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?
>> the math teacher willing to help for free cant do it until summer
Perhaps this could be brought forward to the principal with the possibility of deferring the class until the following year.
FWIW, the anxiety makes the subject far more difficult than it needs to be.
Don’t know really him to solve this based on my own experience
I got A’s and extra credit in all my classes.
I used algebraic equations in pre-college Mechanical Drafting and was Chess Champion in my high skrewel.
I sucked at algebra.
I hated algebra.
Algebra had no useful purpose as most equations were designed only to teach you how to solve problems with no useful application in real life.
I asked my Mech Drafting teacher for help and explained I was taking two classes of algebra in an attempt to merely get a “C”
He told me not to worry about it since I was using algebra and receiving high grades and delivering excellent products off the lathes based on my designs.
He told me that I apparently only grasp those things that actually have a use and discard everything else.
If I wasn’t going to be a rocket scientist this wasn’t something that would stop me in life.
He was also one of my counselors and understood I was never going to need something I could get someone else competent to complete.
I have had several businesses since then and never used algebra.
Or rather, I found some formulas I needed to know, had someone teach me and I’m good to go.
Still, I’d be fine without it, except for my attention to detail and curiosity
Not trying to impress you, rather impress upon you we have our short comings and it’s okay to live with them.
If her career choices won’t require algebra she’ll be fine.
If it’s a matter of getting into college then she’ll need some sort of getting”Rosetta Stone” training for algebra.
Maybe even algebra for dummies. No shame in any “Dummies” books if it’s that important to her.
” I asked to see the text book and they don’t have one! No online materials assigned. Just what the teacher provides.’
How are the other kids doing in the class? Maybe there is something wrong with the approach the teacher uses.
I agree with Innovative: If the policy is that a student is allowed to drop a course if they do it by a certain time, then she should be allowed to drop the course. The girl’s mother may need to grow a spine and insist that the school actually follow its own policy. (Perhaps you could go with her and be the mom’s substitute spine. ;o)
“I asked to see the text book and they don’t have one! No online materials assigned. Just what the teacher provides.”
What kind of school is this? No books???
The reason I know the school allows drops is because last year my daughter got bored in Chorus and asked if she could drop and they said as long as by the end of the second quarter. She ended up sticking it out and now enjoys it. Her friend is being told because math is a “core” course she can’t drop according to her mom. I’ll have to search the school handbook.
Read your full post.
Maybe she can get some tutoring and extra classes during summer to fill that hole in?
I know some schools allow you to go to college prep in summer and will add that to the transcript and her gpa.
I left school in the 10th grade and went to college with the prerequisite of proving I could handle college.
My 1st semester grades attributed to High Skrewel and o. The basis of those grades I was given the green light to test out of high skrewel and continue with college.
Public Suburban High School in upstate NY. Last year they had math books, and I saw my daughter’s still here the other day. I asked why it wasn’t returned. She said because this new looking, expensive book no longer covered what NY state required. So the school didn’t care if they were returned. Sounds like they’re winging it this year. (common core?)
“Ill have to search the school handbook.”
That’s a good idea, you need get all the facts. If the policy states you can drop courses, any course, the school has to abide by their own policy and let her drop this course. If the policy states you cannot drop core courses, then the girl can’t expect the school to make an exception for her, just because.
Go with T-bird’s recommendation regarding “Kahn Academy”
I have a couple friends who had their kids utilize Kahn.
Both kids ended up at Ivy League skrewels.
One is at Cornell and I forget where the other is.
Thanks for the links!
“Thanks for the links!”
Your welcome. In spite of my giving Telepathic Intruder a hard time in post #13 about hating math, I am going to take those Khan math courses myself.
I *hated* math in school. Hated it. But it wasn’t math — I hated the way it was taught. I could cook you a big steak, then cover it with mustard and you might come away thinking you hate steak. No, you hate the steak that I cooked for you. And math, in this country, is taught poorly! No wonder so many kids don’t like it and don’t get it.
We need properly cooked math.
I feel for the girl, but to cancel a class in January after taking the class since September seems a bit much. Normally you can drop a class a couple weeks after the start of the class. She needs to buckle up and do what she can or go to Summer School which with the tutor help may ensure she passes. It will be on her transcript but as long as her Junior grades are good, she should still be able to get in college. She is not the first or last person to fail a math class. Another thing is she still has months to figure out a way to pass. I know you believe she has no way to learn it but if she goes to her teacher and asks for help, maybe she can get a pity “pass”. You never know.
