Posts Tagged ‘Chairman Albrecht’

Thank You Ellen.

And then there were none

And then there were none


See 58 minute mark on. Unbelievable Discussion:

Gee, I would think LE would like the evidence of a recording.

Do you think school board members appreciate the irony of them being filmed voting to ban filming? Pretty soon they will ban phones at proms. Thank you Ellen Purdy for all your efforts to bring some accountability and openness to MCPS and thank you school board for your public record for all that you do.


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Manassas Patch reports today on the 1st feedback from the Citizen/City Council/School Board session on  the issue of new facilities for the MCPS.

Not surprisingly, Parrish/Albrecht Learning Halls, i.e., trailers, are not a popular option among city residents for Manassas students.  Once again, I would suggest Manassas look at the old Marsteller school on Sudley as part of the solution to school building woes. In addition to possibly contributing to the solution for the need for more classroom space for the MCPS, it also contributes, suggests a path for the development of the neighborhood which residents might find preferable to the Liz one note solution to all of Manassas development needs – TOWNHOUSES.

As for new digs for the Central Office? Sure,  Marsteller might just free up some trailers at Haydon and Weems for a new ribbon cutting at Tudor Lane. Surely Central Office wouldn’t place students in trailers while building new facilities for themselves?

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Just as you think Manassas can’t get any sillier, i.e, ‘Man Arrested for Shooting Self,’ this study by AIM (Accuracy in Media) suggests that our ‘Race to the Top’ (Save My Job- MMeyers) grant proposal wasn’t too thoroughly thought thru by the people in charge of our children’s education. What kind of school system embraces a core curriculum which apparently challenges the very concept of core knowledge? To be fair to the critical thinking challenged MCPS School Board, 48 governors signed onto the core curriculum in ‘Race to the Top’ not only before reading it but before it was written.

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By Charles Sutherland

Campaigning together, after years of “experience” School Board members Messrs. Albrecht and Bushnell want Manassas citizens to give them ‘four more years’ because, they told ‘Patch’, they have “already started addressing some of the challenges facing the city’s schools.”  “We are already taking action…”

“Already started addressing”?  “Already taking action…”?  “Already”…?  What have they been doing for the past twelve years?

Well, that’s easy to answer: they have been driving the school system over a cliff.  Along with fellow incumbents seeking re-election, Messrs. Magee and Dance, they have transformed the Manassas school system into an expensive bi-lingual welfare program, which now has an annual cost of $101 Million, over $14,000 per student, nearly the highest in the US.

Mr. Albrecht says, “It takes many years to learn how to be a successful school board member.”  Is that the number of years it took him and Gail Pope to destroy the City’s education system?  “Many years to learn how…”?  Why hasn’t he been applying the business management and ‘experience’ he claimed to have when he first sought his role on the School Board, and which he now claims again that he has?

Despite broad criticism from teachers, parents, and the education community, the School Board supported superintendent Gail Pope (and her $200,000 annual compensation package) to the bitter end.  Now they continue to support her inept and overpaid hierarchy— including voting 5-2 NOT to terminate DWI-arrested Special Ed Director Beth Dunman-Jones, and NOT taking steps to terminate Deputy Superintendent Michaelene Meyer, regarded by teachers, parents, and educators as a principal source of the school system’s problems and costs.

The Education Forward Committee, which they tout as a paradigm of didactic sagacity, has achieved NOTHING. It  is merely a joint School Board and City Council ‘blame-spreading device’ designed to deceive the public into thinking that the City Council is actively monitoring the $101 Million annual cost of this school system.  (Wish it were true!)

Albrecht calls himself a “fiscal conservative.”  Please…   I didn’t notice any apoplexy from him or his ‘yes man’ Mr. Magee at the March 6 School Board meeting when Kermit Dance endorsed giving away $83,000 of free food this summer, “to anyone, not just students”?

“Fiscal conservative”?   Neither he nor his ‘yes man Magee’ expressed any qualms regarding the issue of providing free lunches and breakfasts to over 60% of the entire student body.  They said nothing when a school official remarked that “we don’t have time to audit more than 1% or so” of the ‘financial need’ applications. (The cost of Food Services for next year is estimated to be $3, 454,808.)  Don’t fiscal conservatives do accounting?

