F is for valedictorian

Bridget Green was all set to be valedictorian of her New Orleans high school, but she didn’t even go to the graduation ceremony. Despite her A in Algebra II, Green failed the math portion of the graduation exam. It was her fifth try.

The test measures 10th grade skills: the 75 percent passing score reflects “approaching basic” competency, according to Number 2 Pencil, which has a link to sample test questions. Furthermore, Green’s difficulties with the graduation exam were no fluke. Her ACT score of 11 was lower than 99 percent of students who took the college admissions test.

The Times-Picayune story is heart-breaking. Green was willing to learn, but her teachers didn’t tell her that she needed to improve.

Studious, athletic and outgoing, teachers and peers said Green is an ideal student. In her three years at Fortier, she balanced a college-prep class schedule with competing on Fortier’s basketball and track teams. Her transcript, which is full of A’s and B’s, shows she earned top marks in biology, geography, history, creative writing and Spanish.

On her 12th-grade report card, her teachers praised her, with several congratulating her for her “outstanding effort” and calling her a “pleasure to have in class.”

They were giving her As for being a good kid. But they weren’t teaching her. She passed the English exam on her first try, but just barely. The math questions “looked nothing like what she learned in class.”

To sharpen her math skills and improve her chances of passing the exam, Green asked school officials to let her skip a physical education class and take an additional math course during her senior year. But she said the school’s counselor wouldn’t let her make the switch.

(Principal Harvey) Cyrus said he doesn’t know why Green’s request was blocked, but he said his counselors wouldn’t deny it without strong reasons.

“My counselors are excellent,” he said. “They’re going to do everything they can to help a student.”

. . . Cyrus said Green’s experience does not suggest the school is doing anything wrong.

“I feel my teachers did everything they could do,” Cyrus said. “Sometimes students just don’t ask for help.”

And sometimes a student asks for help, and doesn’t get it. She gets inflated grades that signal she’s doing fine when she isn’t.

The principal blames the test. He has no worries about the students who got lower grades than Bridget Green.

“I would say most of our children are ready to go on to college,” he said.

Green plans to keep retaking the test till she passes. Then she’ll enroll in community college. Based on her high school grades, she’s confident she can succeed. She wants to major in elementary education.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Another endorsement for school vouchers! Every year our schools get worse, and yet the incompetents keep saying they need more money! Put the money back in the hands of the parents, which will force them to be accountable again for their children’s education. This will create a market for quality private schools to be started.

  2. Another endorsement for school vouchers! Every year our schools get worse, and yet the incompetents keep saying they need more money! Put the money back in the hands of the parents, which will force them to be accountable again for their children’s education. This will create a market for quality private schools to be started.

  3. Here are the previous comments:

    #1 Aug 14 2003, 06:01 am
    That’s just mind-boggling. At what point does the conduct of principals and teachers like these become so fraudulent that they deserve to be jailed for collecting tax dollars under false pretences?
    Steve LaBonne
      

    #2 Aug 14 2003, 06:12 am
    I sincerely hope she does go on to major in ElEd– and I hope she discovers what REALLY is wrong with the system, and works toward fixing it.

    Realistically, though, it wouldn’t surprise me if her self-opinion was so high that she figures the ACT score, exit exam, and her future college grades must all be wrong– she really is an A student in math!
    Sarah
      

    #3 Aug 14 2003, 07:35 am
    Whenever the test shows a problem, educational administrators automatically blame the test. Can you imagine what would happen if people of this sort became airline pilots instead of bureaucrats?

    Copilot: “Captain, the fuel gauges are reading very low!

    Pilot: “Must be a bad gauge.”

    Copilot: “And the radar shows an intense thunderstorm cell, dead ahead!”

