A trio of proctors visit Springfield Elementary School, telling them that they must pass an upcoming standardised test or the school will shut down for having low scores. All of the students except Bart, who spent all day playing with a beetle, takes the exam, and eventually fails, which causes the school to be shut down and the children to be sent to different schools. However, when Lisa learns that Bart did not take the exam, she urges him to take it, but he does not care. The following night, however, he changes his mind when he has a nightmare in which Springfield becomes the stupidest town in the country. Bart's test day arrives, but he is still not ready. As a result, he answers the first few questions with the same answer and does not fill in the last answer. However, the lead proctor mistakes the same beetle from earlier, who landed on one of the answer bubbles, for one of Bart's answers; she announces that he passed the test and the school reopens, despite a wrecking ball knocking into Skinner's office since Superintendent Chalmers assumed Bart would fail.
Meanwhile, Mr. Burns raises the price of electricity. As a result, Homer throws his domestic appliances in the dump, where he finds a parking meter that still functions. He decides to set it up at parking spaces around Springfield, moving to another as soon as someone pays. The scheme goes off without a hitch, until he finds out that Chief Wiggum is onto him. When Wiggum confronts him, he manages to escape in his car, but he accidentally crashes it and the parking meter flies out of the car and lands hard on the street, expiring soon after. When Marge discovers that he still has the money, she has Homer return the money to the community by throwing it down a wishing well.