Multiple Indicia of a Niche to Fill

Young people who might benefit from SAT help?

Since relocating to the hills, every day has brought confirmation that a dandy-fine idea indeed would be a ‘mountain Hagwan,’ the spindoctor equivalent of the Korean enrichment academies that have made Korean students among the top performers at the task of gaining entry to top U.S. universities. Today’s note very briefly sketches a trio of these recent indicators that a need exists for what the Spindoctor Mountain School is proposing to proffer.

On one of our recent jaunts that make living near the waters of life so enchanting, Alicia and I discovered the marvels of Little Pine Creek, which tumbles a mere ten twisty-road minutes from our house toward the nearby French Broad. There, a pair of local youth, one a disc-jockey at his uncle’s radio station, the other a stout lad who hangs from a harness in the forest canopy so as to make telephone and electrical wires safe from arboreal incursions, laughed that “we didn’t ever do so good on them SAT tests.”

Yet they were both highly intelligent: the DJ noted immediately that my own journalism background might not fit into the “solid Christian format” at his uncle’s A.M. outlet; the other described in careful, accurate terms the physics of falls from “seventy, eighty feet up,” where the issue “isn’t the falling but the stopping at the bottom.” Both were articulate and full of callow wit; both would have had an option of college had they worked with me.

Earlier this week, in response to one of the flyers that we have been posting, a fascinating Florida transplant, with an organic farm sixty miles away, called to testify that she had searched “high and low, all over Western North Carolina,” to find someone who could help her grandson to raise his GRE reading and writing scores so as to garner a Ph. D. tuition waver and fellowship that his academic performance otherwise indicate that he richly deserves. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be assisting this capable young fellow in aligning his scores with his demonstrated ability.

Just today, I plunked down a local newspaper to purchase along with my coffee and my New York Times. The clerk, fresh out of high school and attending a local community college, raised her eyebrows at the Confederate symbols on the small-town daily. “You’re getting’ that, uh? I’ve never read it.”

I laughed and said in response, “Yes. Frederick Douglass below the fold convinced me that I had to take a look.”

She nodded, and I continued, “After all, he was the single most important actor in American history.”

Again, she looked askance. “That’s a bold statement.”

I bantered back, “Bold, but I can back it up.”

She laughed and said that she would like to be there when I did.

College entrance support to give intelligent young people more options; GRE assistance to optimize graduate school opportunities; a general capacity to provide the sort of tutelage that permits a critical and engaged consciousness about American history and society: these are just three of the copious rationale for Spindoctor’s Mountain School. Folks ought to get in touch and check it out.


A Challenge to Parents With Money to Spend

A New York City SAT specialist has hit the road and is coming to Asheville.  For a portion of the month of June, he will, in consideration of $150/hour fee, proffer his services to local pupils.


I’d like to challenge moms and dads who are considering participation in this program.  All that such parents need do is a two-step experiment.  First, match their youngster with another child who has approximately the same PSAT, ACT, or SAT results thus far.  And second, let one of the kiddos work with spindoctor for one third of the Big-Apple rate.


If I don’t get better, or at least roughly equivalent, results, then I’ll work for free.  The only caveat is that the prospective college applicant has to try to learn the program that I teach.  They add up to a “precise results engine,” an “accurate results machine.”


Getting a write-up in Newsweek is all well and good.  After all, I’ve only received the kudos of the Korean and Chinese presses in Metropolitan Atlanta.  But public relations is not the same thing as reliable data.  I encourage the guardians of Appalachian youth to try a more empirical approach, one that, at the least, rates to save a substantial little pile of ‘Ben Franklins,’ and that, more optimistically, may yield equal or better outcomes.

A Spindoctor Mountain School Precis

Yesterday, I encountered a teacher from Tennessee.  She complained vociferously about the test-taking travails of her high school students; she also decried the lack of strategic thinking on the part of administrators and school systems about these ACT/SAT/EOCT/GED/…problems.

Spindoctorjimbo has developed a winning strategy that always works, if an average student wants to attain massive improvements, and often works, if an excellent student wants to achieve perfection.  The core of the program is a pair of courses, “A Course in How to Think,” that analyzes and presents the practices, principles, and skills necessary to accomplish outstanding critical reading, and “A Course in How to Create,” which proffers the same underpinnings of English usage and composition.  While I help young people with quantitative reasoning and math–through Algebra II only–my focus has always been on the first two of the “Three R’s.”

Test preparation–for SSAT, ACT, SAT, GRE, LSAT, and Advanced Placement courses–is the primary reason that parents and pupils work with me.  However, i also am available as a general tutor, or coach, for any number of academic or other school-related issues, such as college essay editing and advice.  I welcome inquiries of all sorts, calls, or communication of any sort about how young folks can become more effective in the intellectual realm.