    Pilot: “Radar isn’t always right, you know.”
    David Foster
      

    #4 Aug 14 2003, 07:41 am
    Now, David, as good as tests are, they’re not mechanical. It’s a cute analogy, but not an accurate one.
    Michael

      

    #5 Aug 14 2003, 08:09 am
    Mechanical devices aren’t 100% reliable, either. For example, oil pressure gauges sometimes show a drop in pressure because the gauge itself has failed. One should therefore assess the situation from another angle (by checking the oil *temperature* gauge) before deciding that the situation is a true emergency. What one should *not* do is simply assume that there is no problem.

    If educational administrators really suspected that the problem was the test–and really cared about the quality of the instruction they were providing–then they would “check another gauge”–for example, by having a math professor from a local university come in and assess the curriculum. But, most often, they simply want the issue to go away and leave them in peace.
    David Foster


    #6 Aug 14 2003, 10:27 am
    I’m with the test on this one (and in most cases). The school is just trying to deflect blame for the fact that they did not do their job(s).
    Geoff Matthews [
      

    #7 Aug 14 2003, 11:08 am
    There’s something a little strange about the math program at Fortier. The 8/13 article says, “Just this year Ms. Green received an A in Algebra II.” She took Algebra II as a senior?

    When I went to high school, we took Algebra I freshman year, and II sophmore year, and then Geometry. Trig was mixed in there somewhere, too. And some people took Algebra I in eight grade, and so started freshman year with Algebra II.

    The state math test is supposed to be 10th grade-level. Does it even include Algebra II, then? Are all the Fortier seniors taking Algebra II?

    The school has clearly dropped the ball on this; certainly no one on a “college-prep class schedule” should be failing 10th grade level tests, let alone someone with top grades.

    Though I do wonder about several items. Green’s transcript is “full of A’s and B’s”, though we know of at least one C (in Algebra I). At most schools, the competition for valedictorian is such that you’re comparing multiple students with straight A’s; is Fortier not very competitive in this, then? Maybe it’s not a grade inflation problem (ie, maybe the Fortier teachers are properly giving out no more than 20% A’s, etc) so much as a complete failure to teach. “We gave A’s to the top 20% of our class, but they didn’t learn much.”

    Another question I have is whether Green avoided harder classes to make room for sports, and/or to get better grades. You’ll remember that the latter charge was leveled against Blair Hornstine in New Jersey.

    Finally, there’s no mention of Green being involved with non-sports extracurricular activities; doesn’t Fortier have a student newspaper or yearbook or something? Does the fact (if it is a fact) that the valedictorian wasn’t involved in these more academic pursuits send a warning signal?
    PJ/Maryland
      

    #8 Aug 14 2003, 12:46 pm
    Actually, PJ, the other article on this story, which has a bit more information in it, says the following:

    “Studious, athletic and outgoing, teachers and peers said Green is an ideal student. In her three years at Fortier, she balanced a college-prep class schedule with competing on Fortier’s basketball and track teams. Her transcript, which is full of A’s and B’s, shows she earned top marks in biology, geography, history, creative writing and Spanish. ”

    It also mentions that she tried to get out of a gym class to take an extra math class in order to bring her skills up, but her request was denied.

    An odd request from a valedictorian, and an odd request to deny.

    Your other points are very good. There’s no mention of her taking any math beyond Algebra II, which is usually taught in 10th-grade. And it’s indeed odd to see a valedictorian with any C’s on her transcript.

    Bottom line – The only “winners” here are the 125 seniors who managed to pass the GEE despite the school’s teaching efforts, and I doubt most of them are performing at the level of average high school graduates across the country. There are at least 29 others in the same boat as Ms. Green, who made it to 12th-grade with acceptable GPA’s but couldn’t pass the GEE.

    Also, note that, while she allegedly received top marks in “creative writing,” she admits she “eked out” a passing score on the English portion of the GEE. She wasn’t shortchanged only in math, and that ACT score proves it.

