LGBT SCHOOL BOARD VOTE DELAYED UNTIL JUNE

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Insidenova.com:

(credit to Alex Koma)

After more than five hours of public comments, the Prince William County School Board decided to delay a decision on whether to outlaw discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity, as the Wednesday evening meeting dragged into Thursday morning.

 

The board was set to vote on a policy to outlaw sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination “in the provision of educational programs, services, and activities.” The policy currently bans discrimination based on race, sex and religion.

 

The board ultimately voted for more time to consider the policy, delaying the vote until June 2017 by a vote of 5-1. Only Chairman Ryan Sawyers opposed a motion to delay the vote, while Loree Williams of the Woodbridge District abstained.

 

Sawyers edited the policy to direct schools’ Superintendent Steven L. Walts to preserve existing standards for bathrooms and locker rooms, leaving room to comply with court decisions on the issue. The majority of the board still felt suitably concerned about the prospect of future legal action to delay a vote on the policy.

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Maureen Caddigan: The adult in the room

2012 Official Portrait Supervisor Caddigan

Bristowbeat.com:

When the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meet again on Aug. 3, they will vote on whether or not to grant the school board $1 million for class size reduction.

The agreement is contingent upon the school division matching that $1 million with its own $1 million for class size reduction, but not signing upon the school board signing a memorandum of agreement.

Potomac Supervisor, Maureen Caddigan, who proposed the legislation, is willing to approve it even without the MOA. She hopes it will gain support of enough supervisors to pass next week.

At the July 12 Board of County Supervisors meeting, Caddigan withdrew the motion to vote on the $1 million for class size reduction after supervisors disagreed on whether the grant should be accompanied by a the signing of the MOA.

Supervisors Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville-R), Peter Candland (Gainesville-R) and Ruth Anderson (Coles-R) said the supervisors should require the school board put the agreement in writing. With Chairman Corey Stewart (R) and Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi (R) absent, it would have likely been a tie vote.

 
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Bearded student barred from his own graduation

beard 2

Washingtonpost.com:

“I refused to shave because I felt as if that was ridiculous being that I went the whole school year with my facial hair,” he told The Post in a text message. “Plus, students from other schools in the district who graduated earlier that week marched with their facial hair, so why couldn’t I?”

Jones said he refused several times — then they asked for his gown.

“My parents came down and had a conversation with the school board members, discussing why they weren’t letting me march,” he said, “but it seemed as the superintendent wasn’t trying to hear anything they had to say.”

He added: “I just watched my graduation from the stands.”

Davis said Jones, a teenage father, worked hard in school, earning a 4.0 GPA and excelling in sports — track, football and basketball.

 
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PWC School Board reduces teacher day by 30 minutes

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bristowbeat.com:

The Prince William County School Board voted five to three Wednesday to reduce the length of the teacher workday from 7.5 hours to 7 hours.

The change will revert school work hours to the length they were prior to 2012; the measure goes into effect for the 2016-17 school year.

Potomac School board member Justin Wilk supported the action, along with Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Lillie Jessie (Occoquan), Willie Deutsch (Coles) and Diane Raulston (Neabsco.)

Gil Trenum (Brentsville), Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville) and Loree Williams (Woodbridge) voted against the measure, saying they would rather support other changes to allow teachers more flexibility and autonomy in their use of planning time.

Wilk posed the the issue months ago, claiming teachers felt the initial 2012 vote was a punitive move against them.

Members were united on the need to boost teacher morale.

“I think, amazingly, we’re all on the same page,” Sawyers said.

Before the vote, Dr. Jennifer Cassata, Director of Accountability, presented the finding of a survey PWCS gave to teachers to help the administration better understand their feelings about the additional 30 minutes.

Good for the School Board.  Finally.   Yes, the addition of the half hour 4 years ago was a slap in the face.  It simply said no real raise but give us more time and like it.

No teacher walks in when the bell rings and walks out at dismissal.  There are always mandatory meetings, conferences or some other non-teaching duties that must be attended to.  This move by the School Board was symbolic but important to morale.

Here’s a novel idea–why not shorten the day AND allow more flexibility?  How about adding a couple personal days to those 3 days teachers already get?  How about making them unrestricted personal days for a full week?  There’s a start at saying the School Board  knows they are screwing their employees.  It’s sort of an “I’m sorry.”

Until the Board of County Supervisors stops playing on the cheap and supports education, this is just how things will be.  Classrooms will be over-crowded and teachers will be stressed.  The BOCS is too busy playing politics to notice.

The last laugh will be when no one goes into the field because of the crappy conditions.   Meanwhile, good for the SB for getting rid of the dreaded extended school day.

School Board Meeting Briefs: The forked tongue?

