Skip to comments.NOT being "allowed" to drop a class?
Posted on 01/29/2014 1:39:54 AM PST by MacMattico
My daughter has a very bright and sweet friend that is doing horribly in Algebra II/Trigonometry in high school in NY state. She came over today and asked me if I could Tutor her in Math because she knew I had an Education degree used in a past life. I said Math wasn't my specialty, and I wouldn't be of much help. She started to cry and say she was going to fail and even though the class took all her time, she had failed her midterm miserably and had quiz grades in the low 30's! She went in for extra help on a regular basis and thought she knew what she was doing.
I assumed she was exaggerating the actual "trying" in this class. But she showed me the rest of her grades in other classes and they are all A's! So I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I called a friend of mine that teaches Math and she said she would tutor the girl in the summer, for free, as there was really no way at this point she was going to pass the class or the regents with her grade half way through and she didn't have time to tutor now.
In talking to this girl I found out this was the last Math class she was taking in HS. She is a sophomore and it is all that is required. The school has a policy that if you drop a full year class by the midyear point (Friday), the grade and class will be dropped from the transcript. My friend who teaches Math was nice enough to meet with the girl and go over a few things. She told the girls mom and I that this girl is in no way prepared to be in this class! The girls mom,single, rather shy and believing in all school authority asked what they should do. The advise given was drop the class, we'll set up a tutoring schedule for the summer to even get you prepared for the course, and start over. The mom called the school and then called me and said Guidance and the Principal told her under no circumstances would she be allowed to drop a core course. The girls mom wants my help in talking to the school. The girl will be 16 in two weeks, she could quit school, but they don't want her to drop a course! Also, she would pick up a half year business class, she says.
Is it good advise to drop the course and start over after more preparation? Before I'm going to go with her to any school meeting she wants to set up, I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons. I don't think it's a good idea to sit there and try and get grades in the 30's when that time could be used for working on other classes, but I wonder if taking off the next semester will have the effect of forgetting to much of what she does know?
It really bothers me that the school tells her it's a done deal she will remain in the class. What of parents rights? The girl is willing to set up the summer tutoring and start the course all over, why not?
The school might possibly have been trying to protect the girl from herself, not understanding her plan of trying again next year. (In most schools, a “core” course must be completed for the kid to graduate.) Sounds to me like a nice calm adult needs to go in to talk to the school and explain the entire plan to them (of her being tutored in the summer and trying again next year). If the “drop” date has not yet arrived, I don’t see how the school can keep her in the class without her parent’s consent. Her mother may need to go in and sign some paperwork or something.
FWIW, the plan of backing off, getting tutored, and taking the course again next year (this time being prepared for it!) sounds great to me. Her grades will of course be better, and she might possibly even learn some math. Which is always a good thing. ;)
Also, the Math teacher friend of mine is willing to tell the school she will tutor her all summer but not willing to talk with the school about dropping. Even though from another district, she “doesn’t think as a teacher she should be involved with that”.
The thing about math is that you can’t start in the middle. She obviously hasn’t mastered the prerequisites if scoring so low in Algebra II. Also it is important to develop a personal liking for it, since math does, contrary to popular belief, hold a certain appeal once you attain a degree of proficiency at it.
Sounds like the school won’t allow her to drop the course, so she pretty much has no other alternative except to study hard and pass the class.
Hard as it is, there are no “do-overs” in life either.
I would suggest that the girl meet with the teacher and see if the teacher can give her some pointers as to how to study and how to focus on the important parts in that particular class, then have the student really study. Then she really needs to take responsibility for herself and really study.
She may not get A-s in math, but I just can’t believe that she really studies for this class and is still failing.
Yes, she does need the class to graduate. But she’s not going to pass this year. The mom said the school looks at it as keep pushing her through, hoping she’ll pass and if not summer school and/or next year. I’m with you that she should be allowed to drop. She has until Friday as that is the end of the second quarter.
“I assumed she was exaggerating the actual “trying” in this class.”