Their cosmetic solutions may look good to the uninitiated, but are fatuous and false:

Reducing student-teacher ratio to 22:1? This is only productive if there are good teachers, a good curriculum, and good student behavior.  The latter two are lacking. Indeed, discipline and truancy are major issues which would distract even if there were only 10 students in a class.

Paying to have “…an additional 1,000 students taking AP tests.”  Instead of generating public relations statistics, how about ‘educating’ more students to ‘pass’ the AP tests?  Try that approach!  Meanwhile, what happens to the self-esteem of those unprepared students who fail these national tests?

What about 41% of the students having Limited English Proficiency (LEP)?  Oh, they propose hiring one reading specialist … for 7,000 students.   That should do it!  And, by the way…. reading specialist’?  Often, these have just been re-assigned teachers.

And haven’t they heard that the Special Ed Department has been missing a teacher for over a year, and the bureaucracy ignores the woeful cries for help by parents who have kids with special needs?

And, how do they deal with Osbourn High School’s loss of accreditation?  Answer:  switch organizations that review accreditation issues in order to get a better result.   Fortunately, OHS’s indolent former principal voluntarily resigned, allowing OHS to have a strong new principal and an exceptional freshman counselor who is addressing the problems.

Has the pompous School Board ever condescended to have discussions with teachers regarding their exclusion from curriculum decisions and the plethora of tests imposed upon them?  (Of course, we know that at an open meeting one School Board member, Kermit Dance, expressed his disdain for the opinion of teachers – those “old dogs who can be taught new tricks.”) Aren’t teachers the quintessential component in an education system?  Not according to the School Board.

Regarding capital investments and the CIP program: Does Mr. Albrecht agree with Mr. Dance, who was recently quoted in ‘Patch’ as saying, “… he [Dance] calculated that two and a quarter years of learning is taken away from a Baldwin student’s time in elementary school (kindergarten through fourth grade) because they can’t focus due to all the noise that occurs with the facility’s utilities and when it rains”?  That’s 45% of a student’s total education over 5 years lost because of noise and rain?  Is he serious?  My goodness!  Is that the same mental math (or mental something…) that Mr. Dance applies to his estimated costs of building that new school he wants, presumably to be named after him?  (Let’s hope Mr. Dance gets voted off the Board before he becomes involved in the math/science programs.)

The current School Board has done nothing to reduce the overpaid and incompetent hierarchy of the school administration; have not terminated Deputy Superintendent Meyer; have done nothing to resolve the lamentable needs of the Special Ed Department; have done nothing to foster the dedicated professionalism of the teachers and involve them in the curriculum; have done nothing to improve the English language and reading programs; have done nothing to enforce birth certificate laws; have done nothing to improve discipline and reduce truancy;  have done nothing to foster parental involvement;  have done nothing to reduce the budget; have openly declined to audit the financial claims of over 60% of the students who receive free lunches and breakfasts; and, have done nothing to improve academic content – instead they have set their academic/political priorities by focusing on developing  misleading statistics for the Washington Post’s Matthews  Index in order to create good public relations for the tourist department.

The “challenges” to which they refer are ones which they and this School Board created!  If you want more of “nothing,” or more “challenges” created, then you should keep them and Messrs. Magee and Dance in office and pretend that these “experienced” emperors are wearing new clothes.

Charles Sutherland is a Candidate for the Manassas City School Board in the May 1st election.

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Guest Post

By Charles Sutherland

The Code of Virginia #22.1-3.1 stipulates that students who enroll in school should provide original birth certificates, and when they fail to do so their files must be provided to the local police.  When that happens, the file is usually accompanied by an affidavit (Lamentably, the affidavit used in Manassas schools is easily fabricated, allows unverified statements, permits undocumented representations, and can apparently be signed by anyone who happens to be available with a pen when it is filled out…).

When I sent FOIA (Freedom of Information) requests to the schools on this matter in September 2011, the schools claim only to have information for the year 2010-2011! (They don’t keep records?) As for obeying the law: only Mayfield and Metz seem to be in current compliance with this law.   The other schools either refused to answer at all, or evaded the issue of accepting photocopies (easily altered) instead of insisting on original birth certificates – as legally required by state law.

