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Is Independent Hill A Suburb Of Chicago?

By Greg L | 29 December 2008 | Prince William County | 20 Comments

Did the Prince William County Schools throw out the rulebook, relevant provisions of the Virginia Administrative Code, and county policy in approving “Math Investigations” as the primary curriculum in the county’s fifth grade classrooms?  According to a recent post on the PWC Education Reform Blog, it sure looks that way.  We now have spent millions of dollars on a curriculum that doesn’t meet the Virginia Standards of Learning, and cannot legally be used in the county schools.  How wonderful.

Ok - so what’s it all mean to PWC students? That’s an interesting question, but PWC does have a regulation on that issue as well. It’s regulation 653, SOP 6-15 which states “If a school identifies a textbook not on either the Prince William County or the Virginia approved list, the text can only be purchased as a supplemental text and cannot be adopted as a basic textbook.” That means, per my interpretation, were PWC to actually follow it’s own policies and procedures, Investigations cannot be used in Grade 5 as a primary text.

The [purchase orders] to purchase Investigations will be going out in a few short weeks. School officials disregarded state procedures in selecting Investigations and the only way the school board will be enticed to act is if they get enough public pressure to do so and a handful of parents speaking at one school board meeting isn’t sufficient. If you’re concerned you need to speak out in public at a school board meeting if possible. Email is easy to ignore but send one to your board member and the Chairman if you prefer.

Why in the heck are we so determined to spend all this extra money on an experimental program that we’re willing to break policy and law in order to do so?  A skeptic among us might wonder whether in this whole process someone isn’t getting personally enriched as a result.

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  1. fed up said on 29 Dec 2008 at 6:31 pm:
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    “A skeptic among us might wonder whether in this whole process someone isn’t getting personally enriched as a result.”

    I agree. Smells fishy to me.

  2. CONVA said on 29 Dec 2008 at 7:08 pm:
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    Another social engineering program. The school system in 1900, 1910, the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s was cranking out the folks that ran our military in WWII, major industries, states and the federal goverment to the benefit of all. Then along came “Camelot”, followed by “The Great Society” and things started to go to hell in a hand basket. Today the school system is in the business of indoctrinating in lieu of educating. The once great America is slowly turnung into a third world country thanks to the socialists, commonly called democrats/liberals.

  3. Monster_Mom said on 29 Dec 2008 at 7:21 pm:
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    With a huge projected budget shortfall you gotta wonder how the school board could allow this to happen. School officials either ignored or were ignorant of the rules that applied to them and mislead the school board and the citizens of this county. Investigations is going to cast what - a million dollars next year to buy materials for Grade 5? For a program that’s not approved by the state and was inappropriately selected in PWC? I can think of quite a few others areas that could use that million……..

  4. Yawn said on 29 Dec 2008 at 9:36 pm:
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    LOL. Much ado about nothing. I know parents who were leading the charge against Math Investigations. Until their third-grader got a perfect score on the Math SOL last year. Their comment to me? “Gee, I guess I was all wrong.” Not a peep from them this year.

    My kid got near perfect.

    No complaints here about MI. I think it’s a terrific program. My only complaint is that it’s becoming diluted in this year’s fourth grade, and is being used as a supplement to the old math curriculum. You know, the one that didn’t work. Looks like my child’s school has caved to the MI hysteria.

  5. Citizen12 said on 29 Dec 2008 at 11:24 pm:
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    In my humble opinion…..the value of MI is a moot point here. What this has exposed is how deep the prevailing mind set of “by any means necessary” has gone.

    The elitist mind set which moves people from the White House on down, big business or small, to ignore the policies and procedures set up for selection or change, if they impede the plans of those the people have entrusted with such power.

    The prevalent practice is to bull it through anyway, and by the time they get caught, the investment will have already been so heavy the cost to right the wrong will not be paid.

    Perhaps we should start by restoring the ethics and civics programs in our schools.

  6. Loudoun Insider said on 29 Dec 2008 at 11:57 pm:
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    Loudoun County is also apparently heading down this path.

  7. Monster_Mom said on 30 Dec 2008 at 12:51 am:
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    Yawn - you mean the old program which cost less and achieved the same test scores as the new program? Having seen to SOL tests for Grade 3 I can honestly say that achieving a perfect or near perfect score shouldn’t reassure anyone about the quality of the county math program.

    But, like Citizen12 said, the value of the math program isn’t the issue. What’s at issue is the “by any means necessary” attitude amongst government employees and elected representatives. Why didn’t they follow the regulations? If school officials don’t have to follow the regulations set against them for our protection then why do I?

    Why can’t I just pick and choose which policies and procedures I want to follow and ignore the others?

  8. Edbrm said on 30 Dec 2008 at 7:44 am:
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    MI is not a supplement in 4th grade; it is 4th grade. They are adding more traditional because MI isn’t working.
    Our kids are getting perfect SOL scores because we are teaching them at home.
    If you haven’t heard from us, you’re not listening. We can’t make it to every board meeting; how many have you been to? Did you see the election day demo and subsequent press coverage?

