Friday, August 7, 2015
Vitti’s less than realistic expectations for children
Vitti proved how out of touch with children he was this week, when he bemoaned that kindergartners weren’t learning critical thinking skills and the state of 8th grade algebra in the district.
We all know Vitti is a
great salesperson wunderkind
having reached such a lofty position at the age of thirty-five but many of us are
starting to believe that along the way he missed something and that’s how kids
Developmentally most children aren’t ready to develop critical thinking skills at the tender age of five, heck I know adults who haven’t developed them.
As for eighth grade algebra skills this is what a math teacher told me,
After 7th grade, I did not understand mathematics. I got a C - - on my report card. Part of that was not my fault, I believe. We had the "New Math" that year. In 8th grade, I (unlike all of my friends who went into algebra) took a basic arithmetic course where my foundations of mathematics "jelled". Then in 9th grade (I was still in junior high school.), I took algebra 1 with the same teacher who taught me 8th grade math. All of the sudden everything fell into place and it was as if that man reached into my head and turned the math switch on. From then on, I loved math, and went on to major in it in college. I have students in my pre-calculus classes who are like I was in 7th grade. All of my students took algebra 1 in middle school. Why are we rushing these students? Of course, there are some students (should be a handful) who are ready to take advanced math classes earlier, but not every 8th grader!!! We have ruined several generations of students with what we have done. All of the math teachers I know have tried to resist the poor curriculums, but when the administration goes into classrooms after everyone is gone and removes resource math books ("old school" math books), and then told, "You WILL use the district curriculum", it is difficult to fight against what we KNOW to be wrong.
So maybe it’s not the teachers, maybe it is some kids just aren’t ready coupled with the way the district does things, a sentiment I have heard many times.
Children develop at different rates and it is true that maybe some kids are ready for algebra in the eighth grade but I know I wasn’t and maybe there is a five year old somewhere thinking critical, I believe his name is Doogie Howser, but these are more the exception rather than the rule regardless of how hard Vitti might wish it was the opposite.
How doesn’t the super understand this? Maybe it’s because he just spent two years teaching (in two different schools is two different states). His lack of experience teaching and working with children is really telling especially when he makes the statements above and when he attacks teachers which he routinely also does.
I believe him not understanding how kids work has also led to many of his horrendous decisions on discipline too as relaxing the code of conduct was a huge mistake, as is his reliance on restorative justice and behavior contracts. Part of a comprehensive strategy sure but they are not the saviors that he makes them out to be.
Kids develop differently and the super should know that and for him to bemoan that they don’t meet his unrealistic expectations, while blaming teachers is very telling.