Interestingly, the aggregate total of thirteen (13) affidavits reported to me by the responsive schools appears to differ from the information provided by the City Police Department.  Responding to an FOIA request, the Police Department informed me: “Our records for this request begin with July 2011 to September 2, 2011.  During this time period, three (3) affidavits have been forwarded to the Police department and three (3) have been investigated.  Any data older than these dates is maintained by the Manassas City Schools.”  (The Police Department itself has no records older than 60 days?)

Clearly, school superintendent Gail Pope is supervising the consistent violation of Virginia law, and a massive cover-up is going on by the schools.  Why?   The agenda of ‘Pope Gail’ has always been to increase the number of students – which provides her an ever-increasing budget (and power), an ever-expanding ego…and an increasing, personal compensation package which is now over $200,000 a year.

In Mrs. Pope’s annual budget of over $90 million, $53 million (a million dollars a week!) comes from a Revenue Sharing Agreement whereby the City Council forfeits its responsibilities to monitor the expenditures of tax revenue and exhibits no control over anything the school system does.   The result:

  • Currently, approximately 50% of the student enrollment in Manassas schools are Hispanics (no one knows how many are illegal aliens…or what documents they used to register);
  • The ESL (English as a Second Language) program has metastasized, and creates students with less English language proficiency than those protestors from the Muslim crowds involved in Middle East uprisings who are interviewed on television.  [N. B. Unlike “total immersion” language, used by immigrants for centuries, the results of ESL are poor English proficiency, Hispanics lead a segregated existence in schools and outside, and despite the money spent on them these unmotivated students fail tests, don’t graduate on time, and are the main cause of the overall decline in the school system’s test scores.]
  • Over 60% of the students receive free or subsidized lunches and breakfasts (how many are illegal aliens is not known).
  • The annual cost is now approximately $13,600 per student, nearly the highest in the US.
  • Regarding teachers: (a) For students with special needs, five (5) teaching positions for Special Education teachers are still not filled – one position has been vacant for an entire year; (b) there have now been several teachers charged with being pedophiles; (c) HR is apparently ignorant regarding whether teachers they hired are licensed; (d) nepotism runs rampant, with relatives of Gail Pope’s hierarchy hired by the school system.
  • Osbourn High School has been officially decertified, mainly because of the poor graduation rate of the Hispanics.

What a combination of achievements!  Now people know why PhD stands for ‘piled higher and deeper.’

Obviously lacking any comprehension of the didactic principles of academia, at the January 9 meeting the School Board devoted part of their time discussing the mental distractions to students of raindrops on the Baldwin school roof, and the need for an expensive new school building to remedy this dramatic educational deficiency.  Apparently the Board believes occasional rainy days interfere more with the intellectual development of students than do on-going curriculum issues or dysfunctional academic programs – which the Board is patently incapable of analyzing.  It reminds one of a man who was complaining about the termites while his house was burning down.

Gail Pope and the School Board have transformed the City of Manassas school structure into an expensive, incompetent, international welfare organization.   Furthermore, in their self-indulgent liberalism, the School Board has acquiesced in the continuous violation of state law and participated in the illicit expansion of the student enrollment with illegal aliens.

In addition to her well-documented poor performance, consistently breaking state law is “cause,” a legal reason to terminate her lucrative contract and expel Gail Pope from school – and stop her from hemorrhaging tax-payer cash and jeopardizing the futures of the children of Manassas.  As a procedure adopted by the School Board on August 16, 2005, an evaluation of the superintendent must take place “no later than June 30” with input from “… Each School Board Member…”  These evaluations should be performed, and made public!

But why wait until June?  Nearly $2,000,000 a week is being spent on a dysfunctional operation. For the benefit of all students and citizens, the School Board should terminate Gail Pope and her overpaid hierarchy with their inflated compensation packages and their nepotism– after which, Chairman Albrecht and several School Board members should resign themselves.

Then the misprision City Council should undertake their elected duties, eliminate the Revenue Sharing Agreement which helps exonerate them from responsibility and blame, and appoint someone to take control of this bilingual welfare organization in order to restore it to its role as an educational system for the American students of the City of Manassas.

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