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D303 Math Program

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The way math is taught in D303 high schools (and soon middle schools) is a complete failure. The student-led classes lead students to be confused and lost, causing extreme grade drops. Even high school-level students that have been good at math their entire lives are beginning to struggle. Students have been trying to get many teachers fired, although it is not just the teachers that are the root of the problem; the problem is the math program that teachers are forced to follow, and the way classes are run.

The first, and the most extreme and prevalent issue, is that teachers don't answer questions. The teachers instead say to "ask your team/table for help" instead of helping the student. How is anyone supposed to know what to do without guidance from the one person in the room who should know what they're doing? Not many people understand what is going on in the classes at all, and without getting answers to their questions, will have to get help outside of school. An average “day to day” assignment for us as students is being given a worksheet and basically being told to “figure it out yourself”. I’m sure there are teachers that actually lead the class and teach, but the majority of students have yet to experience a teacher who will answer questions without hesitation.

This leads to the next problem of unqualified teachers teaching specific classes. There are not just one, but many cases of teachers not knowing how to teach specific classes, but are told to teach them anyways. This is one reason as to why students’ questions aren’t getting answered; because the teachers don’t know the curriculum themselves to answer the question even if they wanted to! How are students supposed to learn from someone who doesn't know how to teach the class to begin with? It's completely unfair to both the teachers and the students. These teachers may not only be unqualified, but they can be downright mean, such as an experience one student had; this student asked a question multiple times, and the teacher finally responds saying this student is “a whiner”. This teacher was just hired in 2014.

Although they are a portion of the issue, teachers are not the biggest problem we face in the math program. It is not just bad teaching practices that are a problem; the way teachers are told to teach and the format of the worksheets, tests, and the setup of the learning environment that is also an issue. There have been tests, such as the Unit 7 “team test”, that have problems we haven’t even learned in class. These team tests are not only unfair, but encourages cheating because students can go home and then come back to make corrections the next day. It almost seems like they were created in order to try and balance out the bad individual test grades that students get because no one has a clue what they’re doing, which is completely absurd. We believe the class average of a test should never be below a 70, but there have been class averages of test scores below the 60’s.

This large amount of students from honors to standard classes should not be having problems within the math program, and students should never be subjected to this amount of stress from trying to find and pay around $60 or more an hour for a good math tutor just because the math program at school is ineffective. This method of teaching, although a semi-good idea, can not and will never work in practice, and causes students to be unmotivated. Students do not need this stress added on top of the stress of college preparation, tests like the ACT, juggling work of all other classes, sports, and trying to just be a teenager and figure out they are as people. Students should not have to teach other students 100% of the time in the classroom, the teachers should teach, and the learning environment should be motivating and stress-free.

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