Supervisor Fumes Over School Priorities

Although Clarke County Public School Standard of Learning (SOL) test scores were never specifically mentioned at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, the issue seemed to have been on the mind of more than one County leader. Supervisor Barbara Byrd (Russell) questioned whether a lack of homework, textbook priorities and watching movies during class time may be having an impact on student learning.

At today’s regular Board of Supervisors meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy presented a summary of school activities and told the Supervisors “Things are going well.”

Murphy told County lawmakers that CCPS staff had successfully completed the move into the new high school and was busy learning how to operate the new facility. Murphy also said that 900 new student desks were delivered to the building yesterday and that division staff is implementing a new online student registration program that will make future student enrollment predictions much more accurate.

Murphy added that the school division plans to target $100K of it budget toward the purchase of language arts textbooks.

“These are really busy times,” Murphy said.

However, Murphy’s Supervisor-summary did not include any mention of last week’s release of CCPS student performance data from the Virginia Department of Education’s new Standards of Learning (SOL) mathematics tests. SOL math testing results disclosed at last Monday’s Clarke County School Board meeting by Dr. Lisa Floyd, CCPS’s director of curriculum and instruction, showed that a large section of grades three through eight had failed to pass their exams.

Later that same evening, Superintendent Murphy said that a lack of funds for textbook purchases had contributed to the poor test performance.

At today’s Supervisors meeting, Chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville) asked Dr. Murphy to express his thoughts regarding textbook funding. Murphy reconfirmed that the school division had difficultly committing the large sums of funding necessary to purchase school books given other budget requirements.

Murphy’s statement prompted a response from Byrd.

“I’m a proponent of textbooks,” Supervisor Byrd said. “I think that students need to have books that they can sit with after school to study and underline in. Do our students have to rent textbooks or do the schools provide them?”

Murphy said that the “Free and Appropriate Public Education” legislation required the school system to provide textbooks at no cost.

“The challenge is that every textbook from sixth grade up costs between $60 and $120,” Murphy said. “Digital textbooks cost between $58 and $108 each but we believe that those costs are going to go down. Even so, we have been reluctant to move to digital books because of cost and connectivity reasons.”

Murphy said that in some cases the school division purchases textbooks that student may take home and in other cases the books are for classroom use only.

Byrd then switched gears.

“I hear a lot of parents asking why the schools don’t assign homework anymore,” Byrd said. “Is it true there isn’t homework anymore?”

“You’d be hard pressed to find a teacher who doesn’t ever assign homework,” Murphy replied. “Different teachers have different standards about homework. For example, some teachers provide time in class to do homework.”

Returning to the original textbook question posed by Hobert, Murphy said. “It is a challenge in tough times to spend money on textbooks when you have to rob Peter to pay Paul. It is challenging to put your finger on that one budget item. We were late in our implementation of math books because it was hard to identify where those funds were going to be coming from on July 1st.”

After an additional discussion about student residency requirements, Murphy completed his briefing and left the meeting room but the discussion student performance discussion was far from over.

Later in the meeting, when Joint Administrative Services (JAS) director Tom Judge described a $100K school budget funding carryover request containing capital expenditures for resurfacing an athletic track as well as snow removal equipment with any leftover funds to be used for textbook purchases, Byrd could no longer contain her exasperation.

“They’ve slashed the textbook budget from $100K to $50K, parents are complaining about ‘no homework’ and now they’re buying snow blowers when they need books? Kids sit in class and watch movies but it seems like no one teaches anymore.”

“We need to focus on first things first!” Byrd said.

Comments

  1. Right Winger says:

    “…We need to focus on first things first!” Byrd said.”

    Right. Raise the taxes to PROPERLY fund the schools’ needs. THE SCHOOLS’ NEEDS, not the ADMINISTRATION!!!!

    DO YOUR JOBS THAT YOU WERE ELECTED TO DO, BOS!!!

