Sen. Jerry Tillman’s grasp on educational reality is about as strong my grasp of string theory or a Calculus BC exam – loose at best.
The former public school administrator has again launched an ill-conceived rash boon piece of legislation through the Senate that demands schools to offer two tracks of math courses.
I am not a math teacher. In fact, according to my wife, I am rather poor in explaining mathematical concepts to our children when they are faced with math homework. But I do know that all of a sudden changing the course tracks in high schools will present an incredible challenge for schools to adequately teach those differing courses in high schools in such a quick amount of time.
Sen. Tillman think it can be done in the blink of an eye. He was quoted in an EdNC.org report ((https://www.ednc.org/2016/06/09/senate-moves-state-one-step-closer-split-high-school-math-tracks),
“If you can teach math, your same certifications are required, same students, same allotment of teachers. Not gonna change,” he said.
Tillman said the practical aspect of teaching could be accomplished by having a teacher teach Algebra I alongside Math 1 in the same class.
“With a good teacher, you can do it,” he said.
So, teaching two subjects in the same classroom? In the same amount of time? With two different pedagogical approaches? Of course, Sen. Tillman would think that. He believes there should be a charter school built next to every public school. Two schools for one student. Makes sense. At least with Tillman’s math.
Here is the man who has literally ramrodded unregulated charter school growth down the throats of the very public he claims to represent. Here is the man who is pushing for more tax payer money to fund the very charter schools he wants built to make public schools seem inferior. Here is the man who helped institute a public school grading system that unfairly labeled hundreds of schools as failing so that it would create a “reason” to bring in more charter schools.
So forcing schools to teach more courses to the same number of students with an ever decreasing amount of resources is good math within a matter of weeks is good legislation? Coming from a bunch of non-math experts?
Of course it is. Not. It is purely political.
If you read Sen. Tillman’s comments from the June 16th report by Alex Granados in EdNC.org (https://www.ednc.org/2016/06/16/senate-passes-bill-require-high-school-math-tracks/ ), you will see the strong-arm method of debate that is often used by the senator when he senses that others disagree with him.
Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Buncombe, first said he wouldn’t vote for the bill because it didn’t extend to the way math is taught at the elementary school level, where he said damage was being done with the teaching methods currently being used.
“I’m not voting for this bill, because this bill doesn’t do enough,” he said.
Tillman fired back that if Apodaca wanted to be stuck with Common Core, not supporting his bill would make that happen.
“If you don’t like choice, and you want to be stuck with the June Atkinson/Bill Cobey Common Core, well that’s exactly what you’re going to get,” Tillman said.
June Atkinson is the state Superintendent, and Bill Cobey is the chair of the state Board of Education.
Wow! Dr. Atkinson and Mr. Cobey invented Common Core?
If we can add names to ideas and concepts in order to plague them with ill associations, then I have plenty in mind. Maybe when a lawmaker berates others because they see a lack of reason in his proposals as being inferior we can call it the “Tillman Argument”. But I digress.
Call it a “Tillman Digression”.
Whether or not you like Common Core, it shows people how easily education gets politicized. And when education gets politicized, it becomes a child in a contested divorce case between different sets of parental entities whose egos and personalities cloud the principles under which all should abide by.
Except, this is not a child – it’s our students.
Sen. Tillman has already shown his cards. He is not a man truly connected to public education. If anything, his record has shown a complete disdain for schools coated under a clear veneer of bullshit.
This next bit from Granados’s report shows that very manure which covers Sen. Tillman’s words.
Tillman said that large and medium level schools and districts should be able to handle the change without additional financial resources, but that smaller schools with fewer math teachers might struggle. He said he was committed to making sure they were allowed the funds they needed to compensate.
I am sorry, but the words “funds”, “resources”, “committed”, and public “schools” have never collided in the same sentence when it comes to Sen. Tillman. Ask anyone following the General Assembly’s deliberate underfunding of traditional public schools. Tillman’s voice is usually heard loudest.
If he is all about offering “choices”, then I choose to allow for more investigation into the math courses already offered. I choose to let more math educators speak on the matter since they are the ones in the classrooms. I choose that we take the time needed to allow for an educated decision.
But if Sen. Tillman is so intent on bringing back the “old” math maybe he can use it to fund public schools with the ”old “numbers” and “percentages” that public schools used to be supported with.
I’d take that math anytime.