Peggy blames Bobby's "F" in English on her rivalry with his substitute teacher--until Bobby's caught plagiarizing Peggy's "musings."
When Bobby's new substitute teacher, Ms. Donovan, gives him an "F" on his English paper, Peggy takes it as a personal attack from her old rival. She decides to help Bobby rewrite the essay, entitled "Why Bobby Hill Loves America." Inspired by the massive American flag hanging high above Bill's lawn, Peggy writes an "A" paper.
Now that he's a model student, other students try to get Bobby to write their essays. The principal has even asked Bobby to read the patriotic paper to the entire school at an upcoming assembly. In a panic, Bobby turns to his mother for help. She resents the fact that Bobby got all the credit for her paper. In addition, she's a bit edgy because the newspaper has stopped printing her "musings." She tells Bobby he's on his own.
Later that night, Bobby sneaks in to Peggy's computer room and pilfers some of her columns to give to his classmates. Meanwhile, Peggy has taken out a newspaper ad in order to continue printing her work. As fate would have it, Peggy's first printed column, "If You Enjoy Knitting, Then You'll Love This Yarn," is exactly the same as one of the seventh graders' essays. Ms. Donovan figures out the truth and Bobby confesses that he didn't write his winning essay. As punishment, Ms. Donovan wants both Bobby and Peggy to publicly apologize at the assembly, but Peggy has another idea.
Peggy's plan is to steal Bill's huge flag and sneak it into the assembly room for an awe-inspiring, all-American presentation. The plan goes up in smoke, however, when her "special effects" (road flares) almost destroy the school and the flag. She and Bobby dump the battered and torn Old Glory on Bill's lawn and watch in horror when Bill discovers it. After Bobby witnesses Bill's grief, he realizes the true meaning of patriotism. His heartfelt confession at the packed assembly wins over the crowd--and leaves Ms. Donovan speechless.