By Teachers, For Teachers
WASHINGTON (CAP) - The Obama administration yesterday unveiled a new plan to regulate the use of participial clauses in order to curb the alarming growth of dangling modifiers appearing in official U.S. policies and diplomatic relations.
The move is part of Obama's new "No Congressman Left Behind" education reform effort. "Let's face it, we live in a world where international leaders learn and use better English than the politicians who speak for our country," said University of Minnesota English professor Persey Rollins. "In fact, Condoleezza Rice's missing predicate nominative during her 2006 negotiation in Israel is the sole reason why the Mideast is still at war."
Back in 2009, it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's misuse of the words there and their that led directly to the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the President of Iran. Clinton brushed off the accusation by saying he "would of been elected anyway."
Rollins said that, while President Obama himself is a stickler for proper grammar usage, the high office has not been immune to the pitfalls of bad English. It wasn't until half-way through his second term that George W. Bush vowed to finally learn the native language of America, and Bill Clinton was known for dangling his participles more often than any president since John Kennedy.
"And it's not just the grammatical mumbo jumbo that only school teachers understand," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "We're talking spelling, capitalization, punctuation - you know, basic second grade English skills." Duncan and other federal education officials propose subjecting all politicians to a "robust regime of prudential supervision and guidance," including proper use of coordinate clauses, compound subjects and prepositional phrases. Duncan noted that a survey of 200 congressmen found that over 70 percent thought conjugating a verb was something former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) used to do via Twitter.
The House Appropriations Committee recently chartered a subcommittee for Innovative Education Technologies whose task was to provide the House Committee on Education and Labor a list of low-cost options to help representatives bone up on their grammar so as not to be "left behind." The result was a series of Lunch And Learn sessions featuring games of Mad Libs and Schoolhouse Rock videos.
"The fact is that most of us learned how to do our jobs by singing 'I'm Just A Bill' over and over," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "So it stands to reason we can employ the same techniques to at least sound like an educated bunch." Pelosi then led the House in a spirited round of 'Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here' after Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) had difficulty coming up with one for a Mad Lib about President Obama jumping stupidly into his convertible with his mangy wife.