  2. letemplay says:

    Well if the Board of supervisors would inappropriately fund the school these things wouldn’t be an issue.. ya’ll ultimately control the purse strings… hello pot meet kettle

  3. Right on Barbara Byrd.

    The whole approach to education in Clarke County is pathetic. Teachers use movies as baby-sitters while they do “other work.” Administrators turn a blind-eye so they don’t have to deal with the discipline of employees and there is no accountability. Oh other than graduation rate, which exemplifies the whole school systems approach…get them out of here at any cost. Unfortunately kids from Clarke County hit college and find out the rest of the world’s school systems don’t count watching National Geographic reruns as teaching and they are left to try to catch up with their counterparts on their own.

    The problem is a lot more fundamental then books, it’s a failure to lead. Lead from the top. Don’t allow another TV in a class room. Block Facebook at the IP address level in the schools. Demand lesson plans from teachers and require an administrator to go over them for appropriateness. These are simple things but they will never be done without leadership. Denial…well you know how the saying goes

    • The Apple says:

      I’d like to know whose classroom you sat in and saw those behaviors? Which school have you visited and seen this?

    • brilliant says:

      “Oh other than graduation rate, which exemplifies the whole school systems approach…get them out of here at any cost.”

      So Clarke County should not spend extra time and resources on students who might not graduate with a diploma? Yeah, they should just let them drop out instead. Brilliant.

      • If only it were so…

        The only thing they have spent extra time and resources on to boost pass rates is lowering standards and transferring dropouts to a non-existent school. If you believe their pass rate is an “achievement” then the lowest common denominator wins. Kids are bored out of their minds because everything gets throttled back to accommodate the bottom tier.

        What kind of achievement is that?

        • brilliant says:

          Exactly how does a school lower standards when the state tests that are required for graduation dont change or get harder? SOL pass rates and graduation rates are two seperate things. If you think that the tests are not hard enough then you should have a problem with the state. And please explain this nonexistent school theory.

          • Well “brilliant,” there is more to graduating than SOLs. In fact there are credit requirements dictated by the VDOE that stipulate what classes must be completed in addition to core proficiency measured by standardized testing. So when everyone gets an A in the class and graded course work includes challenging tasks like, a letter grade for simply returning an interim report card, then the standards have been effectively lowered. You can chide at the uncomfortable truth but it is the reality. The entire system has been dumbed down to inflate the pass rate as a shining star in the dismal results generated in Clarke County Schools. Yet even this “accomplishment” is tarnished by manipulation.

          • brilliant says:

            I think I am starting to understand your point about lowering the standards for grading in the classroom, but these students still have to pass a bare minimum of state tests. I don’t understand how a school can manipulate diploma requirements when state tests are involved.

    • So did you graduate from Clarke County and know first hand that is the case? Are you in the schools and know what the policy is for lesson plans, etc?

      As a CCHS grad, many of us have excelled in college, inlcuding myself. Some fail because they do not have education as a priority, not because of the high school they attended.

      Also, teachers DO turn in lesson plans and they ARE reviewed by administrators. Get your facts straight.

  4. It seems almost comical that the board now has an interest in the School Boards spending when all they ever do is tell the School Board why they dont need the money they ask for. Do they think that snow removal equipment is some kind of crazy request? Is that odd in the year 2012?

    I have to laugh though at the comment that “some teachers provide time in class to do homework.” If its done in class then its not homework…….is it?

    I have to say my 10th grader had homework virtually every night and has plenty of to deal with over the summer as well.

  5. dontaskme says:

    The BOS (all of them) speak out of both sides of their collective mouths. They tell the schools to cut, cut, cut because the County can’t afford anything, then when they actually look at the consequences of their actions and start getting complaints and realize how much of an embarssment their decisions are, they look for cover. All they have to do is look in the mirror to see who is at “fault” (which inevitably they will try to place (fault, that is) on someone other than them).

    The next butt puckering moment for the BOS will be when the computer systems crash and the cost for the ERP that EVERYONE recommends is 3x as much. penny-wise, pound foolish, seems to fit them perfectly.

    How about raising the land use taxes a bit and using that for school funding, ERP, etc.? Oh wait, we can’t do that to farmers, they would not like that.

