More Debate Over PS 234

It fails to teach basic writing and math

The Tribeca Trib
September, 1997

To the Editor:

The only problem with PS 234 is that they do not teach arithmetic, grammar, punctuation and spelling.

When my son was 3 1/2, he tested high enough to get into the gifted program in District 2. Intrigued with the idea of progressive education, where each child would work at his own level in every subject, I sent him to PS 234.

In six years there, he got glowing reports from all his teachers. He learned to read. He was a PS 234 success story. In tests for junior high admittance, he still showed very high ability. But his achievement was only average. He tested as a very intelligent child who had not been educated.

I attempted to teach him at home but I am not a teacher. I really didn't know what gaps to fill.

Must education be either cruel and boring or lacking in basic information? Why can't kids participate in studies and interesting projects but still be taught skills than can develop into literate writing and complex arithmetic? Fourth and fifth graders learn long division and adding and subtracting fractions in the rest of the world.

The utter lack of pressure at PS 234 makes it a dull place for bright children. If a child's standardized test scores are way below average, wonderful activities like the school store are there to help them improve. But there is nothing there to motivate a child who easily understands the curriculum to strive for more.

Julie Nadel expressed disdain that we do not sign these letters. Her kids do not go to school yet. She hasn't been threatened when she dared mention a problem. One typical response is: "We have a very long waiting list, are you planning to leave the school?" I would like to hear from Ms Nadel when her kids are in fifth or sixth grade.

- Name witheld by request

Reproduced with permission from the Tribeca Trib.

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