Thursday, May 8, 2008

Teaching to Tests?

Daughter #2 is in 8th grade. She has always been what I consider a child genius. She started reading at 3 years old. In fact, I took her to the local Christian school to have some testing done on her the first year we "officially homeschooled" her. She was bored to tears with the beautiful (and expensive)A Beka curriculum I had bought for her to "play school" with. Mind you, I chose A Beka because I went to one of their seminars. I could touch and view the books before I ordered. Also, remember homeschooling still wasn't real popular back in 1999. There wasn't the curriculum choices that there are now. And the salesman told me that A Beka was actually a year above public school curriculum. I bought the entire 1st grade package to use on my kindergarten prodigy. Anyhoo, the principal at the Christian school said she was not interested in the reading program because in Kindergarten, she was reading at a 6th grade level.

In addition to this, while homeschooling, I continued to have her do curriculum approximately one grade level ahead of where her birthdate fell. She continued to test above average each year.

When I enrolled her in public school, (they put her back into her proper 3rd grade). The teachers loved her. She excelled at everything! She was a social butterfly to say the least, she was in the programs for talented and gifted...

Fast forward, now she is in 8th grade. She has the dreaded math teacher. The same math teacher that Daughter #1 had troubles with years ago, and we thought she was being a Drama Queen! She took general math because math is the one thing that doesn't come easy for her. I think it is genetic! LOL! She brought home all A's and B's on her grade cards all year, and just last week she brought home a mid-term report with an A in math. She was doing her homework the other night, almost in tears, begging me to take her to Sylvan for math tutoring. How does a kid getting an A in the subject not have any idea what's going on?

We looked at the examples together, we viewed the online help that the textbook indicated. Between the both of us, we were able to get 3 out of the 20 or so problems assigned. So, I find out this teacher doesn't actually grade his papers, he gives five points if it's completed. He also doesn't actually do any problems, just the example in the book. So much for the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND public school mentality.

Just a note, we did get another teacher to tutor her in math. At a cost of $10/30 minutes. Which is a much better rate than sylvan. I hope it works!

My question is this, when did geometry become general math? I mean she is doing stuff that I never even did in algebra. What kind of jobs would use this math? Shouldn't people that need this stuff for their jobs pay for it in college? Do you think this is why kids are dropping out of school faster than flies? Why is public school worried about teaching all kids about slopes, but not how to write a check or stick to a budget? Maybe it's me, am I getting "too old" to understand things?

*Before I get bombarded about how I should yank Daughter #2 out of public school, please take the following into consideration: She loves school, she gets good grades, she is in cheerleading, student council, peer counciling, Girl Scouts and marching band. She also has hopes of going to the vocational school in several years to learn a trade. We also have no neighbors, and would have to drive 15 minutes for socialization. Not likely to happen often.

1 comment:

Brynna said...

You've just touched on the very issue my DH both HATES the public school system (he was homeschooled- but had the choice) yet is about to become a high school math teacher. He really feels called to do whatever he can to make a difference despite NCLB.