Sep 9, 2010

Would You Reapply For Your Own Job?

Peggy Castellano wrote an article about Freemont HS in South Central L.A. where the "suits" are so desperate for a sound byte that explains the students' low test scores, that they're firing all the teachers and making them reapply for their own job. This will supposedly weed out the ineffective teachers. Oh really?

I tutor math. I can work with a child in junior high for less than an hour to be able to tell you in which grade the ball was dropped. Math troubles start well before high school. Math builds on what you learned the year before. For example, if you failed to learn times tables in 3rd grade, you won't understand division in 4th. If you don't recognize multiplication factors, you won't grasp GCF, Greatest Common Factor, in 5th. If you don't learn multiples (again, the times tables) you won't recognize LCM, Least Common Multiple, in 6th.

If high schoolers are failing math, don't blame the high school teacher. He has to teach the state-mandated curriculum. He does not have the hours in a day to start at times tables, where the ball may have been dropped, and work up to Algebra I. That all should have been done in lower grades. Students in Algebra should be READY for Algebra.

LAUSD is wrong to think that firings will solve the problem. Unless the only problem they're really trying to solve is how to save the suits' jobs.

With whom will you practice times tables today?

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