    • Clarke parent says:

      ” How about raising the land use taxes a bit and using it for school funding,ERP, ect? Oh wait, we can’t do that to the farmers, they won’t like that.”

      You are right we won’t like that. We pay enough taxes as it is now! Farms are falling short on income as it is. Remember without farms you won’t have home grown foods. Farms are selling off land trying to survive and in this economy you want to put more cost on farmers? You most be a person who enjoys paying other countries for food! I personally enjoy eating fresh foods from my own farm.

      • How much food is locally grown and for sale in a local store?? Come on…produce and meat come from all over the country. Only the wealthy can afford to purchase items at the farmers market.

        Eugene..I’m sure you do enjoy eating fresh from your own farm…especially when I’m subsidizing your meals. Land use tax rates are so ridiculous it’s absurd.

  6. some teachers provide time in class to do “homework?” I think Dr Murphy needs to look up the definition of homework.

    • The Apple says:

      There are MANY students with no support at home to help them do the homework. What is wrong with providing some extra assistance in class with HW?

      • Another View says:

        What’s wrong with parents being parents, and thus responsible for their children?

        Oh the horror! Personal responsibility!

        • The Apple says:

          That’s the problem! There is no accountability for those parents.

          • As always there is someone that has to attack parents and their responsibilities. Walk a mile…..it is so easy to sit back and judge. The bottomline is that Clarke County Public Schools have issues from top to bottom. My children have attended schools in surrounding counties and it is almost embarrassing on how behind our schools are. There are still teachers and administrators in place that have been around for 20 plus years. While I respect teaches and their hard work we need to asses the ability to get new teachers and new technology. You don’t need homework or a textbook to learn. If the teachers are provided with the right material and resources to teach than children can learn. More important if we honestly believe it is lack of homework that is causing the issue then we all have to get a reality check. No amount of homework is going to help if you are not being taught to begin with. Bottomline, it is about the kids not the adults. Maybe if we as adults started showing up at school and sitting in the classrooms we could start seeing what teacher and kids experience then maybe we could come up with solutions. On another note regarding SOL that is all that anyone seems to focus on and the fact that high school kids don’t have to take exams if they pass them…..are you serious. I guess homework and the snowblowers are all that matter.

          • And if your going to come on here blasting teachers, you should at least be able to spell correctly!

          • I applaude you on your ability to spell and more important your ability to focus on that instead of the message. Also, the fact that you put a negative spin on the message. I didn’t blast teachers, I have several teachers that are friends and I respect what they do. I hope hou will take the time today to read some of the other comments and blast them as well on spelling oh and most important that they think Clark County needs better teachers. Thank you and have a great 4th of July.

          • Hmmm…you didn’t obviously blast teachers, but you certainly paid the more veteran ones no compliment with these lines:

            “My children have attended schools in surrounding counties and it is almost embarrassing on how behind our schools are. There are still teachers and administrators in place that have been around for 20 plus years. While I respect teaches and their hard work we need to asses the ability to get new teachers and new technology.”

          • Tito, it’s “you’re,” not “your.” Mr. Pot, meet Ms. Kettle.

      • So then…all the kids that work hard, do their homework and prepare for class should simply suffer because of those who don’t make an effort?? This is the problem with society…let’s all slow down and be less productive because we feel bad for those who “choose” not to work hard.

  7. Roberto says:

    “Do our students have to rent textbooks or do the schools provide them?”

    “Is it true there isn’t homework anymore?”

    Unless Supervisor Byrd was being intentionally obtuse, I find these quotes to be woefully out-of-touch for an elected public official.

    I feel like our school system, once a crown jewel of our community, has really slacked over the last decade. And I blame public officials from the top down, NOT teachers.

  8. Wow..... says:

    ” and underline in.”

    How disconnected are you! Students cannot write in their textbooks because they are school property that has to be returned at the end of the year. What do you think is the solution for that since you seem to be so knowledgable on appropriate public education. Why don’t you push for improvement of the county’s digital infrastructure so students can take home digital resources where they can practice these types of skills for both studying AND homework.