One can “try” all they want, but without instruction it is REALLY hard. My daughter’s math “teacher” hands out worksheets at the beginning of class and tells the kids to work on them, and if they need help she will help them on an individual basis. Some kids are too embarrassed to ask, others think they can goof off, and the ones that want help - well the teacher can’t get to all of them. This is without ANY overall instruction on the board or whatever!
It has taken awhile to get my daughter to go in after school to get help from the teacher. And then I try to help her as much as I can, with instructions on the internet, etc.
What is even sadder than the lack of instruction (and yes, the principal knows of how the teacher does things), is the lack of inspiration and love of math that might be passed on to a few of these kids.
If the teacher says "YES," then immediately put a remediation plan in place that includes Khan Academy on the areas that are causing problems. Based on what you wrote about the girl being unprepared for this level of work, I'd say the plan should include the basics of algebra and geometry before working actual Algebra II/Trig problems. Emphasize to the student that she is in a deep hole that will require great effort on her part to climb out of but show her the plan can succeed through dedication to do the work.
If she’s having difficulties with this level of mathematics, does it really matter if she fails the class?
It might pay to determine what’s necessary for a passing grade and be done with it. It’s hard to believe that wouldn’t be possible.
If you’re willing to invest time, help her pass during these next 4 months. It could be the best educational experience she ever gets.
You’re right, there are no do overs in life, but even in college you can withdraw from a course pretty late into the term. She passed Algebra and Geometry the past two years, I’m wondering if they’re teaching Algebra II/Trig in a new “common core” way and she’s totally lost. I asked my daughter and she said “I don’t know I do what they put in front of me.” Brilliant /s
It probably will mean (if she is allowed to drop the course) that she will have to take an extra core class in one of her next two years in order to have enough to graduate on time.
Even if she got all 100's in the second two quarters, it doesn't equal a passing grade, so not sure why the school is pushing to have her get a failing grade on her record for the year.
Sounds as if her teacher cannot get an understanding of the material across to her - math eventually "clicks" but for some it takes a magic key to make this happen. Her current teacher just isn't doing it.
Oh - I meant to say to ask the student how the class is working out, if there are deficiencies in the teacher, etc. and to have the STUDENT talk to the teacher, and then the principal. Probably won’t do any good, but at least then the student can document what is going on.
“...math does, contrary to popular belief, hold a certain appeal once you attain a degree of proficiency at it.”
As a former kid who sat through countless hours of math classes, I humbly submit the following:
Liar, liar pants on fire! :-)
To each his (/her) own I guess.
It is high school not life or death. Either way she should study hard this summer and then take again next fall.
There are some teachers who do not know how to teach math.
If a subject is difficult for your child, I’d probably take a non-credit class, or read up on the textbook, during the summer before having to take a credited class. This way, they have some knowledge of the course before they have to take it.
I won’t be of much help, the math teacher willing to help for free can’t do it until summer (she teaches and coaches). The school offered the name of a tutor at $45/hr, which the mother cannot afford. The actual teacher of the course has offered to stay after two days a week with her (30 minutes x 2) (and with whoever else shows up for help) but has told her it’s just going to get harder from here on out, as she needs to learn the whole first semester while the class proceeds with harder material. I’m not saying passing is impossible but it looks grim.
” The school has a policy that if you drop a full year class by the midyear point (Friday), the grade and class will be dropped from the transcript. My friend who teaches Math was nice enough to meet with the girl and go over a few things. She told the girls mom and I that this girl is in no way prepared to be in this class! “
IF the school does have a policy of allowing to drop a class, then they have to allow her to drop this one. Either there is a policy or not. I would try to get a copy of the policy and have the Mother go and talk to the principal, if there really is such a policy.
If there is no such policy, then she has to bite the bullet and study hard. Your teacher friend says she is not prepared for this class — so how did she pass her previous Math classes? Something doesn’t add up.
Khan Academy has online videos in math from 3rd grade math all the way up to Calculus. They are free and are said to be of pretty good quality.
If she doesn’t understand the fundamentals, maybe she could start with 8th grade math and work up?
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