What’s going on at school board meetings in PWC?  I am hearing just horrible stories coming out of those meetings–stories of teachers being threatened, students in certain districts being threatened as far as funding goes,

Tell me it isn’t so!!  I decided I would go look for myself.  I tried to find the video of last night’s meeting.  Talk about a wild goose chase.  Finding the video of a meeting is difficult and definitely not intuitive.

I finally was directed to the little TV icon on the main website, www.pwcs.edu.  Finally.  When I got to the site, guess what!  The board meeting had not been posted.

Come on school board site.  You have more resources than the non-school part of the county and their board meetings are up and running several hours after the meeting is over.  You can do better.

If what I hear is true, that board meeting archive will probably disappear anyway.  However, before that, I would like to watch the May 4, 2016 meeting  for myself.

Every day I offer up thanks…that I no longer work for Prince William County.

Georgia O’Keefe, Michigan schools and vaginas

 

okeefe

Washingtonpost.com:

Any serious discussion of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is bound to touch upon her provocative use of feminine imagery.

The great American painter is celebrated not only for her renditions of Southwestern landscapes and New York skyscrapers, but also for her iconic, colorful flowers. Despite repeated denials by the artist prior to her death 30 years ago, critics have long held that those flowers were overt allusions to female genitalia.

Allison Wint, a substitute teacher at a middle school in Battle Creek, Mich., told the Detroit Free Press that she was hoping to provoke a thoughtful dialogue about historical interpretations of O’Keeffe’s work on Friday when she used the word “vagina” during a discussion with eighth graders.

Now, Wint claims that the verbal reference to female anatomy — a word she freely admits to having used — has cost her a job at Harper Creek Middle School.

“Yes, I did say that word; however, I was saying it in the context of art history,” she told CBS affiliate WWMT. “I wasn’t being vulgar.”

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School board to re-write school naming and renaming policy

Bristowbeat.com:

Prince William School Board members are considering a policy change to change how schools are named or renamed.

The agenda item is a response to the renaming of Godwin Middle School. There was no regulation to guide the board through that process as  regulation 854-1 does not mention anything about renaming schools.

It does dictates how to name a new school or facility, saying community committees must be formed. Those committees present their recommendations to the school board, and the school board then names the schools by majority vote.

Wednesday, Gainesville school board member Alyson Satterwhite asked the board to extend the regulation to include the renaming existing schools and facilities.

“I felt like we needed to put something into policy, so if a renaming came up again, we would have a policy to follow.”

School Board members all agreed with Satterwhite that the community should be involved in any future school renamings, but some went a step further, suggesting other changes to the regulation as well.

Good on the school board for having this discussion, even though it is too little too late.  Their ineptitude last March caused irreparable fractures and damage  in our community.  However, the time to move on upon us.  How do we go forward?

Several members suggested that schools should not be named after living people.  Good idea.  It becomes a popularity contest.  Ms. Jessie disagreed, saying that the school would have never been named for Fannie Fitzgerald had the rule been written policy  that only the deceased could be considered.  How nice that Ms. Fitzgerald knew she had been honored.  She and the other 3 black teachers who were the trailblazers when PWC schools integrated  absolutely should be remembered for their bravery.

Another board member suggested that schools not be named for people at all.  Still another strongly urged the board to consider people closely tied to the education community.

The discussion has begun.  The community needs to give the school board their thoughts and direction.  There was merit in most of the comments I read.

The topic that was omitted was how to decide to rename schools.  That should be an important consideration and I suspect it will become the 2000 pound  elephant in the room.  I say we do not rename schools.  Should a compelling need arise, we need to do it with dignity and honor.  There was no point in the dishonor that was heaped on Mills Godwin.  It was inexcusable.

Where do we go from here and how do we a avoid the Godwin debacle in the future?

 

PWC Schools turf wars

From Prince William Times:

Issue leads to turf war among board members

Prince William County School board members fight over who calls the shots when it comes to visiting another member’s district.

Overstepping and a lack of interest by Prince William County School Board members regarding the Godwin Middle School name change were addressed at the board’s April 6 meeting.

Following the March 2 vote to rename Godwin after George M. Hampton, PWCS Chairman Ryan Sawyers, PWCS Occoquan Representative Lillie Jessie, and PWCS Neabsco Representative Diane Raulston met with Godwin faculty. The March 10 meeting focused on the name change and implementation. No information from that meeting has been released.

Godwin is in the Neabsco district and is represented by Raulston.

Community member Diana Allen spoke during the school board meeting’s Citizen’s Time on April 6. She said Raulston did not serve the Godwin community.

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Happy Pi Day 3.14

pi-berational

If you are just a little bit geeky, and I freely admit that I am, then today is the day to celebrate pi day.  Any recommendations?  I think I will go on my rant about people who brag that they are “dumb” in math.  No.  They are lazy in math.  Anyone can learn basic math.

