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.
Prince William County qualified for enough state funding this year to provide pre-kindergarten classes to more than 1,600 children from low-income families. But the county turned down nearly all of that money and instead serves just 72 children in four classrooms.
Manassas Park was eligible for state funding to help 104 children prepare for kindergarten, but its program serves just 36.
Across Virginia, about $23 million designated for preschool was left on the table because localities — citing limited resources, lack of classroom space and politics — did not contribute the required matching funds to take full advantage of the program. As a result, more than 6,000 disadvantaged children missed the opportunity to go to school before kindergarten.
Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland held a town hall Thursday night at Alvey Elementary School in Haymarket to speak to area residents about what he said is the need to “act right away” to provide more funds to the county school board to cut class sizes, which are now at their maximum capacity, he said. The number of students in classrooms is larger than those of schools in neighboring Loudoun and Fairfax counties, according to a Washington Area Board of Education report.
Candland advocates raising the amount of money the School Board automatically gets from the county in an annual budget transfer, which is currently 57.23% of the county budget, to allow the Board to hire additional teachers and to pay them salaries comparable to what educators earn in surrounding counties.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia education officials say new, more rigorous assessment tests drove down the number of schools meeting state standards.
The Virginia Department of Education says 77 percent of Virginia’s public schools are fully accredited after meeting state benchmarks. That’s down from 93 percent last year.
Officials say 1,413 of the state’s 1,828 schools met objectives on 2012-13 Standards of Learning tests and other assessments in English, mathematics, science and history – and, for high schools, graduation.
The number of schools accredited with warning nearly quadrupled to 395, and six schools have been denied state accreditation because of chronically low achievement.
Over the last two years, the state has implemented new math, English and science tests aimed at better preparing students for college or post-graduation employment.
Is it time for hysterics? Are Virginia schools going to hell in a hand basket? No. New tests have been implemented over the past two years. Make no mistake. It is all political.
Schools open again today and across the nation, millions of kids will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It sounds harmless enough. However, to some parents, the phrase “under God” is unacceptable in schools. The parents feel that the Pledge tears down the wall of separation between church and state because it contains the words, “under God.”. The Pledge heads back to court in the very near future. How does it hurt anyone to say two little bitty words?
That isn’t the point. Kids are a captive audience forced to recite something their parents find objectionable. Can kids be pulled out? Of course. However, pulling a student out of the pledge makes them stand out–opt out programs always call attention to those who dare to be different.
When students at Fairfax County’s Mount Vernon High School return to classes next week, they no longer will be allowed to wear “jeggings” as pants.
What exactly are jeggings? They are the fashion cousin of leggings, the skin-tight staples found in many high school hallways. Jeggings are leggings with a faux-denim appearance, providing the tailored jean look that is in vogue among teenagers. To dress in leggings or jeggings, Mount Vernon students must wear them underneath shorts, dresses or skirts that are at most three inches above the knee, according to school regulations.
I think that the word hero is tossed about was too casually and way too often. We call people ‘heroes’ when they really have done nothing out of the ordinary or heroic. However, Antoinette Tuff, bookkeeper at Ronald E, McNair Discovery Learning Academy, showed heroism in the face of danger that most people couldn’t imagine. She showed compassion, strength, and calm demeanor during what could have been a deadly situation. She saved literally hundreds of lives when a lone gunman toting an AK-47 and 500 rounds of ammo slipped into a locked door at her school.
The 911 tapes from a frightening standoff and shooting at an Atlanta-area school show how a school employee’s calm demeanor and kind approach helped end the ordeal without any injuries.
Police said Wednesday that school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff was heroic in how she responded after being taken hostage a day earlier by Michael Brandon Hill, a 20-year-old man with a history of mental health issues. Hill went to the school armed with an AK 47-style rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition, police said.
On a recording of a 911 call released Wednesday, Tuff can be heard relaying messages from Hill to DeKalb County emergency dispatchers before convincing him to surrender. She tells the dispatcher that Hill said he wasn’t there to hurt the children but wanted to talk to an unarmed officer.
Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II unveiled a 12-point education plan Tuesday that would push for charter schools, offer voucher-like scholarships for preschoolers and empower a majority of parents to take over their children’s failing school, according to an outline of his K-12 education plan.
Cuccinelli wants to double the number of female students who focus on science and technology, expand virtual schooling and build on the commonwealth’s nearly two-year-old law that gives tax credits to donors who provide voucher-like scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools. He also would seek two amendments to Virginia’s constitution, including one that would clear the way for government funds to flow to religious schools.
The package of reforms contained in Cuccinelli’s K-12 education plan include several that have become popular in recent years, especially among conservatives, although the efficacy of some of the initiatives has been disputed. The proposals would generally push Virginia in the direction of so-called school choice and private or community-based solutions to the problem of public education.
A new Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll finds that a majority of Georgians believe in creationism over evolution.
Entitled “Georgia Miscellany,” the Thursday item surveyed a pool of 520 voters on 32 questions. On the issue of creationism vs. evolution, 53 percent believe more in the former, compared to 29 percent choosing the latter, and 18 percent voting not sure.