  9. Chuckie said on 30 Dec 2008 at 9:19 am:
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    If they can ignore a state regulation in order to buy books, they can ignore another state regulation and count the illegal aliens they enroll so we can bill the feds for the books we have to provide them.

  10. Emma said on 30 Dec 2008 at 9:36 am:
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    Yawn said on 29 Dec 2008 at 9:36 pm:
    My kid got near perfect.

    That’s very nice for you, Yawn, but after having two children graduate from public school by now, it’s clear that a chimpanzee could get at least a passing score on those SOL’s. My kids have always aced the SOL’s but often needed extensive help at home with their math homework and exam preparation. The SOL’s reflect minimal competence, and far too much classroom time is spent teaching to those tests so that the school administration can take credit for the good results.

    I’d like to see the basics of drill and practice brought back to our children in the classroom. It’s time to stop using them as lab rats so that the adults in charge can be hailed as “reformers.”

  11. Anonymous said on 30 Dec 2008 at 10:42 am:
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    Let’s see. Dr. Waltz sends out a message to all teachers and schools asking that all lights and electric devices be turned off over the 2 week Christmas vacation in order to save money. Yet while driving along Route 234 last night at 9 p.m., EVERY SINGLE LIGHT IN THE NEW MULTI-MILLION DOLLARD SCHOOL ADMIN. BLDG. WAS ON.

    Practice what you preach!!!

  12. Here we are! said on 30 Dec 2008 at 12:46 pm:
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    We are headed for more trouble with Dr. Walts and the dumb school board is going right along with him.

    Prince William is always picking up a new expensive trend. But by the time they decide to do it,it has already been tried over and over again and it just does’t work.

    Help your children at home.make them read to you from day one. Be involved with their learning and practice good habits when it comes to school.

    The teachers can not do it all. Tell the school board to give the teachers a raise. Tell them to provide them with materials,so they can teach our children.
    Find out just what is going on in the schools??????

  13. Anonymous said on 30 Dec 2008 at 1:18 pm:
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    Yawn said on 29 Dec 2008 at 9:36 pm:

    My only complaint is that it’s becoming diluted in this year’s fourth grade, and is being used as a supplement to the old math curriculum. You know, the one that didn’t work.

    Seems like Yawn is suffering from lack of sleep or something. The old math curriculum didn’t work? At least we who were brought up with it know how to make change without the aid of a calculator or electronic cash register. How about the dopes that can’t figure out what the penny is for when an item comes to $2.01 and you give them a five dollar bill and a penny? Let’s gp back to “open” classrooms too!

  14. anon said on 30 Dec 2008 at 5:06 pm:
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    Yawn’s story must be anecdotal because the advanced pass rates for third grade went down at almost every school. The pass rates stayed the same or slightly went down. There were no gains in advanced pass, which means thrid graders as a group under the MI program did less well than their no or little MI predecessors.

    MI has its’ good points in early math education as a supplement, like a vitamin. But just like you wouldn’t want your kids to eat a steady diet of nothing but Fred Flintstones chewables, you should also not want your children learning MI math only.

    They should save the money and dump the program from 5th grade.

  15. Monster_Mom said on 30 Dec 2008 at 10:41 pm:
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    From what the article said, it sounds like the only way the school system can use it in 5th grade is if the school board says that breaking the state regulations is no biggie.

  16. AWCheney said on 31 Dec 2008 at 8:41 pm:
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    “If they can ignore a state regulation in order to buy books, they can ignore another state regulation and count the illegal aliens they enroll so we can bill the feds for the books we have to provide them.”

    To my knowledge, there is no regulation preventing anybody from “counting” the illegal aliens…the regulation only require that they be educated without regard for their status. Ignoring their existence is not the law…it’s just “politically correct.” This country is going to “politically correct” itself right into the toilet.

  17. freedom said on 1 Jan 2009 at 3:22 pm:
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    The school board certainly doesn’t like hearing negative comments about MI any more than they want to hear about teacher “pay for performance.” I’m told that they don’t want to mess with teacher “pay for performance” because it’s experimental. I believe that MI and the issue of equal pay for both good teachers and poor teachers will be two big election issues.

  18. Monster_Mom said on 4 Jan 2009 at 3:41 pm:
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    freedom - you are probably correct - failing to respond to citizens demands about teacher pay, Investigations, and school overcrowding will likely be big issues in the next school board election cycle. Of course, in the last cycle most of the school board members ran uncontested, but I hope that will change should construction of the 11th high school and new elementary school be deferred, should the school board continue to ignore parental choice in education and refuse to allow dual academic tracks, and should the school board continue to disregard teacher pay issues.

  19. freedom said on 7 Jan 2009 at 9:19 am:
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    Well, I certainly hope that we can generate some interest in school board candidates — tenure is hardly a qualification.

  20. Monster_Mom said on 7 Jan 2009 at 12:26 pm:
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    According to the web site linked in the OP it seems the constructivist experiment is spreading - to PWCS Middle schools now


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