Math dyslexia imperils Orange County ...

Math dyslexia imperils Orange County art teacher's job -- Eleme...

There are 249 comments on the Orlando Sentinel story from Mar 25, 2008, titled Math dyslexia imperils Orange County art teacher's job -- Eleme.... In it, Orlando Sentinel reports that:

Tom Machacyk is no math genius. He's an artist who teaches at Waterford Elementary School and, he says, he's pretty good at it.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Orlando Sentinel.

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UNbelievable

Kissimmee, FL

#1 Mar 25, 2008
What's the big deal? They let people who can't write/edit a news story work at the Sentinel:

"But he has learned to adapt. After struggling with math through high school, Machacyk earned a business degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2003."

"But he has learned to adapt. After struggling with math through high school, Machacyk earned a business degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2003."
KEL

Melbourne, FL

#2 Mar 25, 2008
I also may be out of a job next year in Orange County if I can't pass the General Knowledge Math Test.I also have a documented case of dyscalculia. Who needs math? I teach English!
bet

United States

#3 Mar 25, 2008
Machacyk has a very valid point - as teachers, we do everything we can to help students overcome their learning disability. This gentleman is an example to those students that there is hope for them. We place so much value on numbers, when we should be placing value on the individual and his/her accomplishments. This gentleman is teaching Art, not math or science - let him teach!!
James Hawk III

United States

#4 Mar 25, 2008
KEL -- if you can't do math, how are you going to figure the kids' averages in order to give them a grade?

Seems pertinent to me.
Please protect the arts

United States

#5 Mar 25, 2008
I have been in creative arts all my life. I had an Ad Agency for 25+ years. I once taught art in my children's school because in the private sector you don't need math - or any degree.

Please protect creativity from the number crunchers. I have had art teachers in my life who had NO spark - but they passed the required English and Math courses to get their degree.

Please give this creative person the ability to continue passing on his passion for the arts!!!

J.B. Massachusetts & Florida
sjrockman

San Jose, CA

#6 Mar 25, 2008
the county has a dedicated ART teacher, doing a fine job in his area of expertise, and his inablility to work with number is going to cost him his job?!?!

and,bet...you're right: we do everything we can for students with learning challenges..why not an educator? what an example for students to see: they can achieve! i sure hope this turns out in his favor.
ebgdae

Lake Mary, FL

#7 Mar 25, 2008
who cares... i am willing to bet most teachers couldn't pass the math portion of that test, or any other test for that matter. just look at what our public schools are producing.
Jay

AOL

#8 Mar 25, 2008
State law, in almost all states I believe, require basic tests for teachers to become certificated. This gentleman knew that this day would eventually come. If the state allows him to "skip" the math test that would be grossly unfair to all other teachers in the state. Let's skip reading if you are teaching math; let's skip math if you are teaching art or biology--makes no sense!
Jessie

Orlando, FL

#9 Mar 25, 2008
James Hawk III wrote:
KEL -- if you can't do math, how are you going to figure the kids' averages in order to give them a grade?
Seems pertinent to me.
The grades computer program does it for you. Heaven knows that it would take HOURS and HOURS to figure out the grade percentages for my 175 English students, with at least 60 grades per marking period! We have software programs for that!
Rhonda

Orlando, FL

#10 Mar 25, 2008
Jay wrote:
State law, in almost all states I believe, require basic tests for teachers to become certificated. This gentleman knew that this day would eventually come. If the state allows him to "skip" the math test that would be grossly unfair to all other teachers in the state. Let's skip reading if you are teaching math; let's skip math if you are teaching art or biology--makes no sense!
It is just sad that OCPS has lost at least two 'teachers of the year' because of the math portion of the test. Obviously neither teacher taught anything regarding math. One of those positions has been a permenant sub all year. It was never filled. And that permenant sub doesn't even have a college degree. It is replacing a good teacher (who can't pass a math test) with a teacher who has no qualifications! It just makes no sense!
ogal19

United States

#11 Mar 25, 2008
James Hawk III wrote:
KEL -- if you can't do math, how are you going to figure the kids' averages in order to give them a grade?
Seems pertinent to me.
You don't have to calculate grades.......there are computer programs in the schools that do that now. Catch up with technology!
Spencer

Ormond Beach, FL

#12 Mar 25, 2008
Wow, I am stunned by this article. This guy cannot complete 10th grade math and he is teaching our children! This article points out that our system bends over backwards for children that are not smart, but what about the adults? Well, his college professors at Nova were more than happy to give him a business degree without being able to complete the standard curriculum. Should we give this guy a second chance? No, he is a grown adult! If he does not meet the minimum standards for the profession that he is in then he needs to do something else. If we let this guy continue teaching then we are contributing to our education problems. Would you be happy knowing that your family doctor could not pass biochemistry??? Well that's ok because he had a learning disability! Is it just me or aren't these licensure exams designed to weed out the inept teachers? Shouldn't we expect a basic minimum general knowledge standard for all teachers? I bet this guy has been used as a substitute in other more academic classes. I wonder if he could pass the FCAT?
Spencer

