Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Math Skills?

Read today’s article on Page 1C of the Northwest Herald about parent Michael Stich of Crystal Lake, who challenges D47 about whether it is teaching students the basic math skills.

And then ask yourself the question about Woodstock’s D200.

When teachers say “Can’t add? Use a calculator” and “Can’t spell? Use spellcheck” and “Can’t write? Use a keyboard”, you know there is a problem. And this problem must be addressed immediately. Students must learn basic math skills. And spelling. And writing. If they are not learning them, it’s because they are not being taught them. And taught them in an effective method that results in their learning.

It is preposterous that students today do not learn basic math, spelling and writing skills.

Restaurants and stores have struggled with change-making for years. Now, if the clerk can punch the right keys for the purchase and enter the correct amount of money presented by the customer, the cash register will do the math and, hopefully, the clerk can count out the right change. Whatever happened to “counting up” to the money presented by the customer.

When you know basic math, you (the customer) will immediately know how much change to expect. Then, when the clerk hands it to you, you’ll know if you are getting the correct change. And, if you get too much change? Do you give it back? Well, do you?

I was in a Santa Fe McDonald’s several years ago and purchased a two breakfast biscuits and coffee, as I prepared to drive to Denver. The clerk said, “That’ll be $8.69” or some such number. I quickly said, “Not hardly” because the correct amount should have been about $3.00. The clerk didn’t have a clue that the amount was wrong; he was just reading the amount off the register window and didn’t realize he had to have rung up my order incorrectly.

We parents must insist that the schools teach our children the basic skills. Yes, we can reinforce it at home. We may even have to teach it at home, when the schools fail to. But can we undo the harm taught in the classroom when calculators replace mental function? The student is going to have to know if he’s getting the correct answer, at least approximately. If you divide 3 by 6 and get 2, you have to know that’s incorrect, or you’ll just write down the answer from the calculator and not realize the error in inputting the numbers.

When are parents going to wake up? Maybe when the kids move back home (or never leave in the first place)!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Guss, I wud a stoodent of d200 an i take ofence that you does dink we does not did get a goood edducashun!!

And as for dee math skils at dd200, yous can see thaat theyre predickshen (durin the refeerreendum) of 3000 new stoodents in 5five yers is rite on targeet, they ddid git 50 new 1's dis yer and 50x5=3000!! so there!!

We r soooooooo proud of Ellyn's Wrieski's math skils!!!