  9. Clarke Co. Mom and Teacher in another county says:

    Dear Mrs. Byrd and all other board members: do you really think Clarke teachers are showing movies and not teaching anymore? I have 3 children in Clarke County schools and I have taught for 20 years in a neighboring county. I keep a very close eye on my children’s education- as I would seek an alternative route if I believed they were not receiving quality instruction. I have been nothing but pleased with the teachers at Clarke. The only movie my 2 nd grader watched was based on a book that the whole class had read together. My high-school daughter watched a few movies… Also relating to the curriculum. They both had HW every day – with the exception of the last week of school. Surely you could go into Parent Portal and view a teachers grades for a class and see that HW is not a thing of the past. The teachers at Clarke are hard working and under paid.
    As far as text books go: Did you know that you can high- light and takes notes in an electronic book? You can also access the book on a smart phone, a laptop, and many other e reader devices. With the cost of buying an “updated” edition of a text book-I believe e books are a better choice.
    One last thought, I would love to see a mobile Smart Board or Promethean board in every school. I have one in my classroom and they are AMAZING teaching/learning tools. The students interact with the lessons and it goes far beyond a text book. There are numerous free lessons online. Just a thought.. Or dream.

  10. The BOS never fails to amaze. Yap and complain that the schools are asking for too much money and then yap and complain about test scores and blame everyone but recuse themselves.

    No Child Left Behind has left virtually every division in this state a mess. It is not reflective of what students do and do not learn; it forces teachers to teach to the test instead of being innovative.

    This is an issure that will only get worse. And it’s not Murphy’s fault, nor is it across the board teacher’s faults. They try to deal the hand they’ve been dealt.

    An entire year’s performance hinges on about a week of testing in the spring. So if a student is tired, had no brainfood for breakfast, or simply doesn’t care, they may not make the holy benchmark. And no mistake about it, I’ve heard more than one student say he/she simply doesn’t care as long as they graduate.

    • Clarke parent says:

      As a parent of an up coming 6th grader my child took the test and passed everyone. However they were not done without protest. My student and others HATE these test and feel they have learned nothing during the year except for how to study for the SOL’s. Over the past year my student has told me of at least 5 pre SOL test they had to do before taking the real SOL’s.

      I as a parent feel that these test are usless. SOL test are for the State to see how well the students are learning for funding right? But if all they are taught is how to take the test then what are they really learning? I’m with you (Sigh) on the no student left behind rule. It should be tossed out the door and put into the trash along with the SOL’s. Get back to the real world and teach the kids not everyone wins, not everyone is getting A’s in class and Not every child will graduate from school! Life is not fair they need to learn this. They need to know if you don’t do your work you will fail and it is thier responsibility to do thier best in school. Stop giving kids a free ride!

      • down with NCLB parent says:

        I couldn’t agree more. The students do not get any direct benefit from passing these tests except for high school credits. What is the motivation for the middle and elementary students to pass the tests to begin with?

  11. A fine example of the people most seem to elect over and over again to oversee the county. Do the students rent or does the school purchase their books? For the student to underline in them? Really? Byrd did not know these answers? She must be clouded by lack of school age children in her own family or oblivious because she has always been accustomed to dealing with private schools for herself and the children in her family. Does everyone finally see how out of touch the BOS are along with their rich “farmer” friends? They see the public school system and us common folk as a burden! They want to dangle Dr. Murphy around like a puppet. It wouldn’t surprise me if we will have to be looking for another superintendent soon.

    And as far as homework is concerned, I for one think our children have plenty. And we also had several projects throughout the year that were pretty time consuming. In this day and age, with so many other extracurricular activities that our children enjoy, I would hope that proper technology would allow for more chances to complete assigned homework in school. Let’s not focus on lack of homework. That is not the issue here. Teaching children HOW to study and providing them with teacher generated study guides instead of student created study guides would improve test scores.

