Thursday, August 19, 2010

Not How But Why

Last October a geometry class was formed for all the kids who were either in over sized geometry classes, in the wrong math class, or in no math class at all.

Owen was one of those kids who had no geometry class. He entered the class even later than the other kids. I worried about how he was ever going to catch up as we just finished the logic unit when he arrived. My worry was unwarranted. He took the book, studied on his own and aced the test, as he aced every test after that one and the regents. I tried to get him into an honor class but thanks to our illustrious education mayor and his tightwad budget, this was impossible.

In June I suggested Owen double up in math, and take pre-calculus along with trigonometry in the coming term. He was game but was told the pre-calc classes were filled so he was out of luck. I went to the "guardian angel " of students ,who upon hearing all I had to say, suggested Owen study on his own, take the regents in the summer and then come back and take AP calculus. At first he was nervous, but then agreed to give it a try. I got him some books and told him to e-mail me any questions. I even promised to meet him if he needed any extra help.

Well, busy summer and all made me forget Owen until I got this e-mail last week:

Hi, I am Owen, I almost done studying for the trigonometry regent. There is one thing I don't understand which is the ''Bernoulli experiment or binomial probability''
For example, in the trigonometry regent of June 2010,
(http://nysedregents.org/a2trig/20100615exam.pdf ) question 36 , it uses the binomial probability formula to solve it. However, I want to know the reason why it involves ''combination'' -Thank you. .

I saw, from this letter, how right I was about this boy. How many kids want to not only know how, but why? I know he will ace the test. I am sure we will have to call on the "guardian angel" again to get him placed in the proper class. There is a certain devil that might try to keep him out of it. I forgot to mention that Owen is a recent immigrant from Argentina. He is living with an aunt in NYC

Mrs. Chili said...

Sometimes I think it's the one kid - the Owens that we get from time to time - that keep us in this job...

Anonymous said...

This is a heart-warming story but also a sad one. Bloomberg and Klein as well as administrators are
abandoning children that should have their needs met at both ends of the spectrum.

The fact that someone within your school may not step up to help this child is disgusting. Thank God for angels.

lgm said...

I am so glad that you have pre-calc and calc classes. Upstate in my district nothing is offered after Regents Integrated Alg. II/Trig. Students are directed to bring a check and take a CC class if they want any more. If enough sign up, they can take the class on the high school campus.

Pissed Off said...

We have 2 AB calculus classes, 1 BC calculus class, several non AP calculus classes and quite a few pre-calcs, both honor and regular. I don't know how budget cuts affected these classes.