How many people would willing brag that they are stupid at reading and writing?  None.  What’s the difference?  It’s all part of being literate and numerate.

 

 

What is Pi?  Pi is an irrational number (part of the Real numbers) that is ratio of circumference of a circle to the diameter of the same circle.

Today is my day:

Pi-symbol1

 

School board pulls a stealth end run, by-passing community input Pt. 2

potomaclocal.com:

Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers said the decision to rename the school was an idea that was born in an 11th-hour compromise during School Board meeting recess after two failed tied votes to name the elementary school after Wilson and Hampton, respectively.

Potomac District School Board member Justin Wilk proposed the idea. He called Godwin a “segregationist governor,” and noted the school’s student population to majority minority.

Godwin, from Suffolk, Va. was the first person to be elected to two terms as a Virginia Governor. During his term as Lt. Governor, Godwin was a Democrat who upheld “massive resistance” by denying black students entrance to public schools, which had been federally mandated.

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In Virginia: Opting your child out of reading sexually explicit books

beloved

Washingtonpost.com:

 Lawmakers in Virginia moved forward Thursday with legislation that could make it the first state in the country to allow parents to block their children from reading books in school that contain sexually explicit material.

The bill would require K-12 teachers to identify classroom materials with “sexually explicit content” and notify parents, who would have the right to “opt out” their children and request that the teacher give them something less objectionable to study.

Opponents call it a slippery slope toward book banning; advocates say it is a parent’s right to control their children’s exposure, even if the books are considered classics.

It all started with Laura Murphy, a Fairfax County woman who said she was horrified to discover that one of her sons, a high school senior, had been assigned to read the 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Beloved.”

The seminal work of fiction, by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, is about a former slave after the Civil War, and it contains scenes of bestiality and gang rape and an infant’s gruesome murder.

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Attempt to strip Byrd name from middle school

byrd

Washingtonpost.com:

A Virginia school board is studying whether to rename a middle school that is named after one of the architects of Massive Resistance, a set of policies that aggressively pushed back against court-ordered integration of public schools in the 1950s and 1960s.

Parents and students supporting the name change at Harry F. Byrd Middle School in Henrico County, just outside Richmond, are confounded that their school could be named for a man who fought to keep black and white students from attending school together. The school’s population is now about evenly split between white students and minorities; about 20 percent of its students are black.

 

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Justice Scalia: When does spoken bigotry end?

Cartoon by Rob Tornoe
Cartoon by Rob Tornoe

Huffingtonpost.com:

WASHINGTON — Do black students matter to Justice Antonin Scalia?

During oral arguments on Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas, a contentious affirmative action case, the conservative justice seemed to call their abilities into question.

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well,” Scalia said, “as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school … a slower-track school where they do well.”

Scalia was engaging former U.S. Solicitor General Gregory Garre, who is now representing the University of Texas at Austin as the school defends its ongoing consideration of race as one of many factors in its admissions program.

Pointing to a brief the court received before oral arguments, Scalia noted “most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.”

Garre tried to interject, but the justice continued. “They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that … they’re being pushed ahead­­ in classes that are too fast for them,” Scalia said.

 

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Free speech–the forgotten freedom

Washingtonpost.com:

From a statement by the group Amherst Uprising:

5. President Martin must issue a statement to the Amherst College community at large that states we do not tolerate the actions of student(s) who posted the “All Lives Matter” and “Free Speech” posters. Also let the student body know that it was racially insensitive to the students of color on our college campus and beyond who are victim to racial harassment and death threats; alert them that Student Affairs may require them to go through the Disciplinary Process if a formal complaint is filed, and that they will be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency.

6. President Martin must issue a statement of support for the revision of the Honor Code to reflect a zero-tolerance policy for racial insensitivity and hate speech.

According to the president of the Amherst College Republicans, the “All Lives Matter” posters were pro-life posters (or antiabortion posters, if you prefer).

These young upstarts really need to take a good look at themselves, then at the Constitution.  Right now I am ready to call to repeal the 26th Amendment.  That would be a good place to start.

“All lives matter” is hardly offensive.  Since when are the students running the colleges?

 

Mizzou: The drama continues and I have a new hero

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Washingtonpost.com:

Dale Brigham thought he was doing the right thing.

As anonymous death threats against minorities swirled on social media Tuesday night, setting the college town of Columbia, Mo., on edge, the bespectacled Mizzou professor began receiving e-mails from terrified students.

“Good Evening Professor Brigham,” wrote an African American student in Brigham’s Nutritional Science 1034 class. “There are online threats at our school warning the minorities to not step on campus tomorrow. I am scared for my life therefore, I will not be attending class tomorrow. When can I makeup the exam?”

[Ed. Note:  Translation:  I didn’t study for my exam because I was out being a drama king or queen.]

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