Ednotes posed a question from a math teacher. Another teacher, Saddleshoe, Although I commented there, I had to vent here as well. If we don't do something soon there will be no hope for future generations.
(Pictures from an earlier post)
No matter what I do, half the kids in my geometry class are clueless. I'm not talking about the kids that do nothing, I'm talking about the kids that try.
I decided to take the suggestion of an administrator and talk to the kids about their problems. One of the kids I work with a lot just showed me his PSAT scores. He only scored 34% in the critical reading category. If the child can't read and pick out details, he can't put clues together to solve a geometry proof. Figuring out whether he has consecutive angles or opposite angles in a parallelogram is beyond his scope of understanding. They know that the distance formula is used to show line segments are congruent, they repeat this over and over. They know that a triangle is isosceles if two sides are equal. On exams, they use the slope formula to do proofs involving these concepts. Another kid showed me his math score which was 29%. How can this kid be expected to learn geometry either?
The administrator suggested I talk to other teachers and see if they are having the same problems. I asked Mr. P how his class was doing. He said "Fine". I asked, "Approximately what percent of your class is passing?" He answered, "I have no idea. I don't look at those things." I did hear him and another teacher agonizing as they marked the first part of the midterms about the same mistakes my students make.
One boy told me it would have been better if he had paid attention in the beginning of the term. While that would have made a tremendous difference, it still would not have compensated for his inability to solve word problems. I am at a loss as to how to reteach him all the things he might have learned if he had paid attention.
The DOE is running a big campaign, Keep It Moving NYC Schools, touting the success of our schools under the reign of Klein and Bloomberg. Why aren't there any real reporters out there showing what is really going on in math education today?