Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the Editor
Reader concerned about local education

May 29, 2013

Dear Editor,

I remember my high school geometry teacher. He was a friendly little man who'd walk through problem after problem after problem on a blackboard. His instruction was so intense on most days that he'd have to pat the chalk out of his cloths at the end of class.

Teachers today no longer use chalk. The trouble is a number of them also no longer teach.

This issue is most problematic in math subjects where, ironically, repetition and hands on instruction are needed most.

Over the years, my son has related more stories than I can count of math teachers giving out self or group explorations with no related instruction. He once told me the story of his algebra teacher in seventh grade who only taught one lesson the entire school year when she was being observed by teachers from the high school. The best (or worst) story occurred this year when on more than one occasion his pre-calculus teacher couldn't actually solve a problem she was demonstrating to the class.

Is technology making this better? The newest tech savvy teaching trend is this little creature called flipping the lesson, which is a nice idea except everyone does it differently and, in practice, is code for forgetting the lesson.

My educational background is a post graduate degree in mass media, and I have a bachelor's degree in English and in communications. I'm not a math guy. But the conversation I've wanted to have with nearly all of my son's math teachers at Clarkston Community Schools is to ask them to tell me why I couldn't teach their classes.

Michael Palese

Independence Township