Pittsburgh students are the best in the nation — and the world — in ability to spell “‘Roethlisberger,” reports The Onion. During the Steeler quarterback’s rookie season in 2004, only 43 percent of students could spell Roethlisberger, said Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
“In just five years, we have increased that number to 92 percent. That’s 54 percent better than students in California, 35 percent better than those in Oklahoma, and 96 percent better than those in the Cleveland area, who tend to spell Roethlisberger by adding the letters ‘u,’ ‘c,’ and ‘k’ after the letter ‘s.'”
In 2005, the Pittsburgh school board eliminated art, American history and Advanced Placement calculus to implement a rigorous Roethlisberger curriculum.
Instead of taking world history, seventh-graders were enrolled in Spelling Roethlisberger I. Geometry and trigonometry were replaced by Advanced Roethlisberger-Memorizing. And rather than “waste time,” as Ravenstahl said, in AP chemistry and English, juniors and seniors were required to take an intensive Roethlisberger colloquia, in which they would spend a three-hour class period not only discussing the spelling of Roethlisberger, but the spelling of the names of other Steelers players, such as strong safety Troy Polamalu and left guard Chris Kemoeatu.
That prepares students for the final, a 17-question exam.
“The first three questions are pretty easy,” said high school senior Brent Gerson, referring to the portion of the test in which students are asked to give the first letter of the quarterback’s first name, then the second, the third, and so on. “The last 14 questions about the last name are pretty hard. There is no letter bank or anything, and it’s graded on full completion. But if you remember what you worked on for the last six years, and the student sitting in front of you remembers to wear his Roethlisberger jersey, you should be fine.”
Educators say the lessons will prepare graduates for success in the Pittsburgh job market.