I remember when I was a young girl in school having a math book, a science book, social studies etc., and being told to study a particular chapter in preparation for a weekly skills test. There were problems to work at the end of each chapter and reviews to complete. If I could master those problems, I could expect to pass the tests.

What an amazing concept! Even 30-plus years ago, without the use of computers and fancy electronic devices, a student could understand clearly his or her assignments, perform well on tests, possibly make honor roll, eventually graduate from a university and go on to contribute to society.

Today, I am a mother of two wonderful boys, ages 8 and 9. They attend a tremendous school in Ascension Parish (Galvez Primary), but I have no idea what chapter in math my sons are on. I have no idea what set of problems they should be able to work by the end of the week, what English concepts they are learning, what social studies topics they are covering and only a slight understanding of what they need to do to prepare for tests. All I have is a one-page weekly newsletter vaguely describing a few topics and skills.

My sons’ bring-home folders consist of a mumble jumble of preprinted papers stapled together with “important information” underlined and highlighted.

Some of the papers they bring home are not completed. Should they be completed? What have they been tested on? What should they study? I have no way of knowing. Do students have textbooks anymore? This mountain of paperwork is detrimental to the students with dyslexia and other learning disorders, not to mention the students with difficulty organizing papers.

My sons’ lessons seem to jump from one topic to the next without giving them a clear understanding of anything, in a seeming rush between school holidays, early dismissals and teacher workshop days.

Nicole Soirez