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Dear Editor: I have tutored mathematics in the AmeriCorps' Achievement Connections program for a half-year at West High, then three semesters at Memorial, plus two summer school sessions.

Achievement Connections works in close partnership with the math department to provide targeted support and structured tutoring for our students, the goal being to close the achievement gap of children of color and low income or any failing math student. Students are asked to commit two one-hour tutoring sessions a week for the semester.

The MMSD is coming up many different programs to heal these afflictions and many are long-term implications and need money that is in short supply.

After viewing the students and the classrooms it is my opinion that much of the root cause it electrons.

I am seeing an overdependence on calculators too early in school. There is no reason that a student needs to use a calculator until middle school after the tables are in memory. Too often I have tutored a student who would use a calculator for the simplest math.

Second, cell phones need to be blocked in schools. If they want to use the phones they should wait until break and go outside. There are numerous studies on learning theory that prove that attention is a necessary quality to learn. One cannot be taught if you're not listening.

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We can see the difference in students coming from third-world countries where electronic devices are either not affordable or not permitted. These kids have math skills and rise to the top of their class.

David Parker


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