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Posted on November 23, 2012 3:05 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Math and Social Justice! No No!
Recently, I read a report in a national magazine on income levels of different groups of people in the US. The report especially featured income differences between males, females and different ethnic groups. Some of the statistics were very disturbing. For example, women holding the same job as men with same number of years in the job made considerably less money in most of the states. Differences between ethnic groups were even more disturbing. I decided to use these data in my math class with my 5th graders in a lesson on graphing. The purpose was for the students to be able to interpret graphs and create graphs using the information provided. Students enjoyed the lesson and learned some social justice lessons. Apparently a lot of my students talked to their parents about what they had learned in class when they went home. I received notes from about 10 parents the next day simply indicating that what I taught in my math class would lead to hatred among my students and that I should not be wasting their children’s valuable time. Rather, they suggested, I should teach math with no controversial materials. I completely disagree with them and I plan to use similar materials in my other courses as well. However, my principals asked me to send an explanation to those parents. I know my explanation will not stop the complaints. How should I go about this potentially long battle? Or should I take the short cut simply remove such content from my lessons?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted November 30, 2012 5:14 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
If you feel strongly about sharing this with your class, I would not take the easy way out by removing the content from your lessons. If the principal has asked you to send an explanation home, I would simply state that you were trying to tie in real-life scenarios with your math lessons, since almost every child has asked at one time or another, "When will we ever have to use this outside of school?!" I would also say that you did not create the data and should not be blamed for the outcomes that the United States has produced, but that you will make sure to convey unbiased information and only allow facts to be taught.
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Comments posted for this solution

Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
This is a great idea. I also would not take it out of the classroom. It is important for students to see why they will use this content in the future. These students learn about these kind of materials in social studies, literature, and even in science. I do not understand why it is a big deal if they learn about it in math as well. Students should not be blind to the fact that their are still injustices happening in their own country.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 12:23 pm

Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
This is a very good solution. This type of lesson would help students by making them more aware. If the teacher takes them away, he is only sheltering them from realities that they will eventually have to face. Respecting the parents is the key to helping them accept and understand the types of lessons that the teacher wants to use for his class.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 7:43 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I agree with you! This is a perfect opportunity to let students know how this would directly relate to their lives. Students love to ask that question and we as teachers should be able to produce an answer. This makes learning more meaningful to the students in your classroom. They want to know what they are learning will be useful to them or else they will feel like you are wasting their time. I think this teacher should definitely follow the principal's advice and send home the letter but do not take the easy way out on this one.
  Posted on: November 17, 2014 8:28 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
This is an awesome idea! I teach math myself and get asked everyday "When will I use this in real life?" and this is a great way of showing students real- life mathematics.
  Posted on: November 19, 2014 2:04 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I agree with your idea to send an explanatory notice to the parents. However, I advise that prior to teaching the lesson again you send parents notice of the lesson before you begin teaching. That would enable parents to discuss the lesson with their children prior to coming to school. I would also make sure the parent notice explained why the lesson is relevant to meeting academic standards.
  Posted on: November 22, 2014 7:53 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I also agree to just send home something to the parents. When a principal hires teachers, they usually see trust and views you as an amazing teacher. They should have your back in whatever you teach and however you teach it. AS long as you are sticking to the curriculum. I think involving real life issues and the world inside of learning how to graph is awesome, I think by the time students are heading toward middle school they begin to have a lot of mixed emotions and feelings. This way at least they begin to get the facts about situations instead of siding just because of skin color or peer pressure.
  Posted on: November 27, 2014 10:40 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I agree that the teacher should not take the easy way. The students have to see how what they are learning is relevant to the real world. However, I do think that with conversational topics such as these it would be a good idea to send the parents a note stating what the lesson will be about, especially for elementary school students. If it were high school it may not be as big of a deal.
  Posted on: December 1, 2014 6:40 pm

NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
I disagree. I think that the students are way too young for this type of topic to be discussed. And what about the student who struggles in math? Because the class has diverted away from the true subject matter, and has begin to talk about gender-race equality in math class, that child who didn't really get the lesson in the first place is still confused because time that should have been spent ensuring his/her understanding, was spent talking about issues that should be discussed at an age when students can formulate their own opinion.
  Posted on: December 4, 2014 2:19 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I agree with you. Just be honest with the parents. You "hit" some good points, connecting the material to real life and not making the data up. Facts are facts.
  Posted on: December 4, 2014 8:38 pm

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
You bring up a great point that students often ask how what they are learning will be relevant in their adult lives. Exposing the students to such data may inspire them to bring about change for the better.
  Posted on: December 4, 2014 11:22 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that the teacher should not eliminate the content just because that is the easy thing to do. I like that you brought up that the teacher is simply presenting facts not opinionated biases. I think that the parents will be more understanding after an explanation is presented.
  Posted on: December 8, 2014 12:31 am

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
I agree that the content should not be removed. I think that a response to the parents would be appropriate to assure them that the math assignment is aligned with the curriculum and was designed to get the students engaged by making real world connections. This engagement is evidenced by their willingness to discuss the assignment at home. It is rare that I can get my children to discuss what they are doing in math class with more than a passing comment.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 12:46 am

jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
There is no purpose for just adding this information into a math lesson because you can. The students need to learn this but the best setting would be in a social sciences class where they can learn the historical and social contexts. Teach math without introducing information like this because it takes away from the real purpose for the lesson.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 1:35 am

Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
The ideas you suggested about how to deal with the situation are quite good. I would also suggest that you could mention to your principal about the importance of including multicultural education in all classrooms on a regular basis. Maybe you could suggest starting an Awareness Campaign for teachers, and you could be spotlighted briefly at each faculty meeting each week just to shed some light on the importance of this instruction. When we know better, we do better.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 1:37 pm

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
I completely agree. I am a math teacher and students use that question on me almost everyday. The fact that the students were still tuned into the material after school hours is a major mathematical accomplishment. I would push for the parents to understand and accept the content that he is teaching because it is working.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 3:52 am

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
I love your idea of emphasizing real world connections, while also sharing the accuracy of the information. Perhaps the parents didn't know that the statistics were actually accurate; for parents of children in the underpaid subgroups, I would hope that they would be moved by the data. After all, pay inequality is something that could affect their own children. I certainly would not give up these materials without first fully explaining myself and why I felt that they were so important.
  Posted on: June 11, 2015 4:32 pm

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
Applying real world connections to the information being taught to the students is helpful in retaining the information. I think the explanation should including that the teachers intentions where purely educational and informing for the students. The information was not falsely created and was generated through studies conducted by the U.S.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 3:44 am

Puzesu
Puzesu
Reps: 21
I agree. I think that anything worth doing is worth working for. I would send the explanation home. It may be a battle, but you believe it is a battle worth fighting for. I do too. These parents are obviously just lazy and don't want to have to have these "controversial" discussions with their kids. But in the long run they would end up blaming the teachers because their kids are ready for the real world. Do what you feel is right. Your principal didn't tell you not to which is a form of support.
  Posted on: June 13, 2015 6:32 pm

ReMuXy
ReMuXy
Reps: 78
I agree that you did not make the data so you are not to blame, however, you chose to use the data. I think there is plenty of data that could be used to teach this math lesson. Moreover, I believe it is important to use real world math problems. You could have children find data that they are interested in that you could use to teach.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 5:12 am

Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I agree that you need to show the parents just how useful this information is and how it could help their children and hopefully they will be able to understand the reasons behind it.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 5:22 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
A good way to help explain this to the parents is to refer them to the research and/or other resources that you utilized to integrate real-life content into your lessons. This can also be utilized to help reassure your administrators that what you are doing is objective and research-based.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 8:35 pm

yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
I think using real world data is really important and a great way to get students interested in a subject that a lot of students do not like. I also think you could use a lot of different real life data to support you math standards to increase the interest of your students.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 9:53 pm

nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
As long as the principal hasn't threatened the teacher, I would like the teacher to able to continue their unique incorporation of math and social structure. Maybe have an option for two lesson plans for the student's parents who don't care for it.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 7:21 am

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109


I agree with your solution completely. I like the idea of explaining to parents that students are using real world situations in their math activity. The data was found from a national magazine and was not created by the teacher. I do not see any harm in the activity.
  Posted on: November 18, 2015 11:21 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I like the way you said that. You can't help the facts are facts! It would be different the teacher created the data and used it as a political platform to teach his beliefs, but he didn't. This is a real world problem that all students need to understand and not ignore. It seems like the parents need to come in a hear your lesson, too!
  Posted on: November 21, 2015 4:35 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
You have a really good point. When you send home the letter I would point out the real-life scenarios that you plan to use in your lesson.
  Posted on: December 2, 2015 2:42 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
"When are we going to use this in real life?" Is a great question but without this controversial data students do not see when they will use it. I would also not back down from this with an easy fight.
  Posted on: December 3, 2015 1:18 am

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
Educational programs train future teachers to make the content relate to what is going on in the real world. I agree that explaining this to parents may be helpful.
  Posted on: December 7, 2015 2:40 am

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Solution 2
Posted April 19, 2014 12:10 pm

Jonathan Olivarez
Jonathan Olivarez
Reps: 36
For starters you should not remove this content from your lessons. Secondly, your explanation to parents should be that these are real issues that we are facing in the world and it is important for our students to be aware of them to help them become democratic citizens to solve problems within their communities or country. It's great you have support from your principal because that would be a difficult battle to win if he asked you not to teach the materials. You should also ensure that your students have a very open and friendly forum of discussion about these topics. By allowing students to see that they can make an impact on these issues is incredibly important for a democratic society. Your example is something that I have not thought of using and will now begin to implement in my own classrooms. You could possibly allow your students to research their own statistics on what interests them and let them create their own solutions to the problems they find using math!
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Comments posted for this solution

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I really liked your suggestions. You are correct about the principals support. I he or she was not supportive of teaching the lesson you probably would have to scrap it. The suggestion of allowing children to research a career path of their choice to determine which economic outcome would be most appropriate for them is really great. It would give student an opportunity to learn about potential careers and hopefully would motivate them to select a career that would be both interesting and provide the best economic outlook.
  Posted on: November 22, 2014 7:57 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I like your suggestions of having the students do some of their own research and discuss their findings. I think that equipping our students with as much experience in finding solutions to problems is a benefit! I agree that having the support of your principal is essential, and that explaining to your parents what your intentions are in a way that highlights creative problem solving will win most of them over.
  Posted on: November 24, 2014 3:18 am

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I agree with you. The teacher used real facts. This does help the students be aware of them. It is a wonderful thing that the principal is standing with the teacher on this issue. I like the idea of letting the students research their own statistics based on their interests and then let them create their own solutions using math. Great post!
  Posted on: December 4, 2014 8:41 pm

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
I love your suggestion on letting the students research their own interests to gather statistics that can be used in the curriculum. I also agree that it is a great chance to expose the students to actual real life situations in hopes that they can develop a solution. It is important to have a short discussion in which the topic is openly discussed to ensure there are no ill feelings being developed. You should include in your letter that you will to take steps to ensure that students are comfortable with the topics being discussed.
  Posted on: December 4, 2014 11:26 pm

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I agree that these types of issues should be brought to students attention. They are very real and at some point these students will have to face them. It is important for parents to understand where the teacher is coming from so informing the parents of why you are teaching in this way and why the students should hear about it. Allowing the students to look up statistics is a great idea because it allows them to do their own research.
  Posted on: December 6, 2014 5:06 am

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I agree that this is great material to teach your students. I think it is also a great idea to allow your students time to research the results and maybe find results that conflict with the study you are presenting. It is a good idea to integrate all of the subject areas.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: December 7, 2014 10:39 pm

jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
These are real issues facing the world but they have little to do with mathematics.These are issues for social sciences classes where the students can gain the proper background information. This content takes away from your math lessons.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 1:37 am

avuNaD
avuNaD
Reps: 36
I love your solution to this problem. I agree that this information should not be taken out of your lesson because it is real information that is taking place in our world today. By doing so you are exposing your students to the real world. I also love the explanation that you would offer to your parents because it is true and I think once you explain yourself to your parents then they will understand as well. We do not need to sugarcoat the world to our students.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 3:26 pm

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
The principal's support is something that is so necessary for leading the fight to keep these materials. I think that a united front will really make a difference with these parents. After all, the data in these materials is so important, and, as you mentioned, we want the next generation to be able to fight pay inequality effectively. If they don't know about it, how can they fight it? In your explanation, I recommend explaining to parents that pay inequality is something that can affect their children, and you want to make sure they are prepared with the necessary knowledge to fight it.
  Posted on: June 11, 2015 4:35 pm

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
I agree that this is something that should be taught to the students. I would not change this information but I would explain to the parents the reason you are teaching the students this at this age. The parents and the students need to know this will help prepare the students for what life gives to them in the future and will help them figure out problems they may face in their real lives.
  Posted on: June 11, 2015 8:19 pm

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
Having the support of your principal is important. Keeping the discussion open with respect to their peers that way they can honestly express their thoughts for clarifying concerns and views. Like you suggested, maybe next time give the students the opportunity to do some research and find their own factual data to use for the purpose of the math lesson.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 3:49 am

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
I loved your idea for involving the students in researching their own statistics. This would make the math instruction more meaningful and relevant to them, which can aid them in comprehending and retaining the material. By informing the parents of the resources and research you are using in the classroom, I think that the teacher can help to validate his or her instructional approach.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 8:40 pm

Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
I like the idea of providing time for students to discuss the material presented. I think when they are able to discuss in a whole or small group they will feel more comfortable with the information.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 1:14 am

Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
I completely agree with your solution. Parents need to know that this is relating to the real world. In order for changes to take place, we need to educate our students with knowledge that will help them stand out and make a difference in the future. Possibly the parents that did not have a negative comment about the lesson probably thought it was great. We need to always stress to our parents they can comment on the bad and good alike. It is always great to hear things that they enjoy about the job we do for their children.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 2:40 am

emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I have an issue and a suggestion for your solution. First the issue I have is; I'm not sure if the principle has this teacher's back. Yes, they did not ask him to teach new material but they also felt inclined to have him speak for his lessons when really this could be seen as unnecessary to many. I almost feel like if the principle really had his back s/he would help in taking a stand on the issue. And maybe I feel this way because I feel like they should back these methods but really that may not be the case. The other thing I'd like to add to your solution is an added suggestion.. with the route you took in addressing the parent why not invite the parents to come in some time? I think this would be a nice addition to your post.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:17 am

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I agree with your solution. By making thee kids see that these are problems in the work force and that they need to be changed. These issues cannot change if people are not aware. I also agree that I would not remove this material from my lesson.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:50 am

Meagan Cook
Meagan Cook
Reps: 53
I love your idea of having the students find the material on their own and grow from there. You had such great suggestions that allowed for everyone to continue with the curriculum in a respectful way.
  Posted on: June 16, 2015 12:56 am

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I would not remove the content from the classroom, either. I think that it teaches the students real life content and shows that they can make a change in the world. The students can still work hard towards their goal in life. Everything that the teacher taught in the class are real facts.
  Posted on: November 19, 2015 11:52 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
Allowing students to complete their own research would be an excellent idea because they are responsible for the information they obtain. Also, I agree that it is imperative that our students understand uncomfortable issues because they will be the ones fixing these problems in the future. Also, ignorance will continue to breed social problems like these presented in the lessons.
  Posted on: November 21, 2015 4:37 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I agree with you. When the teacher uses real-life facts it helps the students understand the material better. I really like the idea of having the students research their own statistics.
  Posted on: December 2, 2015 2:44 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I think this would be a great lesson on social justice and inequalities because it could lead to relevant discussions. You could also have students think of things that could attribute to the differences in pay besides what was mentioned in the study. They could look for outside factors. For example, two people who have the same amount of experience, but one might have better references or worked for a more well known company previously? The students could discuss if there were other factors that could have attributed to the difference in pay. I would just try to mention that more than math was taking place in the classroom, and the teacher was trying to teach students how to investigate into material and how to have discussions with one another.
  Posted on: December 4, 2015 9:41 pm

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I agree that it may be helpful for parents to understand that these are issues that students can help change if they are aware of what is going on.
  Posted on: December 7, 2015 2:42 am

Kady Schlemmer
Kady Schlemmer
Reps: 101
I like the idea of allowing students to research their own statistics. It gives students a personal stake in whatever information they propose.
  Posted on: July 9, 2016 3:19 pm

eguByp
eguByp
Reps: 102
i agree
  Posted on: October 8, 2017 4:32 pm

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Solution 3
Posted November 24, 2013 3:27 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Send a note home with your students that outlines all the benefits of using the the more controversial materials versus the standard materials. In addition to listing those benefits you should also talk about how using materials that relate to real life increases student engagement and sparks interest. It is already very difficult to get students excited about math so when you said that the "students enjoyed the lesson" that was a good indicator that the material is useful.
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Comments posted for this solution

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
I felt the same way about the kids enjoying the lesson. The fact they went home and told their parents about it means it was a great lesson. A letter to the parents may help clear this up and help them realize their students were excited about a school lesson.
  Posted on: November 26, 2013 7:39 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I agreed about if the students enjoyed it then it must have been a good lesson. Comparing the differences of teaching the way he did or the way the parents want is an awesome way to show why you chose this type of lesson.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 6:49 am

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I also think it is wonderful that they went home to explain it to their parents. Around that age, children start to begin to stray away from telling their parents things and events that happen at school.. This shows the teacher it was an enjoyable lesson. I love when I know my students went home to explain what they have learned in class. RElating it back to their real life puts it into perspective for the students as they grow and decide what to do with their own lives.
  Posted on: November 27, 2014 10:42 pm

ynyqaz
ynyqaz
Reps: 64
great idea about how explaining how current real life information allows for more student engagement into lessons. Parents may see the importance when it is explained like. I do think having a face to face discussion with each parent that has concerns will mean more than just a letter or email.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 3:17 pm

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I agree, I think that kids went home talking about this material because it interest them. Send parents a letter home on how beneficial these statistics are verses standard material. I like your solution and think it is a great idea.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:47 am

uzyXuV
uzyXuV
Reps: 208
It sounds like the students were engaged in this lesson enough to share it with their parents. The principal is okay with using this method as long as parents are informed. An explanation letter informing parents of incorporating social studies with math gives students real life applications.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 4:34 pm

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
You are correct that students are more engaged and willing to learn if they are being taught with real life scenarios. They want to learn more and have more lessons centered around real-world problems which math teachers are suppose to be doing based off the Common Core standards we have to follow now.
  Posted on: November 15, 2015 11:48 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I agree with sending a not home that outlines what you are teaching. I don't think parents should have an issue with the data but could use it as a conversation piece with their kids. We can't shelter them from cold hard facts and it's not like these pieces of data are inappropriate.
  Posted on: December 1, 2015 5:07 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I agree that it is very important to send home a lesson that explains the benefits.
  Posted on: December 4, 2015 9:42 pm

Kady Schlemmer
Kady Schlemmer
Reps: 101
The students enjoyed the lesson, so it makes sense to me that the students are more likely to retain information from lessons like this, as opposed to the more basic, just numbers kind of math. You are making an impact - stick to what you believe to be right!
  Posted on: July 9, 2016 3:18 pm

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Solution 4
Posted December 9, 2012 9:52 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I would first talk to my principal about what I should do. In this kind of situation, you need your principal to have your back. I would also send a letter home ahead of time explaining the lessons that you will be teaching using social justice issues. I would give the parents the option of whether they want their child involved in this and allow them to go to another room or the library with different work if the parent chooses not to have them involved. I would make sure not to penalize those students not allowed to participate in any way. In your letter, I would make sure to thoroughly explain to the parents why you find it so important and beneficial to the students. Some parents may change their minds and allow their children to participate.
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Comments posted for this solution

Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I agree that you should first talk to the principal to get his advice. It is very imporatnt that you have support and that everyone is on the same page. I think your idea of sending a letter home would be a great thing to do. I also like that you are wanting to give the parents the option of whether they want their child to be involved in this or not. This makes them feel like they have some control and that their opinion matters.
  Posted on: June 12, 2013 3:29 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I think that discussing the issue with the principal is a great idea and a good start to addressing this particular issue. I had not thought about giving the parents the option of deciding if they would want their child involved in lessons related to social justice issues. If you decided to take this route it is important to have other materials prepared for these students that allow them similar learning opportunities.
  Posted on: November 10, 2013 10:20 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I also agree to discuss this issue with your principal and to provide the parents with information prior to the lesson. However, I am not so sure providing the students with an option to not participate in the lesson is a good idea. Although the issue of social injustice is not part of the mathematics curriculum, it is a good integration of social studies into the mathematics classroom. Integrating curriculum is a research supported strategy which enhances student learning. As long as the topic is supported in the social studies curriculum, students should be required to participate in the assignment. By allowing the students and parents an "out" will de-emphasize the importance of the understanding social injustices in any classroom, not just mathematics.
  Posted on: November 23, 2013 4:18 pm

Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
Making sure that the principal is aware of what you are doing is a great plan. Giving the parents the option to have their students participate will take away from the negative comments and disagreements about the content being taught.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 12:37 am

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I agree that having the support of your principal is very important. Perhaps he/she could help you write the explanation that will be sent home to the parents. However, I believe asking for the parents' consent is not necessary.
  Posted on: November 24, 2014 3:37 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I also agree that the Principal needs to be aware of what is being taught and is supporting your decision to do so. I also agree that parents must be made aware of any content that is being taught ahead of time that many might find unnecessary or controversial. Parents need to be given the opportunity to remove their children from the class or at least have the chance to ask questions and receive clarification to make them more comfortable with the curriculum.
  Posted on: November 30, 2014 5:16 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I agree that in cases like this you will need to make sure you have a good understanding of what the administrators in your school feel like should be done. Their opinions will determine how this situation will be handled.
  Posted on: December 6, 2014 1:56 pm

