Q&A #3025

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Core Plus Math Program

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From: dianne macKay

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006081603:28:06
Subject: Re: Core-Plus works for All students including college bound

hello i am a disillussioned,frustrated parent surfing the net hoping to find help somewhere. I feel the educational system is failing my son. I am saddened to learn stats on high school drop outs and stats on how many kids are really ready for university on graduation from high school.These stats are shocking and make me wonder why I pay increasing taxes for a failing system. I want to find out why it seems at times the schools are jumping up ladders rather than taking one rung at a time when teaching math. I am trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I really do not care about the studies by enlightened expert educators ,who believe they are doing a good job. There are too many studies indicating our educational system is going downhill. I am basically concerned about the effects on my son which I am witnessing first hand. Since surfing educational sites, I have learned "rote memorization" does not work according to the experts. So whay does? My son did not memorize his math facts by this method, in fact he did not memorize them by any method to my knowledge. What method was there? He b/c quite slow in math as he moved from elementary to middle schools. He had no difficulty in understanding the concepts, but i came to learn he had not memorized his math facts and was not learning mutiplication and division. Many times the math questions he would bring home,I believed were too complex for his grade.I was informed he was not expected to really solve these complex questions-but that he would be exposed to them and grasp them later. This is what I call- learning by osmosis. The experts must believe that the brain will soak up a question and when it passes throught the brain barrier an answer will result. And I really have to thank the educators b/c alphametrics, for example, really does exercise the brain and takes up time so that a parent can not go back and teach those math facts by rote memorizion while the osmotic learning is in progress. Spending an hour ,trying to figure one problem out, to teach your kid is an effective use of study time These techniques ,learning by osmosis,avoidance of rote memorization and floundering through various levels of math, really worked wonders for his math confidence. However,I learned educators also really care about the student's confidence, b/c when he would fail every test,he could redo to make a passing grade. Since,I had to teach him everyday after school b/c he could not keep up, I knew he had a problem. But what could I really know ,I am not a teacher. The school could not understand what I was worried about and kept reminding me that he was passing! At the end of the school year we really took action. Finally, after a series of academic and other testing by the school,they agreed with me!Unfortunately,he had b/c even further behind. They informed me, he had the mental ability to do the math but his actual learned ability was below what he should be achieving. After asking me what I thought could be the reason that he was not learning math,they said that they could label him learning impaired in math!But he was TEACHING impaired! Oh but failure must be my fault for not practising with him! It has to be! O.K. I will take the blame (despite my after hours re-education sessions) But why then should kids suffer b/c of a failure to teach on the parent's part?Shouldn't the school teach the student anyway? Despite what you and your peers may believe, there are parents like myself who trusted the schools and followed their directions and have ended up lost. We have worked with our kids and tried to work with teachers whose hands are tied by the educational experts.I have enough education and background in math and calculus that unlike other parents I will not be led to believe that my son or myself are stupid nor to blame for the failure of my son to be properly educated in math. Other parents I talk to really feel similiar frustration when faced with the math issues. What about the poor people who can not afford the tutors and believe that the problem is with their child and their own inability to learn the new math to help teach them!How many lives are being ruined with kids thinking they are stupid and drop out b/c of math problems. My son has suffered in this system.Other kids are suffering. Despite all the gloomy reports of how badly our kids are doing, the educational experts are not getting it and keep insisting everthing is sunny. The experts keep telling each other what works but forget to tell the parents.

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