    Lack of funding? See why we need a broader tax base yet? The current tax structure will never cover expenses. Lack of funding yet that senior center is coming along nicely! I’d say lack of priorities too! If we’re not going to attempt to attract more substantial businesses in the county, we are going to have to raise taxes on all the land owners/farms who are getting tax breaks for owning land. And wer’e going to have to increase taxes on existing businesses via a percentage of their annual revenue. Not some flat fee.

  12. Clarke Life says:

    The PROBLEM here is not Clarke County’s teacher’s and homework. The real problem is the No Child Left Behind. If you research this, you will see that it is expected that each year the percentages increase until everyone is at 100% proficiency. So it looks as if counties and states are falling behind, when in reality the students are still acheiving, staying the same or even better. But, because the percentages or AYP expectations set forth by NCLB increase every single year, many counties/states are unable to continually increase their percentages to meet profieciency. THIS IS WHY NCLB is un-attainable. It is RIDICULOUS!! Not all kids can test or achieve at 100% proficiency. I know MANY kids that are achieving in their classwork, quizzes and formative tests- but when it comes to SOL’s, they have difficulty.

    If you would look into the way these SOL tests are developed, that would give you insight. I know for a fact when the committee meets in Richmond to discuss Math SOL’s, these “mathematician experts” throw out questions that too many students “get correct” because it’s “too easy”. So let’s put a harder question in there, they say. Oh it is so perposterous!

    Also, there have been tons of studies on homework. However, many studies show that homework is inconclusive or actually has absolutely NO bearing on a student’s success rate in school. This is because many student’s have parents today that work several jobs just to keep afloat in this economy so they are unable to have help with homework. The other reason is, because of NCLB a lot of our standards are being taught at earlier years, so there are many parents that can’t even help with the Math because they don’t understand it themselves. Of course, there is the other factor that many students just don’t do the homework because there is nobody at home to make them. And, if they child is doing 20 problems incorrectly- then what good does that do? Also, if you research homework, it is best practice NOT to grade homework also for the reasons mentioned above. It is far better practice to just send short quick checks home or do them as a warm up before class the next day, so you can see the children working out the problem- and see who really gets it -and who needs a review.

    Yes the school needs textbooks, however many textbooks are not exactly aligned to each states and counties Standards of Learning. So a textbook is NOT the answer. The teacher makes sure- using textbooks, teacher resource manuals and books, internet sites, united streaming etc etc that each standard has been taught effectively throughout the year. A textbook does not have EVERY standard in it.

    Of course, how long has Barbara been retired? Does she even know anything about NCLB? Seriously a textbook and homework is NOT going to fix this problem!! However, Legislation at a higher government level can!!!

  13. footballfan says:

    The pendulum is swinging again. Teachers were blasted for just using textbooks. That wasn’t creative enough, you need to be original to keep the kids interested. Now you want textbooks. To be honest, textbooks are outdated as soon as they are published and with the mistakes publishers are making in them, they are a waste of money. Parent’s complain about homework because their child is so booked with afterschool activities, they don’t have time to complete. As for the math sol scores, didn’t you read the memo all schools had to send home explaining, why the scores were lower? Now that everyone knows what to expect, the scores should rise. I feel the teachers and administration have done well with what they have to work with, little or no new money.

  14. just the facts..PLEASE says:

    more excuses….how about some accountability.

    Murhpy telling the BOS that……. “Things are going well” …….what a joke.

    I say it is time to TURN UP THE HEAT on the administration!

  15. I have four kids in the clarke system and I for one beleive that the teachers are seeming to get the blame for something that is beyond their control. They ask for textbooks but are told they can only have funding for half. What is a teacher to do when they are not given the proper tools to help educate our children, they have to turn to outside sources. This is when the movies are used to ENHANCE on a given subject the students are currently being taught. They watch movies, yes, but that shows the children that movies do not always copy the books, and each director has their own take as to what was important to take away from that book. They watch science based shows to use in enhancing a child’s understand of the subject.

    As to homework I can testify that each of my children has at least an hour or more of homework a night, and those are children in elementary to high school. My high school age daughter comes home has a snack, works on homework, eats dinner, and then back to homework for another two hours. Homework is given to be an assistant in the teaching process not something to be assigned because the BOS thinks children are not getting enough homework. Yes sometimes teachers provide time in class to work on something that if it is not completed then becomes homework.