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I would definitely would go to the principle. I would let them know what was going on and that the parents were concerned. I think it is extremely important to communicate with parents. If they have concerns we need to help them see the importance behind what we are teaching. They need to feel comfortable as well as the students.
  Posted on: June 8, 2015 6:15 pm

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
I had not considered giving the parents the option of removing their student from the assignments. Of course, the students that are not participating must have an assignment that will cover the course content in a less controversial manner, which would mean that two lessons would have to be developed and delivered.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 12:51 am

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
I agree the principal should be a part of your decision as to what to do next in this situation. I think the principal needs to know why you are wanting to teach this information and why you do not feel like you should drop this information from your teaching.
  Posted on: June 11, 2015 8:20 pm

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
Based on the principal's suggestion of sending a note home, I would say your principal is in agreement with you. Otherwise, I would hope he would not encourage you to send a note home explaining yourself to go against your choices later on. It is always important, especially with controversial issues, to have the support of your administration. I would definitely ensure that the principal supported me before continuing on with writing the letter and keeping this type of information in my math lessons.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 9:19 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I also agree that the content should not be removed. As a math teacher, I do not include anything in my lessons that do not benefit my students in some way. I do not agree though that students should be allowed to leave the room. The topics being covered are in no way harmful to a students body or mind. Therefore they should stay in the room.
  Posted on: December 3, 2015 1:20 am

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Solution 5
Posted December 6, 2012 3:20 pm

Selena W Farmer
Selena W Farmer
Reps: 121
I think it is important to begin exposing students to topics at an early age. For the parents, I would cite the credible source and exaplain your views on why you did what you did. I would also explain the importance of helping children make text to world connections throughout their day as a part of receiving a well rounded education.
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Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
That is a great idea. I would send home the content prior to teaching it so the parents can look up the resources themselves. I would also ask for suggestions, but I would not stop expanding my lessons because parents were not agreeing to my methods. It is important for the students to be well-rounded and I feel they will learn more in that class then expected.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 12:25 pm

Carol Whitfield
Carol Whitfield
Reps: 56
I agree. I would allow the parents to see where I'm getting my information for it, and I will inform them of why it is important to highlight on world connections. Being knowledgeable about world connections allow students to be more aware of the world around them and make relevance of what they are learning.
  Posted on: June 13, 2013 12:24 am

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
This is a great way to think about it. We do need to expose children at a young age to the indifference of the world. By using real world text to do so makes it more meaningful!
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 11:00 am

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that the material presented allows students to make connections to the real world. It is always important to show students "why" they do certain things (especially in math). I think with principal support and parent understanding, this could be a great lesson for 5th graders.
  Posted on: December 8, 2014 12:34 am

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Solution 6
Posted December 7, 2012 12:23 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
I would explain to the parents that your reasoning for using the data was to make the material meaningful to the students. Making Math meaningful is the best way to engage students and help them learn. In the future, I would provide the explanation in a parent letter at the beginning of the year that the parents must sign. I would also explain to students that we should not have ill feelings toward one another in our class because the students are not to blame for the statistics. We should only use the data to become aware of changes that need to be made in the future.
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Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
I totally agree with you saying that making math meaningful will help the students to be engaged in the lesson. The best teachers do their best to make their content meaningful so the students understand why they are learning it. Math can be a very tough subject to tie in real world issues into, and I think this lesson was a great way to do it.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 6:06 am

Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
You are exactly right! It is imperative that math be meaningful to students, otherwise it becomes more like rote memorization, and then life-long learning has less of a change of occurring. When students make real world connections, and they recognize how math standards can actually be applied to the world outside of the classroom, then they have more of a desire to learn the material. Common Core emphasizes the importance of including authentic situations to help make the material more meaningful for students.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 1:43 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I like your idea of talking to the students about what these statistics mean in our classroom. In our classroom, white males are not superior to any other students and they should not act as such. It would be a great idea to discuss what these statistics mean for us and how we can possibly change these statistics as they grow up.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 12:48 pm

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
I like your idea of the teacher sending home a letter at the beginning of the year to inform the parents of what is going to be used in the classroom. This can be put in their syllabus at the beginning of the year that the parents sign anyways. This can allow them the opportunity to decide if they want their child to participate in the activities and have proof when an issue arises that the parent agreed to the classroom syllabus before the material was taught.
  Posted on: November 15, 2015 11:52 pm

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Solution 7
Posted June 16, 2013 7:49 pm

Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I believe math can be used to teach anything, and I think it's great to use graphs depicting inequalities. I would write a letter to be sent home that articulates that you know how to teach about inequality in a developmental appropriate manner. Tell them your wish to educate students so that one day they will be able to combat inequality as adults. The parents need to understand that the students need to know how to apply math to the real world. Tell them the data you use in class helps spark interest in the students because they can relate. Also, encourage the parents to talk to their child about the homework they are doing and invite them to watch the news with them.
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aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I agree that math can and could be used to approach just about any subject that deals with numbers. However, I believe this specific subject matter might just be over the heads of the young students. The idea and numbers of inequality in America are highly emotionally and charged, and a more mature and knowledgeable audience would be necessary. Also, what can young students do about inequality and what solutions can be provided? Instead, maybe bring up a topic like child homelessness or child hunger, get the numbers from a reliable (government or other reputable institution) and possibly encourage students to participate in a local charity or set up a month of canned food collection to support needy families in the area. I feel like this might be a much more productive use of class time, and can help open student's eyes to a topic they are better able to understand and relate to.
  Posted on: November 20, 2014 10:26 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I agree that this topic may be to advanced for elementary school students. If this were a high school it would be different. Use topics that are relatable for the students such as animal shelters and the number of homeless animals.
  Posted on: December 1, 2014 6:43 pm

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
Getting reliable information from a good source is key! While I think 5th graders could probably handle this information, it may be a little to much a little early. I agree with the above comments that maybe different statistics should be introduced that are a little more age appropriate. I don't think that what you are doing is wrong, but if parents don't want their children being talked to about this and have formed such a strong disagreement, maybe you should use different data.
  Posted on: June 8, 2015 1:41 pm

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Solution 8
Posted June 12, 2014 2:03 am

Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I think that using culturally sensitive material is not inappropriate with 5th graders, who are usually mature and thoughtful enough to handle the discussion. It speaks volumes that the children could handle the lesson but the parents could not! I would continue to use these types of examples in moderation. I don't think it benefits children to include controversial material all the time just for the sake of introducing controversy. Rather, I think that careful planning of when to use these examples will lead to deep discussion and not overwhelm the students. I would include in my explanation to parents a rationale for the benefits of multicultural education and learning to see bias and unfairness so that they can be overcome.
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
I agree, choosing when to use these types of material can be extremely beneficial.
  Posted on: November 25, 2014 12:58 am

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I also agree that with 5th grade, I think they are capable of starting to understand different issues surrounding thier futures.
  Posted on: November 27, 2014 10:49 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I also agree that 5th grade is a bit early for this type o controversial material and also think that there is a time and a place for the topic of social injustices to be taught. Math has become such a difficult content for many students these days with the increased rigor that adding a twist to it regarding social injustices would only muddy the waters and make its understanding that much more difficult.
  Posted on: November 30, 2014 5:18 pm

zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I also found it interesting that the children were perfectly fine with the lesson, and it was the parent who took issue. The teacher clearly has a good relationship with the students and a good understanding of what content they can handle. I think that if the teach can calmly explain the intent of the activity to the parents, that it will help them understand the situation and feel better.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 2:45 am

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Solution 9
Posted December 9, 2012 11:46 am

Anna Washinger
Anna Washinger
Reps: 121
I think the lesson you taught was very informational and useful. A lot of children are visual learners and by using a graph to explain a concept can help them grasp the material better than if you were to just explain it. As a future educator, my main priority will be my students. As you wrote, the students enjoyed the lesson and even learned some lessons in social justice. I would in fact send the explanations home to the parents and include the fact that the students enjoyed the lesson and understood the concepts. It may even be a better idea to send the explanations after the students have taken the test. You can include how well the students did on that particular section of graphing( if they did of course) to prove how your method of presenting the information was efficient. Unless there is a problem between your students, I would continue to use your method of presenting data to explain concepts.
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Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Great point! Showing the parents that working with real world data is benefiting their children will get them to "buy in" to your strategy.

  Posted on: December 4, 2013 2:36 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I like the ideas you presented about telling the parents. Sending a note home telling them that some of the students loved the presentation should make them less angry and realize the benefits. Using the graph in the class was a great visual for the students.
  Posted on: November 19, 2015 11:54 pm

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Solution 10
Posted December 9, 2012 3:08 pm

Melissa Tolbert
Melissa Tolbert
Reps: 104
I think that you did a great thing by exposing this material into your lessons. I would attribute it to including current and relatable events to tie interest into your lessons. Parents won't agree with you but I know if you have the principal behind you, you should definitely stand your ground and continue to tie in topics like this. Having students become aware of what is going on around them is key to expanding their way of thinking and how they view the world. You are not wasting their time nor should you limit your subject to just math. It will most likely be a long battle but it will be worth it for the students.
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Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
I would have to agree, students need to be able to apply real-life situations to math and other subjects. If you continue to show them the importance real-life applications then once they are in higher education they will be able to better understand these topics. Students cannot directly relate to the material now but as they grow older they will learn more. The students will able to form their own opinions, draw their on conclusions, and provide data for evidence on their position so I believe presenting these topics are very beneficial.
  Posted on: June 11, 2013 6:28 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I think it is important to make students aware of the world around them and not shelter them from the facts about life in our society. I agree that it is in the best interest of your students to learn about real world scenarios and expand their knowledge base. After all, they will not be children forever and they will eventually have to encounter these types of issues in the real world.
  Posted on: November 10, 2013 10:17 pm

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I agree that this information is very important to share with students, and as long as the principal is behind you, then you should continue. I do feel that an explanation of your thoughts/ideas could be sent to parents so that they better understand your point of view, but don't stop!
  Posted on: November 25, 2013 5:07 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I agree don't stop, but create alternatives lessons and activities for the students who parents that don't agree.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 10:30 pm

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Solution 11
Posted April 16, 2013 2:52 pm

Robert Batchelor
Robert Batchelor
Reps: 36
Using real statistical information that serves a double purpose (teaching math and informing students of injustices in the real world) is obviously important to you. Especially since you have your principal's support, you should take up this battle. I would inform your parents, through the letter, that the statistics you use are not only accurate, but are from reliable sources. Additionally, I would explain to the parents how real-world connections often create higher interest and, therefore, better achievement with your students. If your lessons using these materials were successful, you continue to have the support of your administration, and you feel passionate about the issue, then you should absolutely continue what you are doing. Good luck!
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Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I completely agree with you. Students need to know how to transfer their math lessons to the real world. Being able to understand what's being said on the news and in newspapers is crucial to being a functioning and contributing adult.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 7:51 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I completely agree with you and I also mentioned in my solution that the teacher's letter home should include a reference to the sources used. Using real-world data that is applicable and relevant is a great way to make math more interesting for students.
  Posted on: December 5, 2014 6:27 pm

Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I also agree that you should take up on the situation and not back down with your beliefs. Allowing the parents to see why you are doing this assignment will help them better understand the importance of it and hopefully change their attitude towards it.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 5:09 pm

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Solution 12
Posted June 12, 2013 11:13 pm

Carol Whitfield
Carol Whitfield
Reps: 56
I see no problem in what you are implementing in your classroom. Students need to be socially aware of what is occurring in this world. We should not hide things from our children. We need to be proactive and teach them that the real world isn't equal even though in a perfect world we want to believe it. I feel like when you are real with students they appreciate the lesson more, and they are more engaged in the learning process because it is a real world issue. When students get a certain age, they don't want to hear about how great the Disney channel is. Most students want to be aware of what is going on around. I found that students in high school rarely watch the news. I feel as if we introduced students to the importance of current events early, they will be more in tune with what is going on around them. I think that as a teacher you should keep doing what you are doing. If parents are that worried about what their children are learning when it comes to the real world, they will arrange a meeting with you.
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Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
I agree with the idea of a meeting. If parents are really angered by the idea of their child learning real-life data then you can offer to have a meeting to explain why it is important. We teach children so they can be productive in life and the best way to do that is to show them what life really is.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 6:39 pm

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Solution 13
Posted June 14, 2013 10:11 pm

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I do not think that this material should be removed from your lessons. As a parent, I understand that it can be difficult for parents to have their children exposed to the harsh realities of the real world. Many think that their innocence is not ready to receive such information. I think that you are on the right path and you need to explain your intentions to the parents of your students so that they know that the purpose is to promote awareness in real world issues without leading to hate or discomfort. It is not going to be easy, but by keeping the lines of communication with the parents in your classroom open I think that you will be able to help them see your true purpose. Honestly, I think that it is great that you have to many parents who care so much about what their children are learning.
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Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
I agree with your thoughts that a lot of the negative feedback will come from parents who want to keep the child's innocent view of the world which I can understand. And the parents giving the feedback are at least interested in their child's education enough to say something! It takes a strong teacher to teach tough topics, such as politically controversial ones but knowledge on all levels lead to greater understanding and ability to make changes. Maybe changes in pay scale is what we need and one of those students might be the one to make it happen.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 6:36 pm

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Solution 14
Posted June 15, 2013 3:25 pm

eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
You will not be able to please all parents. You must do what is best for students and not parents. I believe using real world examples in your math class will make the math more meaningful to the students. I would provide the parents with a copy of the report along with a letter about the importance of making math meaningful and how social justice was applied to your math lesson. I don't feel you have done anything wrong in this situation but communication with parents can go a long way in helping them understand your point of view and calming their fears. After all, parents can be your greatest supporters if you maintain good communication.
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Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
I think that it is an excellent point that our obligation is to the students, not the parents. Sometimes as teachers, it is easy for us to feel as though we work for and answer to everyone, parents, students, administrators, and even other teachers. It can be extremely difficult to do the right thing in situations like this. Reach out to like-minded teachers for support so that you don’t feel as if you are alone on a limb. You are also right in saying that, if you can get parents to see that you have their children’s best interests at heart, they can be invaluable allies.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 11:52 am

Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
Absolutely! The students are who matter and I think that could very well be written in a response to the parents. "The children seem to respond well to such assignments and for that reason I am choosing to continue to use such data. It is my responsible to make sure that students are educated." Of course parents will be upset, but again it is about the students.
  Posted on: June 20, 2014 2:32 am

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Solution 15
Posted November 10, 2013 10:14 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I would not remove this type of content from your classroom lessons because it directly connects to real world issues in our society, which is an important part of learning in any discipline. In your explanation letter to the parents I would try to help the parents to see and understand where you are coming from. You might want to include the importance of connecting curriculum concepts to real world issues in the education process. I think that if you emphasize your goal of educating the students rather than the specific material in class many parents will understand the importance related to their child's educational success. Make sure that the parents know you have the best interests of the students in mind at all times.
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Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I agree that informing parents about the goal of the lessons and connecting the learning to the real world will help the complaints disappear. Students that have parents still uncomfortable with the topic can find another subject matter to graph data.
  Posted on: December 7, 2014 10:43 pm

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Solution 16
Posted June 11, 2014 1:10 am

Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
First, I would speak with each parent regarding the letter that they sent it and discuss with them that you were not trying to pin students against one another, but simply trying to make math more meaningful. I think it is important for math to make a real life connection which you did with the real life data. This gives students a way to see that math is beneficial and that it serves a purpose. I would go ahead and let parents also know that this is something that more than likely their children would see again so that they can be aware of the situation.
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vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I agree that addressing each parent/each letter individually is a good idea. This shows respect to the parents. It would also be a good idea to let them know your reasoning and your future plans. You are right that this was a great way to show the benefits and applications of math while connecting this discipline to social studies.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 2:25 am

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Solution 17
Posted June 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
I think next time you use these numbers and statistics in math class you should send the note home before teaching, and explain how multicultural education is beneficial to all students. That way, the students whose parents disagree do not have to participate. Really, most parents will be more accepting of the content if the note is sent home beforehand. I do not think you should stop using this valuable information just because some parents do not agree. I do not think you should remove the content because it is simply statistics! This is real life information you are providing to your students and I do not think it is harmful in any way.
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Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
Sara,
I agree with your idea of a parent letter. However, I would consider sending the letter home at the beginning of the school year. Inside the letter, you could list the various class projects that will involve controversial materials or multicultural aspects. This will give parents a general idea of what to expect throughout the year, rather than at this one junction.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 2:53 am

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Solution 18
Posted June 13, 2014 3:33 am

Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
This is tough situation. If the facts are accurate and from a reliable source, I do not see why parents can complain. Explaining your reasoning through a letter is a good idea. It sounds like you have parents who are out of touch with reality and the fact that controversial topics are going to come up, students are going to form opinions and question according to those opinions. I do not think you should take the short cut, but many lessen the amount of statistics, like the previous ones, you put in your lesson. Not even lesson has to have “controversial” materials. However, you could also point out that you are teaching across the curriculum.
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Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I think that the parents are most concerned with the fact that the students were spending their math time discussing the pay inequalities, rather than doing math. I think explaining to the parents that the focus of the lesson was the math would help them to see that this discussion was just a minor part of the lesson (that the students really came up with on their own after analyzing the data). I would hope that after hearing that the academic rigor was not lost, parents would be understanding of the lesson and appreciative of the parent for making the math content interesting and relevant for their learners.
  Posted on: December 2, 2015 3:28 am

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Solution 19
Posted December 8, 2012 11:18 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
Personally I would not take it out of my math class. Explain to them that the new common core standards wants real world connections. THis is a real world connection. You could also bring in materials from your other subjects as well. Discuss how you are integrating your lessons and how important it is for students to learn. I think the parents would come around once they realize you are trying to teach them real life situations and math.
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Jessica Heilman
Jessica Heilman
Reps: 58
I agree. The parents will eventually come around once they understand exactly what the teacher is doing. Plus, he could send an informational letter home explaining to the parents that the standards call for real world connections and problems.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 7:21 am

Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I would not take it out of my math class. I would explain to the students that the new common core standards encourage making real world connections. This is the best thing you can do for the students and this is a real world connection you can use. The most important thing is to integrate your lessons and show the students the importance of that. If the parents can see that the purpose is integration, they will likely have a better understanding.
  Posted on: June 12, 2013 3:26 pm

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I agree that the real world connection is an important one considering the new Common Core standards and that it is useful to use this kind of information in the class. Keeping parents informed of the reasoning behind it should help them feel more comfortable with the decision to use this kind of data.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 10:18 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
You bring up a good point with the common core connection to the real world that I had not thought about. If we are providing our students with information like the differences in pay, I think we need to make sure we are giving our students all of the details. Also, make sure you can't find other studies that may contradict the results of the first study. Another idea would be to compare the results of two similar studies.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 10:48 pm

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
Yes I think your are right!!! We should be teaching students about real life experiences and exposing them to the real world. The new standards stress the importance of real life experiences and how students should be exposed to these. I believe that you should inform parents about what topics will be covered the following to give them a heads up on the material. Another idea that I feel could be used is to incorporate math journals so students can write about what they have learned about the math graphing lessons as well as the life experience that was taught, such as jobs and gender.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 11:02 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I agree, an integrated curriculum is important and the use of real life date in mathematics provides students with relevance. However, since this particular instance caused parents to be disgruntled, be sure the next topic of integration is one parents will be more comfortable with. I am not saying to "water down" the use of social injustices, just make sure the data you use is "well-rounded". Including data from other curricula, not just social studies, may be a better topic for the next assignment.
  Posted on: November 23, 2013 4:24 pm

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
Good job pointing out how this relates to the Common Core. Parents can't argue with state-mandated curriculum, so there's your answer! Keep on teaching and exposing students to the truth.
  Posted on: November 25, 2013 5:09 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
This is a great point. I said pretty much the same thing about explaining to the parents that we have to integrate our lesson plans.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 6:50 am

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Solution 20
Posted April 9, 2013 11:16 am

Terry Sanford
Terry Sanford
Reps: 41
I can appreciate the teacher trying to incorporate a social justice lesson into his math lesson but the material was not age appropriate. It would be more appropriate to high school age students with a job. He could have found reports that provided info on: How much time is spent on gaming? How much exercise are kids getting? or How many hours of homework do kids receive each week?
I believe he should simply remove the content from his lesson. If he wants the student to be able to interpret graphs and create graphs using information provided; the teacher should make the math lesson relevant to their life in the 5th grade. And instead of providing the information, have them create a survey and obtain the info from other students at the school.
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eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
I don't feel that the topic was inappropriate for the students. For some students, this could ignite a fire in them to work hard to beat the odds. Making children aware of inequalities informs students to pay attention to how they treat one another. Each child has value. If this point is emphasized by each worker having value in what they do no matter the pay then I believe it is a great lesson. It is not always about what you do or how much you make but if you make a difference in the world around you. You could also have them graph teacher pay vs. the pay of professional ball players, bankers, or lawyers to see another example.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 3:34 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
I agree that it was not age appropriate. If the teachers wants to continue to bring in other data that is more appropriate to their age would be a better idea. You brought up some great ideas that would have the students thinking about their own actions. I am sure many students do not realize how much time they spend gaming or how little time they spend exercising.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 10:53 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I have to disagree with your solution. I think that you are not giving the students enough credit. I think that fifth grade students are mature enough to at least be exposed to this topic. They also obviously found the lesson interesting since they went home and talked about it with their parents. This is a relevant, real world topic and is no better nor worse than the alternative topics you suggested. As long as the teacher is not just introducing topics for the sake of stirring controversy, but is rather creating meaningful lessons that engage and interest students then I do not see a problem.
  Posted on: December 5, 2014 6:22 pm

uzyXuV
uzyXuV
Reps: 208
I disagree with changing the materials, the students did not complain it was to difficult to understand, and the lesson made a big enough impact on them to share with their parents.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 4:53 pm

