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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com June 21, 2011 at 8:19 am 4,254 96 Comments

Grand Opening for Virginia Tech Research Center — The shiny new Virginia Tech Research Center at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston will celebrate its grand opening on Friday. Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger, Congressman Jim Moran and County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman are among the scheduled speakers. The seven floor, 144,000 square foot facility boasts next-generation internet connectivity, computational laboratories and multiple meeting and conference spaces.

School Board Asks for Definition of Homework — A proposal before the School Board states that homework should count for no more than 15 percent of a student’s quarterly grade. However, Board members have asked for clarification after learning that certain take-home projects apparently aren’t considered “homework.” Some parents have complained that students are being asked to do too much school work outside of school. [Sun Gazette]

Signature Theater Open House Planned — Returning for another year, Shirlington’s Signature Theater will be holding its “open house” next month, complete with indoor and outdoor performances, master classes and the popular Signature Idol singing competition. The open house is being held from noon to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 23. [Signature Theater]

  • G Clifford Prout

    Awe. Puppies.

    Now, what about illegal immigrants?

    • BerryBerryCold

      They’re illegal. What part of illegal do you not understand? /s

      • doodly

        Yep. That’s a GERMAN shepherd and a LABRADOR retriever. Deport ’em!

  • ArlForester

    Hot dogs?

  • CW

    That is a FAT dog on the right.

    The one on the left looks cute until it rips someone’s arm off.

    • ArlForester

      German Shepherds aren’t mean dogs.

      • CW

        Didn’t say they were. They are, however, universally used as attack dogs and have the highest bite force of any breed.

        • ArlForester

          No, that would be a Rottweiler.

        • doodly

          But they aren’t mean dogs.

          • CW

            Just like loaded guns left laying around aren’t inherently dangerous. They’re not mean, just “territorial”. That’s what people always say. “Oh, it was just a very territorial dog. Little 5-year-old Johnny must have done something to invade its territory; that’s why he got all his limbs bitten off.”

          • ArlForester

            I too love hyperbole without substance.

          • CW

            Lol, these are the internets after all!

          • doodly

            You don’t know much about dogs.

    • Stupid comment of the morning.

    • ArlingtonNative

      That’s what I was thinking … that is one fat Lab … must be drinking too many beers while his owner is hanging out at the Beer Garden!

    • CrystalMikey

      Maybe the Lab is prego?

    • Larchmont

      Don’t like kids, don’t like dogs, just arguments, huh?

    • Tabby


  • Narlington

    Its nice to see you guys are talking about the dogs and not the fact that parents are A-holes. Kids doing to much work what the hell are they talking about. Kids need to know how to do work so they can get ready for the real world this crap about they have to much work is just parents being a bunch a brats, and that is what kind of kids we have in the arlington public schools.

    Good job arlington public school parents.

    • ArlForester

      Multiple grammar fails. You must have done too much homework as a kid.

    • doodly

      [Comment deleted, please refrain from personal attacks]

      • CW

        No, attacking grammar is allowed. You’re just not allowed to call someone a “fool” or other similarly benign term.

      • doodly

        My personal attack was in direct response to the personal attack by Narlington, who called parents a-holes.

        • Narlington

          you can’t block the truth

          • doodly

            Your post should have been deleted too, and then you should have been sent to the principal’s office.

  • “parents have complained that students are being asked to do too much school work outside of school”….. You have got to be kidding me. But, I bet they find the time to play video games, don’t they? It is no wonder this country has a shortage of some higher tech disciplines. The effort is just too much work and it interferes with Super Mario Bros.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      @ Overgrown Bush, +10 – from one “grandpa” to another! 🙂

    • Your welcome doofly.

      • Sorry…you’re welcome, doofly. Otherwise I’d be hung for typing quickly. Now, where’s my Geritol?

        • Bluemontsince1961

          “Now, where’s my Geritol?” LOL! OB, pass me the Geritol when you’re finished! We “grandpas” gotta keep our energy up! 🙂

        • doodly

          You stole my chance to bash your grammar and spelling on a thread about education!!!!!!!

  • Southeast Ben

    Why can’t kids just do the work that’s asked of them? It just shows how lazy we’ve become as a society? It’s not the parents’ job to do the work, so why are they complaining? I can’t believe this is being talked about. This would never happen back home. Maybe this is will spike bank robberies even more. Kid won’t have homework to keep them busy.

    • Stu Pendus

      Agree. Parents need to leave it up to our fine professional educators to determine how much homework their little snowflakes need.

      Do I need to remind people that Arlington’s school are consistently rated among the best in the country? I think our teachers are doing just fine.

      • doodly

        So parents shouldn’t be involved in their kids’ education and shouldn’t complain when they think it’s not the best it could be? Wrong.

        • Narlington

          Since this school board and the ones before have fallen to the pressure of parents and not the people who are the experts on the issue of schooling kids, all of the public high schools in this county have fallen on the US high school report. Why is that?

          • Stu Pendus

            Sadly it is what can happen when parents think they know better than trained professional educators. You see examples right here of not knowing the difference between addition and division.

          • doodly

            I know the difference just fine – you just failed reading.

          • Stu Pendus

            You’re starting to creep me out dude.

          • doodly

            Then go do your homework.

          • doodly

            Wow, Narlington, you flunked logic.

          • Narlington

            How have I flunked logic?

