School meeting time at the paper, where Whiting is telling everyone the word on his mind is "Dickensian": "We want to depict the Dickensian lives of city children, and then show clearly and concisely where the school system has failed them." Some bearded guy makes the point that while the school system does indeed suck, "these kids are marginalized long before they step into class." Gus agrees, and says that they have to look at the bigger picture, and investigate the parenting (or lack thereof) in the city, "the drug culture, the economics of these neighborhoods." A woman chimes in that the schools are something they can address. "Sure, we can beat up on city schools," says Gus, wiping his eye. "Lord knows they deserve to be beat on every once and a while. But then, we're just as irrelevant to these kids as the schools are. It's like you're standing on the corner of a roof, and you're showing people how a couple shingles came loose, and meanwhile, a hurricane'll wreck the rest of the damn house." Whiting and Templeton share a knowing glance as Augustus finishes, and Scott says, "You don't need a lot of context to examine what goes on in one classroom." "Oh, really? I think you need a lot of context to seriously examine anything." Whiting says he thinks Scott is "on the right track. We need to limit the scope, not get bogged down in details." Oh, brother, what a douche. Augustus brings it: "To do what? Address the problem, or win a prize? I mean, what're we doin' here?" Whiting says that since his wife volunteers in a city school, he's aware of the complexity of the problems. "But, what I want to look at is the tangible, where the problem and the solution can be measured clearly." Beardy steps in again: "There's more impediments to learning than a lack of materials or a dysfunctional bureaucracy." "But who wants to read that?" submits Whiting. "What is this series about, in a sentence? What's the budget line?" "Johnny can't write, 'cause Johnny doesn't have a fuckin' pencil," says a fed up Gus. Whiting asks for a little more credit, and says that he doesn't want an "amorphous series detailing society's ills. If you leave everything in, soon you've got nothing. I think the schools are ripe for exploration, and I think Scott might the be man to lead the charge." Gus isn't thrilled, but he keeps silent.
Back with Lester in his car, where it's now nighttime. Some woman outside drags her young one into her house, threatening to "beat the black" off his ass. Lester looks on, seemingly amused. Nice parenting.