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Solution 21
Posted April 15, 2013 10:58 am

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
Since your principal did not reprimand you or ask you to remove the content from the lessons, my impression is that he or she is not opposed to what you are teaching. The support of the administration can make a lot of difference in a situation like this.
As for the parents, you should respond directly to their specific concerns. Did the lesson lead to behaviors which indicated hatred among the students? (I am assuming that the lesson did not. If it had, I would suggest reassessing your presentation of the material.) In response to their concern about wasting the students’ time, the lesson in social justice was well incorporated into the math assignment. In order to complete the graphs, the students needed data from one source or another, and your choice of data was more meaningful and relevant than, for example, data showing what color shirts everyone in the class was wearing or their favorite flavor of ice cream. Therefore, time was not wasted; one source of data was simply substituted for another.
I think that it is important to expose students, even of this age group, to this kind of information, however uncomfortable it may make their parents. The reason that women and minorities continue to make significantly lower salaries than their white male counterparts is that people either do not know that the problem exists or that they choose to ignore the problem and do nothing about it. There should be more teachers who refuse to ignore important social issues, thereby working against the general complacency and inaction that have made this flawed system possible.
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Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I agree with you. I think that this type of sensitive material should be taught. This will help the students learn that there are injustices in the real world. I also beleive that having the support of an admin. could help you keep this material afloat.
  Posted on: June 11, 2013 1:03 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I agree. It is important that these topics be covered across the curriculum and from an early age. We cannot leave it to other teachers assuming they will cover social justice issues in their classes. We should all find a way to incorporate social justice throughout the curriculum.
  Posted on: June 11, 2013 3:04 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
This is my favorite post that I have read on here. I agree with all of your points it was very well thought out.
  Posted on: November 26, 2013 7:42 pm

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Solution 22
Posted April 15, 2013 11:38 am

N Lewis
N Lewis
Reps: 40
In a situation such as this one, I would write a letter explaining to parents the intent of the lesson. I would include that we are encouraged to incorporate real life events within the curriculum to not only inform students of current social issues, but to also increase their understanding of the material that is being taught. However, I think that the topic used would be more appropriate for a group of high school students than fifth grade students. If parents still have an issue with the social justice information being incorporated within a math lesson plan after I’ve used age-appropriate topics, I would probably decrease my use of this type of content in future assignments.
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Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
I think informing the parents is beneficial but should still be incorporated. When we stop informing our students, will the parents inform the students of these real life events at home? Probably not. This way not only are they learning and mastering a lesson but it is being incorporated into real life lessons. Maybe the parents should have a lesson on what helps students understand concepts better. I would just inform them and have administration approve beforehand.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 10:37 pm

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I agree with your solution and the comment left behind it. The students are making real life connections with this lesson, which is motivating them intrinsically. The students are engaged and able to retain the information in their long-term memory more efficiently. This is a great way to learn economics during Math class...isn't Economics a part of Math anyway?
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 11:16 pm

Krissy Chance-Bailey
Krissy Chance-Bailey
Reps: 65
I would provide your resources to the parents. Perhaps they are misinformed and should be thankful that their child came home inquiring about what they learned at school. Parents need to embrace their child being introduced to different ideas of treatment even as men and women. I think the fifth grade is a good place to introduce factual interesting information.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 2:15 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
You have a point about the assignment maybe being too advanced for fifth grade but I also think that high school is too old. Students need to be aware of the issues that are going on around them. Just because they are young does not mean that the world stops spinning. I find it hard to believe that parents would be upset about keeping their kids informed. Who exactly do they think kids are going to learn to hate? Parents need to have more faith in their teachers.
  Posted on: November 18, 2015 12:37 am

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Solution 23
Posted April 19, 2013 1:23 pm

Cynthia Vaughan
Cynthia Vaughan
Reps: 40
It is important that everyone has an understanding of different types of cultures as well as an understanding of differences between men and women. I believe that if you gave the parents an explanation on why you are using this certain information, plus tie them to some of the standards, they would be more understanding of your lesson. Do not assume an explanation will not stop the complaints. I do not believe that it should be dropped, nor do I believe that it teaches hate. I think it will teach your students to have an understanding of differences and this material should be taught. If all else fails, you could always teach some of the report, but don’t use all of it.
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Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
I agree with you. The parents need to be informed about the impact that these types of lessons can have on students. These controversial lessons should continue, and the teacher needs to find a respectful way to reach out to these students. Even if they do not stop complaining, it is important for the development of these children. Taking lessons like this away from children will hinder them.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 7:10 pm

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Solution 24
Posted April 19, 2013 10:22 pm

Lori Lancaster
Lori Lancaster
Reps: 38
I applaud you for trying to make math real for the students. As a fifth grade teacher of math and social studies, I really like your idea of integrating the two subjects. I agree with the other posts that state that a letter home to parents might explain exactly what you are teaching in the classroom. It is also nice that you have the support of your principal. At the same time, 10 angry parents cannot be ignored. The data seems innocent enough, but ask yourself how you presented the material that caused such a response. Was your information balanced? Did you present any other counter information? Are there times when women or other ethnicities are paid more? Did you really give the students the complete picture? Are there jobs or institutions where women and other ethnicities are treated equally? I think that pointing out social injustice is fine as long as you take the time to also point out social justice. You do not want to come across as "bashing" any group - be they women, men, white, black, etc. Again, if 10 people are angry, I would take the time to reflect on my lesson. That has to be a significant portion of your students. Also, do not lose sight of the fact that fifth grade math is very difficult. Use the other data only as it supports your math and not instead of the math.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
Lori, well said. We certainly have to be clear about our intentions for every lesson. That is, what is it we want our students to learn from the lesson; is it truly going to benefit them for life.
  Posted on: November 26, 2013 9:12 pm

Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
Well said Lori. I always think to myself that is 1-2 students are off task then it is them. If there are are 5+ students off task it is me. I think this can be tied in with parents as well. If a few are concerned you can take it case-by-case, but 10 is a large enough number to raise concern. Being in communication with the parents and relaying the message you are teaching in class is important. Making sure our instruction is also balanced during the class time is also important. Showing both sides of the issue is important for giving an accurate picture of the topic before us.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 2:02 am

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
I agree communication with the parents is important and it would be better to be proactive and send a letter home to parents before the unit began to clarify any misconceptions and help them understand the reasoning behind teaching math using real world applications;
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 6:15 pm

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
I also agree. This does really sound like a great lesson but 10 parents is a high number. I would evaluate my lesson, talk with my principal and then contact the parents to listen to their concerns. I would not repeat this lesson until I had honestly evaluated my own teaching and the parental responses. If after doing this, you still feel the lesson is effective then I would consider having a class discussion about both statistics and the implications of statistics that reveal social injustice. I would also consider presenting some evidence of companies lying with statistics so that students can draw more meaning from data.
  Posted on: June 14, 2014 9:08 pm

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Solution 25
Posted June 10, 2013 7:20 am

Jessica Heilman
Jessica Heilman
Reps: 58
I would keep using these materials because it is good for the students to learn about such material and information. As long as you are connecting it to the content, you should be ok. You might want to think about sending an informational letter home to the parents before you start a lesson with controversial material.
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Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
I agree with sending home a letter home explaining the importance of using the controversial material. This could prevent any issues during the lesson.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 11:01 am

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I agree with the letter and i would take your time writing it and have some coworkers or maybe the principal read and revise it before sending it home to make sure it is not offensive in anyway. This is important because some parents can be easily offended especially when read a letter because they will not be able to hear your tone and could interpret in a way you did not mean for them to.
  Posted on: November 17, 2013 3:29 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I agree that the material should not be excluded from the lesson. As long as your data is factual, utilizing it within your math lesson is a valuable approach. I do believe that communicating with the parent is crucial to provide them with an understanding of your lesson objectives.
  Posted on: November 24, 2014 3:40 pm

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Solution 26
Posted June 10, 2013 6:43 pm

Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
Even though there will still be complaints, the parents need to be informed as to why you have chosen to teach their children in this manner. Explain to them that you have their best interests at heart. I would also discuss what you hoped to achieve in your lesson, and I would even point out that adding controversial material like this draws their children in and motivates them to become more involved, which in turn affects their learning. Besides teaching math, you are also teaching them about world issues, which is definitely not a waste of time. Lessons like this enhance critical thinking and analysis skills. You could even invite the parents to come talk with you after class and go into more details about how your lesson benefits their children. Respect is the key to winning over these parents.
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Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I agree that keeping the parents informed of the reasons why you want to teach their children in this manner is important. Simply keeping the lines of communication open between the home and the classroom can do so much for improving your rapport with the parents and their ability to trust your teaching decisions.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 10:16 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I agree that touching base with the parents and keeping your administrator in the loop would be highly advisable. If your primary objective is to use math to open the eyes of students to issues in the world, choose a topic both parents and your administration can get behind. I believe the students you are addressing are too young to really grasp this topic anyhow, but driving a wedge between yourself and your community does not really help your cause. Choose a topic that is both more age appropriate and palatable to the parents, and I will bet you could really make waves in your local district.
  Posted on: November 20, 2014 10:29 pm

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Solution 27
Posted June 11, 2013 11:26 pm

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I feel that your lessons are moving in the right direction as you are integrating topics so children are being socially enriched as well as gain their math skills. I send home a weekly parent letter every Friday with my students. The parent letter tells parents what their students will be working on the upcoming week and how they can help as well. I feel you could send home some note explaining the math concept being taught and then how you plan to incorporate other areas into your lesson such as you have done. Showing different issues such as the one you used in your math lesson could be used to motivate students, such as girls to work extra hard to achieve their goals. Another idea is to have students write in their math journals what they learned about graphing as well as what they learned about social careers and gender. I think you are doing a wonderful job incorporating real life experiences into your math lessons so students can apply them to the real world and their lives in the future.
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Carol Whitfield
Carol Whitfield
Reps: 56
I like you suggestion about sending a letter home to the parents. Parents need to be informed on what their children are learning. Yes, I also agree that the lesson that she is teaching about will not only enrich their math skills, but it can also motivate them to be that change that the world needs. I, too, think the teacher is doing a great job. We need to stop shortchanging our students when it comes to our instruction in the classroom.
  Posted on: June 12, 2013 11:55 pm

eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
Your suggestion of the math journal is also a great idea. Writing not only what they learned by making the graph but what how they applied the information in their knowledge of social justice is a great way to make learning meaningful.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 3:27 pm

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I also agree that a letter home to the parents is appropriate. We should inform parents as to what material we are covering, especially when we deal with topics such as these. I also like your idea about a journal on what the students learned about their careers.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 8:51 pm

Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
I agree that this should continue and not be stopped. Those are great suggestions to incorporate in to the students sharing information with the parents. This way the parents will know what they are expecting to discuss and will be more informed. If they have questions they can ask before the lesson and it can help to incorporate more knowledge into your teaching Standards now state that objectives should relate to real life scenarios for students to be able to grasp the concepts better. Parents should be notified that real life scenarios are being used based on standards. Thanks for ideas to incorporate into my weekly class lessons.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 10:33 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I also agree. I personally believe an in-person meeting would be a great idea so that you could voice your reasons in a much better way than any letter could represent. You could also arrange to have students there, to show the parents what they are learning (parents love that). If parents are able to see that your principal supports it and that your students are not only learning, but engaged in their learning, I truly believe you would have their support--at least more so than you already do.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 3:33 pm

RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
I like your idea of sending home a weekly letter. Perhaps the teacher could send out within it the data which will be used the following week or a link to the study which the date will come from for parent to read on their own.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 3:33 pm

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Solution 28
Posted June 14, 2013 11:42 pm

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
By no means would I recommend not doing these tasks. In mathematics, it is extremely important that problems and representations in the context of real world phenomena. Blending mathematics and social justice will allow students to see a realistic use of mathematics and the mathematics will allow students to see the discrepancies in social justice. I would get with the 5th grade guidance counselor and your principal when you write your letter. I think that the teacher needs to include the students will be using all types of real life data to enhance the students experience in all of their classes. The students had a good time completing the assignment and probably went home and the parents potentially took the discussion out of context. The teacher should consider sending home a newsletter with upcoming topics and standards that will be addressed. These newsletters should also include the purpose and relevancy behind the tasks. I believe that as long as the teacher keeps the parents and administration in loop and make sure those topics that are chosen to be with core content is relevant, and age appropriate.
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Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I agree that the lessons with social justice in the math class are great as long as they are developmentally appropriate.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 7:53 pm

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Solution 29
Posted June 16, 2013 9:34 pm

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
I believe if you have your principle's support, than the show must go on. Take this opportunity to compose a letter to the parents in which you clearly and thoughtfully explain the purpose of your incorporating social injustices into the math lesson. Clearly, receiving 10 letters form parents indicates that further explanation must be needed and that either the students did not translate this correctly or the parents where you live have not been exposed to these types of statistics. Just think, you can spearhead teaching generations of families about social injustice, and mark it off on your crusade calendar. You are an educator, no matter what.
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Solution 30
Posted November 19, 2013 12:15 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I think this a great idea to make classroom learning relevant. This will help students see what is in the real world, rather than the glorified world they are taught about at home. I think you should explain to the parents how engaged the students were during the lesson and really enjoyed applying this information. You could explain how hard it might be for some lessons to have content applied like this, and that you are proud of the achievement in your classroom.
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yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I think the teacher should also add something to their syllabus that discusses their reasoning for this type of instruction, just so that it is addressed ahead of time.
  Posted on: November 28, 2013 8:15 pm

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Solution 31
Posted November 28, 2013 8:15 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
You should by no means remove content like this from your lessons. It's sad that so few teachers teach social injustice issues that when one does, it shocks parents. Every student's education should be a multicultural one, one that makes them aware of and advocates of social issues. This is just one of the many battles you will encounter in your experience as a teacher, but it one of the most important and one you should not waver on. Start including in your syllabus at the beginning of the year some type of blurb about how your content area is math, but this focus is supplemented with real world issues that will prepare students to become educated, well-rounded global citizens. Create a sort of "mission statement" about your beliefs of education and any research that would support these beliefs. You could then have this on hand to give to any students that question your instruction practices.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Great solution. I agree implementing the information about real world objectives should be address in the beginning of the course term.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 10:33 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
Social injustices is definitely pointed out in this lesson. I think your post is great! I could not have thought of a better way to address this possible issue. I think by giving parents a heads up at the beginning of the year in the class syllabus, then they will know what to expect and where your information for your lessons may possibly come from.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 1:31 pm

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Solution 32
Posted April 8, 2014 12:28 am

Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Reps: 42
This problem is complex and the solution is not clear cut. The most important thing is that the solution involves students getting a superior learning experience while feeling safe and comfortable. While real and relevant data can hook students, it can also distract them from the topic at hand. The key is to find a compromise to keep the lesson relevant and interesting while leaving all of the stake holders comfortable.
While teaching lessons in my own classroom, I often use real data. It has backfired in unfortunate ways on more than one occasion. One semester I was teaching using data about heart disease and heart related fatalities. Little did I know that one student in my class was suffering from a congenital heart defect. She constantly lived under the specter of a sudden heart attack. Another student in that same class had recently lost their parent to a sudden heart attack. Before I knew it, I had traumatized those students by using those data sets. Was heart attack data the only way to make the material come alive? No way! I could have found countless other data sets that would have been real world and caught the attention of my students.
The real interest of the students in the data used need not be wasted. Where ever the curriculum allows for discussion on gender, ethnic, and socio economic inequity, this data can be used. In fact, the math involved would make a great cross curricular link. However, it is certainly not appropriate for a 5th grade math teacher. If the parents are students are uncomfortable, their chance to feel safe and learn is in jeopardy. A teacher is not selling out education by being sensitive to the appropriateness of the materials being used in a class.
As for the parents, an explanation is warranted. Let the parents know that students are being taught to be wise consumers of information. Explain that authentic learning will help students master the standards and apply them in their own lives. It is important to let the parents know that the math teacher was not intending to indoctrinate students by imposing personal beliefs through the use of a particular data set. Parents should also be assured that the purpose and direction of the examples is simply data analysis. When planning lessons, a teacher should try to find data that is both interesting and not distracting.
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Solution 33
Posted April 18, 2014 6:40 pm

Ethan Burke
Ethan Burke
Reps: 39
I think that you should explain your use of the statistics to your principal first. You have to need to have the administration on your side and have their support. With their support, I would then draft a letter to the parents explaining your thinking behind presenting real-world material in the classroom. If teachers have the responsibility to develop their students into productive citizens, then they need to face (age-appropriate) real-world material. It helps the math (or whatever subject) come alive and be more meaningful to them. Also, discuss this with the students and help them understand the why behind the lesson.
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LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
The statistics definitely is a more interesting way for students to learn the information. Even though it may be offensive to some, that is not the reason for using the data. The data is accurate and should be suitable for school use.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 1:28 pm

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Solution 34
Posted April 23, 2014 3:58 pm

Brad Cowart
Brad Cowart
Reps: 38
To answer your last question first, removing the content would be the easy way out and seldom is the easy way out the correct answer. To begin with, I wouldn’t go into this with the mindset that you are starting a long battle with your parents. You may want to communicate with the parents ahead of time next year and share with them where you are getting your data from. You could even ask them to help you by discussing these things at home. You may need to assure your parents that you are covering the math curriculum in adequate detail if your class is designed as a math class. This is a great opportunity for the social studies teacher to take some of these questions raised and continue with some of the interest you have sparked.
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Solution 35
Posted June 12, 2014 12:01 am

Kimberly Rahn
Kimberly Rahn
Reps: 70
I do not believe that you should remove your content. I would write a letter to all parents or call them in for a conference and explain to them what you are trying to teach and hoping your students will understand. It is my past experience, that if parents truly understand why something is being addressed then they will come to accept it. I think they would appreciate your honesty and could possibly add suggestions and find a common ground.
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LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
I too think writing a letter of explanation is needed. It is also important for teachers to realize that not every parent will approve the content or the manner in which a standard is taught. Backing up the content taught with standards proves the validity to the lesson itself.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 9:36 pm

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Solution 36
Posted June 12, 2014 1:26 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
I think you should explain your reasoning to the principal first so that they will back you up. If you are using accurate and cited information in your lessons, there should not be an issue. It's not like you are making up this information, it is the reality of the world that we live in. I would also explain to parents my intentions of the lesson. The intentions are not to cause problems or feuds, just to teach them how to interpret graphs with statistics that represent different cultures and races in our country. There is no reason for being upset about the actuality of our reality.
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Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
I agree. It's good for the students to be aware of what goes on in the world today.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 12:34 am

Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
I do think it is a good idea to explain the situation and have the principal on your side. In addition, just explain to parents that you are trying to make the information learned in class relatable to students and their lives.
  Posted on: June 14, 2014 2:55 am

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
I agree. Ensuring your principal is behind you is a great first step before responding to parents. What you have actually done here is make a concept in a math class relevant across the curriculum and applicable to the "real world". After you have contacted the parents and explained the lesson to them, I would keep the principal posted on the general tone of these conversations. Perhaps you could work with the English teacher (if that is not also you) and try to come up with a lesson where students could write an essay on this issue or social justice so that it would seem more relevant.
  Posted on: June 14, 2014 8:55 pm

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Solution 37
Posted June 15, 2014 1:13 am

Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
I feel it is important to address that parents' concerns, but be prepared to back up your reasoning for using the material. Students need opportunities to work with real life data that means something, rather than being fictitious. Understandably, parents misinterpreted your reasoning for using the data. Explain the social justice implications that evolved from your lesson and how they benefited the students' overall knowledge.
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Solution 38
Posted June 15, 2014 6:47 pm

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
How? How do you know that an explanation will not stop the complaints. If you can explain your reasons for using this data then I don't see why these parents won't be ok with your students using this information. However, using this data without putting this information into context is not helpful. Students should also understand some of the history behind income distribution and job wages.
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Solution 39
Posted November 18, 2015 11:16 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
This is your classroom and I feel like if you feel like the content is important than to use it. Parents like to try to tell teachers what they need to be teaching if it does not fit in with their beliefs. If it was me, I would teach it just the way you did. I would explain to parents that this is data from a national magazine and that you do not tolerate hatred in your classroom and any incidents will be handled. I would also explain that you are trying to prepare students for the real world.
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Solution 40
Posted November 21, 2015 4:33 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
The reason we have the problems we do in this country is because of ignorance and lack of education. I think you should fight this battle, even if you have to hold a parent meeting one night to explain your line of reasoning. Then, maybe you could create a parent permission form and hold the parents responsible for not allowing their kids to be educated in a multicultural way. It would cause you more work, but you could provide these students with alternative exercises and keep the parents happy. Honestly, when parents complain, I feel like you have to listen, but you have to understand that they will have to face the consequences of their child being uneducated about issues that don't need to be swept under the rug.
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Solution 41
Posted December 4, 2015 9:37 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I do not believe you should remove this content from your classroom because it is relevant to math and social inequalities that students need to be aware of. If the principal asked to send home an explanation then the principal seems to be on your side of this discussion. If they wanted you to stop teaching that specific lesson then they would have told you. I would try to explain to the parents that the statistics were featured in a specific study, and that you wanted to integrate other subjects into the math content. You wanted the students to understand that math is relevant in the world outside of the school walls. I would also explain that it was not done as a race issue, but it led to good discussions about the inequalities.
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Solution 42
Posted October 12, 2016 5:14 pm

jaDehy
jaDehy
Reps: 103
I also believe very strongly that social justice issues should be taught in everyday situations such as your math problem. It allows students to be aware of the world around them, to think outside of their bubble, and to understand what type of world we live in. I believe you should write the letters to the parents explaining how incorporating social justice into math problems can benefit their students in the long run. If the parents still insist on you not teaching their students such things, then have a parent awareness night where you invite the parents and the principle and explain why these lessons are necessary.
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Solution 43
Posted October 7, 2017 2:08 pm

napyze
napyze
Reps: 100
I think that your lesson sounds great! Students need to know statistics such as those in order to change them. I do not think the topic you chose should be something we hide.
A letter to the parents could go something like this.

