Why More of Our Young Don't Go To Collegeby Alexander Hillian
Many of you that read this article may think I'm naive or just totally unaware of something that's been going on for many years. Others will hopefully be warned and take action before your child is affected.
While I visited my family home in rural South Carolina my young cousin was complaining that the local whites encroached on the family's land and the local surveyors would always confirm whatever the whites wanted. I suggested they hire a black surveyor and was told there were no African people in that profession in South Carolina. Always the helpful career counselor, I suggested he take up surveying because "it only requires a little trigonometry." Suddenly, I realized I had spoken Greek.
"What's that?", he asked. Upon further inquiry I found out that these bright recent high school grads had taken the so-called "business" course that most black children among their peer group took. The highest math they could take was something called "pre-algebra." Essentially, their maximum math offering was at the level taught to my daughter in the sixth to seventh grade in Southern California.
This is a problem. Without algebra, trig and geometry, your child's chances of getting a reasonably high SAT score are nil. Thus you are locked out of any possibility of ever getting into a good four-year college. The message is simple: AVOID THE NONACADEMIC COURSE TRAP. IF THEY TRY TO STEER YOUR CHILD INTO THAT DIRECTION IT IS YOUR DUTY TO RESIST, FIGHT, ORGANIZE AND STRUGGLE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Your child's future is at stake. And by the way, don't think this won't happen in your school system. I've had this discussion with people all over the country. It is a nationwide problem.
The minimum basic progression should be as follows:
Seventh Grade -General Math / Pre-Algebra
Eighth Grade -Pre-Algebra
Ninth Grade -Elementary Algebra
Tenth Grade -Geometry
Eleventh Grade -Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry
Twelfth Grade -Advanced Algebra and/or Pre-calculus
If your child is off the track, get help right away. The key to success in all math and science is to never fall behind. Go to the bookstore and find Schaums Outline for the subject at hand. (This is a fantastic series of workbooks that show you how to do the problems in detail. I personally used these from high school through my second masters degree.) Tomorrow's lesson is built on yesterday's lesson. So if you do fall behind, catch up. Go to summer school. Get a tutor (encourage your church to develop a program). Start and support a Saturday Academy or other supplementary education mechanism. The watchword is vigilance. One thing we have discovered in working with young people having math problems is that many never learned basic multiplication and division. Get access to a computer and make sure your child can master the tests in Math Blaster Plus or some other similar program. You may find the difficulty is as simple as correcting a child thinking that (7 x 4) = 27 or (35 ¸ 7) = 6. Something that simple to fix can cause a child to become frustrated from wrong answers on tests and no self-confidence in his or her math ability. If no one ever figured it out, a problem from the second or third grade could be the cause of a really smart child to lose some really great opportunities in life. Stay with it until the problem is solved. Your child is worth it. You must intervene personally. You cannot entrust your child's future to the same educational system that has always failed us so miserably.
As an aside to this very subject, my daughter’s honors English teacher gave her a letter to take home and have signed so she could drop the honors class and take regular English instead. This was proposed as a measure to "help" her by letting her have more time for her athletic programs. Who gave this teacher the right to decide that this nonexistant athletic program was more important than her academics? For those of you who don’t know me, my daughter is a 6’-2", totally nonathletic person who, like her father, had better make it on brains cause the body skills won’t make it. I had to raise hell with those people. Imagine the nerve it takes to simply assume such a thing and then act on it! Just because she is black this racist jerk decided she must be a jock and should not seek to excel academically. White supremacy is so embedded in the system that you can never relax.
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