    Kimberly   

    #9 Aug 14 2003, 12:49 pm
    Oops, my bad, that’s the same article! I just realized you wanted to know if she competed in NON-SPORTs activities. There doesn’t seem to be much info on that which is, again, as you pointed out, odd for a valedictorian.
    Kimberly
      

    #10 Aug 14 2003, 01:48 pm
    Around here it is not uncommon for kids to take Algebra I in ninth grade, geometry in tenth, and Algebra II in eleventh. It’s what I did, and what my own kid is doing.

    To me, the telling argument is that she got an A in Algebra II but the test questions look like nothing she did in class. Presumably that was true of the ACT as well. Obviously her teacher had no complaints about homework left undone, low attendance, or poor test grades. The thing about some kids not asking for help is a low blow – if you’re getting A’s, how are you supposed to know you need help? And at that school, who was there to help her?
    Laura
      

    #11 Aug 14 2003, 05:39 pm
    In the high school I went to, you took Algebra I in 9th grade, Geometry in 10th, Algebra II in 11th and, in 12th grade, Advanced Math and/or Physics.

    I can’t believe that even a community college would accept someone with an ACT score of 11. Seriously. I knew people in high school who were quite dim and still managed a 13.
    jackie d   

    #12 Aug 15 2003, 02:42 am
    To me, the telling argument is that she got an A in Algebra II but the test questions look like nothing she did in class.

    Laura, to be fair to Green, I think she meant the comment about the questions looking like nothing she’d done to refer to the first time she took the test, in sophmore year. You would think that, by the third (or fourth or fifth) time she took the test, the subject matter would at least look familiar, even if she couldn’t get the right answers.

    Maybe she gets really nervous taking tests (which would explain her ACT score), as one person in the article suggested. Though you’d think she’d get over this by the fifth test, or her teachers would help her with her nervousness. (The problem is that suggesting Green doesn’t test well is an easy copout for the school.)
    PJ/Maryland
      

    #13 Aug 15 2003, 08:04 am
    “Not testing well” is sometimes an organic condition, but I think some of the test anxiety problems we have are being created by schools. They give students these inflated grades, then when they can’t pass tests the students are told they just “don’t test well”. Ever after that they use it as an excuse for their low test scores.

    Some students (particularly LD students) actually don’t test well for one reason or another, but 9 times out of 10 in my tutoring practice I’ve been able to trace their “not testing well” in math back to one class, usually in junior high or high school, where they had a bad experience with a teacher and “learned” that they just “weren’t good” at math. Or sometimes the teacher gave them an inflated grade, so in the following class they didn’t have the necessary skills. This lack of skills was often mistaken for a lack of ability or a test anxiety problem.
    Sarah   

    #14 Aug 15 2003, 08:07 am
    First, I agree with the comments that taking Algebra II as a senior doesn’t qualify as “college prep” where I come from. At the school I went to in Tenessee (admittedly a private school) if you were considered college material, you had at least one year of calculus under your belt when you graduated (I had two).

    However, no one has addressed Joanne’s other point, which is that in primary school, a tendency exists for girls to be graded mainly on deportment, and that appears to be what has happened with Ms. Green. This practice isn’t fair to anyone, not to the girls who get shortchanged on their education, and not to the boys who have to compete for grades on a different standard. I think this explains the often-heard stories about girls who excel in grade school and then “hit the wall” when they go to college; the simple truth is that, grades aside, primary school hasn’t prepared them for college. Standardized tests are often criticized, and sometimes rightly so, but they serve as an important check and balance against grade inflation (or deflation), and should not be abandoned just because they sometimes reveal uncomfortable truths. Fortunately for Ms. Green, it sounds like she has already detected the situation and she is going to be persistent enough to find her way out of this trap by herself, but for many other girls of high potential this isn’t going to be true.

    Dave Cornutt
      

    #15 Aug 15 2003, 01:10 pm
    Actually, I think both boys and girls often are graded on behavior: Teachers favor nice, cooperative, hard-working kids.

