Who Do You Have for Science This Year, I Have Mr. YouTube Again

Robert Papion of Lake Charles, Louisiana, works on a math problem at T.M. Landry. Papion travels 150 miles round-trip each day to attend school. (Marlisa Harding/American Press via AP)

T.M. Landry made headlines for getting so many black students into elite colleges. Now it’s making headlines again because of the fraudulent methods it employed to do that. Erica L. Green and Katie Benner have the story at the New York Times, painting a picture of a school that not only falsified application materials, but sent students out into the world completed unprepared thanks to laughably ineffective pedagogy.

The school is based loosely on a Montessori model that emphasizes mastery, so classes are optional, the Landrys said. Younger students described their education as learning from computer programs and YouTube videos. Instructors and textbooks are on hand, but the students teach one another. Math and English lessons are taught by the Landrys, who devote most of their attention to older students preparing for the ACT.

Adam Broussard, a Landry parent, noticed last fall that his 8-year-old, who had attended the school since he was 3, was writing “chicken scratch.” Mr. Broussard had been happy with the school — his older son had been admitted to Brown after two years at Landry — but he confronted Mr. Landry about his younger son’s progress. Mr. Landry responded that he did not teach sentence structure and just wanted students to love to write.

An independent assessment at Sylvan Learning Center revealed that Mr. Broussard’s younger son was performing two grade levels behind.

“I gave him my son for six years, almost every day, 12 months of the year,” Mr. Broussard said of Mr. Landry. “The longer these kids stayed there, the further behind they were.”

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