From Prince William County School policy:

Purchasing Textbooks: It is the policy of the Prince William County School Board that in each core curriculum area there is at least one currently adopted textbook on the appropriate level available to every student.

Textbooks and related materials shall be approved by the School Board or the Associate Superintendent for Student Learning and Accountability before being purchased. The following purchasing procedures have been established to assist in procuring textbooks and instructional materials.
A. The following is a suggested purchase allocation for purchasing textbooks after the adoption approval:
1. First year – As many copies as budgeted funds will allow, but at least   50% of student enrollment.
2. Second year – complete total purchasing requirement according to the policy of one copy per student.
3. Third through sixth years – maintain ample copies of adopted textbooks to meet policy requirements, one copy per student.

That sounds to me like there shall be 1 copy of a textbook in core academic areas for every student.  This isn’t the state, this is Prince William County’s own policy.

PWC Schools are not following their own policy in math and haven’t been for several years.  I believe this is a cheating way for the individual schools to save money.  One classroom set of books is bought and that is the name of that tune.  No homework is given in the math book and to the best of my knowledge, most of the math texts do nothing but sit there and gather dust.

Students need to learn to read across the curriculum, including math instruction.  Students also need to have a math book if they need outside help.  Try tutoring a kid without a math book.  It’s fairly difficult to do unless you have a really good grasp of SOL curriculum.   Then you can pull problems out of thin air or rely on old textbooks if you have your own private stash.

Regardless, if you ask  around you will be hard pressed to find a kid who has been assigned his or her own math textbook to take back and forth to school.  Prince William County’s half-assed approach to providing every student with a math book violates their own policy and certainly does not conform to best practice in the field of education.

It’s time for the school system to stop cheating the kids and the tax payers and to assign each student a math textbook.   Yes, it’s getting personal now.  Come on Stonewall High School–get with the program.  Come on Reagan Middle and Stonewall Middle, get with the program.

You are not acting in the best interests of children.  You are handicapping students and creating innumeracy.

Those running for positions on the school board need to address this issue.


20 Thoughts to “Where are the math texts in Prince William County?”

  1. Mom

    Three kids, thirty plus cumulative years in PWC schools and rarely a textbook for them to use for math. Plenty of worksheets but precious little accompanying explanations, instructions or examples. Add to that the frustration of being told I’m doing it “wrong” because the teacher says my way is the old way and although the answer is correct, doing it my way won’t allow them to understand why it is correct. This topic makes my blood boil. I have had my fill of new hires who couldn’t run the cash register at McDonalds without the pictures on register keys.

    2 + 2 always equals 4

    Nothing can ever be divided by zero

    a squared plus b squared always equals c squared

    What is so effing hard about teaching the kids that. I don’t care if they understand why 7 times 7 equals 49 so long as they know that number without having to use their fingers and toes. I also want them to be able to figure out the area of a square, rectangle or triangle without having to take out a notebook. Arrrgghhh!

    1. Ah, I have found a soul mate. (besides the scotch)

      Being able to read in the field of mathematics is critically important. Reading explanations is a skill. Being able to use a textbook as a tool is critical. It won’t be happening in many schools in Prince William County. Sudley Elementary did issue a 4th grade math textbook. Good on them!!!

      Regardless of what you are told, the real reason is for schools to save money. Textbooks are expensive. Well…that has to be taken into account.

      I wonder if teachers are allowed to use as much copier paper as they want? I seriously doubt it. Additionally, there is something to having to write a math problem down on a piece of paper and to align it up right. That’s pretty difficult to do on a worksheet. Are kids now going to forget how to write numbers? Cursive is out the window also. How does one sign their name? You should at least be able to do with.

      I digress….

  2. Mom

    If you really want to get my blood boiling lets start talking about the lack of instruction on fractions. The typical response (read instructions from the Hill) from PWC teachers, we don’t spend much time on fractions because they can use a calculator.

    1. When did that start? (re: fractions) Let me think on that. I NEVER heard that. In fact, the opposite directive was given by the math supervisor who just retired.

      What does the SOL objective say? Unless they have drastically changed, dealing with fractions (4 basic operations) starts in 4th grade and goes through 7th)

      What happens on the SOL test when you can’t use a calculator?