    This is particularly pernicious when teachers don’t expect certain students to do well anyhow. I know a black father who was furious to discover that his son was being given good grades, despite poor academic work, because “he’s such a nice boy.” The father thought his son was capable of being a good reader and a nice boy.
    Joanne Jacobs
      

    #16 Aug 15 2003, 01:33 pm
    My comment about the test questions not looking familiar actually was meant to be fair to the student; I suspect that while she thought she was doing Algebra II, the teacher was wasting her time.

    My boss has a kid whose pre-algebra teacher was so horrible that all the kids had to re-take pre-algebra before they could take Algebra I. She was fired at the end of the school year, but the damage was done; not only did the kids waste that year of math, but they had to unlearn what they’d learned wrong. She knew his homework looked awfully strange but she used to have a trust-the-teacher philosophy that prevented her from looking into it; no more.
    Laura
      

    #17 Aug 15 2003, 09:30 pm
    Caught this on the Fox News site which is how I found you. Put you on favorites.
    As Harry Truman said “Just tell the truth on em and they’ll THINK they’re in hell! Course he was lying about his opponents all the time.
    Anyway YOU tell the truth and give them hell. Wish we could hang them all.
    the big mick
      

    #18 Aug 16 2003, 07:01 am
    The most depressing bit of the story is this student’s intention to go on and become an elementary school teacher. Let us all hope, fervently, that she does not.

    Some years ago, teaching at an Enormous State University in Louisiana, a young woman’s parents [she was failing my course which was a required history course for an Ed degree then] wrote to me, asking me if I could not see my way clear to passing her in the course. They explained they [the parents] were both teachers in a La city that shall remain nameless [not NO], and they very much wanted their daughter to earn a college degree, and they realized the only degree she had a hope of completing was an Education degree. They assured me that if I could find it in my heart to give her a passing grade, they would guarantee that she would never actually teach.
    No, she didn’t pass. But I found it astonishing then [I would not now] that her parents were convinced that an education degree was the only one she could possibly earn. It was in their veiw literally the bottom of the barrel in terms of rigor and what it demanded of students.
    Not as it should be, one of the most rigorous degrees, but the least rigorous one.
    Please, please, for the sake of generations of children who may be funneled into this “valedictorian’s” classes, somebody convince her to enter a field where she will do much much less damage.
    Please?
    R. Becker

  4. Here are the previous comments:

    #1 Aug 14 2003, 06:01 am
    That’s just mind-boggling. At what point does the conduct of principals and teachers like these become so fraudulent that they deserve to be jailed for collecting tax dollars under false pretences?
    Steve LaBonne
      

    #2 Aug 14 2003, 06:12 am
    I sincerely hope she does go on to major in ElEd– and I hope she discovers what REALLY is wrong with the system, and works toward fixing it.

    Realistically, though, it wouldn’t surprise me if her self-opinion was so high that she figures the ACT score, exit exam, and her future college grades must all be wrong– she really is an A student in math!
    Sarah
      

    #3 Aug 14 2003, 07:35 am
    Whenever the test shows a problem, educational administrators automatically blame the test. Can you imagine what would happen if people of this sort became airline pilots instead of bureaucrats?

    Copilot: “Captain, the fuel gauges are reading very low!

    Pilot: “Must be a bad gauge.”

    Copilot: “And the radar shows an intense thunderstorm cell, dead ahead!”

    Pilot: “Radar isn’t always right, you know.”
    David Foster
      

    #4 Aug 14 2003, 07:41 am
    Now, David, as good as tests are, they’re not mechanical. It’s a cute analogy, but not an accurate one.
    Michael

      

    #5 Aug 14 2003, 08:09 am
    Mechanical devices aren’t 100% reliable, either. For example, oil pressure gauges sometimes show a drop in pressure because the gauge itself has failed. One should therefore assess the situation from another angle (by checking the oil *temperature* gauge) before deciding that the situation is a true emergency. What one should *not* do is simply assume that there is no problem.

