My Article Assigned as Homework: Kids Can’t Do Math

I’ve noticed a large number of visits to an article I wrote about American children and their lagging math skills. An online site has assigned “homework” using my article. To be clear, I don’t know if this is originates from a school. There is a woman’s name attached to the assignment. I don’t know that she is a teacher. See details below.

My story was that teachers have not been able to accomplish the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act in the 13 years they were required to do so. Obama granted waivers to all 50 states if requested. The whine is that No Child Left Behind was never fully funded.

My questions were:  1) Why is more money needed to teach math – how does more money equate to better math scores? 2) How hard is the math we are asking them to teach? 3) Are our students really so stupid (or are our teachers just poor teachers)?

The website is VilcinsTechKids. Vilcins appears to be a Ms. and the visitors are coming from Chicago. There are four assignments for 5th graders. Mine is the third, identified as CPU row- Article 3. Article 3 leads to my article, American Kids Can’t Do Math – Can’t Pass Testing: Obama Grants Waivers.

Ms. Vilcins asks the readers to read the assigned articles and answer how each makes them feel:

As you read think about and notice how the article portrays teenagers. What kind of ideas do people have about youth (young people) today?

After reading the article be ready to share your ideas about what image this article gives about teenagers? What does it make people think about young people today?

teenagers steal
teengagers are criminals
teenages are bad
young people are bad at math
young people fail math tests
youth are in gangs
youth fight

The three other articles assigned for the children to read have to do with crimes. Perhaps Ms. Vilcins wants to help the children understand that the acts they are reading about will destroy their future. Perhaps there will be dialog about the rewards of young people being a credit to their community.

My article does not portray young people in a bad light. It asks why teachers cannot teach math. A good math book and a blackboard should suffice. Most children have computers and calculators. What else is needed but time with a good teacher? Having asked that, I realize that we have children who are unteachable, we have parents who refuse to be a factor in their child’s life, and refuse to cooperate with teachers. When will we begin failing the children who cannot accomplish the work? Get over the money. Teach those who will learn. Fail those who will not…or get rid of incompetent teachers no matter their tenure. Last thought: do teachers explain the downside consequences of “tenure” to their children?

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie’s Notebook

  • Hey Maggie! My husband teaches Developmental Math at a local University. That means he teaches 6th grade arithmetic up to 8th grade math to COLLEGE STUDENTS who have GRADUATED from public school. Now, granted, some of them are “non-traditional” students; adults re-entering the education system long after they’ve left school, however, many of them are newly graduated from public High Schools….and they cannot handle college algebra until they learn basic math skills. YIKES!

    • Kj, I hear this over and over. Our universities spend a fortune trying to bring the lagging student up to par just so they can move on to university courses. No doubt, it costs taxpayers a bloody fortune in state schools. Fail them before they get to college. That’s the remedy. Thanks for taking the time to enforce the problems our children are having.

    • You want to tell me why a student recently graduated from High School cannot do college math? I can see an adult who has forgotten their algebra (I have), but an 18 year old has no excuse.

  • It’s time for a new perspective on educational reform. Check out No Child Held Back at to join the conversation!

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