Read to the DCSD Board of Education
March 25, 2014
My name is Taylor Vogel. I attended Fox Creek from kindergarten through 6th grade and I am currently an 8th grader at Cresthill Middle School. I am here to talk about choice. DCSD talks about choice, in fact almost everything I hear right now is about choice. Choice scholarships, schools of choice, choice this and choice that…but yet I was given no choice this year.
In January of 2013, students were asked to register for the next year’s courses. Since I was currently taking Algebra, I registered to take Geometry. Both of my older sisters and my older brother took Algebra as 7th Graders and Geometry as 8th Graders. By this I mean they attended Cresthill where a real live teacher taught their math classes four of the five days each week. Well…unfortunately, I was not given this opportunity or this CHOICE. I want to illustrate for you what my Geometry class looks like this year. Mr. Larsen recently visited and he can vouch for the accuracy of my illustration:
Everyday except Wednesday, I basically have a study hall rather than geometry class. I use this time to do all my homework, play on my iPhone, and sometimes even do math. Seven boys and one girl usually sit in a math classroom while the Cresthill math teachers have their planning time nearby. They peek in on us on occasionally, and are willing to answer questions. On Thursdays during our 95 minute block period, I actually have geometry for a total of 60 minutes. From 9:30 – 10:30, we grab a laptop and log into the eDCSD online school. Does this sound world class to you? Let me assure you it ISN’T.
At most, we get 60 minutes of instruction a week Rather than the 236 minutes of classroom instruction per week that other students receive, I get 60 minutes. That is 25% of what I deserve to be getting this year. There is very little differentiation and no world class teaching going on during this time. Rather we are just utilizing a computer so that we can hear and sometimes see a teacher for approximately 30 minutes of direct instruction. The rest falls on me. I would NOT call this WORLD CLASS, I WOULD NOT CALL THIS CHOICE I would call it AN INDEPENDENT STUDY.
Like my sister, I plan to be an engineer and the math background I gain from Algebra and Geometry will play an important role in what courses I can take at HRHS in preparation for college.
Please fund the neighborhood schools in a way that ALL students including the best math students can have the choice that best meets their needs. The nine members of my Geometry class would all choose to have a real live teacher in a classroom at Cresthill teaching us Geometry for 236 minutes a week.