Taro (mother2012) wrote,

Noipeh replied to me:

That sounds like a bad teacher to me. Giving a test that only THREE kids in your class pass isn't usually the result of poor study habits, but poor teaching habits. They may have recourse if they complain to the principal, but probably not enough time to get help before August.

I get very annoyed at teachers who forget that they are supposed to TEACH a subject so that the students learn and can pass the tests, instead of constantly trying to trip them up.

I should explain a bit.

Buffalo schools

This is one of the worst school systems in the country. There is one school, City Honors, which regularly turns out kids who go to great colleges. It has one overflow school, DaVinci, where Raederle went her Sophmore year. All college-entrance efforts go to those schools. Kids in other schools aren't even particularly expected to graduate.

The school that Raederle and Travanti go to, Grover Cleveland, is the worst Buffalo school on the West Side. They call it the International School, and any student from another country is automatically expected to go there. That's how Travanti ended up there.

In fact, most of the teachers are excellent, at least by Buffalo standards. The students are awful. These are welfare family kids. Most of them don't have fathers at home and usually don't know who their father is. Mothers are either struggling to provide for them on a minimum wage job, or drugged up. Black boys are expected to drop out at sixteen (after mentally dropping out in fourth grade). All girls are expected to get pregnant. About 95% of them have children. There is day care provided in the school.

Jeremy (Raederle's former boyfriend) was brilliant. He was the child who got A's and 100's. In fourth grade he made a decision: no one liked the brainiac, so he wouldn't be. He didn't turn to drugs (like his mother), but he concentrated on having fun and 'hanging out'. He did graduate, but has done nothing with his life since then. He was expected to go to college, but getting the paperwork together was too difficult. He's tried selling drugs, but didn't even succeed at that, because underneath he's a really nice kid. But he can't hold a job, and can no longer even get hired.

Buffalo is more than half black. It is so heavily black that a quadroon is considered white (and that's figured into those same statistics - it's really much more than half black). And everyone, including my daughter, sees black as being superior. Nothing wrong with that as a bare fact, but the 'black culture' here dictates that you don't study, don't work, don't support the kids that you father, don't 'buy into the white agenda' which means don't take any responsibility. This is not a New York state standard. Not true 80 miles south of here where I grew up, and the actual differences between white and black are minimal.

This year, Buffalo eliminated finals. There are certain state mandated finals, such as math and physics, that they couldn't eliminate. But language, english, etc had no final exams. Too hard. We must graduate every child who tries to stick it out, don't challenge them too much lest they give up, don't actually teach them anything. Raederle has passed three years of Spanish and couldn't give you a simple sentence in that language.

I don't excuse the teacher. From the reports I've gotten he made little attempt to teach. The math teacher got them through Algebra, after all. But in his defense, he's not really a physics teacher. It got foisted on him. They don't even offer physics more than once in two or three years because they can't persuade anyone to teach it, and few kids will tackle it anyway.

As for scheduling graduation the day after the last exam, I am totally puzzled. My theories go something like this: only 6 kids from the graduating class needed it to graduate, so it wasn't considered important; NYS is in a bind because we run an early September through mid-June school year. Other states appear to have an earlier schedule. The Chicago school Travanti is signed up for was amazed to discover that summer school here doesn't even end before their fall classes start. So they push to get those diplomas out as early as possible.

In the midst of writing this, I got the *Other* phone call. The caller yesterday was misinformed. Raederle *did* need this credit, so she isn't graduating today either.

So (did I say this in the previous post?) we will have a class every morning at 9:00. All of the kids who need this class to graduate are welcome to come - I've talked with the guidance counselor about this (although whether they come - ??) - and we will start at the beginning of the book.
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