Dear Parents, I understand that some of you were upset about our recent math lesson. The students were looking at statistics related to the pay gap between male and females who hold the same jobs. The main focus of this lesson was math, however I believe this is an important topic. I have many girls in my class as well as boys. I want them all to know that when they grow up they should have equal opportunities. I want them all to be empowered and strive to do their best. That is why it is important that students are aware of these inequalities. These students are our future and their future should be in their hands. Thank you, feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns.
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Solution 44
Posted June 13, 2014 12:33 am

Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
I wouldn't change my content, but I would send a note about what I would teach. At the bottom would be a consent form. I wouldn't want to have a negative relationship with my parents. I would make adjustments if need be to keep a positive relationship with the administrators, students, and parents.
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Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
Consent forms are a great way to give the parents more control of the situation. Students that are not able to participate in the lesson could graph information about another topic. I think the teacher should still use data about social injustices for students that are given permission.
  Posted on: December 7, 2014 10:39 pm

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I like the consent forms. It is true that students are not old enough to make all decisions for themselves. Parents need to be kept in the educational loop because it takes more than educators in order for students to be successful.
  Posted on: April 24, 2015 12:15 am

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Solution 45
Posted December 8, 2012 1:43 pm

Lindsey Harrison
Lindsey Harrison
Reps: 108
I honestly agree with the parents and would choose to take this out of my class. I understand that this information is important, but I do think that Math should be the main concern. Whether or not the information will bring racial hatred into the class is debatable. From an educator's standpoint I would get rid of the material to prevent anymore uprising.
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Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I disagree. I think that sensitive information should and could be used for math and any other class. I beleive that students are able to form their own opinions about a topic and the teacher could hold a discussion about this topic. There will always be a lesson that a parent does not like; however, if you can justify why and how you will be using it to help benefit your classroom, you should be free to do so.
  Posted on: June 11, 2013 1:06 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
I would have to disagree because students often question the importance of math in the real world. This lesson taught them math and reality of the workforce. Although the students will form their own opinions, it is important for the teacher to facilitate the discussion in a way that all races see the importance of working together.
  Posted on: June 11, 2013 5:57 pm

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
I strongly disagree. I am a high school math teacher and I know that it will not be just enough for students to learn "math". Math is not the traditional math classes that most of us took while we were in high school. Mathematics is complex and consists of real world phenomena, interpretations of data, and justification of ideas and decisions. This teacher made the effort to not just use useless information to teach math. The teacher used real life and relevant data, made the lesson interesting and fun for the students, and the students inadvertently are gaining information on some of the inequalities in our society. This teacher is definitely preparing their students for success in mathematics.
  Posted on: June 15, 2013 12:02 am

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
Considering the information included was concrete and statistical, I cannot see why it should be removed from the math course. In teaching social injustices, there is often abstract concepts and subjective material, but teaching racial and gender differences in income is simply economical. I respectfully disagree and think it belongs right where she put it.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 9:43 pm

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I do not find a reason for the material to be removed from the math lessons, because one major point that is pushed by research is making lessons authentic and incorporating material across the curriculum. I feel that you could let your parents aware of the material that you will be teaching, through a weekly parent letter. Every Friday I send home a letter with my students informing parents of the material that will be taught the following week. The letter lets parents know how they can better help their students prepare and let them know what material students need to be aware of.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 10:58 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I must disagree with you in this instance. I have taught math for many years, and students often fail to see the relevance of what we are doing. The fail to make the connection between the content and the 'real world'. The use of the differing income between groups of people would be a great way of how math relates to the real world. 'Glass ceilings' exist whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. They exist not only for women, but for different races. It is a real problem that exists in the labor force and these students are now aware of this social injustice. So, not only did they learn about graphing, they also learned about discrimination within the workforce. I would not take topics like this out of my lessons and would definitely continue to take the opportunity to teach my students about similar issues whenever applicable.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 6:55 pm

yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
I think using real world data to graph is important. A lot times students want to know real world applications and this is a great way to do this. There is nothing controversial about the data itself. If the teacher isn't making any controversial comments while making the students use the data, then there should be no reason the students would be at a disadvantage when learning this material.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 9:46 pm

Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
I have to disagree. This is a great example of a real world problem. It shows students how they content they are learning relates to the real world. Not addressing issues that are a problem only worsens the matter.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 2:32 am

Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I have to disagree. Students need to know that what they are studying is relevant to their every day lives. If he takes this out, he is eliminating a very teachable moment.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:25 am

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I agree that math should be the main focus. The material being introduced is important, but it seems like the parents are going to make it a distraction and this could hinder the learning of the children in the class.
  Posted on: November 18, 2015 5:26 pm

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Solution 46
Posted June 15, 2013 10:42 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
I think that in this case, this is a math class and it is more important to teach the students math than to bring up controversial current events that may take the learning off of the math. It is our jobs as teachers to teach the required curriculum. If parents are complaining about the teachers bringing issue to the classroom that are not required learning, then it is not worth it. It is important that the teacher teaches the students in this case how to graph, not about the differences in pay. Another issue with using research like this is that many times there is also another study that may contradict the first study. Too many teachers complain that there is not enough time fully covers all the required mater, so then why would a teacher make it more difficult by bringing in issues that are not required.
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Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I do not think the teacher should totally forget his idea of teaching this material. I think he is doing a great job at teaching students about the real world at a young age. I think this is a great way to apply real life instances to a math problem.
  Posted on: November 21, 2013 9:34 am

Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
I also think the teacher is doing the right thing, but you have to be careful to not make parents angry. Send the note home beforehand, and the parents who do not want their child to participate, they do not have to.
  Posted on: June 11, 2014 3:36 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I do not agree with you exactly. I think that we should always be teaching across the curriculum. This is a great way to team up with the Social Studies teachers and create a project that hits on more than one subject area. I think the math teacher should continue what he is doing. I think he just needs to open the lines of communication even more for parents. Parents would rather be informed of what is happening in their child's lives as opposed to not getting all of the correct information from their child.
  Posted on: November 17, 2014 8:26 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I do not totally agree with you on this one...I think yes, it is our job to teach the curriculum, but it is also our job to teach across the curriculum and use real-world examples in class. If the teacher is going to use these types of materials, then as a class they need to have some conversation about the implications of the material that they are looking at.
  Posted on: November 19, 2014 2:03 pm

NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
I agree with you on this situation. I think that it is important for the teacher to focus solely on math. The students are way too young to be exposed to controversy such as this. I think this topic will somewhat disrupt a positive learning environment and as the teacher it seems as if you are imposing your own personal views on the students considering how the content is taught, and how young the students are.
  Posted on: December 4, 2014 2:15 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I think it depends on the class. As long as the students are reacting in a positive way and learning from the material, then it is worth the long battle with the parents and administrators, but some classes are comprised of a mix of students who will get into heated debates and take the learning focus away from math. Ultimately, it is up to the teacher to know and understand their students in order to fight for what is best for their students, and the effects of the lesson should be worth the battle. If not, then change the material to something that would better benefit the class.
  Posted on: December 6, 2014 1:54 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I think the teacher should continue with the data and allow the students time to discuss the results. I know how important it is to cover the math content in a short period of time but it is also important to teacher valuable information to your students. If there is a study that is different then both of them could be presented. That would teach an entire new subject.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: December 7, 2014 10:37 pm

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
I see your point. These are 5th graders, so the concept of differing pay and social differences is not inappropriate for them, but there's also the opinion that we should incorporate other subjects and content into all subjects. So, if this math teacher pulls in some social studies and they students graph about that, I don't see an issue. If what they were graphing continued to cause a problem or had parents constantly at the school and complaining, I might rethink it. It would depend on the continued response. I would likely pull in other material to keep the parents at bay. You can use other data, that isn't something that can be refuted to graph. Like you said, sometimes this information on different social issues is not exactly fact. There are always other studies that can prove or disprove something.
  Posted on: June 8, 2015 1:37 pm

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I agree that teachers should definitely teach what is in the curriculum, but sometimes as teachers we add other elements in as we teach. As a teacher I can see where the teacher is coming from, but I can also see the side of the parents. I do feel like we should communicate with the parents if they are concerned with what is being taught. We need for them to feel comfortable sending their child to school.
  Posted on: June 8, 2015 6:12 pm

nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
Teaching is an art. I don't want to take out whatever ability the teacher has left to make a unique lesson.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 7:23 am

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I do see your point, but I think that teaching a real life lesson is also valuable. As teachers, we are asked to bring in real life scenarios as often as possible. Students will ask, "when will we use this" and teachers can respond on how they will. Teaching this content to the students, in my opinion, is beneficial because it is real facts. The students can work hard and be determined to possibly change the statistics.
  Posted on: November 19, 2015 11:58 pm

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Solution 47
Posted November 30, 2012 11:51 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
On of the tennants of education is to make school work relevant to the student to get a buy in interest. Math classes have a tough time relating to students as it is without make class a lesson in political correctness. I personally use the national debt to study scientific notation. I suspect some would object to this subject because it could be political. I don't think we could teach classes that have relevance to students and leave out current events and public discussions.
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yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
You do make a valid point, one way to make education interesting and effective is to make it relevant to students lives and obviously you have got your students attention using this set of data. I also agree that it’s not entirely possible to teach a class that is relevant to students lives without including current events.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 7:34 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102


Yes, you point out that it is important to make learning in schools relevant to the students in order for the learning to be effective. Using current events in a math class is a great way to make the content and the learning more relevant to the students.
  Posted on: November 17, 2013 3:09 pm

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
Well said!
  Posted on: November 26, 2013 9:08 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Real world connects in important in math classes. I believe this help the students to relate to the curriculum. This is essential because connecting real world connects is the foundation for relating the curriculum to the students' prior interests and knowledge.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 10:40 pm

Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I agree with you. Rigor, relevance, and relationships. The assignment is clearly meeting all three of these demands, which means they are gaining the knowledge.
  Posted on: November 20, 2015 7:57 pm

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Solution 48
Posted April 16, 2013 12:55 pm

Debbie Lee Gaskin
Debbie Lee Gaskin
Reps: 48
Well, I think it is laudable that you are hoping to enlighten your students through the curriculum. Perhaps you can share a bit of your philosophy of education with the parents. You could revise how you present such material to be an objective data / math info session. You don't comment on the info, but let the students draw their own conclusions. You can be open to guiding appropriate questions & short discussion / comments that they initiate & that is between them only. That way you don't seem to be indoctrinating them, etc.
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Solution 49
Posted April 17, 2013 8:43 pm

Jennifer Spitko
Jennifer Spitko
Reps: 61
I think that your lesson was appropriate and meaningful, and it seems like you have your principal’s support. I would explain in your letter to the parents what your goals were and why you included that information in your lesson. I do not believe that teaching students about situations of injustice is inappropriate or will encourage hatred among your students. Instead it will make them aware of real life issues and without knowledge change can never occur. I also think that by omitting controversial topics, teachers may be sending the message that those issues are not important. This is similar to when we teach the about the Holocaust while reading The Diary of Anne Frank with our 6th grade students. We tell the students that even though this can be a difficult and sensitive topic for students, knowledge and awareness is what promotes change and keeps us from repeating past mistakes.
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Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I completely agree with your post. I think if we hide these truths about the world from our students they will be shocked one day, and not understand what is going on in the real world. Our job is to educate and prepare them for the real world. Like you said, there are many controversial topics we study. Not only the Holocaust, but they will soon learn more about slavery and the civil rights movement. They need to know the progress that Americans have made, and how they can continue to make this world a better place.
  Posted on: November 21, 2013 9:40 am

Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I agree. Parents and students alike need to see that understanding history and current situations (and not turning a blind eye) are key to making changes. It empowers students to give them knowledge of injustice. This should be the rationale given to parents.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 2:07 am

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I agree with you that we should not avoid controversial topics and information, but provide a way to challenge students to become problem solvers. Using data that is currently happening in the world around them, gives us opportunities to teach more than just math lessons. This gives us the ability to encourage thinking of creative solutions to solve these types of problems. A not should go home explaining your reasoning and intentions, but highlighting the benefits to this lesson.
  Posted on: November 24, 2014 3:23 am

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I agree that this was a good way to introduce such an important fact in our society. You are right, there are sensitive issues that need to be discussed carefully, not ignored. I would possibly alert parents to this, though. Then they can be prepared to answer their students' questions, as well. It does not seem to have caused hatred in your students, but you should be prepared to address and guide debates if they arise.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 2:31 am

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I agree with your post. Some topics are more sensitive to some than others, but that doesn't mean that we should stop teaching the material to our students. I would explain it to those parents that have a problem and let them know that you are more than willing to listen to them, but you may have lessons like this in the future as well. If they don't want their child to participate then give them an alternate assignment.
  Posted on: December 1, 2015 6:33 pm

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Solution 50
Posted June 10, 2013 12:19 pm

Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I would explain to the parents that you are not trying to cause hatred in the classroom. I would also explain to them that it is important for students to learn multiple contents in a classroom and not just one. This makes the lesson relative to the students lives and makes them more engaged in the material. I would continue this long battle as long as I had the support of the administration behind me and as long as I felt my students were learning and progressing. If the students can see how math can be used in real life scenarios they will not question the teacher on "WHEN WILL I EVER USE THIS". It also opens students eyes to the biases in their own culture.
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yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I agree using these real life scenarios will show students when they will actually use the math you are teaching them. I also think it’s important to have the backing of your administrator and I also think that the teacher should try to explain and help parents understand why he is using this particular content in the classroom. Explaining these types of things does not necessarily ensure that parents won’t still disagree, but hopefully it will help parent and teacher reach middle ground.
  Posted on: June 10, 2013 7:54 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
Great point. This is interdisciplinary teaching, which is very important to include. It definitely is more engaging to students and makes the application of math more realistic and contextualized.
  Posted on: June 11, 2013 3:06 pm

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
I strongly agree with you. As a high school mathematics teacher, I constantly get the question of "When am I ever going to use this?" In this fifth grade class, students are being exposed to real world context (social justice) while interpreting graphs. Those are skills that students will need to bring with them throughout their academic career.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 11:49 pm

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
I think that you have a great point about the content creating relevance for the students. Students want to make connections to the real world. They want to feel that they aren’t learning something just for the sake of learning it. The purpose of school is to prepare students for life in the real world. To do that, you are going to have to teach them some real-world issues. Also, when we make our lessons interdisciplinary, we are getting the attention of more students. In this case, students who typically aren’t interested in math may have their attention hooked by the social studies aspect of the lesson.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 12:01 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
I think the optimal point you raises was "as long as the administration was behind the teacher." So often, administrators tend to buckle at the first sigh of trouble.
  Posted on: December 5, 2013 2:29 pm

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
I would also do the same if I was faced with this issue in my classroom. You are so right about the kids complaining about why is it important and using current event issues you can relate it back to why graphing is important in the real world.
  Posted on: June 11, 2014 3:59 am

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Solution 51
Posted June 10, 2013 5:56 pm

yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
If you feel strongly about the material and feel that it is an important aspect that you want to teach and your administrator isn’t in disagreement, then do it. You are aware of the potential problems it will cause with parents. My only suggestion for you is to type a polite letter explaining why you feel it is important for you to use these statistics and data and similar in your lesson and send it home with your students at the beginning of the school year. I think that neither you nor the parents are absolutely right I can see why you want your students to be aware of such real world examples of data and how this information can tie into your lesson but I can also see the concerns of the parents as well. I am not convinced that using such data will create racial hatred but I see their concern. I myself prefer to not to kick a sleeping dog, I would use other real world data examples that were less controversial, and leave the social justice lessons to someone else.
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Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
I agree with your statement about not kicking a sleeping dog. It is important to drive points home in our lessons, but you must do so eloquently. By choosing data that is appropriate for the grade level and topics being covered, it is more likely that no problems should arise from the home front. In a response to the parents I would do my best to relate the data used to various other curriculum standards to show that you are taking best practices into account.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 1:58 am

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Solution 52
Posted June 11, 2013 1:02 pm

Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I think that the material you used has meaning and brought a new take to the classroom. I also beleive that you have the support from your principal. I beleive that many parents are not willing to allow their children to be exposed to sensitive information. This form of sheltering leads to misconceptions and a delayed reaction when their children leave home. I think that if you continue to use this information, and I would, maybe a letter explaining its use would not be a bad thing. I would not let a few compliants about a topic cause me to through out meaningful learning material.
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Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I agree that the material was useful in the classroom. Students need to be aware of the various types of injustice if any changes are going to be made in the future. Also, this is real information that connects to real-world issues and that is something that students are not getting often enough.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 10:05 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I agree, i think it is important for students to be exposed to the types of things that occur in our world. It makes the information relevant to their learning. Parents may not understand the importance of this and they can tend to shelter their children from truths. A letter seems like the best way to go about explaining yourself to the parents.
  Posted on: November 17, 2013 3:14 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I agree! Do not be upset by just a few complaints! Teaching about the report was not intended as any form of malice. Just explain to the parents, and I'm sure they will (eventually) understand.
  Posted on: November 19, 2013 8:02 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Right! The more students are exposed to real-world problems and issues the more ready they will be to face these issues.
  Posted on: December 4, 2013 2:40 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I agree. A large majority of parents want to shelter their students from issues like racial and sexual discrimination in the workforce. I think that the this was the perfect time to introduce these students to the notion of 'glass ceilings' in the workplace. The principal seems to have your back on the issue, so I would continue to integrate these issues when relevant. As a general rule, when a parent writes you a letter, you have to respond to them. I would respond to them and the rest of the parents who have students in your classroom. The letter should explain your motivation for integrating this type of information into your class. The letter should also contain a comprehensive list of any additional issues that you plan to address during the year so that if they have any questions, they can contact you ahead of time. I would also give this letter to your principal so he/she will be aware of what you will be tackling in your room throughout the year. Bravo for implementing this into your lesson!
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 7:09 pm

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Solution 53
Posted June 11, 2013 3:10 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I would not take a short cut and remove the content. It is important to address issues of bias from an early age. It appears that the principal was supportive but wanted a response to parents, which makes sense. I would contact the parents and explain the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. I would also explain the real-world applications of this information and your reasoning for including it in the class. I assume that the lesson had some preface/discussion and students were not simply given the information to graph, so I would discuss the context for the lesson and how the intention of the lesson was the opposite of leading to hatred. Conversations around social justice are never a waste of time. They are important lessons to learn. If we are not aware of discrimination in pay/hiring, then how are we to combat the inequity?
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I agree that teaching the students about social injustices such as this are a good idea. I do question the fact whether 5th grade is "too young." However, I agree that contacting the parents about the lesson and explaining the reasoning behind is would be good.
  Posted on: November 19, 2013 8:01 pm

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Solution 54
Posted June 11, 2013 5:33 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
Apparently, the parents are confused about the information and how it was presented. I think you should invite them into the classroom to see one of these lessons in action. Show the parents that you presenting this information was not an attempt to demean any race but yet make them knowledgeable about the realities of the workforce. This information is important in the classroom because the students are our future and maybe one of them will grow older and change this. If the parents still disagree after a classroom visit I would ask them for specific reasons why they disagree and based on their responses modify the lesson plans.
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qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I think that inviting the parents into the classroom is a wonderful idea! This is a great way to let them experience the lesson first hand to ensure that the intention was not to cause hatred, but to expose the students to relevant issues that they will relevant to them in their future jobs.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 11:19 am

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I think you have a great idea of inviting parents to the classroom. By doing so, parents can get a first-hand experience as to what you are teaching and how it is relevant to your math lessons. Great idea!
  Posted on: November 25, 2013 5:03 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I like the idea of having the parents come in. Framed in the light of "come in and see how we use this material" to teach math, you open the door for them to act upon their anger over the material. If they do not come in or refuse, you can prove your willingness to show them why you feel the material was acceptable and will continue to use it with your admin's support. By having them come in you also create the opportunity to show the ones who do come that what you are teaching is really not bad at all when it is viewed in the context of the math class and how the students interact with it and each other.
  Posted on: June 10, 2014 2:42 pm

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Solution 55
Posted June 12, 2013 3:23 pm

Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I would not take the easy way out and remove the content. It is vital that issues of bias are discussed at an early age. I think the principal is in an awkward position because he wanted to be supportive, but also had a job to do and needed to contact parents and explain how important it is to have an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. The biggest thing is that everyone needs to understand the real-world applications of this information and why you want to include it in the class. The students also need to understand the purpose of the lesson and what they need to get out of it. Conversations of this type are always productive and useful, but there needs to be an understanding of what the purpose is and why they are discussing the topic.
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yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
I think removing the content is a mistake as well. Teachers are often forced to omit and revise their curriculum to appease the world, or to fit a prescribed mold. When you start sacrificing each decision, you will end up in a rut where you become the robotic instructor who simply teaches test material and goes home. Sticking to the guns is the better route, I agree.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 9:38 pm

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Solution 56
Posted June 14, 2013 10:58 am

