Today I received the following email.
Dear Mr. & Ms. Morgan,
Jasper has brought it to my attention that he does not have a graphing calculator. Our Algebra II class is going to begin using graphing calculators heavily this upcoming week. It is important for Jasper’s success in Algebra II for him to have a graphing calculator.
I understand that graphing calculators are an expensive purchase, but consider this an investment. Jasper will continue to use it as he continues on into higher level math classes. Please let me know if you cannot afford a graphing calculator because SPCPA wants to support your student in his education.
Thank you for your support.
To which I was compelled to respond:
I think we may, indeed have a graphing calculator. If we don’t have one, we will purchase one, fear not. It will get lost within a few months, however, and we won’t buy another one, but probably find one in the lost and found. I know the drill.
I wish you hadn’t said that thing about it being an investment, because I have to say, I don’t actually think of this as an investment at all, but more a sort of unholy alliance the education system has forged with Texas Instruments. We have purchased (and lost) a multitude of such calculators over the years since our first son was in high school. Never have we or any of our children actually used such a device outside of high school classes. No one I know has. Ever.
My son isn’t college bound any time soon, so he won’t need it for his college classes, either. Personally I think the school should buy enough to mount on the math room tables or better yet, teach them how to find a good application on the internet, which is what they will be doing when they leave SPCPA, should they decide to engage in complicated math.
I don’t mean to take this out on you, I understand you need to run a uniform sort of ship or your job would be inordinately difficult. We will get a graphing calculator, forthwith and it will cost over $100.00 to get the model specified by the school. I get newly outraged every year when I have to do this. We are middle class folks. It isn’t a hardship for us, but for many of your students it really is. There’s something wrong with the system, here.