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

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

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