I usually don’t label my news parodies as SATIRE, but it’s become painfully obvious how few people have heard of the 1975 film The Stepford Wives. So, yes, this is article is fake. The portrait was Photoshopped. The image was meant to be a reference to the cyborgs in the aforementioned film and not a comment on Betsy DeVos’s appearance. If you want to slam her policies feel free, but leave her appearance out of it. Thank you. Now please enjoy this work of short fiction.
Misappropriation of funds
Late last March, congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The CARES act included $30 billion for academic institutions sideswiped by the pandemic. $14 billion for colleges and $13.5 for elementary schools with the remainder going to a charter program spearheaded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
Ms. DeVos has set aside millions for the Stepford for School for Wayward Girls, in Stepford Connecticut. A boarding school whose credo is: The best environment for girls to reach their true potential is one that teaches time-honored roles. A credo more politicians are scrutinizing, given the school’s historic windfall.
“Stepford provides a service others refuse to,” said Dale Coba, headmaster of the school. “We take on lost causes: girls who post makeup-free selfies. Girls who quote suicidal poets. Girls who get no engagement from their male peers online. Our unique curriculum gives those girls hope.”
A review of the classes on offer show just how “unique” Stepford’s curriculum is:
History of Men’s Rights in America
Contemporary Male Interests
Sport Bar Studies
Bad Bitch Etiquette
Introduction to Elective Surgery
The Psychology of Smiling
And Housekeeping Sciences
Headmaster Coba doesn’t find it odd that the courses at an all-girl school are so male-centric. “Education shouldn’t just be about personal perfection. It should be about servicing the community.”
One Family’s Story
The Joneses agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity. They claim Stepford isn’t all it appears to be. Their daughter, Sydney, enrolled a year ago and they believe the experience has had an irreversible effect on her.
Ms. Jones said, “We just wanted Sydney to be happy, like her classmates on Instagram, doing yoga, chilling at the beach, posting motivational memes. Sydney was always blogging about how neurotypical people needed to broaden their capacity for empathy. She was always sharing videos on mood disorders, and statistics on depression.”
“It was bringing the extended family down.” Mr. Jones chimed in.
Ms. Jones nodded. “We had an intervention. We told Sydney that depression was a choice and that if she wasn’t going to choose to be happy we’d make the choice for her.”
A work colleague told Mr. Jones about the Stepford School for Wayward Girls. He said they converted his “gothic Griselda into a varsity Vicki.”
“Sydney threw a fit. She screamed, ‘Depression is not a choice. It’s a neurological condition,’ but we scooped her up and threw her in the van.’”
Stepford’s false front
Ms. Joneses recalled touring the campus and coming to terms with their decision.
“We were impressed. The headmaster used to be an engineer at Disneyworld. He had all these animatronic puppets in his office. The art teacher was so excited to meet Sydney he drew her portrait on the spot. The linguistics professor was taken by Sydney’s unique cadence. He brought us into his studio and had her record a few voice samples. I think it was the most attention Sydney’s ever gotten.
And the girls, they were all so happy and drama-free. They all had these lovely sun dresses and wide brim hats. Not a baggy hoody or a black patch in the bunch. They welcomed Sydney with open arms. She whispered that she didn’t belong and something felt wrong. I said, ‘Just try it out for a month.
Five months later, Sydney came home for Christmas and she was a whole new person, smiling and laughing, taking selfies on the lawn.
It wasn’t until we put on a movie when things took a turn. It was one of those intense dramas. Critics call them Oscar-bait. A character was weeping, coming to terms with their depression when Sydney turned off the television. Her only explanation was that there was too much negative energy in the world already.
Things got weirder once company came over. She circled the kids tables saying, ‘I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe.’ Over and over. When it came time to eat she interrupted grace saying, ‘I know I shouldn’t say this, but I just love my brownies.’ Later she interjected a monologue about the cleaning power of Easy On Spray Starch.
I’m telling you whatever they’re doing up at Stepford it’s sending these girls back broken.
Betsy DeVos Disagrees
The Education Secretary has long been an advocate for private schools, vouchers, and a program she’s dubbed: The Cybernetic Replication Initiative. She says the conversation shouldn’t be about the funds diverted to Stepford, but rather American’s freedom to choose.
DeVos addressed the issue at the Education Writers Association’s seminar earlier this month.
“I think parents should be free to choose a curriculum that reflects their values.
I think they should be free to choose a safe environment for their children, whether that’s at home or at a private facility, and I think they should be free to swap disappointing loved ones with lifelike approximations.”
When asked to elaborate on the last part of her statement DeVos, creaked her neck and gave the questioner an vacant stare. After an eternity of heavy breath, DeVos stepped off stage and wandered from conference table to conference repeating the same phrase over and over.
“I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe. I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe. I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe.”
Meet Noelle, a Hollywood transplant that’s been subsisting on instant ramen and false hope. She’s on the verge of moving back into her mother’s trailer when her agent convinces her to take a meeting at the Oralia Hotel. Enchanted by the art deco atmosphere Noelle signs a contract without reading the fine print.
Now she has one month to pen a novel sequestered in a fantasy suite where a hack writer claims he had an unholy encounter. With whom you ask? Well, he has many names: Louis Cypher, Bill Z. Bub, Kel Diablo. The Devil.
Noelle is skeptical, until she’s awoken by a shadow figure with a taste for souls.
Desperate to make it Noelle stays on, shifting the focus of her story to these encounters. Her investigations take her through the forth wall and back again until she’s blurred the line between reality and what’s written. Is there a Satanic conspiracy, is it a desperate author’s insanity, or something else entirely?