And she has to pass the Regents exam. Teacher has no control over that.
I have not read all the Comments yet, so this may have already been said.
Show her how to use Khan Academy.
My wife has one College Algebra class remaining to get her degree. It has bee 47 years since she had a math class and she things Khan Academy is GREAT!
It is free, you work at your own pace and it has great metrics to keep track of your progress, strengths & weaknesses.
Arithmetic through Differential Calculus.
Khan Academy: The future of education?
(don’t mind the CBS-60 Minutes, it is a good presentation!)
Actually, going further on the college allowing students to drop classes, you can get a poor grade on a college course now, at some universities I know of, repeat the class, and have your grade on a transcript be the highest of the efforts.
Another reason I am not a fan of public, no logic, no reasoning, zero tolerance government entities - i.e. public schools.
How was she allowed in this class to begin with?
As long as you have a computer and Internet access, Khan Academy is FREE!!!! NO COST!!! The Best Price Ever!!!
Your NY education situation sounds like the Big Suck to the nth factor, IMO.
Here is what I advise my college students:
1) Drop the course and take it over again.
2) But, if you can’t drop the course (e.g., because you have to maintain a full-time load), accept that you’re going to fail the course and take it over again.
3) But, if you can’t drop the course and you can’t fail it either (e.g., because you’d be put on academic probation and become ineligible to play intercollegiate sports), figure out how to pass the course.
#3 has the advantage that you won’t have to take the course over again.
As to being able to learn Algebra II/Trig when you show up unprepared to do the work, I presume this means learning Algebra I as well as Algebra II/Trig. However, there may be deficiencies regarding prerequisites to Algebra I. A lot of students are innumerite.
Students who show up in my Principles of Microeconomics course deficient in high school math have to learn what they have been able to avoid learning thus far in their so-called life. They don’t think it’s fair, and I don’t care what they think (or how bad I look in my course evaluations). Some of them learn enough to pass the course but not all of them.
With regard to tutoring, after school with the instructor is a great option. Plus, it’s free. So it’s a tremendous bargain.
Shopping around for a book or some other source material that you like, that’s a good option and what does it cost? $20? People might not realize it, but there are different styles to presenting material. Even, with regard to math. One of the reasons the Math for Dummies series appeals to many people because it has a different style. Finding a book that has an effective style for you costs more than the out of pocket. It costs the time of looking through several books, sampling the material, in addition to the out of pocket.
I’ve got a degree in math. i’ve tutored math in high school and college. I’ve also taught corporate software and methology classes. in one situation I had to teacher a graduating college undergrad enough to pass the MA proficiency exams... and she had no foundation (how she got that far is beyond me). I had 10 days and was able to improve her grade from low 30s to 89.
I’d be willing to talk to her and see about online tutoring/teaching. I do not live anywhere nearby and would not be interested in travel. strictly voip/online/phone (prolly no more then 60-90 minutes/day). my only stipulation is that she must be serious about learning the subject.
if that sounds like it might help, FreepMail me and we’ll take it from there.
Well, now hard is statistics anyway? Your need to learn FIFO and some other acronumb stuff. /s
I have seen schools work something out for kids who are very sincere and earnest but, they have to really demonstrate they are the exception that makes it worth while for them to do extra work.
The parents, kid and counselor all need to develop a real plan that the school will want to buy into.
They also have to ask for help, acknowledge this is an unusual request but, if they’ll do this kid a favor they’ll have the satisfaction of completing their prime directive of preparing children for college, self determined independence and laying the very important
foundation for beginning life or something like that.
The point is; people want to help others. It makes them feel good but, they don’t want to be taken advantage of or having their time wasted.
Focus on reassuring all parties with a vested interest in an awesome outcome.
The kid is really going to have demonstrate she wants this more than anything and she is willing to do whatever it takes to excel and make them proud they gave her a chance.
The parents are going to have to be that awesome partner to the people who will take a chance on her. It’s vital and their pitch has todemonstrate they are all in and there will be no failure.
It’s important they know you are asking for help and a chance but, the success of this exception is entirely up to the kid and the parents.,
No one is gonna be more key to this exception than the kid.
I think I might’ve been redundant here but....LOL
Kahn Academy is free...as in Free-O-La.
Just gotta werk it baby.
When I dropped high skrewel they had all my grades, my after school activities and my psych reports.
I don’t remember the pitch being particularly difficult.