    As to electronic books, yes they can be a good idea. They can be updated however their is a downside, each child would need a device with which to access it, and some devices such as tablets are easily broken. There are some students that are kinetic learners (approx. 20% of all learners) and need the sensation that a book provides. I feel that the teachers are doing everything in their powers to be able to each all learning styles. If you do not think so look at the 4mat learning styles method, the teachers are using all styles of educating the students, visual, hands on, lectures, tests, reading, etc.

    The teachers are to be comended for what they have been able to and continue to accomplish when being told NO when requesting materials needed for the education of our youth. The BOS needs to take some responsibility for the ramifications of their past decisions regarding the school budget request for new textbooks.

  16. Here is a solution to the “underline it” part, how about using post its, graphic organizers, note cards, or other methods for note taking? Teach children how to organize their thinking and their materials. Projects and presentations versus constant pencil and paper learning that we all want to desperately grab onto like a cure all that once was. All the homework in the world won’t help scattered thinking.

    • Clarke Life says:

      NYCborn-

      You are correct! That is exactly what Best Practice teaching does! Using organizers and other hands on strategies are far more efficient and have more research based, evidence based data to back them up then just using textbooks!

      It seems to me that the people commenting on this page that are ranting about more homework and textbooks- are just not knowledgeable about the most up to date best practices, and research based methods for teaching.

      You are right about all the homework in the world will not help scattered thinking just like all the TESTING (SOL) in the world does not help scores or learning.

      My daughter was in Kindergarten this year in Clarke and that child had homework every single night!! Several assignments each night and a weekly assignment. I have never interacted with parents personally- that have complained about not having enough homework here in Clarke. If there is 1 or 2 teachers that are not giving it enough- than those are the people that should be dealt with. We cannot say “All teachers” and “All of Clarke” that is just not true and is totally blown out of proportion.

  17. “a $100K school budget funding carryover request containing capital expenditures for resurfacing an athletic track as well as snow removal equipment with any leftover funds to be used for textbook purchase”

    It occurs to me that textbook purchases should be the FIRST priority with regard to the above funding carryover.

  18. Another View says:

    Maybe instead of building a new high school, some monies should have been directed to classroom materials such as textbooks.

    But hey! I’ll bet you can show some great movies in the new building!

  19. JP Marat says:

    “ Do our students have to rent textbooks or do the schools provide them?”

    And these people actually approve the school budget?

  20. K through 12 education is all about building a solid educational foundation for kids/young adults. Reading, writing and math – minimum. Great to have history, art, science, language, etc. but if kids can’t master the basics their future incomes and ability to compete is limited. We can talk about all this other fancy stuff (e-books, internet sites, organizing their thinking, mobile learning, etc, etc, etc.) but if the kids aren’t passing these remedial SOL tests then someone needs to make changes in the school system . . . and, more importantly, parents need to take charge at home.

    From a global perspective, our kids need to have lots and lots of homework. They are competing against the Chinese and Indians (as well as the rest of the world). Do you think parents in developing countries are saying things like – ‘my kids have plenty of homework’ or ‘my kids have other things they want to do with their time’ or ‘my kids only watched a few movies in class’? Heck no. These people are serious. They seek opportunities to suppliment the ‘school homework’ with other things to help their children excel in the 21st century. They work closely with their kids to insure that they are at the top of their class. Frankly, I think parents in this country are failing to compete with the parents in other countries. The buck stops with us, folks. Let’s get serious, our children’s futures hang in the balance.

  21. Show how much the board is out of touch with what that manage… But I bet most of their kids didn’t go to public school

  22. Roscoe Evans says:

    Perhaps George Archibald can put his newspaper reporter’s cap back on, and issue a FOIA request to the school system, asking for an accounting of how many days have been spent by Ms. Byrd and her peers on the BOS visiting classrooms. They all claim to hold students and education dear to their hearts. It would be nice to confirm, if true, that they’ve gone on fact-finding missions, individually, if not collectively.

