Tilghman. Prez is sitting next to Mrs. Sampson in a lecture Donnelly is giving about the MSAs, the state exams we keep hearing about. The first thing we learn is that, the previous year, Tilghman had results in the 22nd percentile. Yeesh. Those are not results you really want to advertise on a bumper sticker. Donnelly says that North Avenue is expecting a ten-point increase from all the middle schools in the area, which gets the predictable rumble of disbelief from the teachers. A male teacher in the front row says that the tests are still six weeks away, and asks whether they really have to start teaching the test now. Withers says that the euphemism this year is "Curriculum Alignment." The teachers chuckle bitterly. Donnelly spins that there's nothing wrong with emphasizing the skills the students will need to master in order to perform well on the test. Another teacher in the front row says that teaching skill sets is one thing, but that the handout they're all looking at has them "teaching test questions directly." "Test questions that involve skills!" Donnelly shoots back. "I don't see your point!" "You don't want to see the point," says the male teacher under his breath. Prez says he doesn't see a section on Math; the booklet's full of Language Arts questions. Donnelly explains that Language Arts was where Tilghman students performed worst the previous year, so as a consequence, all teachers will have to incorporate Language Arts sample questions into their lessons. Rumble, rumble. Donnelly goes on, but Prez turns to Mrs. Sampson to ask if he's taking crazy pills: "If we're teaching the kids the test questions, what is it assessing in them?" Mrs. Sampson explains that the test doesn't evaluate the students; it evaluates the teachers: "If the test scores go up, they can say the schools are improving. The scores stay down, they can't." "Juking the stats," sighs Prez. Mrs. Sampson isn't familiar with the phrase, so Prez says it's like when a police district turns a robbery into a larceny, or makes rapes "disappear." The result is that "majors become colonels." Sadly, he tells Mrs. Sampson, "I've been here before." "Wherever you go, there you are," says Mrs. Sampson resignedly. God, does anyone like his job in Baltimore? ...Oh, right. Omar.
Corner. Namond's leaning up against a building reading a magazine while drugs are slung and kids play football in the street. Around the corner, Carver and Colicchio are waiting in a car, Carver telling Colicchio that they'll go in when the ball is in the air. They roll slowly around the corner and then squeal up faster so that the kids don't notice them until too late. And then it's chaos as the kids run off in all directions. Kenard takes about four tiny steps until a uniformed cop easily scoops him up. Colicchio tells Carver they could probably find Namond's crew in the alleys, but Carver says they don't have to go after them, since he knows them all. The uni brings over Kenard -- holding him by his seat and coat collar, hee -- asks what he should do with him, but Carver chuckles that he "isn't even bait," so he should toss Kenard back unless they want to spend the shift in Baby Booking. Carver also locates the bag of product and starts stepping on capsules, saying he doesn't want to spend his shift in Evidence Control. Colicchio doesn't understand what they're even doing, then, and Carver explains that he wants to talk to them: "I like to think that until the handcuffs actually fit, there's still talking to be done." Colicchio obviously thinks talking is for pussies.
Date night in a touristy-looking neighbourhood. Bunny parks his car as we hear Billie Holliday on his car stereo. Namond doesn't recognize her but says she sounds good -- "real sad." Bunny smiles, and Namond crows that Bunny thinks he's all ghetto and then he flips it and blows his mind. Bunny decides now isn't the time to tell Namond that, at this point, Bunny's mind is unblowable. As they get out, Zenobia asks Bunny if they can do this on a weekend next time, because she only had three hours after school to get ready. Bunny tells her she looks fine, and she flirts that she could look better. Darnell says that he's going to order the biggest quarter pounder they have (...um, I think it's just a quarter pounder, unless he means one on an absolutely gigantic bun), but Namond shames him by saying they're not going to McDonald's, and tells him he'll have to get a steak. This kicks off an argument over what rare or medium rare means in terms of steak doneness, and when they appeal to Bunny to break the stalemate, he kindly tells them they can just ask the waiter. Even Namond is stunned to learn that they're going to a restaurant with waiters. Whose mind's blown now, bitch?