Keeping Score: Lucky numbers


“Roll the dice on a gamble then Ronan,” Kaja snapped back as she tossed two square cubes onto her desk.

“We only have 45 minutes to go over your lesson plan. Let’s hear it then. Since your Ivy League pedigree has assessed me as having given up on my own students let me have it. What’s your attack strategy to their failing grades, language difficulties and PTSD aside.”

Ronan knew this response was coming. Kaja’s stance had increasingly displayed her vintage stiffness when she disagreed with him. It was always such a vehement reaction the more a person differed in views from her. Life wasn’t a math equation of right and wrong being a simple calculation. Kaja still believed it was.

“Don’t patronize me. Perhaps if you took the time to hear alternative viewpoints you wouldn’t have to be dealing with me right now.”

“Just tell me what you want to do.” Her arms folded in front of her bracing for more information she didn’t like.

“The plan that the school board approved of would be in three parts. First is an overhaul of the lesson plans and classroom teaching method, second is rapid practice testing to get students used to the process, and third would be foundation rote learning such as basic multiplication and division tables, application of formulas, and training them to use scientific calculators effectively.”

“How would you roll all this out in six months so the scores satisfy everyone and you’re paid for this assignment with your hefty bonus? What is it now Ronan? A hundred dollars per head for every student who scores above the mean?”

“Obviously manpower is an issue and Morrison won’t allow me burden the high performing students with tutoring those who are struggling so I called in a favor.”

“The ROTC?”

“No. I contacted several of the private tutoring organizations in the Bay Area who conduct their own internal branded tutor certification programs. Their current candidates will receive a tuition discount in exchange for committing unpaid internship hours helping the students outside of regular classrooms.”

“So you’re bringing in outside educators who may or may not have teaching credentials in the State of California?”

“The school board approved it on the proviso that they all sign a legal agreement to not solicit or disclose that they are working for a private tutoring company. They also are not allowed to work with our students in any other capacity after the testing is complete for at least six months.”


Ronan notice that Kaja was still stiff in her posture but wasn’t sure what she was thinking.

“In 2008, the New York Times reporter Tamar Lewin wrote about National Mathematics Advisory Panel report that was presented to then Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Lewin reported that the Advisory Panel suggested that pre-kindergarten to eighth grade math curriculum shift their focus on skills to handle whole numbers, fractions, and basics of geometry and measurement. I based on my strategy on the recommendations of that report. It’s coming from a team of education professionals not some Ivory Tower of people who scored perfect 800s on their SAT Math section.”


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