VA SOLs Versus the Common Core State Standards

Should Virginia continue its long tradition of local control over what our children learn, when they learn it, and how they’re evaluated, or should Virginia cede that to the federal government and become a full participant in the Common Core State Standards initiative?

That’s the question panelists for the Prince William County Committee of 100 will consider Wednesday night.

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Pi Day!

In honor of real math enthusiasts everywhere…

Happy Pi Day

For you Investigations and Connected Math fans who have no clue what I’m talking about, Pi, Greek letter (pi), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.1415926535…Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th.

What should PWCS do with $39,725,000?

Rumor on the street has it that the Prince William County government expects to receive $70,000,000 more in tax revenue next year due to the tax increases the state passed.  $39,725,000 is the school division’s share of that money.


I don’t know if the $70 million is true or not.  I’ve heard it from multiple sources, with each asking whether PWCS would get its cut.

Let’s play pretend.  Assuming it’s true and the PWC Government is willing to share, what do you think PWCS should do with the $39,725,000?

  1. Use all of the money to reduce class sizes.
  2. Split the money into two parts and use half to reduce class sizes and the other half as a bonus to our teachers to make up for the past few years.
  3. Spend $10 million building the pool in the 12th high school and use the rest for class size reductions and teacher bonuses.
  4. Split the money evenly among our school Principals to use however they deem necessary.
  5. Send every graduating senior to Disney World for a week.
  6. Pay me to move someplace far far away with no internet access.

Postivie or Positive?

Many thanks to those of you who notified us of the typo in the title of recent article – Accentuating the Postivie, or Misleading the Public. I’ll be sure to add positive to this week’s spelling list!

Student May Have Been Assaulted at SJHS

Inside NOVA is reporting that an 18 year old  SJHS student has been taken into custody for allegedly sexually assaulting and raping a 14 year old student at the same school.  The assault  allegedly occurred several times between April 11 and April 14 and was reported to school authorities on June 1.  The alleged suspect was charged with sexual battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and carnal knowledge on June 2.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and there are some questions about this case which Inside NOVA’s report leave open.  However, based on the charges filed,  it is quite evident that this case was not mere sexual banter or play between two students.

Parents need to demand that district officials investigate the incident immediately.  District officials need to address the level of security provided in stairwells and hallways during school hours, both during and between classes, to determine whether that level of security is adequate.  District officials need to address after hours access to the building by students and the public to determine whether the level of security provided after the school day has ended is adequate.

Child Calls 911 For Help With Math Homework

Child Calls 911 For Help With Math Homework

Wed Apr 20 17:00:00 2011

US police were surprised by an unusual emergency call after a four-year-old boy dialed 911 for help with his homework.

The emergency services operator thought he heard wrong when the boy said he had a problem with “his math”.

“With your mouth?” the operator asked.

“No with my math, I have to do it, will you help me?” the child said.

But once the confusion was cleared up the operator was happy to help out with the basic arithmetic problems.

The homework tutoring was cut short when the child’s mother caught him on the phone.

“Johnny what do you think you’re doing!” she can be heard saying in the background.

“The policeman is helping me with my math.

“You said if I need help to call somebody,” he said.

“I didn’t mean the police,” the boy’s mother said.

Bring Back DC School Choice Program!

In 2003 Congress created the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provided vouchers for low income families to send their children to private schools.  The program appeared to be very successful and resulted in significant savings as the vouchers were significantly less than the per pupil cost in DC public schools.  Despite the programs success and low cost, or perhaps because of it, Congress canceled the program in 2009.

The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 471) was just introduced into Congress.  This bill would reauthorize and fund the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Please send your Representative a note asking him / her to vote for this bill.

A Really Bad Math Problem

Below is a really bad math problem a friend’s child was given. The problem comes from College Preparatory Mathematics’ (CPM) Foundations for Algebra.

Belinda has four envelopes with the letter m written on the outside of each one. She also has $30 in her pocket. Write an expression to represent how much money Belinda has. After Belinda opens all the envelopes, she finds she has only $10 left. Assuming there was the same amount in each envelope, what amount was in each envelope?

Here was my answer.

The envelopes each contain 1 oz of magical fairy dust (therefore the same “amount” was in each envelope, amount being 1oz of fairy dust).

The first envelope has dust from a generous fairy who thinks you can just throw money at problems and they’ll fix themselves. He gave Belinda $10,000 in the hopes that she’ll somehow magically get a proper education and be capable of entering the career of her choice.

The second envelope has dust from a fairy who prefers to pretend that there are no problems in the world and that we should trust the experts to find the solutions because they’re experts and we aren’t. He squeaks and hides in a corner of the envelope.

The third envelope contains dust from an arrogant narcissistic fairy who thinks humans like Belinda exist to serve him. He laughs uncontrollably as he takes Belinda’s $30 and the $10,000 the generous fairy gave her.

The fourth envelope contains dust from a shrewd and wise fairy who thinks Belinda and all humans are a dolts. He teams up with the third fairy, wipes Belinda’s her memory of her encounters with fairies, applies for and receives a grant from the NSF to build a math program no reasonable person would follow, creates this unreasonable program and markets it with catch phrases like “builds greater conceptual understanding” , “student centered learning”, and “builds 21st Century skills”,  sells the program to school districts around the country and makes millions.  In a rare fit of guilt, he gives Belinda $10 to make up for dooming her and all of human-kind with his idiotic math program.

Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

URGENT! Changes to PWCS School Schedule

Because the snow days interrupted High Schools mid-term exams, next week’s schedule has changed.

The teacher work day scheduled for Monday January 31 has been moved to Wednesday February 2.  That means students will be expected to report to school on Monday and will not go to school on Wednesday.

If schools are closed on Friday January 28, the teacher work day will move to Thursday February 3.


What is Your District’s Return on Educational Investment?

The Center For American Progress just published the results of a study they completed attempting to gauge the “efficiency of the nation’s public education system”.  To do this this calculated the Return on Investment for operating costs spent in almost every major public school district in the nation.  I’m not sure how useful the report is as it only uses cost data from what it calls “core services”, but the results are rather interesting.

You can find the report here.


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