Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson for the United States Department of Education announced new standards today for what they are calling an ‘equalization of educational opportunities initiative’ that will place new standards and practices on operations throughout the classroom. Not much unlike previous directives forbidding the use of ‘red markers’ when grading papers, some of the practices include restrictions on the colors used in classroom decorations and even strong recommendations on the choices of toys.

“We have introduced the ’round-bag-round-hole’ toy as a prime example,” said the spokesperson. “The idea is to not place such rigid restrictions on childhood development and the expression of youthful desires. When a child is faced with such finite possibilities such as with similar previous toys that used hard wooden pegs, this placed considerable limits on the imagination of the child. Furthermore, attempting to insert a peg that would not ‘fit’ in a given hole created a feeling of failure. The softer bean-bags are much easier to pass through unhindered giving the child an immediate sense of achievement.”

The new version of this popular childhood toy includes three round holes instead of the typical mixed variety and instead of an inflexible ‘peg’, it uses a pliable bean bag in it’s place. “We also did not want to enforce arbitrary mixed color selections that may have been offensive to some students,” added the representative of the UDoE, pointing out that the color schemes chosen for this version include neutral gray tones. “This leaves the child’s imagination free to assume any color they desire. We predict this will leave their minds much more open to other, less static conceptualizations in the future making educating them much less difficult for teachers.”

Previous efforts from the new progressive education secretary such as ‘lineless’ coloring books and requirements to replace all dolls with gender-neutral androgynous counterparts to the traditional male and female predecessors were initially met with protests.

“As we run into parents who actually graduated under this progressive education scheme, we find they are much less willing–and perhaps even capable–to make a sound argument no less feel inclined to do so,” said state psychology and sociology Czar, Biff Miller. “This frees up our educators to enact further progressive initiatives with much less interference. We find this very encouraging!”

Environmental groups expressed concern when their demands on the USDoE failed again to solicit an acknowledgment of their desires for ‘greener’ toys but find this a positive step in the right direction since the practice discontinues the use of the prior ‘wooden peg’ versions which a WWF spokesperson cited, “Costs us at least 130,000 beautiful old-growth pine trees every year.” However, some international human rights concerns are requesting additional information on the toys to assure they were not built by child sweatshops in third world countries.

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