    If educational administrators really suspected that the problem was the test–and really cared about the quality of the instruction they were providing–then they would “check another gauge”–for example, by having a math professor from a local university come in and assess the curriculum. But, most often, they simply want the issue to go away and leave them in peace.
    David Foster


    #6 Aug 14 2003, 10:27 am
    I’m with the test on this one (and in most cases). The school is just trying to deflect blame for the fact that they did not do their job(s).
    Geoff Matthews [
      

    #7 Aug 14 2003, 11:08 am
    There’s something a little strange about the math program at Fortier. The 8/13 article says, “Just this year Ms. Green received an A in Algebra II.” She took Algebra II as a senior?

    When I went to high school, we took Algebra I freshman year, and II sophmore year, and then Geometry. Trig was mixed in there somewhere, too. And some people took Algebra I in eight grade, and so started freshman year with Algebra II.

    The state math test is supposed to be 10th grade-level. Does it even include Algebra II, then? Are all the Fortier seniors taking Algebra II?

    The school has clearly dropped the ball on this; certainly no one on a “college-prep class schedule” should be failing 10th grade level tests, let alone someone with top grades.

    Though I do wonder about several items. Green’s transcript is “full of A’s and B’s”, though we know of at least one C (in Algebra I). At most schools, the competition for valedictorian is such that you’re comparing multiple students with straight A’s; is Fortier not very competitive in this, then? Maybe it’s not a grade inflation problem (ie, maybe the Fortier teachers are properly giving out no more than 20% A’s, etc) so much as a complete failure to teach. “We gave A’s to the top 20% of our class, but they didn’t learn much.”

    Another question I have is whether Green avoided harder classes to make room for sports, and/or to get better grades. You’ll remember that the latter charge was leveled against Blair Hornstine in New Jersey.

    Finally, there’s no mention of Green being involved with non-sports extracurricular activities; doesn’t Fortier have a student newspaper or yearbook or something? Does the fact (if it is a fact) that the valedictorian wasn’t involved in these more academic pursuits send a warning signal?
    PJ/Maryland
      

    #8 Aug 14 2003, 12:46 pm
    Actually, PJ, the other article on this story, which has a bit more information in it, says the following:

    “Studious, athletic and outgoing, teachers and peers said Green is an ideal student. In her three years at Fortier, she balanced a college-prep class schedule with competing on Fortier’s basketball and track teams. Her transcript, which is full of A’s and B’s, shows she earned top marks in biology, geography, history, creative writing and Spanish. ”

    It also mentions that she tried to get out of a gym class to take an extra math class in order to bring her skills up, but her request was denied.

    An odd request from a valedictorian, and an odd request to deny.

    Your other points are very good. There’s no mention of her taking any math beyond Algebra II, which is usually taught in 10th-grade. And it’s indeed odd to see a valedictorian with any C’s on her transcript.

    Bottom line – The only “winners” here are the 125 seniors who managed to pass the GEE despite the school’s teaching efforts, and I doubt most of them are performing at the level of average high school graduates across the country. There are at least 29 others in the same boat as Ms. Green, who made it to 12th-grade with acceptable GPA’s but couldn’t pass the GEE.

    Also, note that, while she allegedly received top marks in “creative writing,” she admits she “eked out” a passing score on the English portion of the GEE. She wasn’t shortchanged only in math, and that ACT score proves it.

    Kimberly   

    #9 Aug 14 2003, 12:49 pm
    Oops, my bad, that’s the same article! I just realized you wanted to know if she competed in NON-SPORTs activities. There doesn’t seem to be much info on that which is, again, as you pointed out, odd for a valedictorian.
    Kimberly
      

    #10 Aug 14 2003, 01:48 pm
    Around here it is not uncommon for kids to take Algebra I in ninth grade, geometry in tenth, and Algebra II in eleventh. It’s what I did, and what my own kid is doing.

