kitchen table math, the sequel: stages

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I was just writing an answer to Paula V about how long it takes for a parent to decide political action is necessary.

This sequence is pretty close to what I've gone through:

1. "I can help my child learn math (spelling, writing, Earth Science, etc.)"

2. "Why is it up to me to teach math (spelling, writing, etc.) to my child?"

3. "The school needs to justify its educational practices to parents and the wider community."

4. "The school has abused its authority. The district needs an academic oversight committee composed of parents and disciplinary specialists."

I think it took me 2 years to go through this sequence.

My sense is that the administration does not, quite, grasp the fact that it has now lost nearly all legitimacy in the eyes of a large segment of parents.

At this point it appears that our new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Technology is going to refuse to send answers home with students on grounds that to do so would be "unusual" and that, furthermore, the district "can't purchase teacher's editions for parents."

Once again, a decision is handed down from on high with no educational rationale given, no hint of interest in whether children are or are not learning math on display.

This is SOP.

It is deeply corrosive.

all the answers are belong to us
email to the math chair
second request
teacher's manual
it would be unusual
more stuff only teachers can buy
2 weeks off
the return of Ms. K


Independent George said...

1. Denial - I'm just not up to date on the latest education research. They're professionals - they must know what they're doing.
2. Anger - My kid just finished sixth grade and can't add without using his fingers - WTF?!!!
3. Bargaining - Please, I'll stop bugging you if you would just teach my kid some arithmetic.
4. Depression - He's already four years behind. He'll never catch up.
5. Acceptance - Honey, I think we can safely empty out that college fund. Let's go to Hawaii.

PaulaV said...

I'm definitely at #2 on the list. If I am spending my money on Kumon and educational workbooks and programs, why am I sending my children to public school?

I don't think I have the willpower to wait for two years to change my school. For instance, last night my third grader was reviewing for the science section of the SOL. We are going over some questions and he stopped and looked at me and asked, "What does it mean to ask an inappropriate question?"

He went on to tell me that at the beginning of the year his class was having a science discussion and the topic was life cycles. He asked his teacher a question about an egg. What was the white part of an egg? Where did the egg come from? She told him it was an inappropriate question and to go home and ask his parents. He said he was so embarrassed because all the kids stared at him.

He also mentioned that once the topic was electricity and Ben Franklin. His question was why did a kite conduct electricity and not a balloon? Again, inappropriate question.

I told him perhaps it was his timing and honestly perhaps she really just didn't know the answers to his questions.

He said she doesn't call on him anymore in class. He figures it is because he asks the wrong questions.

He said the teacher's aide told him it wasn't nice to trick the teacher.

Now, this is a kid who scored in the 95th percentile in science on the ITBS.

He is told his questions are inappropriate and he shouldn't trick the teacher.

If this continues for the next two years, what will be the outcome? My nine year old has become cynical about school.

He asked, "These people went to college?"

Catherine Johnson said...

update: assistant super has been good

still don't have Algebra 1 answer key, however