kitchen table math, the sequel: my life and welcome to it

Saturday, February 17, 2007

my life and welcome to it

It is now 10 'til 8.

It's dark out.

It's cold.

I am still wearing the same clothes I slept in.

The only thing I have to show for my day is completion of 26 of 49 lessons in Christopher's state test prep book.

So here's my question.

What would happen if you filed a Freedom of Information request for the answer key to your kid's test prep book?

Seriously.

When I was chatting up Marybeth at Triumph Learning I complained about the lack of answers IN A TEST PREP BOOK.

THIS IS A TEST PREP BOOK, I pointed out, NOT A TEST.

IT IS A BOOK TO HELP YOU PREP FOR A TEST.

SO: ANSWERS.

A TEST PREP BOOK HAS ANSWERS.

ALWAYS.

HAVING THE ANSWERS IS A CORE FEATURE OF A TEST PREP BOOK.

Marybeth said that of course that was true, and then explained that the reason their test prep books don't have answers is that "We sell to schools."

Right!

Yes!

Schools!

Schools don't want kids to have the answers!

Schools want to keep all the answers to themselves!

Because they're the schools!

$19,000 per pupil spending + highest taxes in the country = entire weekend spent working the problems in my kid's state test prep book because school won't give parents the answers.

I am so looking forward to voting against the budget this spring.

_____________

state test coming right up (2006)
throwing money at the problem
more stuff only teachers can buy
help desk 1
state test coming right up (2007)
help desk 2
my life and welcome to it
inflammatory
canadianteacher.com
progress report
despair
28 out of 30

3 comments:

SusanS said...

What would happen if you filed a Freedom of Information request for the answer key to your kid's test prep book?

Very funny. It is odd how it works, but for years I've had trouble getting ahold of answers to things like this.

My recent trouble came with Wheelock's Latin, which is a book for beginning adults. For a couple of years I had no idea how to get the answers to all of the chapter exercises until I found a little blurb in the workbook that I needed to call the publisher and ask permission.

Well, being in the Internet age, I figured they had to have a new way to do this so I hunted and finally came upon the proper website to ask permission. I had to then wait for an email giving me a username and password and only then did I finally get the answers online.

They didn't try to find out who I was or whether I was a student trying to cheat, so what was the point? I guess they figure those that go through the maze are worthy somehow.

Catherine Johnson said...

They didn't try to find out who I was or whether I was a student trying to cheat, so what was the point? I guess they figure those that go through the maze are worthy somehow.

The whole thing is ludicrous.

In the case of my school, though, it's appalling.

Dealing with the math department in particular, you feel that the goal - their goal - is to throw up as many obstacles and hurdles as possible.

At this point, it's more than a feeling.

A boy on the bus the other day was singing the praises of Ms. U, the legendary middle school math teacher & department chair.

"She was a great teacher," he said. "She flunked kids out if they couldn't do it. She got them out of the class."

He has to have heard that at home.

And of course we know that Ms. K was told, by her superiors, to "hold down the number of As." Christopher is now, like other kids in the class, being kept off the Honor roll entirely by Ms. K's class.

I'm fairly certain that one of the conscious, intended goals of the math department is to wash kids out of the accelerated track.

Actually, I'm not "fairly" certain. For me to change my view of the situation the school would have to show me internal documents, emails, and memos in which they discuss how to increase the number of students taking accelerated math to persuade me I'm wrong.

Hey!

I wonder if you can file FOI requests for math department memos??

Catherine Johnson said...

update: you can FOIL the answers and I've done it.