Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is Math Really Worth It?

Last year, middle school math looked like this: seventh grade math, pre-algebra, algebra one, geometry, and algebra two. Most seventh graders were put it seventh grade math and moved up each year. Students who were more comfortable with math would start in pre-algebra or algebra one if they were extremely nerdy in the advanced program.
Then some genius decided we should learn algebra and geometry all at once. Now we have normal seventh grade math, seventh grade honors math, etc. I'm sure the genius had his/her reasons, but after a few months living the math program I've noticed a few mistakes.
Problem #1: It holds back more advanced students. I'm in ninth grade, but some of our lessons come out of the book I was using in seventh grade.
Problem #2: There's no textbook. The idiots who changed the curriculum smart people are still working on it. It'll come out next year. We could have waited until next year to change it up, just saying. The fancy new curriculum covers material from three different books, so the teachers haven't even bothered distributing them. We can't even look through one for reference because we don't know what book or unit we're in or where to find the information we need. Ask the teacher, you say? We can't because
Problem #3: teachers are writing their own worksheets, so the information isn't coming from the books in the first place. 
Problem #4: If there's no book, parents can't help. They may have learned f(x)=3^x into -f(x+5/6) in school, but that was a long time ago and it's hard to remember something you don't use in everyday life. 
Problem #5: We'll start a unit by learning how to write some new kind of equation or inequality. That very day, we'll get a worksheet, correct it tomorrow, and then learn how to add it. Take home that worksheet, sweat over it, and come back tomorrow to learn how to subtract. Then we cover multiplying, dividing, graphing, and naming the properties. It's guess it's efficient to swallow a concept a day, but the rules for multiplying get jumbled up with the addition rules until you can't remember which is which.
 Problem #6: Because of the concept-a-day method, you can't google 'solving transformations on linear functions' and find the rules for the specific concept you covered today. You can't just ask the teacher how to do it tomorrow, because by then everybody has moved on. 
The math system is frustrating at best and agonizing at worst.

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