When that question was transferred over to party lines, Republicans had a staggering split — 70 percent for creationism, 17 percent for evolution and 13 percent not sure. Democrats split along closer lines — 43 percent for creationism, 33 percent for evolution and 24 percent not sure. Independents held an even narrower divide — 46 percent for creationism, 40 percent for evolution and 14 percent not sure.
Back in June 2012, a Gallup poll recorded some national growth among Americans believing in creationism. Among a sample of 1,012 adults, 46 percent said that they were believers, marking a two percent jump over the past three decades.
UFB! Surely this many people don’t still think that Darwin is a bad word? I can’t believe that many people in Georgia missed science class. I went to school in Georgia a few years and I am pretty sure we studied the origins of the earth and man from a scientific point of view.
For the past couple of years, if most teachers are honest, they will tell you that they feel beaten up, under-appreciated, over-worked and the political victims of whatever people feel ails American education. Any time someone has a gripe, teachers have been in the first line of fire whether it’s over test scores, the decline of America’s youth, the graduation rate, or unions financially strapping municipalities.
In Virginia, not to stray too far from home, legislation has tinkered with teacher accountability, teacher evaluation, and teachers’ job security, especially along the lines of continuing contract. More is being asked of teachers and less is being given to them in the way of reward and compensation. In Virginia, teachers now must pay their own VRS. Elementary teachers still don’t have adequate planning time and secondary planning time is often encumbered with meetings and other wastes of time. Teachers often plan from their own homes, far in to the night.
On the one hand, teachers are trusted less which is evidenced by the frequency of evaluation, and general supervision by administrators, as though the teachers are the students. Ironically, more is being demanded of these same people.
A person near and dear to my heart just told his mother that he couldn’t read cursive when asked who his birthday card was from. Was this a 6 year old? No. It was a 12 year old. Why can’t a 12 year old read cursive?
When I was little my parents used to speak French to each other when they didn’t want me to hear them. I stupidly took Spanish in school. But I digress…..
Can parents now just write something in cursive to be secretive around their kids? Why isn’t cursive being taught in school? I want to be old fashioned for just a minute. Texting is an invention of the Devil. It is making morons out of society. It has destroyed grammar and spelling even worse than CB radios. Perfectly educated people now write in ignorantese.
Learning to write cursive develops a child’s cognitive ability and helps him or her with spacial relationships. Expect more kids to fail geometry. That branch of mathematics definitely relies on finely tuned spacial relationships. Writing cursive also develops fine muscle control.
Reading and writing cursive is a skill. There are too many of us around who still communicate in cursive to let it go the way of the dodo bird. How will people sign their names? Will they print their name on a check? It’s one of those things people should be able to do just because….
Do local schools no longer teach cursive? Do teachers text their students? Keyboarding is not longer taught either. I think I see illiteracy coming…it is right around the corner. Schools! Rethink this one!
Mike Rice should have been fired the moment his abusive behavior was discovered. Let’s not stop there. The athletic director and the president of the university need to go also. They were aware that Rice treated his players like this. For that matter, it is their business to know how he treated his players.
Mike Rice hurled racial slurs, homophobic slurs, hit players, pushed them and threw basketballs at their legs and groin. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. Who on earth thinks this behavior is acceptable? It is unacceptable behavior for any coach at any level of competition. Read more…
Prince William County teachers plan to attend the BOCS meeting tomorrow en mass. Prince William County teachers have not had a step increase in 3 years. They are not expected to get one until 2016. They have had a couple of very small raises. They will once again ask for the supervisors to set an advertised tax rate that sustains a teacher raise and reduced class sizes.
Teachers want the Supervisors to set a tax rate high enough to accommodate a step increase, raise, and reduction in class size. The uninformed often wonder why teachers don’t approach the PWC School Board for this raise and reduction, rather than the BOCS. They do. However, school boards, in Virginia, do not have the power to tax so they must get the funds from the governing body, in this case, the Board of County Supervisors. The BOCS sets the tax rate and so they are who the teachers must appeal to.
Yes, we have discussed this topic before. However, it is getting very close to becoming a reality. Most educators are horrified. The politicians all love it. Parent opinion is mixed. Just wait until their kid’s school doesn’t get an A. Then there will be a hue and cry. NCLB looked good on paper also. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The House of Delegates passed legislation Monday that would assign letter grades to public schools in Virginia just as teachers grade students from A to F.
The bill, a conspicuous piece of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s education reforms, won final House passage on a bipartisan 54-40 vote with six delegates not voting.
Egging McDonnell on was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who said that this plan helped improve his state’s schools. For starters, Virginia isn’t Louisiana. The two states have very different demographics.
The book Laura Murphy wants removed from Fairfax County classrooms is considered a modern American classic. It is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a masterpiece of fiction whose author’s 1993 Nobel Prize in literature citation said that she, “in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”
But Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” Murphy said, depicts scenes of bestiality, gang rape and an infant’s gruesome murder, content she believes could be too intense for teenage readers.
“It’s not about the author or the awards,” said Murphy, a mother of four whose eldest son had nightmares after reading “Beloved” for his senior-year Advanced Placement English class. “It’s about the content.”