    For years now, I have thought that there are unnecessary safety hazards at Clarke’s schools. Each of the not-so-mobile classroom trailers, for exampe, is accessed by wooden steps. Many sets of wooden steps are consolidated with wooden ramps. And many of the wooden ramps seem to lead to dead ends. This arrangement is dangerous in the event of emergencies; and the stairs themselves often are in disrepair, and dangerous individually

    This is basic stuff. As basic, at least, as books and homework. Who is working on it? My guess, it’s the same folks who don’t have answers to basic questions about books and homework.

  23. Time to fight back says:

    $150k for land easements every year takes a higher priority than the children of Clarke County.
    I do believe in the land easements but they are a luxury. We are NOT in the position to provide this luxury every single year!
    This money ( our tax base ) should go to the school system until the kids have what they need to be ready for the real world!

    The BOS proves to us every year where their priorities are.

    • Realistic Joe says:

      20% of Clarke is now “protected”. If you do some research you will find the $150k a year is just a drop in the bucket compared to the real estate tax base that has been cut due to these protected parcels.

  24. As a parent and teacher I do agree that “things are going well” in Clarke. Students are indeed learning and schools are making progress (despite less than adequate financial support) AND our little community has come together to support the new school (thank goodness!) As a taxpayer I say KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING! From all of the various postings (and jabs) it is obvious many of us care deeply about certain issues, and I am at least glad education is in the forefront.

    ……right up there with the latest critique of our newest dining establishment! (gotta love Clarke:)

    • just the facts..PLEASE says:

      the “momentum” has been taking us BACKWARDS for 5 years.

      we need new leadership in the Clarke County Public schools!!!!!!!!

  25. fact finder says:

    Everyone in the world has an opinion, this is a fact. It is not uncommon for people to disagree on what they value most important to them, this too is a fact. What IS UNCOMMON is for a person on a Board of Supervisors to state HER remarks the way she did, but sadly this too is a fact. It sounds to me like Mrs. Byrd has some angry parents calling her up complaining about this and that. I am completely in agreement we need what is BEST for the children of our county. If a parent had issues with the amount of “movie watching” going on, they should have reported that to the Principal of the school. IF that did not fix the issue, than take it to the school board. (my guess is it would have) Why a BOS member would bring in comments like that is shocking.
    Many things will never be resolved in the public education. For example, parents complain about 1. too much homework… 2. too little homework…… 3. I want my child in ____________’s class…. 4. My child has a bad grade because the teacher didn’t teach. Yes everyone you have heard this throughout the playing fields, school functions, and all about town. I have MANY MANY TIMES. Heck, I am guilty myself for wishing for less homework on occasion. NOT EVERYONE CAN BE PLEASED ALL THE TIME, this too is a fact. Being a teaching professional in a neighboring county, I am curious as to WHAT YOU WOULD DO IF YOU WERE A TEACHER and had parents complaining about all mentioned above at the same time. How would you make EACH PARENT happy in that case? Fact is you could not do it and this was probably the case in whatever parents were chatting it up and complaining. Now for the biggest fact of all.
    It is fair for every persons land to be taxed the same. A land owner is a land owner PERIOD. It should not matter what it is used for. The more you have the more you pay. Fair. Just because the land owner chooses to farm his or her land or preserve it because they have the money to do so, it shouldn’t mean they pay less tax-wise for the land because of it. Picture it like this… the more you make each year the more you pay back in taxes right? Same deal here. Then, the BOS will have more funds to say yes to our children. The children in our schools today will take flight before our eyes. They are the future and what it will be. If your land is beautiful and you get a tax break, i’m sorry because so is mine and I can’t get a break on taxes. Also, a farmers perk is free products or crops from the fields. Not to mention they make money farming. Selling animals, selling crops ect. It just isn’t fair that you get a break. Accepting all offers in helping me see the logic in it!
    I may not work here but I live here and this is a sad situation.
    Mrs. Byrd needs to RESEARCH more info before she speaks out, or perhaps ask the person or people she “hears it from” which school quit giving out homework and then narrow it down by teacher if need be. From there, find out if it was true and if so why. NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
    Maybe she can call them up and see, but my guess is they wont say who or where because the fact is…I just did my research and that is not true. “hear them asking why the schools don’t assign homework” Nope, not true…..FACT!!!!!!!! The word “hear” and rumor sound a lot alike to me. Mrs. Byrd how sad for you….”but it seems like no one teaches anymore” NO ONE is a strong statement.. I AM SOMEONE and I TEACH. I wonder if she will be nice to the “no one’s” when she see’s them out and about?
    Free lesson to her and all readers…. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY BEFORE YOU SAY IT 🙂

