Friday, January 23, 2009

Prince William County .. School Board Circus

Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) – one of the country’s largest and fastest growing school systems. For the 2008-09 school year, PWCS has over 73,000 students, 88 schools, 10,000 employees, and is the second largest school division in Virginia.

When it comes to math this is even more bizarre than Seattle.

The Prince William County School Board meeting of 1/22/2009

Tonight’s meeting of the Prince William County School Board was an absolute circus. If you have never seen outright and obvious contempt on the part of public employees and even some elected representatives of the citizenry they are supposed to serve, having not experienced the pleasure of visiting a Soviet gulag, you might want to drop in on one of these when citizens are trying to get something fixed. Tonight’s utterly shameful and shocking display absolutely demonstrates a dire need for some major changes in our public school system, as this embarrassment cannot be allowed to continue.

Well...fireworks began at the end.
During the "Board Matters" wrap up time, one Board member went on the attack calling out a parent by name and by association all other parents who've been speaking out for their children and asking for a choice in school and an appropriate math education for their children. A second board member followed with an even uglier tirade against parents - just who do these parents think they are actually asking for accountability and non-junk math programs for their children anyway? Board Chairman actually had to verbally restrain his colleagues who were on a tirade. Again, the video is priceless -- and the major fireworks are in the last 15 mins of the presentation. for the podcast. for the windows media file

On the positive front - on 4 Feb 2009 the PWCS Board will be voting to suspend the planned 2009-2010 5th grade implementation of "Investigations Math" in PW schools. It's a start!

From all of the fantastic parents in Prince William County VA!


Greg Barlow and the PWC Teach Math Right Team!


Anonymous said...

Here's a link I found from What Works citing math reform studies that do not meet the WWC guidelines - including Warfield's. (dtd 2008)

Studies that fall outside the Middle School Math protocol or do not meet evidence standards:

Adams, L. M., Tung, K. K., Warfield, V. M., Knaub, K., Yong, D., & Mudavanhu, B. (2002). Middle school mathematics comparisons for Singapore Mathematics, Connected Mathematics Program, and Mathematics in Context (including comparisons with the NCTM Principles and Standards 2000). Retrieved from University of Washington, Department of Applied Mathematics Web site:

The study is ineligible for review because it does not include an outcome within a domain specified in the protocol.

There was a study from PWCSD that was also cited and I thought those parents would feel some vindication for their efforts. I've got my daugher at home doing independent study, except for math and science which I am home-schooling with Singapore.

Anonymous said...

This looks like another case study - here's a superintendent finally being brought up for charges in 2008, for crimes committed in 2005. The statute of limitations is what lets most administrators off the hook. Math Investigations was a controversy not only in Prince William, but also Greece, New York.

The Potomac News is reporting that PWC Schools Superintendent Steven Walts is under investigation by the New York State Comptroller’s Office for his actions while he served as Superintendent of the Greece, N.Y. school system from 1998-2005. On Tuesday evening, the Greece, N.Y. School Board will take up a motion to “authorize that criminal charges against Walts be brought through the state’s attorney general’s office.”

A draft audit from the State Comptroller’s Office shows that “voters approved bonds in the amount of $119.5 million to repair, renovate and expand 20 schools, with a completion date of December 2004.” That amount has been exceeded by $2.5 million to date, taken out of the general fund, and the work is still not complete. Among the cost overruns are “an unsupported pay increase of about $1 million for the construction manager.”

Anonymous said...

Vote Yes on Budget and for Leary, Latus and Piccarreto - May 11, 2006

After careful review CARE (Citizens for Accountability and Reform in Education) has endorsed the Greece Central School District's 2006 - 2007 proposed budget. This endorsement is significant as it recognizes the wise allocation of taxpayer's money and the restraint shown in this proposed budget.

The 2006 - 2007 proposed budget prepared by Interim Superintendent Josephine Kehoe has downsized central office staff by 42 positions. It has reallocated monies back to the classroom to directly benefit students and maintains all current academic programs. New computers and much needed additional special education resources are also included. Spending has been held to 3.59% over last year's budget. This budget includes the first significant cuts in administrative staff and line item spending in seven years. CARE endorses this budget.

CARE also enthusiastically endorses school board candidates Jim Leary, Christine Latus and Carla Piccarreto. The combined talents of these three candidates are truly outstanding and they can be counted on to bring new ideas and energy to the district improvements that have begun this year.

Jim Leary, Christine Latus and Carla Piccarreto want to continue to move the district forward and not let the district slide backwards to the days of the Walts and Keller-Cogan era. Voters should remember that under Walts & Keller-Cogan there were proven cases of employee harassment and teacher intimidation was rampant. Five teachers won positive determinations by the EEOC. A class action lawsuit was filed by special education parents to protect the rights of their kids to receive state mandated educational opportunities.

Our school district had been in turmoil for the 7 years under Walts & Keller-Cogan. Although the district budget rose by over $70 million during those years and many construction projects were undertaken, our children went without appropriate textbooks, computers and basic school supplies. Funds for those items went into more and more administrators and foolish spending. Two members of former town supervisor Boily's "candidates ticket" have openly supported Walts and Keller-Cogan. CARE is deeply concerned that the election of any member of the Boily ticket will move our school district back towards the disastrous policies and activities of the Walts & Keller-Cogan years.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see the tirades in a 10 minute snippet, including the parent who so aggravated them, see here:

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