Look, I’m not a fan of racism, ableism, or classism but it’s not like I invented them. What I did invent is this app for applying to our learning pod!

Hello school community!

I hope this email finds you well (lol)! As summer turns to fall and fall turns into the darkest winter in modern history, we’re excited to extend an invitation to your precious child(ren) to join our learning pod! A learning pod is like a tiny little exclusive private school or a miniature country club where your children can spend lots of time with children just like themselves but for righteous and theoretically community health-based reasons. It’s perfect preparation for American life whether that’s the America of the past, present, or future.

If you’ve been looking for a way to give your child a leg up in life that is completely unnecessary given you’re actually someone who can even consider joining and paying for a learning pod in the first place, you’d be hard pressed to find a more outrageous option. Look, there’s nothing more American than creating a marketplace then inflating that marketplace and as a bonus completely undermining support for public education while you’re at it.

If you’d like to do some further reading on learning pods, I invite you to do a Google search using the terms “education” + “pod” + “parent and caregiver heads exploding” and honestly you will need to form your own pod and hire your own young, energetic, and overly qualified teacher just to get through all the articles! That reminds me, we are fully prepared to be the highest bidder for the right teacher, no matter who she (it will be a she) may be. And sure, with her qualifications she could probably secure a job at the UN but we fully expect she will just snap up our offer to come teach anywhere from 3–5 entitled little miracles in an outdoor tent while wearing a face shield and surgical gloves.

Anyway, learning pods are all the rage, emphasis on the rage. Some have called it educational segregation 2.0 or reverse affirmative action but I think we can all feel comforted knowing that it’s just good ol’ fashioned American selfishness! Some people don’t want to wear masks and others want to widen the inequality gap with a Wile E. Coyote amount of dynamite. Po-tay-to po-tah-to really.

Of course it makes me sad that all parents aren’t able to do this for their children but not sad enough that I’m not going to do it for mine. It has been said that the arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice but I would like to add that it also bends toward those who pulled themselves up by their boot straps that were attached to two white collar jobs and a touch of generational wealth.

While we know that some unfortunate children won’t be able to access their remote learning due to technological or device hurdles at home or because of language barriers, parents who are essential workers or pulling night shifts, or you know, what have you. But let me ask you, how does depriving my child of practicing yoga, going on (socially distanced!) field trips, learning a second language, and forest bathing change any of that?

Look, I’m not a fan of racism, ableism, or classism but it’s not like I invented them. What I did invent is this app for applying to our learning pod! All you have to do is download the app, fill out the application, and provide your most recent tax returns (two years if you are self-employed), and just a small deposit of four thousand dollars.

We’re super excited to have the teacher-to-student ratio we’ve actually always wanted and we hope you are too. Here’s to a great school year filled with even greater advantages!

Kimberly Harrington is the author of AMATEUR HOUR and the forthcoming essay and humor collection, BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY (Harper Perennial). She’s a regular contributor and columnist for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Cut. You can follow her on Twitter right here.

AMATEUR HOUR (2018) and BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY (2021) | The New York Times, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Cut | kimberlyharrington.me

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