Officials in PWCS have proposed that instruction in district schools for Math and English be limited to the VA Standards of Learning. This represents a massive shift from our current position that the VA Standards of Learning define the minimum our children learn and that the PWCS curriculum exceeds the Standards of Learning. (Updated below)
The district’s justifications for this move are:
- our students are assessed on the SOLs so we ought to teach to them;
- the VA SOLs for Math and English have been improved since 2001 / 2003; and,
- VA DOE officials have promised that the new SOL exams will be more rigorous than they are now.
If the proposed PWCS Math and English Curricula pass, instruction in PWCS will follow the VA SOL Curriculum for those subjects.
Even with the “new and improved SOLs” there is room for improvement. Not massive departures, but more precision which, in the past, district officials have added to the VA SOL Curriculum to develop the PWCS Curriculum for a specific subject. Up until now district officials felt those changes better prepared our children for their futures. If the PWCS Math and English Curricula pass, that won’t be happening anymore. From here on out our children will be taught to the SOLs, and we will have accept on faith that the VA SOL Curriculum for those subjects are sufficient to prepare our children for their futures.
UPDATE (Saturday Jun 4):
We contacted districts in our area to determine their policies regarding instruction. Fauquier County Schools follow and SOL only policy, and have followed that policy since the SOLs were introduced in VA. Schools Loudoun, Fairfax, and Stafford follow a SOL plus model where the VA SOL Curriculum Frameworks are adjusted to reflect additions and clarifications their teachers feel are necessary to ensure that instruction in their schools exceed the SOLs.