> I have made this conclusion because the book, although filled with > many annoying story problems, teaches what it is supposed to teach it > just takes a lot more brain power than it used to. The fact is, the > teacher doesn't explain any of it before she assigns it,
This doesn't bother me very much. When a student complains that his teacher didn't "explain any of it," there is room for a great deal of doubt. I wasn't there, and my idea of a good explanation might be very different from the student's idea. A relevant question here might be "Was he as prepared as he should have been?" Students who aren't where they should be might not even recognize an explanation for what it is. Another relevant question might be "Was he paying attention?"
There are lots of very good reasons for not giving much credit to a student's complaint without personally investigating what happens in that student's classroom. After all, students must do many things that they don't like or want to do, and that simple fact could very well be the basis for their complaints. And, Tom, if you follow Ralph Raimi's advice, you will have to be prepared to deal with all of those reasons.
And it's really even worse than that. There are very good reasons to believe that many students don't get explanations until they've failed to solve problems that the explanations might've been aimed at, and so are primed for the explanations. You will also have to be prepared to deal with the possibility that your teacher is someone who believes this and can make a good case that that's what's going on in her classroom.
> and doesn't > go over it after we turn it in. So we have no clue if we what we are > doing or if we are doing it right.
This, on the other hand, is inexcusable. If you can convince your principal that this is really happening, then you've got a compelling case that your teacher really isn't doing her job. But don't exaggerate. Don't say that your teacher "never" goes over your work unless it's really *never*. Don't say that your teacher "doesn't go over your work" if about one out of five assignments doesn't get returned; say "My teacher doesn't return about one-fifth of my homework." It is *extremely* important that you be accurate here, because the teacher will get the benefit of any doubt that your mis-statements may raise.
Maybe you should consider talking to a *neutral* teacher (who teaches at another school) before you talk to your principal. If you can convince that person--who will know what kinds of questions your principal will ask you--then you will be well-prepared for the real thing.