Although it is tragic when I get stories like this expressing the frustration of a parent over how constructivism has destroyed a child’s love for math, it is not unexpected. I have received many of these over the years but I believe this is a good time for middle and upper math constructivism to get the boot.
“Mr. [name removed]–I know that my son [name] has already spoken to you regarding
his grade. Now I am coming to you as a parent. Perhaps if you were able to
show us why he lost so many points on the “student taught” assignment or if
you had given him some way to make up for the lost points…I am so
frustrated as a parent. I watched him put in many hours on your class. I
watched as he and my husband had to go online to find out how to do things
because my son hadn’t been TAUGHT how to do them and had no textbook. I
know the frustration that both my husband (a PhD and also an educator like
yourself) and my son felt over the lack of basic instruction that occurred
in the classroom. I watched as my own father, also a PhD and a math
teacher, struggled to help [son] with assignments. His assessment was
always that [son] has not been TAUGHT basic fundamentals. I suppose that
you have to give him the grade that his points equal, but I assure you that
this is not over. I am tired of watching the math program at Lone Peak High School, and all of Alpine
School District, be a joke. And I guess you have lit a fire in me that has
long been waiting for a match. I am sure we will meet as some future point.
A crusade has begun…”
Follow-up email about how this teacher “teaches”.
“My understanding is that he gives the assignment, without instruction and without a textbook to give any guidance. Then the student is supposed to “figure it out”….the intention is to “go over it in class” but my son says they usually don’t have time. What are they doing with their time? I have no idea. “