The Times-Picayune starts out doing what it does best in this Cindy Chang story - bashing New Orleans schools, praising the state-seized Recovery School District and going on about how much better off people are in Houston.
But then things get hazy.
Could be they're not better off in Houston: “Meanwhile," Chang writes, "New Orleans public school students have also made academic progress, though the results in each location involve different exams and cannot be directly compared."
So there has been improvement among New Orleans students. According to the Picayune's mythology, that must be because of the RSD, "which took over most of the city's schools after Katrina, (and) a combination of factors, including the post-storm prevalence of charter schools."
The article fawns over RSD chief Paul Vallas, and quotes him as saying, "Clearly, the kids we have in this district now are doing far better than they did prior to Katrina."
Then, in a true feat of journalistic dissonance, comes the very next sentence in the story. Read it slowly, and savor the contradiction: "According to Tulane's Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, which consolidated data from the Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board, the city logged a 10-point improvement in district performance scores from 2005 to 2008 -- a gain roughly equal to that posted during the years prior to the storm."
The Picayune continues in that vein in the editorial of the day: "The progress shown here and in Texas involves different tests and cannot be directly compared. But clearly New Orleans children are doing much better now than they were before the storm."
As our favorite barrister explains it, "So, the kids are doing far better in Houston than in New Orleans, except they aren’t. And the kids are doing far better now because of charter schools, except they’re doing the same."