Ormond Beach, FL

#13 Mar 25, 2008
"But he has learned to adapt. After struggling with math through high school, Machacyk earned a business degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2003."
He did not adapt nor did he earn that business degree! His professors took pity on him and gave him the degree! I would be appalled if I employed any Nova graduate! Teachers/Professors are not helping when they pass a student through like this. A business degree! If he is such an accomplished artist then why did he get his degree in business? Clearly he has not been able to get a job using this degree.
ogal19

United States

#14 Mar 25, 2008
It amazes me how people speak without having real knowledge of a subject. Yes, state law requires the test. Yes, this gentleman knew it. Yes, parents want to sue school systems that don't accomodate their child's disabilities so we as teachers modify, modify, modify in order to help that child be successful. I believe this gentleman has a case for discrimination based on a DOCUMENTED disability. I do not think just anyone should be able to be exempt but this gentleman has struggled with this problem throughout his education and has documentation. The school systems are not to blame.......the legislature is. They make the laws........the school systems have to follow them. I wonder how many legislators have disabilities!? I wonder how many of them would be in their jobs if they were tested!? I also take offense to the comment about the quality of education because of the teachers.........granted, there are some teachers out there that don't do a good job but I worked very hard for 25 years to make sure my students got what they needed. Florida's curriculum is horrible. My children went to college and said that they felt lost compared to what other kids had learned in school. Why are teachers all lumped together with the negative ones. Why don't we celebrate the good ones. In every profession there are slackers but because many parents want teachers to raise their kids, then they (teachers) are the first to be blamed for society's ills. I give up!
Spencer

Ormond Beach, FL

#15 Mar 25, 2008
KEL wrote:
I also may be out of a job next year in Orange County if I can't pass the General Knowledge Math Test.I also have a documented case of dyscalculia. Who needs math? I teach English!
Then you would support removing math from the high school curriculum? "Who needs math?"
Spencer

Ormond Beach, FL

#16 Mar 25, 2008
Please protect the arts wrote:
I have been in creative arts all my life. I had an Ad Agency for 25+ years. I once taught art in my children's school because in the private sector you don't need math - or any degree.
Please protect creativity from the number crunchers. I have had art teachers in my life who had NO spark - but they passed the required English and Math courses to get their degree.
Please give this creative person the ability to continue passing on his passion for the arts!!!
J.B. Massachusetts & Florida
He can open his own Art Academy, he does have a business degree, but wait that means he would have to take money?!? What would he do when someone needed change?

The point is that our government is providing an education that conforms to a basic minimum standard. If the teachers do not meet that basic standard then they should go do something else.

If he is such a great artist, then make art. Those that can, do...those that cannont, teach. I guess math teachers shouldn't have to be able to write? BTW my kids go to private school.
Tanya

Orlando, FL

#17 Mar 25, 2008
So... do you want an art specialist to teach art or a math whiz? I would prefer my child to be taught by this gentleman than anyone else. So sad. At least private schools don't require teachers to pass these tests. I should send my kid to a private school so that the stupid bureaucracy is not keeping good teachers from the classroom.
Tanya

Orlando, FL

#18 Mar 25, 2008
Spencer wrote:
<quoted text>
He can open his own Art Academy, he does have a business degree, but wait that means he would have to take money?!? What would he do when someone needed change?
The point is that our government is providing an education that conforms to a basic minimum standard. If the teachers do not meet that basic standard then they should go do something else.
If he is such a great artist, then make art. Those that can, do...those that cannont, teach. I guess math teachers shouldn't have to be able to write? BTW my kids go to private school.
I passed high school math 15 years ago. Then I graduated from college 11 years ago. I can assure that I have forgotten enough math that I don't EVER USE, that I wouldn't pass that math test! Whatever! This is ridiculous!
Tanya

Orlando, FL

#19 Mar 25, 2008
Spencer wrote:
<quoted text>
He can open his own Art Academy, he does have a business degree, but wait that means he would have to take money?!? What would he do when someone needed change?
The point is that our government is providing an education that conforms to a basic minimum standard. If the teachers do not meet that basic standard then they should go do something else.
If he is such a great artist, then make art. Those that can, do...those that cannont, teach. I guess math teachers shouldn't have to be able to write? BTW my kids go to private school.
You obviously have no clue what you are talking about. You say... "Those that can, do...those that cannont, teach." So, those that can pass the math test - TEACH. Those who cannot pass the math test are named Spencer and send their kids to private schools where teachers don't have to pass any tests to teach!!
Spencer

Ormond Beach, FL

#20 Mar 25, 2008
Tanya wrote:
<quoted text>
I passed high school math 15 years ago. Then I graduated from college 11 years ago. I can assure that I have forgotten enough math that I don't EVER USE, that I wouldn't pass that math test! Whatever! This is ridiculous!
As an educated adult, you should be able to prepare yourself for a licensure exam. This is not a surprise exam. This is not his first time taking it. I've forgotten how to do calculus, but I would make the effort to relearn it if I needed it for my livelihood. Maybe he should go back to school and get an elementary education degree. Let's not forget that these temporary licenses are for people that do not have degrees (aka formal training) in education.

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