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
You've found a way to get your students attention and they enjoyed the activity enough to go home and discuss it with their parent. I think you should keep it in the plans. I do see how some could think it would lead to hatred among students but that where you pull in a little multicultural lesson and allow students to have class discussions. I may would suggest, with the permission of your administration, that you send home a letter to parents next time explaining the type of activity and the importance of is use in class prior to the lesson. Allow students to opt out if they'd like. This way parent are aware of whats going on in the classroom and there less of a chance backlash.
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qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
Although I think that all students should be exposed to these issues, I think that your solution is a great way to keep parents happy. Sending home a letter before the lesson explaining the content and the purpose of incorporating the material into lessons will ensure that parents fully understand what their child will be learning, and why you feel it is important for them to be exposed to the information. I also think that giving parents the opportunity to ask that their child not participate in the lesson is a good way to minimize complaints.
  Posted on: June 14, 2013 11:22 am

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I like your idea about allowing the students to opt out of the activities. If the parents are uncomfortable with it, they may just ask that the student not participate with the rest of the class. However, if they are informed before hand then it may lead to more parents realizing the importance of the topic and allowing their students to participate.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 8:52 pm

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
I think that this particular data may seem to lead student into a particular political view point. Teachers should avoid using their position to endorse or support a particular political position. However, the teacher can still use this data as long as they include data on multiple different issues and from different viewpoints. The teacher could also use data about immigration patterns, recidivism rates, GDP data, and so forth. This would help avoid the appearance of favoring any particular political ideology.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 7:03 pm

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Solution 57
Posted June 14, 2013 11:16 am

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I do not think that you should take a short cut and remove the content from your lessons. The principals seem to support the idea of incorporating this material into your lessons. It is important for students to begin learning about issues such as this at a young age. I would explain to the parents that you wanted to incorporate social justice lessons into your math problems to begin exposing them to the issue. I would ensure them that your intention was not to cause hatred between the students. I would also remind them that the statistics are true so the material is not in any way a waste of their childs valuable time.
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Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I appreciate your comment on assuring the parents that the data is true and not a waste of time.... but in dealing with parents for some time now I feel that this will fall on deaf ears. Even with iron-clad evidence of your material being factual, parents will still demand this to be removed if they feel it is bothering their child. I feel that the only way to retain this is to either have the parents come in and see how the students and material are interacting in a positive light or have your admin back you in saying that this material is ok for instruction and it will stay in the curriculum.
  Posted on: June 10, 2014 2:45 pm

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Solution 58
Posted June 15, 2013 6:31 pm

Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
The information you taught was not fabricated so it could not make children resent one another. This is reality of the world we live in and I believe that students should not be sheltered from the truth. As someone else said, one great way of increasing learning in the classroom is to make the lessons relevant and in this case you definitely did, enough so that the students wanted to talk to their parents about the scenario. I would write a letter to the parents letting them know that students learn better when the content they are learning is relevant to them, tell them that none of the data presented was fiction, and real-life scenarios are extremely useful in the classroom. If letters continue, then I would set up a meeting for all parents who want to discuss the issue, the school counselor, and the principal/assistant principal. Maybe hearing a view different view points will help to ease the issue.
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Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I agree with your solution. These are real life events and the students made connections with it. The simple fact that they went back to their parents and talked about a MATH lesson is just incredible!! How many students go home and talk about anything from school, much less Math? Probably very few, if any. I would definitely write a letter to the parents explaining the situation.
  Posted on: June 16, 2013 11:19 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I think if the letters continue setting up a meeting with appropriate school personnel is a wonderful idea. I would also have to explain that the information obtained in the report was not included to offend-- as a teacher, it was found to be a "teachable moment."
  Posted on: November 19, 2013 8:00 pm

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Solution 59
Posted June 16, 2013 8:55 pm

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I think one of the most important things we can do as teachers is to connect the material with real world problems or injustices. In this case, it is important for the teacher to communicate with the parents before they do the activities. Having a small letter with the lesson synopsis and how it might help the students in the future may help sway the parents to letting the student participate. The parents could even let their student opt out of the activity and work on graphing in another way.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I totally agree with you; giving the parents the option to choose to have their children expose to such content is a wonderful idea.
  Posted on: November 26, 2013 6:44 pm

Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I think the lesson rationale is a good thing, but I don't think that allowing students to opt out is beneficial. The information presented in the lesson are no more controversial than talking about racism and segregation when studying previous periods of US history, except that these statistics are relevant today.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 2:05 am

Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
I know sending a letter home to the parents before the activity is more of the Politically Correct way to probably go about this situation, but I cant say I would do it. I am more of an "Asking for forgiveness and not permission" type of person, especially if I think the lesson is truly benefical to the students. I teach at an International Baccalaureate (IB) school so this lesson would be more expected by our principal, because we are expected to bring multiple content areas into our classrooms and this is a great way to bring Social Studies and Math together. As for the students to be able to opt out of the assignment, I wouldnt have offered it.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 6:01 am

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Solution 60
Posted June 16, 2013 10:41 pm

Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
I think the problem with society today is that when someone gets offended they want things to stop immediately. That should not be the case. Because you are educating students on life issues, parents want to do it instead of school. The same thing happened with God in school and look at how things have changed since God was taken out of the equation. Parents don't take the children to church or teach them at home. Therefore, I say continue to teach them and as long as administration approves, incorporate the parents into the lessons. Allow them to visit the class while the lessons are ongoing and allow them to provide feedback once the student comes home and discusses it with them. This could be a homework assignment by having the student explain the lesson to parents and then have the parent state their like of dislike of the lesson learned and why.
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udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
Nobody wants to rock the boat. It far easier to go along to get along. However, if we continue to do what we have always done, we continue to get what we always got.

I think it is a great idea to incorporate real world examples in the curriculum. Research is replete with studies showing how effective this practice is. However, we musn't cause trouble. We can't have our students learning real world situations. (Sarcasm included).
  Posted on: December 5, 2013 2:34 pm

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Solution 61
Posted June 16, 2013 11:24 pm

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
Why would the parents become outraged by this? Finally, something they can talk to their kids about!!! I'm outraged that they're outraged! The students were able to make real life connections in MATH class, which is giving them intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation results in a more efficient long-term memory of the concept.
Honestly, how many students go home and talk about Math class? How many students go home and talk about school in general? Probably very few. They are learning economics in Math class. The two subjects are interrelated.
My solution is to definitely explain to the parents your position on this issue via a letter. I am positive this will calm the parents down, if done in a way that expresses the education of their children and the fact that current events is a crucial part of being a citizen.
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Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I couldn't agree with you more. How often, do we hear of cross-curriculum integration? Always. The fact that you were able to incorporate this into a math class of all things, is incredible. I'm not a math teacher, but I always hear the other math teachers on my hall explain that you can't do something like this with math, or you can't write in math. Parents should be appreciative and not so critical. But, I also agree--you need to explain yourself to the parents. You have to remember, that they are only hearing this information from their students who, let's face it, sometimes leave out part of the story. I really think you will have more parental support if you hold a meeting versus sending a letter home.
  Posted on: December 8, 2013 3:31 pm

aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I agree that I do not understand why parents would be upset with this lesson. My conclusion is that the lesson may not have been properly taught and the lessons learned may have been misinterpreted by the students, which in turn spread to a misinterpretation by the parents. May be best for the teacher to express their side to remove any misinterpretation.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 10:05 pm

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Solution 62
Posted November 19, 2013 7:57 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
Knowledge is power, and sadly, sometimes the truth hurts. You were presenting some interesting data to the students, probably trying to inspire them to reach far beyond their potential. However, I have learned over the years that stories get misconstrued from the time a child is at school to the time they get home-- there is no telling how the student presented the material and data to their parents. I would write a letter to parents, and include the report from the magazine. As a woman, I may not get paid as much as male counterparts per the report. I would explain to them it was not meant to offend. Just to show students that no matter what, they can achieve anything. Some silly report doesn't matter. In the future, I don't think I would include such a report with 5th graders. I would probably wait until at least the end of middle school or beginning of high school.
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Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
I agree- a note home will help tremendously. I would send the note home before the activity just to inform parents of the statistics. They should be involved in the learning process too, so hopefully they will become interested in the topic. Some parents will always complain, but you have to do what you feel is right. Make sure your principal is on board with this content.
  Posted on: June 11, 2014 3:35 pm

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Solution 63
Posted November 23, 2013 3:50 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I am not sure how graphing real-life data can cause hatred among students and be a waste of time. As a 8th grade math teacher, I have found many students have nor or little concept of what the real world is like. They truly think "free lunch" is free and that "life is fair". In order for students to be prepared for the real world, they must face and understand the many injustices of life.

It is also possible the students did not provide the parents with all the information presented in the lesson. As educators, we know students often misinterpret what is said by adults. For future reference, it may be best to inform parents of any instructional topics that may be out of the "norm" in the classroom. Applying math to real life is proven to be most effective when used in math instruction. When students see the relevance, the math makes more "sense" to the students.

It is ashamed that so many parents had issues with your choice for the assignment. However, it is also a fact that you cannot please everyone all of the time. With the support of your administrator, I feel the displeasure of those parents is just a "hiccup" in the school year. To minimize the chance of this happening again, be sure to inform parents of your intentions prior to the lesson.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I certainly like your comment regarding letting the parents know in advance about plans to teach social justice issues because not everyone may want their child expose to such sensitive issues at a fifth grade level. With that said, I will add that the teacher should provide a parent letter about the content to be covered and provide parents with the option to elect whether or not they want their child to participate in the lesson. The teacher can always differentiate the lesson to accommodate those parents who opt not to have their child participate. Doing it this way will certainly avoid any kind of drama.
  Posted on: November 26, 2013 6:39 pm

Kristen Eason
Kristen Eason
Reps: 57
I think the next time the teacher has to address this same lesson, sending home a note ahead of time will better resolve the issues rather than after the lesson has been taught. This also allows students the talk with their parents about the issue and therefore students will be able to bring the conversation to class for a more in-depth discussion. As you mentioned, this will may also allow the teacher to assign students in different groups based on parent responses and for differentiation.
  Posted on: June 9, 2014 6:18 pm

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Solution 64
Posted November 23, 2013 6:23 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
I see nothing wrong with what you are teaching. I think too often we (Americans) run away from having complicated conversations about race, gender, and other social inequalities. The inequities in pay between women and men is heavily documented in research, so I see nothing wrong with using these stats to teach your math lessons. I do not shy away from controversy. I would welcome the parents' comments. However, this is where you are going to have to decide for yourself how far you are willing to go as the teacher. In the highly politically correct world we live in, you must weigh the pros and cons of your decision. You must decide if you are willing to put your career on the line for what you believe in. Ultimately, this is the choice you will be making.
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Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
I like what you said about involving the parents. I think that talking with the parents is a great idea and having them discuss their reasons for why using the income data is not a good topic to use for learning how to graph.
  Posted on: June 11, 2014 4:01 am

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Solution 65
Posted November 24, 2013 7:56 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
Seeing as you feel very passionately about this lesson then I would continue to do it. I would write back to the parents and just inform them that this is a way for them to apply real world examples into the lesson. Especially since the kids really seemed to enjoy the lesson. They enjoyed it so much they actually went home and talked to their parents about it. When I was in school my mother probably never got a better answer than "nothing" when asked what I learned in school that day. Who knows, it could potentially make these children become advocates for equality and work hard to break the mold on these sad statistics.
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Solution 66
Posted November 25, 2013 5:01 pm

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
Don’t change the content; as you said, it’s a great way to teach about social injustices. I would simply send a note home to parents describing your intentions of teaching math while introducing students to some multicultural perspectives. In your letter to parents I would include information from the article that you read. In addition to teaching math, you are also teaching students how to interpret information from a variety of sources. You have a good, solid lesson and I would stay with it.
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Solution 67
Posted November 26, 2013 6:24 pm

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I don't think you should take the short cut by removing the content from your lesson. I would advise that you provide the parents with an explanation for your position regarding the teaching of social justice issues. You will certainly not be able to please all the parents, however, some parents can be won over with reason; they just have to understand the "why" and how it relates to their child's academic success. With that said, in your explanation to the parents I would convey the following to support your position:

1. As an educator, I am responsible for preparing my students for the real world, and that includes me teaching them about the inequities that exist and how they may or may not threaten their ability to compete with others.

2. As an educator, I am responsible for providing my students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be useful and productive citizens who are consciously aware of social injustices and see it as their duty to fight for equal opportunities for all.

3. My students are learning math through real-life experiences as well as attaining problem solving skills that will help them to solve real world problems.

4. Simply telling children about people or problems beyond their experience may not penetrate their understanding very deeply. Children need to have direct and active involvement with the group or issue of concern. (Sleeter & Grant, 2003, p. 203).


Reference:

Sleeter, C. E., & Grant, C. A. (2003). Making choices for multicultural education: Five approaches to
race, class, and gender. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
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yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I love the "mission statement" that you picked! I think that this would definitely deal with the issue if it was included in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and addressed ahead of time.
  Posted on: November 28, 2013 8:16 pm

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Solution 68
Posted December 8, 2013 6:48 am

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I think your lessons are great. I would explain to the parents that social justices is a part of the curriculum and your are supposed to integrate across the different subjects. It didn't seem that the students responded to this negatively. I personally believe if the students enjoyed this type of lesson then run with it and continue doing what you are already doing. It is nice to see teachers thinking outside of the box. It is also important to explain to the teachers why you chose to do this lesson. Explain to them that you did not intentionally mean to create hatred. If they have further questions they can come in for a meeting.
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Solution 69
Posted December 8, 2013 3:28 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I wouldn't take the easy way out here--especially not when you see the importance of implementing such into your classroom. Personally, I believe parents should appreciate the integrated lesson you created, not criticize it. However the case, instead of sending merely a letter home, I believe I would hold a parent's night and have an in-person meeting. You could better explain yourself in person, the principal could also be there, as well as the counselor, if needed. This would allow you to show the parents your personal view on the matter, better than any letter could explain. If parents were unable to show, you could send a letter with them, explaining yourself, as a back-up. However, if you have support from your administration, embrace it. If you know you are doing your students a service, approach the situation with that in mind.
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Solution 70
Posted December 8, 2013 6:49 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I believe that the lesson was a great example of how we as teachers should be including cultural issues into all of our classrooms. I cannot believe that the parents would send letters complaining about integrating this information into your lesson. I can probably tell you that this is the first time that you had students go home and talk about their math class. I can guarantee you that normally they would not have said a word a word about math class. I would have assumed that the information about income levels among different groups of people would have raised some very interesting questions during the assignment. I would have though that they would have gone home and told their parents about what they had learned. I would have expected that the parents would be thankful that you were providing a global education for their students. This information is valuable and is something that they need to be aware of. Social injustices exist and they occur all around us. Your principal is right in that you have to respond to the letters that were sent from the parents. I would not apologize for integrating the information. I would just explain what your motives where and why this information is relevant to their children. In the letter, I would include a list of the other issues that you plan to integrate into your lessons so that they can contact you ahead of time if they have any additional issues. I would also suggest sending the same letter home to the rest of the students in the classroom so that their parents will be aware of what topics you will be integrating into your math class. Next time, you may want to send this letter home at the beginning of school because a lot of teachers do not take the time to include this type of information into their lessons. 'Glass ceilings' do exist for different races and sexes and this information is important to your students. In my opinion, this is definitely a battle worth fighting. I would not remove this content out of my lessons. I would also keep my principal up to date with what I am teaching so that he is not bombarded with phone calls or letters that may arise in the future.
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Solution 71
Posted December 8, 2013 10:24 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I will suggest you send a letter to the parents of the students to explain the purpose of the lessons. Explain the importance of teaching explicit knowledge instead of creating lesson that only focus on the implied content of curriculum. If the parents still disagree create alternative lessons and activities for the students.
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Solution 72
Posted April 15, 2014 1:33 am

Shelly Butler
Shelly Butler
Reps: 37
I do not see anything wrong with your graphing lesson. Using real world facts always catches the students attention. It is obvious that the students learned something and thought the lesson was interesting since they went home and talked to their parents about what they had learned. I teach 7th grade English Language Arts and when I give my students a writing topic that relates to the real world and has real world data they LOVE IT! In my opinion, there needs to be a letter written to the parents explaining how the information was presented to the students and how they used it to learn the standards. Also, I would include how interested the students are when they are able to use real world information. It would be crazy for the teacher to remove the content from their lessons. When we as teachers see positive results why in the world would be even consider making changes!
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Solution 73
Posted April 16, 2014 1:51 pm

ZuRyPa
ZuRyPa
Reps: 36
I think that this is a great lesson to teach kids. I too have recently had a same issue in my English Language Arts class that I haven't incorporated into the class yet, but it has the same issues. My students have very low reading lexiles and the power point sent to me from the Read 180 coach showed what lexile levels are required for each job areas. The higher lexiles were successful teacher and doctors, then the lower they got, the lower income the jobs were such as sales clerk. I too am confused and unsure about how to present this information. However, I think if approached in the right way, with factual data based information then you are only teaching the truth. I would send home your facts with data to support your claims. I was in New Jersey recently and an advertisement came on for a new Pennsylvania Governor and she was using the lower income average for women as her platform for TV ad. I would use that to support my claims. I think you can either put this into your lessons and do the required work to appease parents, or take the easy way out. I recommend doing the hard work.
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Solution 74
Posted April 18, 2014 12:46 am

Stephen Farkas
Stephen Farkas
Reps: 36
Developing critical thinking skills is important for students. Maybe some of the parents think that only one side of an issue is being presented. I think that social issues like this require an even-handedness when it is not directly related to the state standards. Looking at these issues is important though. One area in which teachers are currently being assessed regards tying in the curriculum with the student's everyday lives. I think that you have enough justification to talk about these types of issues in your class. You have to make sure that you are giving the students the freedom to develop their own positions on the issues though. I think that your efforts will be positive in the long run.
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Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
It is important to help the parents understand what content was being taught in the classroom and how it was being addressed. I agree that the will probably feel more comfortable when they realize that the teacher is not trying to force opinions or believes.
  Posted on: June 14, 2014 2:56 am

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Solution 75
Posted April 19, 2014 4:15 pm

Alaina Hughey
Alaina Hughey
Reps: 35
I feel that both you and your principal should compose a letter explaining the purpose of your lessons. If it comes from both of you, the parents me be more understanding. My school implements IB (International Baccalaureate) into its lessons. IB helps the students become more aware on an international level. I do not feel that the lessons would lead to hatred among the students. Students should be aware of what is going on in the world. The support of the principal would minimize the complaints but not stop them completely. If you feel that the students would benefit from such lessons and the lessons are age appropriate, and are related to a standard (i.e. interpreting and creating graphs), I do not see a problem with it. You are just using real world information to teach the students. Using real world problems and examples are a great way to help students learn certain concepts.
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Solution 76
Posted April 20, 2014 2:25 am

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I personally like the idea of including real world topics into your math subject. I think that maybe you can explain to your students and parents that real world application is part of the Common Core. My suggestion would be to have the students choose real world topics to use in your lessons. Then you can explain to the parents that the students chose the topics and they were interested in them!
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Solution 77
Posted April 20, 2014 9:59 pm

Monique Lester
Monique Lester
Reps: 37
I would not take the short cut and remove the material from the lessons because this content is real world, and will cause students interest to peek. I'm sure that the students enjoyed the lesson. That is why they went home talking about it; the lesson made them think. We have to continue to allow students to explore real-world situations and learn about what is going on around them. Students feel important and not left out when adults include them in mature conversations. Anything that involves teenagers and don't allow them to sit back and wish the bell would ring is worth defending. The parents will come around, and if not; those who still reject can have their kids do an alternate assignment. We have to teach kids about real world mathematics even if it is one child at a time. Keep up the good work.
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yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I agree with your solution. I don't think the teacher should remove the material that our students need to learn.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:43 am

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Solution 78
Posted April 21, 2014 1:23 pm

Taquavia Jones
Taquavia Jones
Reps: 35
I would explain to the parents that the reasoning behind using the data was to expose the students to using math in the real world. Relating math to situations the students are familiar with or will become familiar with, will engage them in learning. It also makes them aware of the harsh realities in life. I would also mention that the lesson could be apart of the "hidden curriculum". The kids could easily walk away with the notion that, "I want to change these statistics". It could be a motivational tool.
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Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
I also agree that this is great way to make meaningful by connecting it to the real world. I think often times students want to see the point behind what they are learning in order to feel like it serves a great purpose. I think this lesson did a great job with that.
  Posted on: June 11, 2014 1:16 am

Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
Reps: 60
I agree that these statistics serve more than just a social purpose. They can show the students how statistics, mathematics, and graphing are used outside of the classroom. The students can start to see where and how they can use the knowledge they are gaining from their schooling. I think that explaining it as students taking away lessons versus a teacher using it as a personal agenda is a great way to help parents to understand. Using the information as a motivational tool would be a great way to teach the students more than the mathematical concepts.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 1:47 am

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
I like the idea of making real world connections especially in math. More times than not students want to know the relevance of the mat they are learning. In my high school economics class, my students begin to understand, data, statistics, and complex algebra.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 9:34 pm

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Solution 79
Posted April 22, 2014 7:27 pm

Will Melton
Will Melton
Reps: 58
I believe that it is important to listen to the voices of the parents, because a failure to do so would miss part of the point of social justice. Part of social justice is to allow voices to be heard and understood. So responding to parents concerns is a great thing to do, but changing the way you teach is not a good thing to do. I believe that perhaps you can find a way to communicate with the parents in a way that gives them a voice and also allows them to understand the point of what you were wanting to do. You should speak directly to those parents that say that it will breed hate, and talk about how having conversations of this nature is exactly the way to eliminate hate. I believe that a teacher who truly wants to foster a sense of social justice in their classroom should be able to defend what they teach both to students, parents and principals - unfortunately in this case - you may need to talk to all three.
The next thing to consider is how important it is for this particular issue to be broadcast - is it worth the trouble or should you concentrate on other issues that more energy should be spend on. If you are passionate about the issue, it should not be hard to find the energy to do the extra work necessary to share this information in your classroom.
I believe that you should stand up for what you believe in, find a way to win over the parents and principal and perhaps even use this as a way to inspire your students. This is a special opportunity that your students may remember for years to come. Did my teacher stand up for what they thought was right, or did they bow to the whims of the powers that be?
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Solution 80
Posted June 9, 2014 6:15 pm

