Thursday, July 7, 2011
No Math Like the Old Math: A School House Rant.
Last week the kids had their last day of school and with that, their report cards. I was generally impressed with them, both kids are a solidly “proficient” with a side of “excellents”. What does that mean you ask? Not fully sure, but this is the grading system here in the Elk Island School Division. A’s and B’s? Nope…here you are “Limited”, “Acceptable” (which is below average) “Proficient” and “Excellent”. As you can see it’s all set out to make any student feel good about them selves…no hunny, you aren’t failing, your knowledge is merely limited. Try explaining to your child that their acceptable work is very much UNacceptable. My favorite quote on this matter comes from Disney, “It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity…” Robert Parr, The Incredibles.
This takes me to the “New Math”. My kids were told that their parents would not understand the “new math” (gets me off the hook for helping the kids with math homework now, doesn’t it?) and according to last month’s preliminary Provincial Achievement Test results, neither do the kids. Apparently the old school method of memorizing the Times Tables is no longer a relevant way of learning. Also, getting the right answer is gravy, the real grades are in the process of getting any answer at all. Back in grade two, my son went from being in the 90th percentile for Math, to the 70th. His brain is wired for “Old School” Math….
I have the highest regard for educators, I don’t envy them their task. The Hubs has an education degree, we get the level of commitment required to teach. There are many great ones out there. The school administrator at our school however should move on. I would have made a stink about this person, however I care a lot about the future of the little country school and did not want to shed a negative light on it. As more cutbacks happen to the education system, this person teaches more subjects. One subject they have taught all along is ART. I support the arts as much as anybody, but their idea of Art is having the kids do a perfect replica of this person’s example project. They treat it like a core subject, and has been known to rip up a student’s project when it fails to meet their standards. In one aspect of Art, my 11 yr old boy was given a limited. LIMITED. In art. For reals. Makes my blood boil. Hard to imagine this could be possible unless he grabbed the green crayon and colored in the whole project. This is not a case of a lack of talent, it was a clear case of a lack of respect. I had a hard time convincing the boy to show any when this person is so clearly undeserving. Can’t inspire kids in art class? BUH BYE. I bet said person couldn’t draw a picture of Ken Dryden making a save or Henry Burris making a pass.