Today an old time teacher, one that I "had respected"told us that he doesn't bother teaching the trigonometric functions of the special angles. That is of the 30, 60 and 45 degree angles. He said there is no reason for the kids to know the exact values as they can figure out all multiple choice questions using a calculator, working backwards from the choices, if necessary. All us old timers just stared at him in disbelief.
I always knew that this new curriculums and the NCLB dummied down the courses. I knew that some of the younger teachers skipped this stuff because they did not know any better. I never expected someone who is teaching almost thirty years to dummy down his lessons also. This guy has a reputation of being a great teacher. The kids like him. He gets them to pass, but does he really teach them any math? A few years ago, some kids went from the strictest teacher in the building to this guy's class. Their grades went from 80 to 95 yet they told me they preferred the strict teacher because he was teaching them math.
Many of the math B kids in my school are very bright and go on to take honor pre-calculus and advanced placement calculus BC. Originally I could not understand how they could know so little trig coming into the class. They fought me when I refused to let them use calculators on exams and forced them to figure out these basic trig values.
Every day I grow more and more weary. My teaching days are coming to an end soon and it is things like this that are pushing me to go sooner. I fear for the future of our students. We are sending them to college without the tools they need to succeed. It is hard to hold the kids you are teaching to standards when so many others in the same building are not doing the same.