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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vitti belittles teachers... AGAIN!!!!

This time it is middle school math teachers that he attacked.

From Florida politics

“For elementary math, teachers and instruction adapted well to the new standards,” Vitti said.
It’s a different story, alas, for middle school math, where “the story changes a bit.”
DCPS “did not make the target” with 8th grade math students.
The challenges in middle school math, according to Vitti: leadership and curriculum instruction. The instructors understand how to teach in the theoretical realm; implementation, however, is “challenging,” and the “connection is not as strong as it could be at this point.”
There are isolated success stories, yet while “we are doing a good job of identifying individual schools,” “district wide work has to be improved.”
Algebra. 66th out of 67 counties in the state.
Vitti was blunt: “middle school mathematics is broken” and “the challenge of middle school math is a historical problem.”
Algebra, the Superintendent said, historically is a “gatekeeper” for advanced math.
Appears that the gate is busted. “Many kids are not ready” in eighth grade for algebra, he said.
So they want kids to be taking algebra by the 8th grade?!? Do you know when I tool algebra, when I went to school? I didn't. I took general math II as a junior and no math as a senior.  Why the $#@^ are we insisting that kids in junior high take algebra?!?  
Also historically middle school has been our Achilles heel discipline wise, and lets face it discipline has gotten worse under Vitti. I bet these teachers would do a heck of a lot better if they were able to teach instead of having their classes hijacked by an unruly few who have never received a proper consequence for their poor behavior 
Instead of denigrating our middle school math teachers he should be getting on his knees and thanking them for showing up and then moving heaven and earth to get them the assistance they need and step one should be to stop forcing kids into classes they are not ready for.


  1. I've been saying this for YEARS: We are pushing students into courses when they are not developmentally ready.
    Back in the late 1990s, when Marita Eng was in charge of the district's math department is when I first heard DCPS state that their goal was to have every 8th grader take algebra. At that time, I knew that was a mistake.

  2. I took algebra in 9th, but my brain wasn't ready. And in kindergarten, I played. In 1st grade I learned to write the letters of the alphabet and read Dick and Jane near the end of the year. We expect too much, too soon now. My generation performed well, but today's kids are undisciplined and under huge pressure to read and take standardized assessments too soon. FCAT started in 3rd grade; by then things have leveled out some. Some kids just aren't developmentally ready to read yet.

  3. He is too shortsighted, first of all. Kids need a solid foundation before they can go onto algebra, and many need extra time in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade to firm up that base of mathematical knowledge. He is assuming that all sixth graders come in on level, which is absurd. The situation parallels the drops in reading scores in middle school. Things get way harder, and the foundation is different for every child. Instead of blame, he should first ensure that every child is prepared for middle school math before they even get there.
    In my 9 years of teaching, I have never had a student be readily able to calculate a GPA, so I, an English teacher, taught the concept. Many struggle with multiplication and division without a calculator. When I went to school, it was considered advanced to take algebra in the 8th grade. Why the push?
    Why is it so hard to believe that students learn at different paces, and that is okay? He, and other superintendents, just want to look good. That's why.

  4. I admit that I have quit listening to him because I find myself getting aggravated. He tauts data successes but data can be manipulated to show what you want it to show.

    As a parent, I will also admit that I will remember come election time that this school board extended his contract without the data to back it up. As a teacher, I will also admit that I will remember his repeated belittling of us as professionals. I am tired of being belittled and tired of him being held harmless for the damage being done. So if Cheryl Grymes, my school board rep will not speak up for me as a voter and a teacher, I will speak up by voting for her opponent. That, I will also admit!

  5. The truth of the matter is that it is not a middle school problem, it is an elementary, middle and high school problem. I taught elementary math for a few years, when I came back to teaching and I was appalled at what was left out, because it wasn't on the test. As long as teachers have to have students pass a test, they are going to leave out way too much. Then middle school math teachers are trying to fill in gaps and teach new curriculum and so on.

    This on top of the move to MAFS which actually moved some standards that were taught in the higher levels, down. This seems like it would work except that a student moving to Geometry is now missing the new material that should have been covered in Algebra I (under the new standards) but was not. Again, these teachers are playing catch up.

    My students are constantly frustrated because of the pace that we have to keep in order to cover the new material and fill in the gaps that they have from elementary all the way through Algebra.