      Newsflash to someone: kids don’t understand the relationship between fractions and decimals.

    2. @MoM

      Here you go. My gripe continues to be that the computation is taught when many kids are too academically young to master the objectives. Computation with fractions is often multi-stepped and can be too much for young people to handle. But who am I to argue with the state…..?

  3. George S. Harris

    Well there is an election coming up-before you vote for someone, you might want to find out where they stand on school books.

    If schools and teachers are violating their own rules, why hasn’t someone made it a public issue at either a School Board meeting, a BOCS meeting or in the local media?

    Is it possible to institute an investigation into why, ” most of the math texts do nothing but sit there and gather dust”? If this is possible, it would seem to me that Moon has an obligation to appear before the School Board, the BOCS and get someone like Jill Palermo to do some investigative reporting. Or maybe it is sufficient to publish here in this blog but somehow I don’t think so.

    1. George, I have addressed the issue with my school board member who is running unopposed. I am awaiting her response. Would you alert yours to the problem also? This isn’t happening in just the Gainesville District.

      I don’t think most parents even know.

      Hopefully the fact that a couple of school board members are aware might start the ball rolling.

  4. Mom

    Moon, I have absolutely no qualms about going to a School Board Meeting WITH YOU and speaking on this matter, now getting in the doors of the Kelly Center may be problematic for both of us but I suspect we could overcome that.

    1. I will go over textbooks but not over fractions. I have done my time in the saddle with fractions. ARRRGGGHHHHHH

      I could have gotten in Kelly Center before 7/1/15. Not so sure now. [evil grin]

  5. Jackson Bills

    I’m glad that you Moon are on top of this issue and I must admit that I have pretty oblivious to most (if not all) of the school issues that you have talked about over the years. However, my son is now in first grade and I’ve started to pay a bit more attention to these issues.
    With my wife’s work schedule I am the one that attends all of the back-to-school nights, open houses, parent/teacher meetings, etc.. So far I have been extremely pleased with the school and his teachers but it’s only been kindergarten and the start of first grade so far. I suppose it will get more complex in the next few years so I thank you for talking about issues such as this because I just may be running into them in the near future.

    1. You are more than welcome. I am not particularly political as far as schools go but this is one that I think needs correcting.

      I have not heard back from my school board rep. I sent the letter 2 days ago. I bet if I worked in a school and didn’t get back to a parent for over 2 days someone would want to fry my butt. Just saying….

      Perhaps she is checking in to the problem. Benefit of the doubt here. Of course, I would email that I was checking.

  6. Mom

    @Jackson Bills
    If you are going to get involved in those issues I would suggest starting alcohol therapy at the soonest opportunity, and by that I mean the consumption of copious quantities of the finest scotch and microbrews.

    1. Now MoM, stop aiding and abetting….

  7. Kelly_3406

    I do not think that instruction at PWC suffers from not using math textbooks. My experience has been that teachers do a good job of posting homework and class notes on the classroom web pages. Many times the class notes include handwritten teacher edits that show exactly what was covered. Homework sheets that can be downloaded definitely reduce family stress/conflict for forgetful students. It seems like a pretty good system to me.

    1. You must not have been at the same places I was. 🙄

      Where do kids get the problems to work? Where do they learn to read content?

      Not all teachers use school fusion as it is supposed to be used.

  8. Cargosquid

    My daughter, in 9th grade, has zero textbooks. All of it is online or on her computer. Last year, Also 9th, she’s repeating) her math teacher didn’t even use the school websites.

    I’m getting ready to request history and science books for home.

    This is ridiculous.

    1. I don’t mind online textbooks. However, to my knowledge, PWC doesn’t do that. It costs money too.

      I think you should request textbooks for home. If they aren’t provided, buy them and send the school the bill.

      All teachers don’t consistently use the websites. Some are excellent and go far above and beyond. Others don’t do crap. In the age of technology, that ought to be part of the evaluation, not test scores. That is something teachers have control over. If they are too stupid to learn to do the online instruction, the school needs to hire aids to make it happen with material submitted by the teacher.

      How is that for standards?????

  9. Mom

    But Moon, I’m the Ambassador for the Dark Side.

    1. A job not to be taken lightly…

  10. Cargosquid

    Last year was so bad….. I came VERY, VERY close to homeschooling.

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