In my high school sheltered algebra class, newly arrived immigrant children sit wide-eyed as I slowly explain the tools they need to succeed in algebra. Most of my students do not understand English, so they carefully look at each item I hold up and then say the name of the item back to me in their own language. I give each child a notebook and a pencil bought with my own money at the "back-to-school" sales, and then I check out a school textbook to each child. The next item I show them is a scientific calculator, and this is where my generosity hits a road block. I can not afford to give each of them a calculator, and most of my new-comer students can not afford to buy one. My school is located in an affluent county in California, and many students at my school can afford to buy the latest graphing calculator, and don't think twice if they accidentally drop it or leave it at Starbucks, but for my immigrant children, a calculator is an object that would cost their family too much. Despite the apparent affluence of the community at large, there are many people living in poverty. Extended families are crammed into small apartments. Parents are working two or more jobs. My students are busy babysitting younger siblings when not at school. With all the pressures of just trying to keep food on the table and shelter for their children, a calculator is the last thing on their list of necessities. Our school continues to push for even higher levels of learning, and the achievement gap is forever widening as the wealthy students have electronic aids and expensive tutors and my impoverished, non-English speaking students have only the notebook and pencil I gave them on the first day of school. I have 20 calculators that I lend out in class. Students often run into my class to be first in line to borrow one of the precious few (my new-comer Algebra class currently has 31 students). It would be such a small step, but so important in leveling the playing field, if I had enough calculators for each child to use in my class as well as a few to allow students to check out to take home. Of course all students should be able to do basic calculations without a calculator, but without access to scientific calculators and a teacher who can show them how to use it, the achievement gap continues to grow. I have requested the funding of a class set of calculators to help students feel enabled to succeed. I hope to never see the look of envy on a student's face as the child sitting next to her pulls out a graphing calculator while she spends tedious minutes doing manual calculations in her notebook.
|CALCULATOR - SOLAR TI-30X IIS • Sargent-Welch||$18.32||20||$366.40|
Our team works hard to negotiate the best pricing and selections available.View complete list Show less