001

Dan Quayle caught a lot of flack for his inability to spell "potato" correctly but that's nothing compared to the gross display of poor grammar and atrocious spelling displayed by … the D.C. public school system. The Washington Post carried the fulsome, scurvy details in its Wednesday editions; it's a tale that almost defies belief. But there you have it in foot-high, billboard-style lettering.

Seventy-five Metro buses are running their routes throughout the city emblazoned with the following mangled public service announcement: "DC Public Schools Wants You. Go To Class It a Blast!!!" Really. No kidding, either.

The ad was designed and paid for by wait for it the D.C. public schools. Metro is charging the city $41,000 for this mobile display of epic illiteracy courtesy of the very people who are supposed to be "educating" Washington's children. No one caught the error and to call this an "error" is being rather magnanimous until after the foot-high lettering had already been plastered all over almost 100 buses.

Superintendent Paul L. Vance told The Post he was "infuriated" by the "error" and found it "absolutely inexcusable." He added, "It reinforces the perception that we're less than competent." Really? Who would have thunk it?

"Oh dear, oh dear," said a chagrined D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose. "What an embarrassment," she told The Post. "The message is, unfortunately, probably going to be that someone in D.C. public schools doesn't know how to write." Or spell. Or parse basic English grammar.

What's especially ironic about this fiasco is that the ad campaign was originally intended to help combat truancy. The idea was to try and convince students who feel that school is a waste of their time that the opposite is true that one can actually learn valuable things in the classroom. Such as how to spell.


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