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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

crunching numbers; or I'm bringing algorithms back

Turns out, I can type on muscle relaxers. Look at me.

I made it through Lexi's first choir rehearsal of the year last night, reading in the senior center foyer while Zack lapped up Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Uranium Unicorns from Uranius. Thankfully, he hasn't heard any crude jokes about this far away planet, or he wouldn't be able to contain himself.

I've been edgy since school began again, displeased with the curriculum in our district. (This is no secret, and while we are visiting my Education Angst, let's all wave at the WASL - the bane of Washington schools.)

Now granted, I sound like Mrs. Bluehair, railing against new math like it's the work of the devil, although clearly it leaves my kids possessed. I am willing to believe that they are gaining some deeper thinking skills and boy howdy, my kids are well versed in demonstrating several strategies. But when did I sign up for this: It is the parents' responsibility to teach the times tables and it is up to the parents to teach basic math skills, if you think they need it. My kids do not know how to borrow. They don't know how to carry, yet they earn top grades and I hear nothing but good things at conferences.

So, I find myself questioning the whole system. I can teach my kids - I am capable and willing - but not every household can. This troubles me, drives me nuts.

And as for my family, when I consider relocating for Greg's job, it has become clear to me that my kids will be behind, because the testing system is different, the curriculum is different.

I'm not sure how to press for changes in the state, while I work on salvaging my kids' education.

What would you do?

9 comments:

Suzanne said...

Oh my... I hear you. I have similar issues and worries, but with no clue as to what to do about it. Just help you kids; help the ones you can help...

Kimberly said...

Alas, I have no practical advice. I'm too lazy to fight the system. I'll teach my kids at home what I think they're lacking, but I'm not I have an assertive enough nature to try to change things. This makes me sad.

Daisy said...

Is private school an option for you?

Do you have charter schools in your state? or alternative schools? something where there's high expectations and high parental invovlement?

Gosh, I don't know what to tell ya... I'm NOT a fan of public school in the least bit -- especially in California -- but I do realize that all schools are different and kids are different and curricula are different within districts. Maybe there's a diamond in the rough in your area and you could interdistrict transfer into it?

Gosh... I wish I knew how to help you fix this. I'm such a "fixer" by nature.

susiej.com said...

Is there an alternative school? Man, I hate that for you.

katydidnot said...

SCHOOLS! what is the deal? i'm not one to ask right now. good vibes, back at ya.

JCK said...

I feel for you. And I'm sorry not to have any insight. I'm looking ahead to when my kids will be dealing with these issues and shuddering...

brandy101 said...

I feel the same way here - I recall learning times tables in second grade; my kid is still on add/subtract and these arty-farty number concept things...

I am thinking of good-old-fashioned catholic school; the bonus being uniforms and no more wardrobe hassles each morning.

But my hubby refuses to pay for school with our high taxes and supposedly award-winning district.

lapoflux said...

What is up with new math?? A friend in Texas was telling me about it... oh man. The only "advice" I can offer is to do what you can with your kids - I don't think our parents worried about things the way we do now and we turned out pretty well... (that's my latest tact - so I don't stress over everything...?)

But I hear you, and it's not fun. As for the tests, how much do they impact your kids? I ask because we have similar ones here in Ontario in 3rd & 6th grade. I was getting myself in a dither over Stu's school's scores, but my sister-in-law who is an elementary school teacher told me that the tests are really a waste of time and that the scores aren't really indicative of how well a student is doing.

Hang in there... and please teach her how to "carry"!!!

bleeding espresso said...

I'm sure you'll do what's best for everyone. Sorry I have no advice, but support? I can give you that :)