  26. Perhaps, Jennifer should “THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY BEFORE YOU SAY IT”.

    “A farmers perk is free products or crops from the fields.” These are not FREE. There are expenses to producing these so called “free products”, such as gas, labor, fertilizer, feed, machinery, equipment, taxes, land, etc. Not to mention hard work, time, and less time spent with farmily. And, how do you think these “free products” wind up in the grocery store or on your table?

    In addition, your local farmers also pay a Business/Farm Tangible Personal Propery Tax for their furniture, fixtures, and equipment used in their operation.

    Yes, the local farmers and landowners may be getting a tax break on their propery, but the flip side result would be further development of this land. Which would mean more houses and more people to further stress and burden Clarke’s schools and services.

    Bottom line is there are, apparenty, issues in the schools that need to be addressed and resolved. However, the local farmers and landowners are not the cause or answer to these problems being discussed in the above article. Focus on the real issues,

  27. How much would education be improved if entertainment were eliminated ? FOOTBALL?BASEBALL?BASKETBALL? ETC.
    Go back to a excersize program.
    How can homework be done if football practice endsat 7:00.
    Go back to a 75 passing grade.
    I
    f not achieved repeat again,no exceptions!!
    geezer

  28. sameoldstory says:

    Same old story with CCPS

    I am an administrator at a private Christian school. Now I know comparing my school to CCPS is apples and oranges, but I find it interesting that our textbook budget for 250 kids is MORE than all of CCPS. who sets this budget? Textbooks AND homework is fundamental.

    Second, Clarke County has to figure out how to attract QUALITY teachers. I have two children in the CCPS- and good teachers dedicated to their job seems to be hard to find – the last thing anyone wants for their child is a teacher who considers teaching “just a job” and clocks in and clocks out mentally. HOWEVER, CCPS pay scales are dismal. Residents of Berryville are a 30 minute commute east to much higher pay. Clarke doesn’t have to match Loudoun County pay, but they need to be in the ballpark. Because of backwards thinking that seems to permeate several areas of town and county government, Clarke Co. has become the lowest point for teachers, and so those that collect here don’t pass muster in other areas.

    As others have brought up, some of these problems can be solved by applying some common sense to the money already available. YOu don’t have to raise taxes to solve this problem. What you DO Need to do is abandon the fear-thinking in the county and town about development. Farmers won’t keep anything in this county running for long.

  29. ACPS MATH TEACHER says:

    You just need good educators. All these other topics are nonsense. (i.e. textbooks, homework issues, grading, lesson plans)… I personally raised my scores at my middle school from a 55% pass rate to a 89% this past year. I did this with NO TEXTBOOK, GAVE 10 problems of homework per night, And I definitely did not have my administrators support. Unfortunately, I am tired of talking and not having people listen (actually argue against me b/c every person feels as though they are an educational authority because they have opinions) so instead having to argue with parents and administrators, I am changing careers to be an actuary (not for the money). IT is so simple to get students to learn, here is how you do it: create accountability, use classroom competition and cooperative supports, BE A STANDARDS EXPERT (actually read them and study them!) and constantly review material. EASY. Your “hardworking” educators should be ashamed of themselves, I have been in 2 different public schools in VA and nobody seems to be willing to put the work in. Teachers claim to “care” they do not, teaching is not a priority for them. Most show up and leave as the bell’s ring, many students are at the school longer than the teachers.