Friday, January 2, 2015

Favorite comments of '14, cont: Anonymous, SteveH, lgm, and Deirdre Mundy

On Conversations on the Rifle Range 14: Late Start Mondays, Debby Downers, Nervous Nancies and a Tiger Mom:

Anonymous said...
I do not think taking Calculus in 12th grade is the end all be all. What happened to taking proper Calc 101 and 102 as a college freshman? Don't the engineering schools still require Engineering Calculus any way? Isn't the college Calculus more rigorous? I am not a teacher. I am a parent. And I'm getting a hint in here from Barry of something I am hugely tired of: some how parents are not allowed to have an opinion about their child's education? We're supposed to not care, not comment? It's obnoxious and I'm hugely tired of it. ESPECIALLY because these days parents are being asked to spend an hour a day teaching their kids and making them practice, since at school they dabbled in the concept or dispensed with class altogether to go to a fundraiser assembly or other such nonsense.
SteveH said...
The problem is that many schools are ignoring what parents want by making changes that make the pathway to calculus in high school more difficult. Nobody is talking about whether calculus in high school is "the end all be all". Students have always had a choice to not go into algebra in 8th grade. However, many students are or could be ready if only K-6 schools used better math curricula. The Common Core did not deal with this issue and now many educators are trying to create the impression that algebra in 8th grade is some sort of exceptional math brain standard. No. When I was in 8th grade in the 60's we had maybe 30% of the students taking the course, and that was without any help at home from parents.

Barry is not hinting. He is openly stating that in terms of math, many schools do not care about what parents want. (BTW, this is not Barry's opinion.) In our town, we parents had to fight to get any sort of decent math pathway in 8th grade that led to geometry in 9th grade, but now there is the same talk that algebra in 8th grade is some sort of special thing and they might limit who can take the course. It couldn't possibly be a problem with math in K-6.

lgm said...
Additionally, we are seeing that 8th Algebra is the only section where the Regent's Exam is not being gamed. Students who take the course in 9th do not receive the real deal. They will be taught to use the calculator to find answers, instead of the mathematical techniques to find solutions. And they will be penalized if they don't use these gaming techniques and actually use the mathematical techniques they learned in their online/Kumon/someotherprovider Algebra class.

Deirdre Mundy said...
The good engineering schools (and the good colleges in general) expect you to take Calculus AB or BC as a senior.

If you want to major in science or math, some of the schools don't even accept the AP Calc credits- they just use them for placement.

But if you can't place into a decent math course as a freshman, there's no way you'll complete an STEM degree in a timely manner, especially with all the prerequisites.

When you don't offer decent math, you shut doors for the kids. It's one things if the kids and parents decide math isn't important-- but the administration should not be shutting doors on its own.
Anonymous said...
My third child is now 14. He took Algebra 1 in 7th grade and Geometry in 8th grade. He is now in Algebra 2 as a freshman. He is riding a wave of the last fortunate kids to be able to take these classes in earlier grades. I highly doubt that a 10th grader is going to be able to or even be allowed to take two math classes at one time. That seems really unfair, especially if the children are completely capable of completing the course. Here in CA, the standards are being dumbed down by CCSS.

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