Archive for the ‘Education/Schools’ Category

Pete Candland Attempts to Retread the Immigration Issue

October 14th, 2014 33 comments

Dear Pete,

I would never have guessed that you too would have fallen so quickly into using children to propel you into the “immigration” spotlight.  I realize that you were probably not paying attention back in 2007 when this now, recycled tactic, was originally used and abused.

So allow me to take this public opportunity to educate you.  Back in 2007 John Stirrup, along with Corey, focused much of their attention on the “invasion” of children from South America into our public schools system.  They also wanted reimbursement for the supposed “free” education.  Only here is the problem, it wasn’t free (if you live in the county, in a house or apartment)there is a real estate tax being paid on that dwelling.  In case you weren’t aware, THAT is what pays for our schools.

Also, now pay attention, this is another critical piece of information, there is this pesky Supreme Court ruling, Plyler v Doe.  We HAVE to educate all children, I know, so irritating, but hey, I guess we could live in Afghanistan where no one has to be educated.

HHS is providing funds to house and educate these kids while we determine if sending them back home is a death sentence.  It may be, ultimately, this is the critical difference between you and me, you see, I see them as refugees.

You can’t claim “compassion” for children and yet have your actions be self-serving while possibly inciting another chapter of Help Save Manassas.

You are going down a dangerous moral path,  my friend, and I sincerely hope you rethink this journey you have chosen to embark upon.


Limiting classroom discussion: Censorship or prudence?

August 29th, 2014 3 comments


The superintendent of a school district in Illinois has issued a directive banning any discussion in classrooms of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen killed Aug. 9 by a white police officer, or the civil unrest that followed in Ferguson, Mo.

KMOX-TV reports that Superintendent Ed Hightower of Edwardsville District 7 Schools made the decision after some parents complained that some teachers were expressing personal opinions during discussions with students in their classrooms. The station report says:

Superintendent Ed Hightower says normally there would be an open discussion of current events.

“However, this situation in Ferguson-Florissant has become a situation whereby there are so many facts that are unknown,” he says.

He says teachers have been told not to discuss it and if students bring it up, they should change the subject.

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Maybe principals should not have degrees…..?????

August 13th, 2014 10 comments

Robin Anthony Toogood II was an admired educator, the kind of principal who inspires loyalty among other teachers for his compassion and positive attitude. To his students, he was a role model who commanded respect, a leader who handled discipline infractions with a gentle hand.

But according to local schools officials, Toogood harbored a secret throughout his 15-year career in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia schools: Although he claimed to be highly educated — saying he had a doctorate — in reality he was a college dropout.

Former colleagues said they were surprised that Toogood appears to have repeatedly landed teaching and administrative jobs while providing fake or embellished credentials, as Virginia education officials have alleged. Those who worked with him said Toogood was known for his gregarious charm, warm smile and innate leadership qualities.

“He would have been the last person you would have ever expected to lie,” said Katie Holland, a former substitute teacher at St. Michael the Archangel, a Catholic elementary school in Silver Spring where Toogood worked as an assistant principal during the 2007-2008 school year.

You know, this sort of thing probably goes on more frequently than we know about.  Granted, it takes real cajones to pull off an educational heist such as this one but there is a valuable lesson to be learned here.  Listen to how Mr. Toogood is described.  He sounds like the ideal principal, doesn’t he?

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School board considers scrapping 11th grade writing project

June 6th, 2014 12 comments

Let’s see what Calvin has to say about writing:


If the School Board approves, 11th grade students in Prince William County schools will no longer be required to submit and pass a formal research paper as a requirement for graduation.

School Board members heard arguments from teachers and administrators Wednesday night as to whether they should delete Regulation 600-1, which dictates the research paper requirement.

Supervisor of Language Arts Roberta Apostolakis said she believes deleting the graduation requirement and allowing for more writing within the curriculum would “absolutely strengthen” writing within language arts classes.

In her presentation, Roberta Apostolakis emphasized that the rigorous research-based writing, which is embedded throughout the K-12 curricula and the evidence collected throughout a student’s career, exceeds one “narrowly defined assignment.” She asked that the School Board approve making the English 11 research paper “an embedded part of the English curriculum rather than a separate graduation requirement.”

According to Apostolakis, the research paper took too much time out of the 11th grade curriculum, was weighted too heavily and did not vary the assignment to the level of the student.

No kidding.  From a parent point of view, this requirement is worse than a science fair project on steroids.  In fact, I would venture to say the graduation requirement is tantamount to child abuse.  Can we start with the notion that not everyone is going to college?

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55 Colleges under scrutiny for handling of sexual violence intestigations

May 2nd, 2014 5 comments


The release Thursday of a federal list of 55 colleges with open “sexual violence investigations” underscores that the twin problem of how to prevent and respond to sex assaults on campus has become a national question, touching schools from elite privates to large publics to small regional schools.

The list from the Education Department continues the Obama administration’s push to shine a spotlight on sex assault in response to questions raised in recent years about how prominent colleges have handled rape allegations and related issues. This week, a White House task force released a report aiming to help colleges prevent sex assaults.

There were four schools listed from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia: Catholic University of America, Frostburg State University, the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia.
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Loudoun County suffer school money woes–face sex ed cuts

April 22nd, 2014 1 comment

Budget cuts being considered by the Loudoun County School Board this week are far-reaching. They could affect class size, foreign language offerings and the availability of full-day kindergarten.