Kristen Eason
Kristen Eason
Reps: 57
Personally, I would not remove the activity from the lesson. Your lesson provides true details of what your world expresses. I think students should be aware of these statistics and be able to make real world applications. I disagree upon how parents think this lesson will allow students to turn their backs on one another. This just goes to who that the parents don’t know what they’re talking about and therefore probably don’t have a well-rounded perception of the true world we live in. Sending home a letter to justify your teaching strategy doesn’t need to be address. I don’t feel that teachers need to explain their reasoning behind their teaching. I only feel that this gives parents a since of power. They’re not the ones who went to school to get a teaching degree.
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Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
I disagree with your point to a degree. I believe parents should have some input at school. School is not optional, it is compulsory. If parents must send their children to school, I believe they should have some input. The worst problem at our school is that we do not have enough parental support or involvement. Should parents be dictating what is being taught? Certainly not. Are parents entitled to be upset at a teacher if they are teaching their children something that they deem to be false or inappropriate? Yes they do. If a science teacher dismissed evolution and taught my child creationism instead, I would certainly make a call to the school. Obviously, we will never make all the parents happy, but I believe we do owe it to the parents to explain what we are teaching their children if they ask for one.
  Posted on: June 10, 2014 6:20 pm

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Solution 81
Posted June 10, 2014 2:35 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
Since the principal asked you to write the letter, i would request the principal either assist in the writing or at the very least, proof the letter before i send it out to parents. I believe in this situation the parents will only be incited by a letter that states anything other than their desired wish to have the material removed. As a result, if you wish to take a stand against removing it, you will need backup from the principal when "the wolves come knocking".... and trust me they will. If you feel strongly in the educational benefit of what you are doing and have your admins support then I would continue. If your admin will not help you or at least approve of your message then it may be wise to leave out the material.
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Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
Josh, that is a great idea. Ask the principal for help in drafting the letter or at least proofing the letter before it is sent home. Obviously, we will never make all parents happy, but we just choose where we make our battles. We must determine if the ends justify the means. I have been fortunate to not have any parental backlash in the controversial topics we discuss in class. I assume this is because the students don't care enough to tell their parents, or the parents don't care enough to put up a fight.
  Posted on: June 10, 2014 6:28 pm

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Solution 82
Posted June 10, 2014 6:13 pm

Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
Numerous studies show that the gender pay gap is a myth. However, obviously the point of this is to focus on controversial topics in general. This is definitely a sensitive topic. If you feel that the ends justify the means, then continue to teach math using controversial topics. However, if it is not worth fighting the parents over, then stop. In my opinion, if the parents are upset and may disagree with your teaching, they will pass this belief on to their children and students may lose confidence/respect in your teaching.
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Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
After reading your post, you have changed my mind on my opinion regarding this situation. It is important to keep the students engaged, excited, and confident in your teaching.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 1:14 am

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Solution 83
Posted June 11, 2014 3:56 am

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
I don't think you should remove this content from your lessons because students should not only learn graphing, but understand the reality of the world. I don't think that the topic of income should be something that parents should be alarmed about especially since it is true information. If I were in your situation I would be upfront with the parents and let them know that as a part of the class you would be using current event issues in class that relate to math. As long as the topics are appropriate, then I don't see why using info like income should be a problem.
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Solution 84
Posted June 11, 2014 8:27 pm

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
A letter of explanation for the teacher's reasoning for teaching this particular math lesson is a must. In that letter try to tie in a social studies standard to explain and prove the necesity of teaching the math lesson in the manner in which the teacher did. Not every parent will be happy with what and how one teaches, but as long as one teaches the state standards, and the teacher has the administrators approval then the teacher will be ok. In the future, the teacher may want to send home a permission letter to teach this unit to the students. Those parents who wishes their child not to be part of this lesson, can receive instruction in another class.
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Solution 85
Posted June 12, 2014 1:55 am

Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
As an educator, it is our job to present material that allows students the opportunity to take what we have displayed and run with it. Using real life data in your math lesson is essential to helping students make connections with the content. Furthermore, this data was not something that "poofed" up over night. It took many years for these numbers and research to get locked in. I am positive that the social studies curriculum in every grade level touches on injustices and hardships of several different groups of people throughout the course of history, and if anything, you are merely showing the students that this battle is still being fought today.
To appease the parents I would contact them explaining what I said previously and invite them to join in on the mathematics lessons at any time. Inviting the parents into the classroom and seeing how you present the information is important as we all know that students don't always do the best job relating a message 100%. After a classroom visit if the parents who do come are still concerned you can always move forward from there.
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Solution 86
Posted June 12, 2014 2:12 pm

Krissy Chance-Bailey
Krissy Chance-Bailey
Reps: 65
I think each class is different and you need to "read" your class and see if they would benefit from the presentation. I think the parents should have been grateful that their children are coming home and discussing what they learned in math class according to factual data. I would respond to the parents with your actual resources and let them investigate the information for themselves. I find this as a positive in the classroom in which the students and parents are talking about learning.
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James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
Data without context can sometime lead students into extreme positions. The teacher should include data from the past fifty years on wage inequality this way students can see the trend towards income equality.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 6:52 pm

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Solution 87
Posted June 12, 2014 3:46 pm

Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
Math is probably one of the more difficult subjects to make culturally relevant. It seems this is what you are trying to do. I think the communication needs to be heightened here. Send a weeks worth of lesson plans home with the parents so that they will be involved in what you are doing. Explain that this knowledge isn't teacher hatred, instead it is teaching about unfairness in the world. It's very similar to the required 11th grade reading: Freakonomics. This text is used to bring up and talk about social issues. It doesn't support them!
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Solution 88
Posted June 12, 2014 6:03 pm

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
Recently, I read a report in a national magazine on income levels of different groups of people in the US. The report especially featured income differences between males, females and different ethnic groups. Some of the statistics were very disturbing. For example, women holding the same job as men with same number of years in the job made considerably less money in most of the states. Differences between ethnic groups were even more disturbing. I decided to use these data in my math class with my 5th graders in a lesson on graphing. The purpose was for the students to be able to interpret graphs and create graphs using the information provided. Students enjoyed the lesson and learned some social justice lessons. Apparently a lot of my students talked to their parents about what they had learned in class when they went home. I received notes from about 10 parents the next day simply indicating that what I taught in my math class would lead to hatred among my students and that I should not be wasting their children’s valuable time. Rather, they suggested, I should teach math with no controversial materials. I completely disagree with them and I plan to use similar materials in my other courses as well. However, my principals asked me to send an explanation to those parents. I know my explanation will not stop the complaints. How should I go about this potentially long battle? Or should I take the short cut simply remove such content from my lessons?
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wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
Oops! Sorry! I resubmitted my post answer. I cut and paste the question so I can read them as I'm responding! Differentiated Instruction for my own ADD issues!
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 6:17 pm

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Solution 89
Posted June 12, 2014 6:11 pm

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80

If this happened in my classroom, I would most likely send a blanket letter to all parents telling them about the graphing project I implemented in my instruction to teach graphing. I would extend an invitation for them to join us in the classroom as we studied the information. If a parent had a problem with the information, I would invite them to have a conference with me and explain the importance of using real-world information as we studied math. As I presented this information to my 5th graders, I would make sure to do so in a manner in which they understood no one person or group is responsible for what is happening in the data, that it is more of a societal issue that needs everyone's involvment to change. I think the approach teachers use when teaching data can create a positive or negative tone. It is important for teachers to provide parents with the opportunity to understand why they are teaching what they teach, and help generate an understanding about social justice issues.
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Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I agree. If this information is going to be taught, it should be done in an appropriate manner. The teacher should also make sure that the students understand the information being presented.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 1:15 am

Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
I too suggested a parent letter be sent home with every student. However, I like that you took it a step farther. Inviting parents to come observe in class during such activities is a great idea. Additionally, making yourself available for conferences is expressive of your flexibility and willingness to adapt the activity if needed. Excellent thoughts!
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 2:49 am

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Solution 90
Posted June 12, 2014 9:29 pm

Elizabeth Comella
Elizabeth Comella
Reps: 51
When parents or guardians do not understand the procedures being used with his/her student they could lose trust in the abilities of the teacher. The parents or guardians will start “seeking and acquiring more and more control over that may or may not be done in the classrooms” (Alberto, 2013, p.27). If the parents and teacher have clearly defined procedures being used at home and in the classroom then it builds a relationship of trust in the understanding and care of the student.

As the teacher you need to explain that you are using real world examples to teach math concepts to the classroom of students. The example of the salary differences showed students that in society people are treated differently. In educating students about the inequality in the work environment, you hope that the students will become challenged to find a way to fight the inequality when they become adults.

Elizabeth Comella

References
Alberto, P.A. & Troutman, A.C. (2013). Applied behavior analysis for teachers (9th Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.
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Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
Great solution Elizabeth! I agree that he needs to help parents see the connection intended with the real world implications and how this can help students develop pride in who they are and know that such injustices should be fought against.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 1:16 am

aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I think that the issue may be in the communication between the teacher and parents. Great explanation and I think it may be best for the teacher to explain their side with parents.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 10:08 pm

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Solution 91
Posted June 13, 2014 1:12 am

Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I do not think you should take the short cut and simply remove this content from your lessons. However, I think you should send a letter home to parents explaining why you use this material and your approach to how it can help the students in the long run. Many parents tend to want to shelter their children and never expose them to the "real-world". The most important thing you can do is explain the educational positives that can come from a lesson with this material.
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Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
Yes! The material is great and should be kept, but sometimes we have to help parents understand our reasonings. When they understand the "whys" they are less likely to objective, even if they don't agree.
  Posted on: June 15, 2014 1:18 am

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I agree with your suggestion. Sometimes students' explanations of the lesson don't always include the whole picture, so offering an explanation to parents can be very helpful. Most often, once parents hear the whole story, they are much more understanding of the situation.
  Posted on: December 2, 2015 3:25 am

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Solution 92
Posted June 13, 2014 1:44 am

Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
Reps: 60
I think it is important for you to continue to use this material for its social as well as mathematical content. It introduces students to real issues that are going on in the world while also showing them how mathematics is present outside of the classroom. You are showing your students that the knowledge they are learning in the classroom can be transferred to other areas and aspects of their lives. I do think that your principal is correct in asking you to send an explanation to the parents. I think that you should tell the parents why you choose this material for both the social and educational reasons. Also, I would make sure to tell the parents that the information that you are using is factual and accurate (or as accurate as it can be). This might help the parents to see that you are making up the data to sway the students but that you are merely showing them data from their real lives and world.
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Solution 93
Posted June 13, 2014 6:15 am

Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
Being a Social Studies teacher, I think this lesson is GREAT. By bringing in real numbers and data for the students to graph is an awesome way to show the students a current event/topic and learn math at the same time. If I was the Math teacher, I would have coorinated with the Social Studies teacher to where they could spend some time in class discussing the some topic that day. That way the students will get a more well-rounded view of the topic and it would give you a little more leverage when you are defending your lesson to the parents. I would for sure not take the easy road and just removed the lesson. I would fight for it, because in the end, the students enjoyed and learned from the lesson. We are educators to educate students about the content and create competent citizens. Stand up for what you believe in...
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Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
The students enjoyed it! That should be what matters...that and the fact that they learned! Students usually learn well when they enjoy what they are learning. I agree with you about coordinating with the Social Studies teacher. That would be a great lesson to elaborate on! It allows the children to learn from a positive perspective opposed to learning from someone who discriminates...if you know what I mean.
  Posted on: June 20, 2014 2:29 am

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Solution 94
Posted June 13, 2014 7:32 pm

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
As a teacher you have an obligation to respond to the parents and explain. I am however very surprised at the amount of reaction you had on this subject. Was it some part of the class discussion or the exercise itself that parents had issues with?
Sometimes what was taught in the class is a little different then what is discussed at home. Think of the game of telephone we have probably all played at some point. Sometimes when there is an intermediary some part of the message is lost. It is probably a good sign that your students were engaged enough by your lesson to actually recall it. Before your return the phone calls decide what you are going to do and come up with a “script” so you can stay on message. I’m not suggesting you simply read a letter to a parent but having an idea of what you want to say before you pick up the phone may help you speak more confidently.
If the lesson was well aligned to the mandated content and you can defend it to yourself, administration and parents then I would continue. If there is a flaw in the way you are delivering this instruction so that social justice or content messages are lost I would revise it. Most parents just want what is best for their kids. You may be off to a good start in defending this lesson if you make the case for student engagement. Most students don’t discuss the particulars of a given lesson with their parents (not that parents don’t ask). The fact that the students retained the lesson and discussed it with their parents may be a good point to start with.
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Solution 95
Posted June 14, 2014 2:51 am

Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
I think you should stick to what you are doing. Explain to parents that in order to make math important and relateable to the lives of students, content needs to be interesting and real. You could also invite parents in for a meeting and explain how the material was taught, and what types of things were addressed in class during the lesson. Give parents some peace of mind that you are not trying to force their children to believe anything untrue or wrong.
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Solution 96
Posted June 15, 2014 2:42 am

Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
Parents are a valuable resource in the education of your students. Therefore, I would follow your principals advise and send an explanation to all parents. I would explain that the main focus of the activity was graphing skills. Students needed data to use, so you tried to choose community relevant, present day data to make the lesson more authentic. You merely presented the data. Students gathered their own assumptions and interest in the data based purely on personal interest, as you did not discuss the topic with the class. You can not be responsible for what items peak student interest, rather you are charged with the task of teaching graphing and math skills in a relevant manner to your students. Moving forward, I would continue to choose meaningful data. However, I would stick strictly to the numbers and not provide background discussion.
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ReMuXy
ReMuXy
Reps: 78
I like your comment about not being able to peak the interest of all students, however, I think you should be concerned if you can't peak that interest. What if you give the students homework to find real world math data that you could use that spark their interest?
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 5:11 am

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Solution 97
Posted June 15, 2014 9:57 pm

aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I do not think that teachers should shy away from controversy to simply appease parents, however I can see why some parents would have issues with this lesson. If you are going to use data such as this in the class than you need to place context with lesson. If data is used without proper instruction and discussion than it can be used to justify things that are not intended for the class. A teacher should ask themselves if the lesson can be taught, just as well without controversy. If the conflict takes away from learning in class, is the statement worth the conflict. Sometimes, you have to know what battles to fight, and controversy may not be worth the conflict it creates. Properly explain your side, but ultimately it may not make a difference if the parents or the school board are against such curriculum in the classroom. In the end, you are in charge of the classroom but you are not always in complete control of the curriculum. You need to make sure that the parents, administration and school board are all in agreement that what you are teaching is in the best interests of the students. If this many parents were concerned about the lesson than the teacher may need to ask themselves if the concerns are justified and with merit. If 10 parents were concerned enough about a lesson to take the time to write you than there may be some issues with it that need to be addressed.
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Solution 98
Posted June 16, 2014 1:41 am

Cierra` Barksdale
Cierra` Barksdale
Reps: 61
The best course of action with respect to the parental objections concerning the sociological mathematical graphs is to follow the instructions of the principal by sending an explanation and also remaking persistent and patient. The children were not being taught bias or being influenced by opinion, but we're using mathematics in a practical manner. The students used factual information from a world that is not hidden from them. The teacher should prepare for a long disagreement by accruing the scholarly sources where information was derived and continue to teach in relevance. The teacher must recognize the sensitivity of some parents while being prepared to explain that the studies are not reflective of her opinions. Students see the benefit of learning and retain knowledge when concepts marry relevance.
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Solution 99
Posted June 16, 2014 8:34 am

Justin Redmond
Justin Redmond
Reps: 51
Unfortunately in today's society, there is a fine line you can walk when discussing social issues without facing some kind of negative feedback. At the 5th grade level, this may be a little over the top. I think it is very important to incorporate real life information and scenarios in class; however, I think your example is more appropriate for an older group of students. As a teacher, sometimes there are battles that we should not fight, and I think this is one of those. As you said, your explanation will not stop the complaints. I would do away with the content altogether and try to come up with something more age appropriate. Instead of gender and ethnic groups, you could maybe focus on the income levels of different age groups. However, one good thing came out of this. It is evident that your principals have your back because they suggest you write explanation letters, rather than telling you to stop. This is valuable to know in the future.
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Solution 100
Posted June 20, 2014 2:21 am

Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
Regardless, the students will learn about the injustices whether it is through class assignments or from negative experiences. We know that in reality the differences in income levels exists, but it tends be become taboo when people address it. I would nicely explain to the parents that the math assignment are meant to give the students factual data when figuring math problems. It was an assignment that held their attention and they were able to learn other things and for that reason you will continue to use such information in class. I will let them know that they are free to contact at any given time. Definitely do not go the easy route because the "politics" that we often see happening in schools will rear it's head.
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Solution 101
Posted November 17, 2014 7:24 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I understand the point you are trying to make, but my question is, what is your end game? At the end of the day, what are you trying to teach the students. If this is 5th grade math, and you are teaching how to construct and read graphs, but not social inequalities, then I am not sure the lesson fits. If you make time in your class to discuss the issue (which can be highly nuanced, since we are dealing with statistics) and come up with solutions, then it sounds like a great idea. But if you are simply going to introduce the topic, not take it any deeper, and not allow for the development of solutions, then I do not see the need for the lesson. I also question the ability of 5th graders to understand the concept you are trying to introduce. Maybe some statistics on child poverty in your state or child homelessness (which an article just came out) might be something the students could have an easier time understanding. Either way, all of these issues are highly complex and have many moving parts and require a great deal of thought and consideration before implementation.
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BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
Excellent point about tying the lessons together and not just saying "here is some information about income inequality, let's make a graph". I do think 5th graders would be able to see the injustice of people making more or less money based upon gender or ethnicity.
  Posted on: November 18, 2014 11:56 pm

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Solution 102
Posted November 17, 2014 8:21 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I think your lesson was a great lesson! I would definitely not take the easy way out. Because students talk to their parents and sometimes change some of the information into their own interpretation, I would definitely listen to your principal and send a letter home explaining the reasoning behind your lesson and how it directly relates to your course content. I would send this letter home prior to the students completing the assignment so the parents are not caught off guard at the dinner table. Or send it home to day of the assignment. If parents still send in notes of complaint I would explain to them the importance of their students understanding the reality of the world they are living in. They are using the information they are learning in math to apply their skills to real life scenarios. As long as you take the time to fully explain your reasoning and activity, I do not think the parents would have a problem with the idea. If you rely on your students who are just learning concepts to go home and explain what they did, you will continue to receive letters of complaint.
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BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I think it would be valuable to know exactly why the parents feel the way they do. Asking for their opinion and addressing their specific concerns would go a lot further, in my opinion.
  Posted on: November 18, 2014 11:53 pm

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Solution 103
Posted November 18, 2014 11:51 pm

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I would first discuss your reasoning for the lesson with your principal. It will be easier to proceed if he is on your side. He may also be able to provide some insight on dealing with the parents. Next, I would address the parents. Ask them what their specific concerns are. It's possible the parents are afraid seeing these inequalities will reinforce them; inadvertently teaching the students that one sex or ethnicity is more or less valuable than another.
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Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
it is important that students learn about gender discrimination, but I think there may be another way to go about it. it seems that this teacher just full throttled into it. Unless it was activated by prior knowledge beforehand, which he does not tell us.
  Posted on: November 26, 2014 4:11 pm

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Solution 104
Posted November 19, 2014 3:46 am

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
It seems to me that incorporating real life issues into your lessons is important to you so I would not back down from it. The issues that you discuss are very real and as the students get older they will begin to see more and more of it. It is better for them to be aware now than be shocked later and not have expected it. I would inform the parents that you were trying to teach the students how to use what is learned in math in the real world. You were able to take real life situations and tie it into your math lesson which does not seem to happen often. I think it is possible to have an explanation to give to the parents. I understand the parents concern but the parents cannot expect their children to live under rocks. It would also be important for the students to know that these situations should not cause any form of negativity within the classroom and that you are just using statistics.
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Solution 105
Posted November 19, 2014 2:02 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I think students need to be made aware of the differences in the work force between men and women. I think after the lesson you need to talk with your students about what they saw on the graphs and even discuss ways that it is wrong and what they think should be done to fix those types of injustices.
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Solution 106
Posted November 22, 2014 7:49 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
The lesson you were teaching using real world statistics to teach children about graphing and socio-economic concerns for the nation is really important. I recall doing a similar project for the economics class I took my senior year of high school. It was a real eye opener for students who had already begun thinking about what careers we wanted to pursue in college. I would start the project by providing a detailed explanation of the lesson to parents. You might title it "Why is math at school important to my future?" which would relate the concepts to parents and students. Then explain the social economic motivations for the lesson to get students to think about potential careers, economic success and cultural diversity. Next explain the curriculum related math concepts being taught in the lesson. That would make the lesson educationally relevant to students and parents. I would also add a student career/economy essay so students could select a career of their choice, find out what the economic outlook of the profession are and where they would fit in personally with the national economic statistics. I would also ask them to think of ways they could improve their economic outlook in their chosen career by earning additional college degrees, creating a savings plan or working at a supplemental part time job. I would also ask them to discuss how cultural diversity issues such as ethnic or gender prejudice might impact their long term economic outlook. I would then share the project with the principal so that he or she would be aware to the lesson and could make suggestions for alterations as needed. Then conduct a introduction discussion to present the lesson to the students while providing ground rules on your expectations of students positive participation. Hold discussions with the students as they complete each of the elements of the lesson. Then conduct a post discussion with the students on what they learned, how it motivated them to continue working well at school and whether or not it changed some of their potential career interests and why.That would be a great way to combine math concepts with real world relevance for students.
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Solution 107
Posted November 24, 2014 2:06 am

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
If your principal wants you to send a note home to the parents, I would send a note home to the parents stating that I was trying to tie in real life information with my lessons. Many students want to know when they will use school skills in real life. The students seemed as though they were interested in the lesson. This would be a great opportunity to bring in cultural differences.
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Solution 108
Posted November 24, 2014 3:13 am

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I think that your intentions of incorporating relevant material into the math lessons is great! If this particular lesson caused a lot of unhappiness with your parents, sending a note or a newsletter explaining your thoughts and the benefits of using this type of data would be necessary. I would not use data that is controversial with each and every lesson though. Go to the extra effort and incorporate other ways that the students can use the information that you presented, such as writing letters to corporations encouraging them to have more equitable pay. This way you can integrate all subjects with the facts you shown and also give a deeper understanding to the issues.
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Solution 109
Posted November 24, 2014 3:33 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
You should send a letter home explaining your approach to teaching mathematics using statistics that relate to real life situations. Your letter should allow parents to request a copy of the sources used to collect the data that was included in your lesson. By explaining your reasoning, hopefully the parents will understand that as a teacher you are responsible for more than simply teaching one content area.
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
I agree, you are benefiting your students by broadening their horizons to much more than just mathematics.
  Posted on: November 25, 2014 12:57 am

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Solution 110
Posted November 25, 2014 12:55 am

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
You should definitely not take the "short cut" because it would take away from what you are trying to provide the students with, which is giving meaning to their learning. I would definitely send an explanation letter home letting the parents know exactly what you are trying to do and why. It could be that the parents just don't understand your reasoning behind the lesson and if they did they would think differently. If not you could continue to try to reach them by continuing to explain your lessons.
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Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
An explanation letter is a good idea as well. However, I think the content in which the teacher is presenting is above the level of thinking for the age that he teaches.
  Posted on: November 26, 2014 4:10 pm

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Solution 111
Posted November 26, 2014 4:08 pm

Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
First, I would like to question you in regards to incorporating this into your lesson. It does, indeed, need some type of justification. Was it activated priorly in another lesson? Why did you decide to use these statistics and what did it prove to your students?

