Written by Jerry Cornelium
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Topics: Parents

Monday, 29 November 2004

image for Enraged Parents Demand Firing of Pequot Math Teacher
Embattled math teacher Jake Rodham: Too much emphasis on correct answers?

P.T.A. Pres. Knudsen: Rodham is an "insufferable … mean … stickler for detail"

PEQUOT, SD --- Jake Rodham, math instructor at Pequot High School, finds himself the center of the controversy-ridden school district's most recent tumult. Five parents today presented superintendent Pat Burn with a letter calling for the twenty-year teaching veteran's immediate dismissal. The reason: too many students are failing his classes because of his "insufferable attitude toward school rules and correct answers."

The letter, composed by local P.T.A. President Ray Knudsen, stated that math should be about "the process of mathematical thinking, not writing down numbers the teacher wants to see." It further criticized Rodham's hard-line approach to attendance and discipline.

"He is a mean person," the letter stated. "A stickler for detail. How can my kids make the ‘C' honor roll when this jerk marks them tardy, just because they are a few minutes late for his stupid class? How can they succeed when he lowers their grade, just because they get a few answers wrong on the test?"

Pequot High School recently implemented a "C" honor roll to improve attendance and the general motivation level among students.

Alvin Moeller, another parent, was very specific in his concerns about Rodham, especially in the area of discipline.

"My boy was sent to the principal," he said. "Just for patting a cheerleader on the butt. Every red-blooded American boy wants to do that, so how can you blame him?"

Superintendent Burn said he is sympathetic of the parents concerns, adding he shares their frustration with teacher attitudes in his school district.

"We will not solve the problems we have overnight," he stated. "But let me assure you that we are on top of things. For one, I'd like to remind the folks of Pequot that we did suspend the school district's entire faculty for their recent protest action and that we have made sure the classes are staffed by temporary replacements who do care about how our students feel - and that is a lot more important than some dumb piece of paper that says you're allowed to teach in the State of South Dakota."

Jake Rodham simply shook his head when hearing of Knudson's letter and called Burn's comments "pathological."

Replied Burn, "I'll keep that in mind when I start thinking about who I'm gonna reinstate."

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