    To me, the telling argument is that she got an A in Algebra II but the test questions look like nothing she did in class. Presumably that was true of the ACT as well. Obviously her teacher had no complaints about homework left undone, low attendance, or poor test grades. The thing about some kids not asking for help is a low blow – if you’re getting A’s, how are you supposed to know you need help? And at that school, who was there to help her?
    Laura
      

    #11 Aug 14 2003, 05:39 pm
    In the high school I went to, you took Algebra I in 9th grade, Geometry in 10th, Algebra II in 11th and, in 12th grade, Advanced Math and/or Physics.

    I can’t believe that even a community college would accept someone with an ACT score of 11. Seriously. I knew people in high school who were quite dim and still managed a 13.
    jackie d   

    #12 Aug 15 2003, 02:42 am
    To me, the telling argument is that she got an A in Algebra II but the test questions look like nothing she did in class.

    Laura, to be fair to Green, I think she meant the comment about the questions looking like nothing she’d done to refer to the first time she took the test, in sophmore year. You would think that, by the third (or fourth or fifth) time she took the test, the subject matter would at least look familiar, even if she couldn’t get the right answers.

    Maybe she gets really nervous taking tests (which would explain her ACT score), as one person in the article suggested. Though you’d think she’d get over this by the fifth test, or her teachers would help her with her nervousness. (The problem is that suggesting Green doesn’t test well is an easy copout for the school.)
    PJ/Maryland
      

    #13 Aug 15 2003, 08:04 am
    “Not testing well” is sometimes an organic condition, but I think some of the test anxiety problems we have are being created by schools. They give students these inflated grades, then when they can’t pass tests the students are told they just “don’t test well”. Ever after that they use it as an excuse for their low test scores.

    Some students (particularly LD students) actually don’t test well for one reason or another, but 9 times out of 10 in my tutoring practice I’ve been able to trace their “not testing well” in math back to one class, usually in junior high or high school, where they had a bad experience with a teacher and “learned” that they just “weren’t good” at math. Or sometimes the teacher gave them an inflated grade, so in the following class they didn’t have the necessary skills. This lack of skills was often mistaken for a lack of ability or a test anxiety problem.
    Sarah   

    #14 Aug 15 2003, 08:07 am
    First, I agree with the comments that taking Algebra II as a senior doesn’t qualify as “college prep” where I come from. At the school I went to in Tenessee (admittedly a private school) if you were considered college material, you had at least one year of calculus under your belt when you graduated (I had two).

    However, no one has addressed Joanne’s other point, which is that in primary school, a tendency exists for girls to be graded mainly on deportment, and that appears to be what has happened with Ms. Green. This practice isn’t fair to anyone, not to the girls who get shortchanged on their education, and not to the boys who have to compete for grades on a different standard. I think this explains the often-heard stories about girls who excel in grade school and then “hit the wall” when they go to college; the simple truth is that, grades aside, primary school hasn’t prepared them for college. Standardized tests are often criticized, and sometimes rightly so, but they serve as an important check and balance against grade inflation (or deflation), and should not be abandoned just because they sometimes reveal uncomfortable truths. Fortunately for Ms. Green, it sounds like she has already detected the situation and she is going to be persistent enough to find her way out of this trap by herself, but for many other girls of high potential this isn’t going to be true.

    Dave Cornutt
      

    #15 Aug 15 2003, 01:10 pm
    Actually, I think both boys and girls often are graded on behavior: Teachers favor nice, cooperative, hard-working kids.

    This is particularly pernicious when teachers don’t expect certain students to do well anyhow. I know a black father who was furious to discover that his son was being given good grades, despite poor academic work, because “he’s such a nice boy.” The father thought his son was capable of being a good reader and a nice boy.
    Joanne Jacobs
      

    #16 Aug 15 2003, 01:33 pm
    My comment about the test questions not looking familiar actually was meant to be fair to the student; I suspect that while she thought she was doing Algebra II, the teacher was wasting her time.