Also, in my opinion, I feel that fifth grade is a bit young to have this discussion with in regards to your given content. This seems more like a later middle school age or high school topic. Elementary school students interpret items differently because their aspects on life are not fully developed. I would focus on revising lessons for age appropriate content. Perhaps if you continue on with your at-risk lessons, then you can get parent signatures for approval.

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Solution 112
Posted November 27, 2014 10:47 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
The fact that students went home to talk to their parents about their lessons is amazing. Students actually enjoyed what they learned that day in school and wanted to bring it to their parent's attention. In relating it to the real world this is a great way to embrace and begin to talk about future plans. Students need to understand what it takes to begin thinking about their future. Situations like these help them. I believe you should explain to parents the results to explaining this to the students. Allowing the parents to tell their feelings shows them that as a teacher you do care about what they think, but showing them that you are sticking to the curriculum allows their children to think creative and critically about life and the issues that surround their futures.
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Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
Parents will complain no matter what you do. As long as you follow the directions of the principal, you are covered.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 2:19 pm

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Solution 113
Posted November 29, 2014 2:34 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I am not sure that a Math class is the appropriate place to be teaching about social injustices, especially a 5th grade class. Math has become difficult enough for students to master these days and incorporating yet another issue into the mix may only confusing and muddy the waters in an already difficult content. However, it this is something you are very passionate about doing I think it would be best to inform the parents at the beginning of the year about your intentions of incorporating social issues into the curriculum. The principal should definitely be on board to deal with any backlash that may occur die to parents disagreement with the materials. However, I think that if the majority of the parents are against this type of curriculum, it should be changed to appease them. There are other subjects where curriculum on social justices would be more appropriate.
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Solution 114
Posted December 1, 2014 6:47 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
First, I do not believe that you should take the easy way. It is important for students to see how what they are learning relates to the real world. It would be a good idea to inform the parents before hand of what you plan to teach. Lastly, I believe that this topic was beyond what the students are able to comprehend. It seems to me that it would be more appropriate topic for a high school math class. Try to pick topics that are on there level and that they can understand such as child hunger and animal homelessness.
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Solution 115
Posted December 4, 2014 2:09 pm

NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
As the parent of a 5th grader, I'm not sure that I would want my 5th graders exposed to such a controversial topic such as this so early on. This is especially because my student isn't quite mature enough to look at facts, or research facts of their own to formulate an opinion. I think that by being exposed to such topics so early on, that students are sort of influenced by your opinions, and the manner in which the material is taught. I'm sure your intentions are not to teach the children hatred towards each other, but I can see how that could easily happen being that the students are so young. Perhaps if this was their first year of high school, I could see you presenting this material, but because this is 5th grade, and about 10 parents of at least 20 have complained, I suggest removing the content from the lesson.
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Solution 116
Posted December 4, 2014 11:21 pm

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
This is an interesting situation as it does sound like it is going to be "a long battle" if the parents are that concerned and uncomfortable with such content. I don't believe you should take the short cut simply to avoid exposing the students to such hot topics. Young students are creative and imaginative and perhaps hearing the situation of their current world will inspire them to bring about change. Perhaps in your explanation you can include that going forward you will address the topics and have a short discussion on how students feel about the data. You can also explain why you feel such topics are so beneficial and maybe they will then agree with your reasoning.
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Solution 117
Posted December 5, 2014 6:15 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I would not take the short cut and remove the content from the class. I think it is a valid, real-world example of how mathematics can be used. I would simply send home an explanation to parents outlining why I feel the inclusion of the data is valid and explain how it will be used in class and what applicable state standards the planned activities meet. It might not hurt to also include the source for the data so that parents can take a look at it. Maybe if parents are made aware of how and why the data is being used they will be more willing to see it as a "good" use of their student's time.

Also, if they learn a bit about social justice in math class is that such a bad thing? It's not like the data you are using has been falsified.
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Solution 118
Posted December 6, 2014 1:47 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
As long as you are using accurate data from a reliable source, then I think you shouldn't remove the content from the lesson if it is benefitting the students. If, however, the students are reacting to the information in negative and harmful ways, then rework your approach. I think that students get exposure to these topics in other areas of study and should not be forced to stop using the factual information in the math classroom. If the parents are concerned, explain that students need to be able to read and analyze data from real world sources, and relate it back to the standards that these methods reinforce.
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Solution 119
Posted December 7, 2014 10:34 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I would not remove the content from your math lesson. This is valuable information that your fifth grade students can process. The information should be discussed and it is great if the students rememeber enough to talk about it at home. I would simple tell the parents that this data should be used for several purposes. One being conversation starter at home and school and the other being to teach students the process of collecting and graphing data. Any time something can cause an argument, you will have people who want it to go away but just like the results you have to face the truth. I would start the class off by discussing their ideas on the topi and then spend the rest of the time working on the math content.
-Kayla Mullins
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Solution 120
Posted December 7, 2014 10:36 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I think it is important for students to know about the social injustice that they will face in life. Including these statistics in your graphing lesson is a great way to multitask. I think the explanation letter will give them more information about the focus of the lesson, rather than just the message that the students are relaying to the parents. I suggest speaking with the counselor or parent coordinator to get other suggestions in approaching the situation. I think removing the focus of multicultural aspects will create the perception that you will back down to any time a parent complains, even when you feel so strongly about a topic. I would hold your ground and continue to do what is best for your students.
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Solution 121
Posted December 8, 2014 12:39 am

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I loved that you researched real world data to use in your math class. This type of connection is more meaningful to students than random fictional information. I agree with the principal that you should send an explanation home to parents. I would simply explain to them that the information presented is factual and by no means was meant to "stir the pot." I would explain that issues such as social justice should be discussed so that it does not continue. For example, slavery is discussed in the 5th grade curriculum as well. This concept is not taught to cause hatred; it is history and factual. With principal support and parent understanding, I think you can make a big difference in your students' lives.
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Solution 122
Posted December 8, 2014 3:14 am

zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I would definitely not take it all the way out of the curriculum if you feel so strongly about teaching it. I would probably let the steam die down from the initial lesson and then try again in a more subtle manner. It is important for students to learn of social injustices and learn to work together as a group even still. Math is subject that can or cannot be easily relatable to students, and if it is not, it is easily forgotten. Students need hard learning experiences in mathematics simply for it stick in their minds. It is necessary for students to sometimes learn and hear things they may not be fully comfortable with or completely agree with.
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Solution 123
Posted March 11, 2015 9:21 am

yTuGub
yTuGub
Reps: 107
Keep up the good work! We are being admonished each day to tie in our lessons with real world applications. This is as real as it gets. The information you used is public information that the students can read for themselves. I would send home the explanation along with other examples I have used in the past to show that there is a legitimate pattern of how material is presented. I congratulate you for the fine job you are doing, don't give up.
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Solution 124
Posted April 3, 2015 3:51 pm

Alma Sakonjic
Alma Sakonjic
Reps: 38
I personally love the idea of bringing social issues into math classes and making math matter “more” to our students. What I would have done to ease into an activity like that is start from the beginning of the school year introducing them to those types of exercises. I would pick various issues, less controversial than the socio-economic status of ethnic groups and sexes in America. I would start with statistics and graphs on peach and peanut production in Georgia. Afterwards, I would introduce them to income earning potential with each level of education. Having students engage in these exercises often will cause them to engage in conversations at home. Therefore, when introducing the more controversial topics, the concept of analyzing these issues mathematically will not be such a shock. If the topic does stir some emotional issues, a teacher would have a stronger backing because social justice issues have been analyzed mathematically all year long. However, I have seen a situation that concerned me when a teacher tried to teach about a social injustice. A second year teacher was teaching about homelessness in her literature class. The administrative team at the school were not pleased with this lesson because they thought that the topic was insensitive because of the students that it was being taught to. The administrators gave her critical feedback on her evaluation because of this. The demographics of the students at the school were that of low socio-economic standing. I’m not quite sure in which way the lesson was approached. I never saw the teacher’s lesson plans. However, what I can say is that I’m sure this teacher would not portray a homeless person negatively. If anything, empathy would be sub-curriculum to the curriculum. So where does a teacher feel safe in approaching controversial issues? Math would seem like a subject safe from controversy, but apparently not. Quite frankly, as a social studies teacher, I appreciate it. As a social studies teacher I have run into several students who were upset by the mere mention of Karl Marx in the textbooks. Social studies teachers have to tread lightly with controversial issues. I think the culture of political correctness has clashes with blatant honesty about our country. As a history teacher, I do not mind teaching about the “bad” and the “disgraceful” past that we have lived in American simply because it shows us how much we have grown and how hard America has fought for correctness. However, the “bad” past is often not welcome to all.
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Solution 125
Posted April 4, 2015 7:18 pm

Kris Peebles
Kris Peebles
Reps: 58
Statistics concerning various groups in the US can be very surprising to people who have never seen them before (such as 5th graders). I think that the main issue here is that parents may be embarrassed for them to find out the truth from their teacher--someone who did become successful in life. The most important thing you can do at this point is to do just as your principal suggests--write a letter to the parents explaining the lesson to them. Keeping good communication with parents is very important for teachers. A good rule of thumb in education is to contact the parents before they contact you. If you explain to them that this assignment is to be used to change society and not brag on it, then perhaps instead of being angry they may actually applaud you for taking the next step towards social justice.
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aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
I think you hit the nail on the head here. Communication is key! I like how you said it is best to contact the parents before they contact you. I have done this a few times when I knew I was going to be covering something that could be misconstrued between my lesson and the child on the way home. Typically parents seem like, "Oh that's no big deal!" when I call.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 11:34 am

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Solution 126
Posted April 5, 2015 1:45 am

Angela Thornton
Angela Thornton
Reps: 41
There are some battles that are worth fighting until the end. There are some places where you choose to make a stand no matter the cost to you and your personal comfort. The only person that can answer the question on this issues is you. Is this a battle where you choose to make a stand? If this is a place where you are willing to fight the fight, then I would do some preplanning on how to present the content to both students and parents. As far as the parents go, I would probably send a newsletter home with the students, post it on my website or send it out on remind.com. The newsletter needs to include research based information in the most clinical and non-biased terms possible. Parents need to be warned that this conversation is coming. Parents also need to know how you are going to approach the matter to ensure that hate is not birthed and/or propagated. I would also have a conversation about this with my direct administrator and/or principal to gauge support. There are some battles that you don't want to fight without reinforcements. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you are willing to fight this fight for this particular issue.
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Solution 127
Posted April 5, 2015 2:19 am

Kristine Morris
Kristine Morris
Reps: 153
Students need to be able to make connection between mathematical content and situations outside of the textbook. Our current curriculum wants students to put forth their understanding towards real-world applications. Therefore, we have to help students make this connection by using scenarios that may sometimes be hard to use because of the background information. However, students need to be able to understand why math can be used to help make conclusions on whether situations are good or bad. Therefore, instead of just throwing the information out there, you should allow students to research information to use to create graphs and other math characteristics. If they research their own real-world information, then it is hard for parents to get mad. Another idea is when they are researching their own information, you can put guidelines on it but still have a little lead-way for them to look up their own interests.
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Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I agree with you because just math book work is not going to be enough for students to survive in the real world. Assessments such as the GA Milestone requires that students are able to use higher levels of thinking. Therefore, teachers have to come out of the text books so that students can go beyond just remembering information.
  Posted on: April 9, 2015 4:07 pm

Paige Lutes
Paige Lutes
Reps: 64
Sending home some GA milestone info about the focus on real world context and connection could solve some of the issues. Many parents don't keep up with the changing curriculum the way that teachers are required to do. We need to educate them as well!
  Posted on: June 8, 2015 5:40 pm

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Solution 128
Posted April 9, 2015 4:02 pm

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
This is a great time for you to have a parent-teacher conference. This can save you time from writing the responses back to the parents. At the meeting, parents can actually see what you are teaching the children and how it is important to them after high school. I don't feel as if you should just take it out of your lessons. Children need more than just academic work in order to be successful in the world. Students need to be exposed to real world situations at an early age so that they will know the proper way to respond when they are encountered with the society's problems. Make sure that your principal is on board with your plans.
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Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I like the idea of conducting a parent teacher conference so that you can explain to the parents what is happening in your class. However, if you are going to conduct this in an open house type of setting, you need to make sure that you are very prepared for this. I worry slightly that the parents will band together and attack your teaching styles.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 12:45 pm

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Solution 129
Posted April 10, 2015 1:46 pm

ebyHyp
ebyHyp
Reps: 38
We always talk about making lessons more meaningful by connecting it to the real life. Students always question about the content in math and ask when they will be using it in real life.This is a perfect example to show the connection.I would also incorporate the reading aspect and ask students to read the article and then graph the statistics.I would make a note in the syllabus, in the beginning of the year, saying that we will apply real life scenarios in class by reading or discussing current articles. Incorporating reading, and making students aware of the current situations will make lessons more real to students. A note in the beginning of the year or during the open house will avoid situations like these in the future.
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Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I think that it is a good idea to make parents aware during open night at the beginning of the school year. Students need to know life skills but it is best to have the parents and principals on your side before presenting to students. Better safe than sorry.
  Posted on: April 17, 2015 2:36 am

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Solution 130
Posted April 13, 2015 1:36 pm

epujaN
epujaN
Reps: 41
I would try to get some guidance from the principal on what to include in the note home, but I absolutely would not remove that type of material from the lesson. Students need several things out of school, including worldly lessons. The more a teacher can relate the material to their real life, the more they will remember it. You are also doing cross-curricular work in your class. I would even go a step farther and have the ELA teacher write a paper on the subject, or discuss it in social studies class. Maybe have one of those teachers (or yourself) include data on what people are doing to change the current situation, or specific people who have fought for equality.
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Solution 131
Posted April 13, 2015 11:10 pm

Brittany Rosa
Brittany Rosa
Reps: 37
I think the hidden curriculum you found and taught was, and is, important for older children to learn. If these children learn about the injustices, then hopefully one day they can take a stand against them. If it were me, I would definitely stand up for my decision and take on the battle. Explaining the humanistic approach you are trying to take in your classroom may help with the possible backlash. You also used the information in a non-controversial format. It was presented to get the students thinking, which is what we want our kids to do more of, not less.
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Solution 132
Posted April 14, 2015 1:44 pm

qeDyRe
qeDyRe
Reps: 44
In the classroom as well as all aspects of our lives, it is important to keep all things in an appropriate perspective. The short answer your question is yes you should remove such teaching from your lessons. Not that I am saying what you are doing is inherently wrong or well meaning because it’s not. However, let us break the situation down and keep thing in the right perspective. You, like me, are a math teacher. Pointedly stated, the scope of our charged responsibility is to provide our students with an understanding and grasp of mathematical concepts. That being said, emotionally heated complex political and sociological concepts like gender and race inequalities do not fall within the scope of our job description. Secondly, from what I gather from your statement; you have a personal and moral conviction about the issues you mentioned. It is neither prudent, wise, nor is it correct to direct the moral compass of children at this age on social issues that are not of universal acceptance, like cheating, lying, or stealing. These things you speak of best be left to the parents, family, personal friends, and instructors who are tasked with educating students when they have reached an appropriate age. By appropriate age I mean students who are old enough to examine evidence and come to their own articulate conclusions. Thirdly, the parents do not seem to like it and after all, these are their children. That being said begs the rhetorical question, what are you getting out of this if you continue? The answer, of course, is unhappy taxpayers (who are funding your paycheck), loss of time and energy defending yourself (in a battle you and I know can’t be won), aggravated bosses, and perhaps even poor job performance reviews. The bottom line is do not use young children and your position to advance a political agenda because that is not why you or I are there. There are arenas to compete in dedicated to these issues, the elementary and middle school math classrooms are not it.
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Solution 133
Posted April 15, 2015 12:10 am

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I would not change the content of your future lessons if you feel strongly about this. I would explain to parents that you were not trying to offend anyone or promote hatred, and that you were trying to use real world data to make the lesson relevant for the students. In the future I would give parents a heads up when you plan on using material like this in your lessons, and provide an alternate activity for students whose parents do not want them to participate in the lesson.
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Solution 134
Posted April 15, 2015 2:52 am

Kimberly Griner
Kimberly Griner
Reps: 40
I do not think you should take the short cut on this one. I would send home a letter telling parents what you intend to teach (and why). Try to make them understand that mathematical concepts cannot be taught in isolation. In order for students to learn, they need to be able to connect what they are learning to the world around them. I would also state in the letter that if there are any further concerns, you could meet with them. After sending the letter, I would have a discussion with my principal about options for those students whose parents still complain. Parents do have a right to make decisions about their children's education, so there should be a plan in place for those who are resistant.
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Solution 135
Posted April 16, 2015 9:49 pm

qeRuNy
qeRuNy
Reps: 40
I wouldn't ignore the information. If you thought strongly about telling your students and applying it to a lesson, then I would do as the principal suggests. It might be more work to inform the parents ahead of time, but they would earn your trust by knowing that you took their concerns into consideration. Possibly the next time you teach with "controversial" material they won't notice because they understand that you are only trying your best to expose their children to information that is relevant to their lives. I wouldn't think of eliminating the material all together at all, but I would try and figure out the best compromise.
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Solution 136
Posted April 17, 2015 1:53 am

Lara Komanecky
Lara Komanecky
Reps: 37
The first thing I would do is talk to my principal just to gauge support. The level of administrative support you're going to receive will determine how you can proceed. I think that you should continue to use real world issues in your classroom when appropriate. Every math lesson might not need to also be a lesson in social justice; however, it's important that students see the practical implications of the content and also are exposed to real world issues. I would simply explain to concerned parents that you're objectively analyzing data and are not imposing any judgments or beliefs on your students.
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Solution 137
Posted April 18, 2015 5:20 pm

Thomas Layfield
Thomas Layfield
Reps: 35
I would absolutely not take the data you used out of the curriculum. The wonderful thing about data (and about math) is that regardless of views or opinions, the data is what it is. I think its important to ensure that students are allowed to interpret the data on their own and not be guided toward any particular conclusion, but as long as the data set is from a reliable source I think the teacher is on solid ground. What I would suggest is making sure there are lots of different sets of data about numerous topics and from numerous sources being used. That way, when writing the letter, parents can be assured that all kinds of data about topics ranging from demographics (which may be of a politically-charged nature) to scientific data to geographical information and so on are being used. As long as the teacher is simply presenting the data and allowing students to draw their own conclusions, there should be administrative support and the wide variety of data sets used will diffuse any argument parents may have about bias.
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Solution 138
Posted April 23, 2015 2:04 am

Alexandra Snider
Alexandra Snider
Reps: 35
I would follow the advice of my principal. Assure parents that these issues are intended to enlighten students and not encourage hatred. Occasional disagreements between parent and teacher are normal and are most often resolved with compromise. Wage inequality is a real issue in our society. Students deserve to be aware of real issues and have the opportunity to apply these situations to learning in the content studied in school; thereby also promote and encourage authentic teaching and learning experiences.
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Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I would also write my parents an explanation. Too, knowledge is power! The more these students learn about the real world, the better we are "arming" them with the power to make the necessary changes. After all, they will soon become the working force that will be leading our country.
  Posted on: November 15, 2015 7:13 am

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Solution 139
Posted April 28, 2015 1:14 pm

Angela Thornton
Angela Thornton
Reps: 41
I would have sworn that I replied to this case, but I do not see it, so if I have replied please disregard this solution. I think you have to decide how important this issue is to you. If this is the place that you want to fight the battle that will ensure so be it, but you are really the only one that can decide how far you are willing to take that fight. If you choose to use the content again, I would send home a preemptive e-mail or letter letting the parents know the plan as well as the purpose behind your choices. Only you can decide what is right for you in this instance because you are the one that has to get up and look in the mirror every day.
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Solution 140
Posted May 3, 2015 1:02 am

Jill Nixon
Jill Nixon
Reps: 39
It is long established that behavioral expectations of teachers and curriculum content meet individual school community standards. My advice to this teacher meets the expectations of my school community. My school is 99% African American 100% of our children receive free breakfast and lunch. In addition, all student who participate in an after school program receive a free meal before going home each day. My school’s demographic information factors into my advice for the teacher in this scenario. The teacher in this scenario if anything would receive accolades, not letters of concern from students, parents, peers, and administration from my school community. However, I would strongly advise this teacher to build relationships with the concerned parents. The teacher could invite all of the concerned parents and additional parents who may have expressed appreciation for this particular assignment scenario to a meeting to discuss a variety of scenarios to present to children when teaching math that would widen the students’ view of communities beyond their own community. This teacher could use the parent concerns as a way to differentiate instructional materials in their classroom. Instead of all students receiving the same scenario, the teacher could provide a variety of scenarios to the students. I recommend that the teacher employ cooperative group discussions to discuss student answers. This would allow the information utilized in this scenario to be addressed without requiring every student to engage the topic at the same level of understanding.

