May 23, 2014

Students Who Are Behind

Students who are behind are a big problem at my school. Next year we will have more levels of algebra 1 than I can count. Seriously - it's after 9 pm on a Friday so keeping track requires more brain power than I have; counting levels of a course shouldn't require brain power. We have a tracking problem, but we also have a money problem. Kids who would be placed in specialized schools in most districts are kept in house because it's cheaper. When people talk about mixed level classes I think how wonderful that sounds. But the reality is that we are teaching kids with significant learning differences and kids who are years behind. I don't know what the right thing to do is. Some days I complain that it's torture to make certain kids take the state test. Other days I complain that no one bothered to teach math to our autistic kids (who are fully capable of learning math). I know these are conflicting arguments. I don't know who should be deciding which kids get which placement and what they should learn in each placement. The school committee decided that every 9th grader should be taking algebra 1. No matter what. So I taught those kids who hadn't done math "algebra 1" but that had to look different than the mainstream algebra 1 courses. To start addressing this issue my department head shared an excerpt from Learning in the Fast LaneChapter 1 is free to read online. This one is going on my ever growing list of things to look at 'later.' Whenever that may be.

Today marks 30 days in a row of posting. Expect a drop in frequency around here shortly. Still a few more things to share this weekend before I get lost in end of school stuff. June tends to simultaneously fly and drag...

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