Picture Proof: The Last Two Weeks of School in Prince William County Are a Joke

As a father of three, a taxpayer and a local business owner, I am just appalled.  You will be too…read on and check out the pictures to follow…

Me:  What are you doing tomorrow in school?

My 4th Grader:  Nothing.

Me:  You always say that.

My 4th Grader:  No, really, I mean nothing.  We’re just sitting there.  We don’t have any more tests.  Tomorrow we have field day.  Oh, I need a new water bottle.

My 3rd Grader:  My teacher said we’re going to need a lot of water because we’re going to be outside all day.  I want a new water bottle too!

Great!  Another last minute trip to Target.

And then the memories come flooding back in a wave of nauseating cynicism….

  • The Facebook arguments over whether or not the kids should have recess shortened to 10 minutes, or at all.
  • The School Board crowing about state mandates for number of days in the classroom.
  • 10 extra minutes on school days (the most valuable 10 minutes of the day is the last 10!).
  • Cancelling school because of a dusting of snow; two hour delays for no snow at all.
  • And the creme de la creme: a two hour delay because it was too cold.  Remember that?

But hey, at least by 10:30am it was 17 degrees, so I guess the delay was worth the 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

The memories subside and with crisis averted the kids get on the school bus with their new water bottles.

After an easy hour-long commute from Gainesville to Chantilly, I get the stories from co-workers….

And their stories are WORSE.

Not only are the kids doing nothing, the teachers are evidently not doing anything either.  I feel bad for the teachers – I’ve talked to a couple who are just as frustrated as I am.

As the 17 year olds sit on the gymnasium bleachers, one asks:

“Can I at least get a basketball?”

Ha, don’t be silly.  The basketballs have “…been inventoried and are stored.”

Well, at least they’re keeping track.

It got better in the next class.  The kids had a contest to see who could get the paper airplane into the trashcan.   At least flying paper airplanes exposes the kids to the principles of aerodynamics and physics.

Not so in the next class, where kids were either sleeping, or kicked back in their chairs on their phones.

Okay kids, time for staring at your cell phones!

At least some kids took some initiative and just skipped class.  And with seniors and juniors together in some classes, some class-specific priorities and testing leave some classrooms with only a few students.  This one is nearly empty…

The teachers are victims of this too.  No goals, no curriculum to advance, and graduation ceremonies set for a week before the end of school, what are they supposed to do?  Well, this…

The School Board insists that we have limited recess, extended days and a school year that goes 3 weeks after the start of summer swim team practice.  But the academics shut down as soon as the last SOL is turned in the week before Memorial Day.

So, School Board, if you’re going to lecture us limited recess, extended days, a long school year, how about if the kids actually learn something?  At least, something other than what a joke the last 2 weeks of school has become?

How are we as parents expected to do our job, extolling the virtues of going to school, getting an education, and thriving academically, when the reality is that the kids are going to school and goofing off 7 hours a day for a full 2 weeks, and in some cases more.

Lastly, we’ll leave with this gem:  The School Board is crowing about the $7 Million shortfall for 2016-17.  I just wonder how much it costs the county to run all the schools for 2 weeks to accomplish NOTHING?