Re: Fairfax High School: Students totaled 2,600 F's on 4th quarter interim
fighting the good fight
Date: December 26, 2012 06:15PM
Just like with anything, speaking with someone on the front lines helps shed light usually from a different perspective. I hope to do this, nevertheless, I have a great deal to still learn.
1. Teachers....who start their 4th consecutive year in the same school system are almost always given a "continuing contract". This is as close to tenture as VA public school teachers get. Removing a teacher in years 1-3 is easy. Removal after year 4 begins is VERY difficult except in criminal cases. A teacher who transfers in from another VA school system and had a continuing contract can get one at the new job after just one year.
2. Unions....liberal political groups that collect millions in dues from foolish folks who cannot strike in VA. Ask your children's teachers if they belong and this will give you a sense of who teaching your kids. People who do not "get it" with their own money are making a regular impact on your child's thinking. Please take charge especially in these instances.
3. Kids at the extremes.....get the majority of the attention. The top scoring, academic scholarship worthy kids and the bottom scoring kids whose numbers make us look bad are two of the biggest groups where attention is focused. Principals want big numbers at the top and small ones at the bottom. They play games to try to justy their numbers. An example is the re-establishment of "study hall" now referred to as the school mascot's time. Some schools let kids turn in work over and over until a decent grade is achieved.
4. Middle of the road kids.....which is the vast majority of the FCPS population.....get moved along in the system until there is a problem identified and someone steps up...the kid, the parent(s), or a professional (not just a teacher).
5. Grades...they are inflated here in FC. Sit down with your child in grades seven and above and together read a few articles from any newspaper. Watch how yours miss the grammatical errors in the publication. Now, if the people publishing are getting away with it, imagine who is in the classroom. If yours is in 6th grade or below point out the errors as a teaching lesson.
6. Fs....old school teachers still feel this is necessary as part of the Bell curve. Fine. With the incredible technology available including blackboard, no child putting in effort should be a failure in any given subject, except PE shop, music, choir, etc. These performance classes take practice, not just showing up with the required equipment.
Suggested solutions.....take the time to have your child show you their homework and explain it to you. Example - history - did you know the BC is no longer used in FCPS. BCE is. This is how the presidency influences what school systems, schools and teachers do and say. Liberals do whatever when the White House has a liberal and they scale back when a conservative is in office. I have been watching this for nearly 25 years.
More solutions....Have your child show you each BB site for each subject. You will learn a great deal. Now, I am no fan of online textboks, but the accompanying media is wonderful. Short two minute movies that put entire chapters in visual perspective.
The next step....Contact the APs in charge of each school department and ask for the entire department to be on a single BB page. This is easily done with a single excel spreadsheet and makes handling schedule changes for students a breeze. This will put the lesser teachers (yes, I speak against my own) on notice as they try to keep up with those who are on the cutting edge of teaching. If your child does not learn from their own teachers, they can learn from the others in the department as you oversee their progress.
You might find this extreme, but putting people on notice is important. rewarding is also important. When a child tells a story at the dinner table of how something wonderful happened at school send email to the teacher. This positive feedback is all we get, especially at the upper levels, so please send it.