I have participated in a variety of school communities. As I pondered what I advise I would give this teacher, my answer shifted when trying to make it applicable to each of the school communities in which I have served children. This lead to even more thought on the topic of teaching social justices within content area classes. I finally concluded that there is not one best answer when attempting to advise the math teacher in this scenario. If the community in the scenario for this assignment historically established a set of curriculum content avoiding the content of the scenario, I would advise the teacher to adapt the content of their examples to meet the expectations of the school community in which the teacher serves children.
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Paige Lutes
Paige Lutes
Reps: 64
I agree with your stance on building relationships with the parents. This will help them know what your intentions are, and that they are pure.
You can only present the material and you, as a teacher, are not in control of how they respond.
  Posted on: June 8, 2015 5:37 pm

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Solution 141
Posted June 8, 2015 1:32 pm

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
If your principal asked you to send home an explanation, do it, but I would make sure to let the parents know that these are real statistics and data and that it is important to understand these differences. You are not trying to divide your class or cause problems, but are providing real world information. I would stress that the information was not given in a biased way and your main goal was graphing, not social issues…even though that may come up. Maybe you could send home the standards that your lesson covered and show them the academic reasoning behind your teaching. The fact that your students were still talking about what they learned later that evening with their parents could also be pointed out as why it was important. They were interested and relaying the information to their families.
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Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I think it is a good idea to try to educate the parents on what you were teaching their kids. When the information is put into context with what the lesson was, the parents may realize that you were actually teaching their children math. It will also show that the numbers used in the lesson were just a part of the lesson, and probably a small part at that.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 5:22 am

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Solution 142
Posted June 8, 2015 5:35 pm

Paige Lutes
Paige Lutes
Reps: 64
With changing standards and increased rigor, I can't blame the parents for not seeing the importance of graphing and using real world data to do so. I would send an explanation and have the principal sign the letter. This is a way of letting them know that you have the support of the leaders in your building. I would let them know the purpose of the activity was NOT to cause issues within the class. I agree with the principal on this topic and suggest that if he wants you to stand by your curriculum that he helps with some of the parent concerns.
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Solution 143
Posted June 8, 2015 6:09 pm

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
If I planned on continuing with my lessons, I would definitely do what my principle suggested and send a letter home explaining why I was incorporating that into my lessons. As a parent myself I think it is important to communicate with your students parents especially if they are having concerns. I do believe that it is okay to incorporate controversial issues into the lessons, but I also think it is important to keep good communication between students, teachers, and parents. They should feel comfortable sending their child to school and feel like they can voice their concerns. I know that we are not going to be able to satisfy all parents, but I think that we should at least attempt to make them feel comfortable and a part of their child's education.
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Solution 144
Posted June 8, 2015 9:30 pm

uqeXun
uqeXun
Reps: 69
I would not remove any of the content from your instruction. But, I do agree with your principals that you should inform your parents and explain the goals and purposes of integrating social justice lessons. Parents should always be informed of controversial topics, especially at the elementary level. Some injustices taught could create an unhealthy angst for a child. When informed, most parents become supportive.

At the 5th grade level, make sure the issues you present to your students connect to their lives. They should be multicultural, anti-racist, pro justice, hopeful, kind, and visionary. Remember that by choosing to respect and not disregard your parents' perspectives, you are modeling to all what it looks like to have mutual respect for all types of diversity- the root of all social injustice.
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Solution 145
Posted June 9, 2015 12:40 am

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
It is a teacher's responsibility to teach content in such a way as it will be relevant to their real life. What could be more relevant than teaching students how to read and interpret data that can help them see that social inequality exists and to raise their awareness that this will affect them if changes are not made? Because we are teaching the leaders of tomorrow, it is imperative to give them insight to the inequality that exists now so they can understand and implement changes when they gain power to do so.
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Solution 146
Posted June 9, 2015 1:32 am

jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
While these issues should be covered in an appropriate social sciences class, I feel you are introducing this information at to young of an age and in the wrong subject. Social sciences teachers will be able to cover the information with the appropriate social and historical contexts since these issues are inseparably connected to our nation's history. This could also cause certain groups of your students to begin to develop the belief that they have to constantly be ready to defend themselves against unfair treatment simply because of their race. Life is often unfair and every negative thing that happens to minority people is not because of their race. Teach math without the controversial information from now on.
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Solution 147
Posted June 9, 2015 1:34 pm

Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
I foresee situations like this happening to me in my near future, but I am going to have to cling to the research and push forward. The way that you are integrating real world scenarios/statistics into your math class is absolutely perfect. Embedding multicultural education into our everyday teaching is a great way to inform our students about the situations that are actually occurring it the world around it. Until awareness is brought to it, nothing will ever change. Students need to know the truth because they still have the power to make big changes in this world. I think it would be a great idea for you to include a "Getting to Know Me" paper in your "Welcome Packet" for now in the future, and use this as a way to share your thoughts and feelings about the importance of multicultural education in your daily instruction. I don't think it would be a bad idea to actually share some statistics in this paper either. Many parents might not even know the hard core truth, and if they did they may be more in your corner and support your teaching methods.
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Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
For future courses, I would include this information in the class syllabus and have parents sign.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 2:18 pm

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Solution 148
Posted June 9, 2015 2:17 pm

Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I would send an explanation as asked. First, if you incorporated this information into your syllabus (that parents signed in the beginning of the year) then their complaints would be moot. This would be something to do next year. Right now, if you continue to use controversial material, pick the least controversial topics to use.
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Solution 149
Posted June 9, 2015 2:55 pm

TyhyMa
TyhyMa
Reps: 84
This is a difficult topic. I think it is awesome that you incorporated social lessons into the math lessons. I for one as a math student would learn way more if all math teachers incorporated interesting facts like that into the math lessons. These are things the students need to be aware of. I think the parents should each come in for a one on one meeting with you. This way you can explain where you are coming from, and explain why you think it is beneficial for the students. You will also be able to see their side of the argument. Maybe by doing this you and the parents can come to some agreement. This lets the parents know you are concerned with their feelings. I believe that could be your explanation.
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ynyqaz
ynyqaz
Reps: 64
a parent conference is a great idea to address parent issues especially if you feel so strongly about continuing to implement subject matter such as social and economical differences into your lessons
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 3:14 pm

Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
Instead of a parent conference. I would probably send a letter home first explaining the project. I would have on the letter a way parents could contact me if they had any questions. Certainly if a parent wanted to meet with me to discuss any concerns that they had with the project I would do so. However, I think a letter would suffice. I agree the parents should be involved first, before I implemented the project. Also, I would say if parents wanted their children to opt out of the assignment. I would allow for the children to complete another life relevant math topic instead, that would be less controversial.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:30 am

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Solution 150
Posted June 9, 2015 3:12 pm

ynyqaz
ynyqaz
Reps: 64
I think a letter of explanation to all your students parents is a good idea to explain your thought process as to why you implemented this information into your math lesson. It may shed some light and understanding to the parents. However, if your students parents do not like the extra information you place into their lessons and a long battle with come from continuing on with your methods. I think i would stop. Some things are not worth the stress
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Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
I believe the first step should be a letter of explanation as well. The letter may calm the nerves of some parents and make them realize the reasoning behind the lesson. If the parents continue to disagree with the method of teaching, I would simply find other ways to present the material. I agree, the stress is not always worth it.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 8:10 pm

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
That's very true. Many times you have to pick your battles. I would also write an explanation to the parents to help explain.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 8:11 pm

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Solution 151
Posted June 9, 2015 3:17 pm

avuNaD
avuNaD
Reps: 36
I would agree that you should share this data with your class. After talking to your principal and he or she backs you up by saying that you should simply offer an explanation to the parents. I think that offering an explanation will allow the parents to see where you were trying to go with your lesson. The sad thing is that reports like this are true and I believe that it is important to educate our students on real life. I do not agree that this type of learning will lead to hatred among your students. Yes children can be cruel but in my experience we as adults see differences more than children. I think that it is also important to have an open discussion with your students and get their takes on what was showed and how it was taught because they are the ones in the classroom.
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Kalie Walker
Kalie Walker
Reps: 66

I agree that the students should be educated on real world issues in the classroom, such as what took place here. Your idea of having an open discussion with the students and allowing them to give their input on what they learned would be a great thing. Then, that information could be shared with the parents who disagreed and maybe they could see that the children enjoyed it and learned while doing it.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 2:09 pm

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Solution 152
Posted June 9, 2015 8:10 pm

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
I would write an explanation to the parents and tell them the statistics you used were facts supported by research. I would then tell them about the discussion the class had about the issues and that this is something you felt like the students needed to know. This is something they will probably face in their lifetime at some point or another. I would explain that this was not taught in order to make the students feel hate towards others, but that they are at the age where they know and understand that people are not treated fairly and this is something you felt like you needed to address and talk about in your classroom. I would not stop using controversial material in my room if I felt it was teaching them something important. But if need be, I may would be more choosey about the material I choose and when and with group of students.
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Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
This is a great solution for the issue at hand. I agree that the teacher should not simply stop teaching what he/she feels is important to the students. You idea about the facts being stated in the letter of explanation is a great idea; parents do need to understand the intention was not for hatred to be felt among students. If this issue continues, I would suggest the teacher being a little more careful when choosing future material.
  Posted on: June 9, 2015 8:13 pm

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Solution 153
Posted June 9, 2015 8:17 pm

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
I like your idea of combining math and social justice in the same lesson. I would suggest a detailed explanation to your parents behind the reasoning of the your lesson. Your intent was not to lead the children to hatred but to simply present them with real world problems that they will one day face. I would also address that they are at an age where issues such as this are understandable. If the parents continue to have an issue with the material you choose, I would to be a little more aware of future material taught or maybe even the way it is presented. I hope this issue is solved.
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zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I also think that the teacher just needs to logically explain the intent of the activity. The activity itself is not meant to cause malice amongst the students but to provide an educational setting to analyze real world data. If the parents continue to take issue though, future activity materials may need to be carefully examined.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 2:24 am

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I like your solution, Sarah. It is a good idea to make your intentions known to the parents right away. The teacher was not teaching this material with the intention of making the students believe a certain way or dislike a certain race or gender. It was simply to present them with real world problems and factual data.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 9:17 pm

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Solution 154
Posted June 10, 2015 1:03 am

zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I think that this is a very engaging lesson for the students, and that they were interested enough to go tell their parents about it, say something. I would explain to the parents that this was mealy an exercise to engage the students with real world number so that they could see that what they learn in class has real world applications. Should any of the students try to act in a manner that is inappropriate because of this activity or for any other reason, I will talk to the students about how such behavior will not be tolerated inn my classroom or this school and further behaviors such as this will result in disciplinary action. The intent of the activity was to practice their skills with relevant and meaningful data and formally apologize if this distressed any of the parents. I would then encourage them to keep in touch with me and to let me know if they have any other concerns or questions.
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Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
I like your response and completely agree with you. I think this lesson shows that the students liked and were engaged in the material since they went home and discussed the topic further with their parents. I think that the "hatred" would not be produced by any of the student; nevertheless, it might come from issues developing within the parent. Thus, I would help explain how this is real-life content for the student using mathematics that is required for the curriculum.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 3:51 am

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Solution 155
Posted June 10, 2015 3:47 am

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
Students always wonder when they will ever use the math they are learning. Therefore, you showed them. I would think about forming a meeting with all ten of the parents who wrote letters to you. This could be a group meeting, if the parent chose to attend. You could provide data from the student showing their attention levels in relation to other lessons with no outside lesson related to the material. You can also explain to the parent how you are showing reality to the students and presenting them with math content they can use in everyday life. If the parents still disagree then why not ask them what types of topics they would like you to relate with the math content. Help the parent logically understand that this is a classroom where learning takes place. Students cannot be babied or else they will suffer when they face the real world.
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Kalie Walker
Kalie Walker
Reps: 66
I like your idea on having a meeting with the parents. In doing so I think you'd be able to hear their concerns and work around them. I also like the idea of showing the data about how they learned and their attention level when bringing in a lesson from the real world. This allows them to learn that things like that do happen and they could potentially face them when they get out in the professional world. Great post!
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 2:05 pm

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Solution 156
Posted June 10, 2015 12:43 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I agree with you that you should continue to use these types of lessons in your math class. I believe it is important for students to understand how things work in the real world. It is important for the younger generations to understand that women and different ethnic groups are still discriminated against in subtle ways. By educating these students, we might have a better chance of fixing this issue in the future. This is the approach that I would take with the parents as well. In my classroom, I want my students to learn life lessons about the real world as well as the standards they are expected to know.
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Solution 157
Posted June 10, 2015 2:00 pm

Kalie Walker
Kalie Walker
Reps: 66
In this situation, I think it depends on what age group you're working with. If these are elementary school children, there could have been a better scenario to use graphs than income level. However, if these are middle-high school students I think this lesson could be beneficial. I do not think you should cut this content from your lesson. In your statement to the parents you should tell them you appreciate their input but your were simply giving your students a real life situation that is happening in the world today all the while teaching about graphs. Maybe next year giving parents a heads up on the content you will be teaching their children with the graphs could help minimize their frustration.
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Solution 158
Posted June 11, 2015 3:37 am

Tina Joiner
Tina Joiner
Reps: 63
It is your job as an educator to make lessons meaningful for students in real-world situations. Students need to understand the real-world and what is statistically occurring that they will face later in life. If you did not have data and statistics to backup your assignment that would be another story, but you do. Therefore, I would send a formal letter to the parents who complained explaining in detail what multicultural education and multicultural open-mindedness is and how it is incorporated in lessons as a real-world application. You would also need to explain the global concerns about gender equity and how this lesson will also motivate girls to aim for higher education as well. It is important for parents to understand the why, how, and what of the topic of the lesson and as a result you are helping and not hurting. Students in the long run will have more empathy and tolerance for individual differences and gender consciousness helps to change the future hierarchical and competitive work place for women. Once parents understand your motives and explanation for the assignment, I believe they will react more positively for future instructional activities as well.
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Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
You make a really good point about how much this the lesson applies to real-world situations. One of the biggest complaints I hear from students is that they do not see when they are ever going to use the things that they learn in school. Here the teacher is doing exactly that. He is teaching them both math skills and about real-world situations. Hiding the truth from students will not do them any good. Those numbers are reality and students should not only have them but understand what they mean.
  Posted on: November 17, 2015 11:37 pm

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Solution 159
Posted June 11, 2015 4:29 pm

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
Pay inequality is something that will affect everyone, and it has obviously spurned an interest in your students, if they went home and shared what they learned with their parents. I agree with your principal that an explanation should be sent home. This explanation should include the need for real world connections, as well as preparing students to compete in a globalized economy. There is a very good chance that, once the parents hear your side of the story (as opposed to sound bites they, no doubt, heard from their children), they will understand the purpose of the assignment. If they continue to fight the materials after that, then it might be necessary to remove them just to avoid a bigger confrontation. However, I do feel that would be terribly unfortunate, so I would not give up on those materials without ensuring I had done everything in my power to keep them and help others see their importance.
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Solution 160
Posted June 11, 2015 5:15 pm

Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I would not take the content out of your lesson. I believe that it is a great tool for the students to see and make a change about. They should not be happy with the results, especially if they are in one of the minority groups. I would also explain this to the parents. Let the parents know why you want to do this and what your intentions are behind it. Hopefully they will see the big picture that this is in hopes to solve the problem and not create a bigger one.
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Solution 161
Posted June 12, 2015 2:18 am

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
I would send home an explanation to the parents and cite the research and/or other references that you utilized in developing your lesson. Doing so allows the parents to see that you are trying to approach these issues professionally and provide the students with accurate information. I would not take the short cut and simply remove the content from my lessons. Doing so I feel would be doing the students an injustice. Instead, I would inform the parents of my intentions to merely expose the children to issues occurring in mainstream society. The intention is not to incite hatred but to gather an understanding of what these students will be up against in society.
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zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
I think that citing research in the letter is an excellent idea. As you said, this shows parents the teachers' real intentions for teaching the lesson and that they are engaging in professional practices of effective teaching. One thing I would caution the teacher is to make sure that the letter doesn't have an arrogant tone. Some parents may interpret the use of research as the teacher trying to patronize them. While we know this is not the case, tread carefully around an angry momma bear.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 4:14 pm

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Solution 162
Posted June 12, 2015 2:22 am

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I think explaining your methods and reasoning to the parents is very important, and I am glad you have the support of the principal. Maybe once you explain why you are using this type of information, you could ask parents for some suggestions on how to do this.
Remind them that the students did not seem to be getting into fights or developing hatred, but were learning valuable lessons about society. It may be a good idea to make sure that the information you are using in math can be tied in to the social studies lesson. This way, if the class gets off topic during math, you can redirect them while promising the opportunity to continue the discussion later. I think this was a good idea to show connections across disciplines and to show the usefulness of math.
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Solution 163
Posted June 12, 2015 2:47 am

emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I think what you did is called-- an integrated lesson! I love to do this especially as a middle school teacher-- I have 2 areas of certification and I like to combine the two, and add in literary aspects (math I use where needed! :)) so that I may reach all students easier, peak an interest somehow, or make a real-life correlation (or simply relatable) in a means to effectively reach each student. That said, before you just give up I'd meet with the principle and tell them your ideas for the future. Bring actual stats you plan to use, bring them relevant events you plan to focus on and get their take. See if you all can find a happy medium or half-way point and then from there write the letter to the parents. Tell them why you used the info you did (real-life relevancy, etc.) and then provide the itinerary of the data that MAY be used in the future (the list you and admin came up with). Leave your email for them and encourage them to be in touch with questions or concerns. Lastly, if some students aren't allowed to use that data you could provide 3+ varieties of data problems and simply provide differentiation via choice board (except they'll have to choose between 2 of the 3 items provided.)
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Solution 164
Posted June 12, 2015 3:40 am

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
Do not take the short cut and remove the lesson content. I would send a letter stating the information was pulled for graphing purposes and was factual information. I believe having the controversial material within a structured environment was an educational moment for the children of whats in the real world outside of the classroom. You can combine the importance of math that will be used later in life to the usual question, "Will I ever use this outside of school?" Then I would apologize for any misunderstandings of my intentions and would be happy to answer any questions the students have in-reference to the information used during class for clarity.
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Solution 165
Posted June 12, 2015 3:42 am

Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I think you should keep this material in your lessons. It seemed to engage the students, which is solid gold. It also helps to educate students on social inequities, which can prepare them for a life of dealing with those inequities. I definitely think you should do as your principal instructed you. I think the best way to go about writing the letter is to say that you encourage expansive, multi-discipline learning in your class and attempt to connect your class to other classes whenever possible. Life is not lived in a vacuum, and students that draw connections between different subjects do better in those subjects. Your goal in math is the same as the goal in any class: to help educate students.
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emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I completely agree!! You are so right in saying that we are preparing students for the real world by exposing them to real inequalities. I'd also say that we are getting those who are subject to these kinds of inequalities prepared for what they may see and be up against soon (if not already). I also think that in reality we can't make everyone happy so yes agree with you-- state your point in the letter and try to compromise where you can just not completely.
  Posted on: June 15, 2015 3:12 am

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Solution 166
Posted June 12, 2015 9:15 pm

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
In my opinion, you have done nothing wrong by using real world data in your math course. If you feel strongly about keeping this type of material in your classroom in order to better inform students, I would not take the easy way out. It seems that your principal is supporting you, but simply wants you to send an email or letter home discussing the pros to including this type of information in your math course. These are great life lessons in which you are able to tie in real world statistics and problems in order to make math more meaningful. It obviously worked considering the amount of students that went home and discussed it with their parents later that night. These are real issues people in the world face. It is not something you have made up. It is factual and therefore has every right to be taught in the classroom. You are better preparing their children for the real world by keeping this type of content in the lesson.
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Solution 167
Posted June 14, 2015 5:08 am

ReMuXy
ReMuXy
Reps: 78
I think it is important to use real world math problems in the classroom. Moreover, I believe that this data is somewhat consistent with the US in some cases, however, it is not always accurate. In addition, I think it is controversial and that you can find more real world math data that would not be as controversial.
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aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
I agree with you that real life scenarios are important to incorporate. I think that in the 5th grade it is important to start exposing students to math in the world around them.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 11:36 am

RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
I agree that this was a controversial subject to be brought up and that it is possible to find real world data to bring into a class that is less controversial. I think this is especially true for a 5th grade class.
  Posted on: June 14, 2015 3:30 pm