Handout D: Incorporation – Unintended Consequences Script
Directions: Those performing the script below: Before performing, read the script silently and create a personality for your assigned role by using facial expressions, intonation, and appropriate gestures. Those who will be in the audience: before the performance, read the script silently. In the margins, note the places where you see direct parallels to the concept of incorporation. All students: Be prepared, after the presentation, to discuss the questions that follow.
- Mr. Smith (English teacher)
- Ms. Jones (Government teacher)
- Principal Hart
- Superintendent Sole
- Random student
Student: Both my government teacher and my English teacher have said that I will have two hours of homework each night. This is so unfair. I’m going to speak with them.
(Turning to English teacher) Mr. Smith, will you please reconsider?
Mr. Smith: On second thought, that does seem to be too much homework. I’ll plan to assign thirty minutes about twice a week—that should do it.
(Turning to government teacher) Ms. Jones, how about you?
Ms. Jones: There is just so much to cover in this course, and I can’t do it all in class. You will just have to budget your time so you can spend two hours each night on government homework.
Student: This is just ridiculous. I’m going to speak to the principal.
(Turning to the principal) Principal Hart, what do you think about two hours of homework each night?
Principal Hart: I agree that the policy is unfair. It only applies to government class. Students in all classes will now be given two hours of homework each night.
Student: That’s not what I was expecting. Now the entire school is affected by that stupid homework requirement. I’m going to speak with the superintendent.
(Turning to the superintendent) Superintendent Sole, my principal is violating the rights of students in our school by requiring every course to have two hours of homework each night. This isn’t fair.
Superintendent Sole: I agree that the policy isn’t fair. Students in your school have too much homework and students in some schools have too little. In order to be fair to everyone, I am going to incorporate my decision so that it applies not only to your school but to every school. From now on, every class in every high school in the district will have no more than 30 minutes of homework once a week.
Student: Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! But some of my friends in other high schools where they didn’t have very much homework might not be too happy. (Long pause.)
Random Student: (Walks across front of class/”stage” carrying sign saying, “Six months later…”)
Student: Can you believe this e-mail the superintendent sent out to all schools?
Superintendent Sole: Students and teachers, I have reconsidered my homework policy and realize that I have given you too much free time. Therefore, I am changing the policy. From now on, all students in all classes in all schools will have at least 30 minutes of homework every night.
Student: That is so unfair. I’m going to ask my teachers to change things. And if they say no, I’ll talk to the principal. And if they say no, I’ll go back to the superintendent.
Mr. Smith and Ms. Jones (together): Sorry, it’s a district policy. We can’t change it.
Principal Hart: Sorry, it’s a district policy. I can’t change it.
Superintendent Sole: Sorry, you asked me to make decisions about homework policy, and I’ve made them for the district. I’m not going to change.
Comprehension and Critical Thinking Questions
- Who was affected by the teachers’ decisions?
- Who was affected by the principal’s decision?
- Who was affected by the superintendent’s decision?
- Why did the superintendent incorporate her decision? Who would have liked or disliked her first decision? Her second decision?
- In the real world of schools, at which level (class, school, or district) is it easiest to get changes made? Hardest to get changes made?
- What are the advantages or disadvantages of incorporation?
- Some say that incorporation has resulted in an expansion of our liberties. Others say that incorporation has resulted in an expansion of the federal government. With which assertion do you agree? Or, could both be correct? Explain you answer.