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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Mel

Los Angeles, CA

#244 Apr 6, 2008
Informed wrote:
To Spencer, I am wondering when you got a degree in the subject area of Machacyk's life! Sounds like you are an expert on it to make such character statements about the man. I also believe you need to get a hobby and stop living your life on this discussion board. And lastly, Spencer, I would love to see you try teaching 22 5 and 6 year old students for 40 minutes!
You completely miss the point. You don't need math to do or teach art. It is not analogous to allowing a doctor to skip a biochemistry exam he found too hard, because a doctor NEEDS to know biochemistry to be a good doctor. You are setting up a straw man and burning it. An art teacher DOESN'T need math to be a good art teacher. As the article mentioned, it's not like he's a bus driver who is failing a bus driving exam, because math isn't related to teaching art.

It's not just a matter of going back to school and re-learning stuff, anyway. Dyscalculia is a LEARNING DISABILITY. That's why all the studying he's done hasn't improved his scores on the exam. The ADA states that any person qualified to do their job should not be prevented on the basis of disability. What is his job? Teach art. What is his disability? Dyscalculia. The dyscalculia does NOT make him an inept art teacher. That's like saying that an author wouldn't be qualified to teach creative writing if they weren't good at math.
Informed

Orlando, FL

#245 Apr 7, 2008
Mel wrote:
<quoted text>
You completely miss the point. You don't need math to do or teach art. It is not analogous to allowing a doctor to skip a biochemistry exam he found too hard, because a doctor NEEDS to know biochemistry to be a good doctor. You are setting up a straw man and burning it. An art teacher DOESN'T need math to be a good art teacher. As the article mentioned, it's not like he's a bus driver who is failing a bus driving exam, because math isn't related to teaching art.
It's not just a matter of going back to school and re-learning stuff, anyway. Dyscalculia is a LEARNING DISABILITY. That's why all the studying he's done hasn't improved his scores on the exam. The ADA states that any person qualified to do their job should not be prevented on the basis of disability. What is his job? Teach art. What is his disability? Dyscalculia. The dyscalculia does NOT make him an inept art teacher. That's like saying that an author wouldn't be qualified to teach creative writing if they weren't good at math.
If you read all my posts you would have seen that I have said almost everything you followed up with! So, you missed the point.
Peter

Saint Paul, MN

#246 Apr 15, 2008
Here is the problem:

An elementary teaching license allows you to teach ALL elementary subjects. Even a secondary art teaching license allows you to substitute teach in all subjects. If you can't do the math, you are UNABLE to teach it to students.

In the same way that we do not allow people who cannot pass a vision test to have a driver's license we should not allow someone who cannot pass a math test to become an elementary teacher.

Remember that if given the license he would have a license that allows him to apply for a regular elementary classroom position at a 6th grade level, and he can't do math at a 5th grade level.

We can accommodate for disabilities within reason. If the teaching license ONLY allowed for teaching art, he would have a very strong case for being able to earn it with dyscalculia. Unfortunately, he earn a license that allows him to teach anything.

Unless they create a completely alternate form of license that states specifically that he cannot substitute for, or even cover for a teacher who is late in any class other than elementary art he should not have a license.
Ricky

United States

#247 Apr 15, 2008
The license does NOT allow him to teach anything. In order to teach math or English or any other subject exclusively, he would have to take and pass that subject area exam. The professional exam and art subject area exams do not allow all of these things you imply they do.
And he was already a substitute teacher- one does not usually go back to doing so until after retirement. Not to mention, all you need to be a substitute teacher in the state of Florida is a high school diploma. No previous experience, no exams, just a background check...so substitute teaching can't be lumped in with this argument at all.
Judy

Preston, UK

#248 Apr 17, 2008
From the perspective of parent of a former Waterford Elementary student, it is the students who will lose if Mr. M. is unable to continue teaching. My daughter so looked forward to the days when she had Art with Mr. M. He was inspirational, involved and enthusiastic.

Thanks Mr. M.

Since: Apr 08

Altamonte Springs, FL

#249 Apr 18, 2008
Judy wrote:
From the perspective of parent of a former Waterford Elementary student, it is the students who will lose if Mr. M. is unable to continue teaching. My daughter so looked forward to the days when she had Art with Mr. M. He was inspirational, involved and enthusiastic.
Thanks Mr. M.
That vote of confidence should be all that is required to end this debate. Can the man teach art? It sure sounds like it, so LET HIM TEACH!
Ghotit

Petah Tiqwa, Israel

#250 Apr 18, 2008
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Kyla

Pittsburgh, PA

#251 May 8, 2008
bet wrote:
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!!
I am in the same situation, I passed all of the tests needed for teaching and cannot pass the math portion of the test. I have a learning disablility in mathematics and noone is willing to adapt, the test is not only timed you are not allowed to use calculators! I am going to be an Enlgish teacher as well it is rediculous. I can't get my certification without it no matter what I even wrote a letter to Harrisburg and they did not offer me any assistance!

Since: Apr 08

Altamonte Springs, FL

#252 May 9, 2008
Kyla wrote:
<quoted text>
I am in the same situation, I passed all of the tests needed for teaching and cannot pass the math portion of the test. I have a learning disablility in mathematics and noone is willing to adapt, the test is not only timed you are not allowed to use calculators! I am going to be an Enlgish teacher as well it is rediculous. I can't get my certification without it no matter what I even wrote a letter to Harrisburg and they did not offer me any assistance!
I am in the same situation. I passed all of the tests needed for teaching and cannot pass the math portion of the test. I have a learning disablility in mathematics and no one is willing to adapt. The test is not only timed, but you are not allowed to use calculators! I am going to be an Enlgish teacher, as well. It is rediculous. I can't get my certification without it no matter what. I even wrote a letter to Harrisburg and they did not offer me any assistance!
Above you will find the corrected version of your post. I am worried if you are truly going to be an English teacher.

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