They could also affect sex education.

The county has 19 specially trained Family Life educators who could lose their positions, as the board tries to reconcile a $38 million gap between its proposed budget and what county supervisors appropriated this month.


In many Virginia counties, trained health and physical education teachers cover the state Family Life Education standards, which include lessons about healthy families and relationships, as well as human reproduction and sexuality. In Loudoun, Family Life teachers who specialize in the curriculum, which was adopted in 1990, rotate among schools.

LeGrys said that the Loudoun program is often considered a model in the state. Parents are able to have their children opt out of classes addressing sensitive topics, but only about 2 percent do, LeGrys said, indicating a high level of trust in the county’s program.

Some Family Life Education teachers have addressed the board during budget hearings to stress the benefits of having specialized teachers leading sensitive discussions. The teachers have helped identify children who are victims of sexual abuse, and the county’s teenage pregnancy rate has plummeted over the past 20 years, they said.

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‘Hoos Against Hazing? Apparently not all of them

April 21st, 2014 11 comments

anti hazing

UVA’s statement and definition on HAZING:


Pressuring a potential new member or a new member to do anything against her/his will. Hazing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED and IS NOT tolerated at the University.

Apparently the ‘Hoo statement was not embodied by all because 2 charters have just been pulled by UVA because of hazing.  People just assume the banned fraternities are minority frat houses.  Such is not the case.  One of the fraternities was a founding charter member.

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McAuliffe vetoes school religious bill

April 7th, 2014 7 comments

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

A bill that would have codified the rights of students to pray, participate in religious activities or wear faith-themed clothing on public school property at public events was vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe Friday.

The school prayer-bill veto of Senate Bill 236, the third of McAuliffe’s term, followed a recent veto of a similarly themed bill governing prayer by chaplains in the Virginia National Guard.

Sponsored by state Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr., R-Grayson, the legislation would have required every school system to have a policy allowing students to make religious speeches at any school event in which students are allowed to speak. It also would have removed the liability of school systems for allowing religious speech by having administrators offer disclaimers that student views are not endorsed by the school division.

Supporters said the legislation would protect religious liberty. But the governor disagreed.

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Parents flare up over stolen recess

March 9th, 2014 2 comments

There is a hue and cry over Superintendent Walts plan to shave 5 minutes off of elementary recess from now until the end of the year, to make up for lost instructional time due to snow days. To date, PWC has missed 12 days and has had 5 2 hour delays because of inclement weather.

Some parents are showing their displeasure by signing a petition to add 5 minutes on to the end of the day rather than shave the time off of recess.


Bristow Beat’s Facebook page also saw an outcry against the decision to shorten recess. Parents argued that young children have to sit through too much structured activity as it is in the school day, and that recess is a good opportunity to allow them to be children.

“Kids today spend almost all of their time in structured activities or in front of a screen (tv, video games, computer, cell phone, ipod) with no opportunity to learn to entertain themselves and be active for fun, EXCEPT SCHOOL RECESS,” one woman commented. “Cut that back and then they wonder why kids have such issues with attention span, creative thinking, etc. The business of childhood is play.”

Many parents commenting agreed that recess is a necessity so that students could come back to class refreshed and ready to learn. They expressed their fear that with a shortened recess children’s behavior and academic ability would suffer.

I think adding 5 minutes to the end of the day sounds good but on the other hand, who knows what all in involved with adding 5 minutes to everything involving transportion. There are probably things the average Joe just hasn’t thought about. Which brings up another point. Why is it up to the schools to fix what ails kids?

“Kids today spend almost all of their time in structured activities or in front of a screen (tv, video games, computer, cell phone, ipod) with no opportunity to learn to entertain themselves and be active for fun, EXCEPT SCHOOL RECESS,” one woman commented.

What am I missing here?  Isn’t it the responsibility of the parents to take these toys  and screens away from their children and to chase their kids outside?  It now sounds like this is something the schools have to provide for kids–live without technology.  Back in the day, when my kids were kids, turned off the TV, took away the video games and  I chased them outside.  They were gone from sun up to sun down, off being kids.  Yes, we had perverts back in the dark ages so I don’t want to hear that as an excuse.  Kids are actually safer nowadays, they have cell phones which serve as a leash.

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Taking care of the schools: NOW

February 18th, 2014 6 comments

supply room

As Prince William County begins its budget deliberations, I want to encourage the supervisors to remember the poor, beleaguered schools, their students and their teachers.   As it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a county to do the right thing by its schools.  The BOCS must set the current tax rate.

Regardless of political correctness or other artificial constraints some folks will attempt to put on the situation, the BOCS needs to do 2 things.  They need to set the tax rate high enough to start bringing the schools up to snuff after the long , lean period following the housing crash that began in 2007.   They they need to give the School Board a little larger slice of the pie.

The school system needs to do three things:

1.  Start reducing class size.

2.  Give teachers and other employees a raise.

3.  Make basic supplies more readily available.

Frankly, no one wants to hear the old tea party rallying call to ‘Stop Spending.’   Those words are simplistic answers for simplistic people.  The average person has no idea what programs are mandated and what programs are not.  I have spent more years in the system than most folks and I don’t know all the ins and outs in that regard.  No one does when dealing with a hugely complex system like Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax or Stafford.

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