Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Corruption in Algebra Class

So Jesse has been trying very hard to raise his grade in Algebra. He got a rocky start, but he's been studying extra hard and going in early in the morning to do math problems with his teacher.

The other day, he heard someone say he could get extra credit in the class if he brought in boxes of Kleenex. 5 points per box is the going rate. He was told to keep it on the down-low because not everyone was supposed to know about it.

So he came home and asked us for Kleenex for extra credit. We said no because we don't think you should be able to buy a higher grade. Even if the currency is Kleenex.

After some investigation, we found out this is a very common practice amongst school teachers. Apparently, kids are very snotty and the district doesn't provide enough Kleenex, so the teachers usually have to bring in their own. So, potentially, you could look at it as extra credit for special "participation," for providing Kleenex for the class community. On the other hand, it's not going toward his citizenship grade, it's going toward his academic grade.

And now there's a new issue. The teacher told Jesse he could get extra credit for bringing in recyclables for the Senior class fundraiser. I'm more okay with this, since you don't have to buy recycling. You can pretty much find it in any trash. But it's still extra credit for something totally not related to Algebra.

So what's the right answer? Is there a lesson to be learned here? And, if so, is it worth getting a worked-for C instead of a paid-for B? Are we just ethics nazis?

****UPDATE**** Brian confronted the teacher with his extra credit policy and the teacher straight up denied, denied, denied. He admitted to "joking" with Jesse about getting extra credit for bringing in recyclables. That makes absolutely no sense. Why would a teacher kid about extra credit?


Bethany said...

I understand why you feel uneasy about the "extra credit". My suggestion is that you let Jesse participate in the Kleenex/recyclabes scam with some conditions: he has to do all Algebra-related extra credit if the teacher has any, he has to continue to go in early for help and he needs to save for and use his own money (if you give him an allowance) to pay for everything. You want to encourage him to work hard and get extra credit but it can't be a substitute for real work.

Bradley said...

That's pretty shitty of the algebra teacher. There's no such thing as extra credit. You simply build up your grade. 10 points for bringing in kleenex is just the same as getting 10 points for passing a quiz.

So what do you do when the teacher forces kids to buy their grades? Dunno, complain loudly I guess.

Shawna said...

Ridiculous....what if the kids parents are broke and can't afford any extra Kleenex? Only the well to do kids get extra credit?

not that Kleenex cost a lot, but if you are county don't have extra to supply a classroom...DUMB!!

At my kids Junior high, a kid can move up to highschool even if they failed JR high! and they told my son that...made it hard to motivate him to work hard if it really didn't sucks

Shawna said...

oh I spelled stuff wrong...ugh!!!

Chrissy and Jack said...

I remember that happening when I was in school. I would have failed my math class without it. I'm being totally serious. At the time I was stoked, but looking back, I wish they never did that. What did I learn? Money can buy you anything. But if you aren't smart, where are you going to get money?

SDM said...

I concur with Bethany's comment. The kleenex credit is disturbing, however the fact that teachers purchase so many school supplies on their own is equally disturbing. I get the recycling credit though. I think the teacher should explain why he's giving the extra credit for the recyclables though (i.e. responsibility to our planet/each other, etc.)

Poor Jesse! I'm picturing Brian grabbing the teacher around his collar and holding him against the chalkboard all while stuffing kleenex in his mouth!

jesse said...

That's so like Brian.

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