    My boss has a kid whose pre-algebra teacher was so horrible that all the kids had to re-take pre-algebra before they could take Algebra I. She was fired at the end of the school year, but the damage was done; not only did the kids waste that year of math, but they had to unlearn what they’d learned wrong. She knew his homework looked awfully strange but she used to have a trust-the-teacher philosophy that prevented her from looking into it; no more.
    Laura
      

    #17 Aug 15 2003, 09:30 pm
    Caught this on the Fox News site which is how I found you. Put you on favorites.
    As Harry Truman said “Just tell the truth on em and they’ll THINK they’re in hell! Course he was lying about his opponents all the time.
    Anyway YOU tell the truth and give them hell. Wish we could hang them all.
    the big mick
      

    #18 Aug 16 2003, 07:01 am
    The most depressing bit of the story is this student’s intention to go on and become an elementary school teacher. Let us all hope, fervently, that she does not.

    Some years ago, teaching at an Enormous State University in Louisiana, a young woman’s parents [she was failing my course which was a required history course for an Ed degree then] wrote to me, asking me if I could not see my way clear to passing her in the course. They explained they [the parents] were both teachers in a La city that shall remain nameless [not NO], and they very much wanted their daughter to earn a college degree, and they realized the only degree she had a hope of completing was an Education degree. They assured me that if I could find it in my heart to give her a passing grade, they would guarantee that she would never actually teach.
    No, she didn’t pass. But I found it astonishing then [I would not now] that her parents were convinced that an education degree was the only one she could possibly earn. It was in their veiw literally the bottom of the barrel in terms of rigor and what it demanded of students.
    Not as it should be, one of the most rigorous degrees, but the least rigorous one.
    Please, please, for the sake of generations of children who may be funneled into this “valedictorian’s” classes, somebody convince her to enter a field where she will do much much less damage.
    Please?
    R. Becker

  5. Laura, my daughter and son had a French teacher who must have been the brother of your boss’s child’s algebra teacher. The man literally could not speak, read or write the language. I know because I can. My daughter managed because in her previous school, she’d had a fabulous native-speaking teacher. My son was not so lucky. He spent two years in this man’s class and came out unable to conjugate the verbs “to be” and “to have”, even though he got straight Bs. I tried to work with him, and he wanted to learn, but we had limited time to study together. I actually tried to convince him to start over in high school with Spanish I, but he was determined to take Honors French II. The HS teacher is well aware of the poor preparation of students from his middle school, but she can’t do anything to rid the system of this loser. Luckily, she is very willing to offer extra help, and I think he’ll do fine this year. I really regret not making a big stink at the school and getting this man fired. Now my third and last child is in middle school, but she’ll be taking Spanish from a teacher whose last name ends in “z” and is reportedly very good.

  6. Laura, my daughter and son had a French teacher who must have been the brother of your boss’s child’s algebra teacher. The man literally could not speak, read or write the language. I know because I can. My daughter managed because in her previous school, she’d had a fabulous native-speaking teacher. My son was not so lucky. He spent two years in this man’s class and came out unable to conjugate the verbs “to be” and “to have”, even though he got straight Bs. I tried to work with him, and he wanted to learn, but we had limited time to study together. I actually tried to convince him to start over in high school with Spanish I, but he was determined to take Honors French II. The HS teacher is well aware of the poor preparation of students from his middle school, but she can’t do anything to rid the system of this loser. Luckily, she is very willing to offer extra help, and I think he’ll do fine this year. I really regret not making a big stink at the school and getting this man fired. Now my third and last child is in middle school, but she’ll be taking Spanish from a teacher whose last name ends in “z” and is reportedly very good.

  7. Robin, he probably has tenure.

  8. Robin, he probably has tenure.