I was also very responsible and too busy to get in trouble.
I was a Santa Cruz Sheriff Explorer. I rode in cars, worked in both jails, performed security for important events(Ms California, high profile speakers like Huey Newton, etc), I did Search and Rescue, spent summers cutting down marijuana, I worked and still got A’s, went to church on my own, was an AWANA, worked out, took Kung Fool(/s). In short, I was busy and functioned just fine.
Again, all this is not to impress you but, to give you an idea of what the sales pitch included.
If this kid is a good girl and has serious activities, while getting A’s, she stands a chance on getting buy in from the school.
She has to demonstrate nothing is more important than, with their help, she can succeed spectacularly.
Kahn Academy is free and she should get to work right away and get a head start.
Sorry for the long email.
They school most likely will not accept outside credits, as you indicate.
They will need to get a teacher who will accept the responsibility as a stake holder.
So they stake holders on their side will be:
A teacher who will gladly help a kid. I fact, the strategy should begin with whoever that willing teacher is, the kid, her counselor and the oarents.
Once y’all have worked an agreement with tools to measure progress and provide demonstrable proof, then it would be good to go to the principal and district.
Get the counselor to look up the possibilities I’ve discussed so they can make the case that policy does have exceptions or that some loop hole exists which will make this possible.
Heck, the parents and the girl should get crackin on research so they are armed with information.
Never make the conversation personal.
People are puzzles and will help but, you have to elicit that help or run the risk of alienating them.
They will absolutely revert to policy as a tool of “higher authority” if this isn’t handled right.
Don’t challenge their authority, they’ll use it.
Treat this as a process. It may be difficult and frustrating and at times you might be tempted to yell or get snide. Don’t.
You are making a sales pitch. Make it compelling, like a professional salesman does.
What state is this hapenning in?
Probably will end up needing a lawyer.
Reminds me of the scene in the movie, Peggy Sue Got Married. Kathleen Turner’s character tells the H.S. Algebra teacher “I can tell you from personal experience I will never use this shit in life.” and walks out.
I guess I’m old, but it didn’t used to be that if someone failed or was failing a semester or a year that class could simply be ‘dropped’ and expunged from the record.(It was an odd freedom to get to college and find that that could be done if one dropped the course early enough in the semester.)
Seems like allowing that is not only as you suggest, giving the already-coddled another out from any consequences, but contributing to an unfair devaluing of those who stick with their classes—and with the actual GPA that they’ve genuinely earned.
Did someone drop the ball on her meeting the prerequisite for the course—presumably a sufficient grade for Algebra I and/or geometry? If so, was that a case of her being ‘helped’ to decent grades even though she didn’t master the material at that level?
If not, does she simply have a terrible mind for math somehow, for which a poor grade would provide accurate information to her, her school, and college admissions about her capabilities?
As a homeschooler I know there are LOTS on online courses
this girl can take, to boost her math skills while getting tutored.
Like IXL math (subscription but worth every penny and has all state required math skills now through algebra), PLATO Math, or taking an online course or courses from K12 International Academy (offers HS transcript credits)
Check out Math classes like Thinkwell and PLATO from Homeschool Buyers Co Op for discounts
She should go to a service like Sylvan for a test assessing her current level in math, then go from there. Or spring for an education psychologist and testing for learning disability- and use results to leverage the school into proving special support, like an IEP.
And yes- armed with a full understanding of actual requirements and students rights, force the school to let her withdraw from this course with NO PUNITIVE ACTION OR TRANSCRIPT ZERO, drop back and enroll in a remedial or prep course and don't let them tell her mother they don't do that.
Unfortunately those remedial classes are like zoos, packed with members of the under-served who have NO interest in learning anything, and she might face rasism from class and teacher (happened to me in similar situation in college when I tried to take remedial math class)
Best solution: withdraw NOW from class with no punitive action. Get permission to take online prep course and get tutored, then if class is really required for graduation, enroll again before senior year and in section taught by teacher who manages the classroom, or get permission to take it online, for credit that will show on transcript
The way they teach math is stupid. I was helping my 8th grader with Pre-Algebra. Some of the questions were to work the problem “mentally” which means rounding and estimating. He would get answers like 12.75 and the answer would be 13. Teacher counted it wrong. They give them one day on the topic and they take a quiz on day 2. The next day they move on. Later they have a test covering 4-5 concepts then never touch it again. There is no mastery to the curriculum.