          • doodly

            Circular argument. You make a statement of cause and effect, and then you ask “how did this happen?” You tried to answer your own question in the question. You presumed you already knew the answer. But I doubt you were even aware when you did it.

        • BoredHouseWife

          I was going to say this. Children learn through play not endless piles of paper work. Tons of homework usually come from teachers that lack imagination. Those types need to go into programming.

          • Children that are exposed (not over exposed) to studies at an early age, including homework, will be the doctors and engineers of the future. Those learning solely through play will be serving up my Big Mac when I’m 80. Good luck to them.

          • doodly

            No, the more homework a kid gets, the better. Kids who do 8 hours of homework a night will be twice as smart as kids who do 4. It’s math!

          • Larchmont

            Gonna have my kids do “3” times as much homework!

          • doodly

            My kids are going to do more than 24 hours of homework every day! That will make them geniuses! Especially in math.

          • Larchmont

            Don’t tarnish your image.

          • Now you are being silly. Kids who do no homework at all won’t know doodly…uh, diddly.

          • Narlington

            then why have schools, lets just have playgrounds and America will be a better place.

    • CW

      Yeah, seriously. Send them back into the coal mines!

      • BerryBerryCold

        +1. Only problem is that machinery has replaced much of the work that used to be done by hand in coal mines. Just like Obama has said that ATMs are the cause of high unemployment.

        • samsonite

          When did Obama say that?

          • samsonite

            Never mind, I found it.

            Yeah, so efficiency due to automation can eliminate jobs. What’s surprising about that?

    • doodly

      How much homework is enough and how much is too much?

      Give us an actual number instead of just randomly spewing.

      The news item reports that there is an attempt to quantify it, as a percent of total grade. Not the same as hours, but at least its a number.

      Everyone agreed to this number.

      Now parents are complaining that teachers are exceeding that number. That’s a legitimate complaint, since everyone agreed to the number in the first place.

      But that won’t stop a bunch of uninformed yahoos on the internet from blathering about how lazy kids are these days. You guys posting from rocking chairs in your retirement homes?

      • Stu Pendus

        No. They are saying homework should only count towards 15% of the child’s grade. That does not establish a quantity of homework, just its weight towards the grade.

        And the correct amount of homework is 47.

        • doodly

          That’s what I said – that it is an attempt to quantify it, though hours would be a better quantifier.

          And it does act as a limit to the quantity of homework. If it’s only 15% of the grade, the teacher will focus on the 85% of the grade in school. If a kid doesn’t do much at home, that still means it doesn’t hurt him on his grade.

          • Stu Pendus

            No, you are still conflating quantity and ratio.

            A teacher could give 1 class assignment and 20 home assignments and count homework for 15% of the overall grade. Or they could give 20 class assignments and 1 home assignment and still count homework for 15% of the grade.

            Do you see how no matter how much homework is assigned it can still count for 15%? I can come up with some word problems for you if that would help.

          • doodly

            I’m not conflating the two. I clearly noted that a ratio was not an adequate quantifier. It is the school board that is conflating the two.

            And yes, your example makes my point. A teacher that gives one class assignment and 20 homework assignments would simply be deflating the value of homework. If the kid with 20 homework assignments did the same number of hours of homework as the kid who only had one homework assignment, yet aced the one class assignment, he’d still get a good grade. So the 15% acts as a limit of sorts on homework by not penalizing a kid for not doing all of his homework or not doing it well (because he’s swamped with it).

            But by all means, continue to be snide about it.

          • Stu Pendus

            You still don’t get it! I’m shocked.

          • doodly

            I get it just fine. You just didn’t understand what I was saying, decided to be snide, and now you can’t admit it.

          • Stu Pendus

            Just walk away man, just walk away.

          • doodly

            It’s too bad you can’t man up. Not everyone can though.

          • Maria

            You’re both right (Stu, mathematically, and doodly, philosophically. You’re just arguing two totally different points. So stop arguing.

          • I do think public school students should be considered to do some homework based on an average time to complete metric. That said, when I was in college my grade often came down to two tests during the semester. I was swamped with work to complete at home but none of it counted toward my grade. Yet, if I didn’t do it then I’d really screw up one or both of the tests. What the public school system needs to do is quantify the amount of work necessary to get students to learn the material. Too little and they don’t learn it. Too much and they get overwhelmed and don’t learn it. Isn’t this what we pay teachers to do when they develop their curriculum?

          • cyber referee

            Okay, you two – break it up. All the rest of you, nothing to see here, so move along.
            I understand and agree completely with what Stu is saying and for the life of me don’t see doodly’s point, so what’s to admit? Your example had no correlation to how much or how little homework equates to a grade – you spoke to how well they did the homework (or how much time they spent). Completely different areas of thought.

          • doodly

            Okay, referee, I’ll explain it to you, since you’re not being snide.

            I simply noted that there was a crude attempt to put a number on homework – and noted that it was NOT an actual quantity.

            Stu, who is good at math but apparently flunked reading, thought I was saying that a percentage was a quantity, when I clearly noted from the beginning that it’s not.

            Now, to explain my example: if there is a limit on the percentage that homework counts toward a grade, it is still a disincentive for a teacher to assign too much homework. If too much is assigned, it doesn’t penalize the student for not doing it or not doing it well.

  • back to the pups – sweet babies – both of them. Look like they would both make great pillows for my head while I watch tv no the floor 🙂

    • CW

      You would rather watch the floor than TV?

      • ah – it was a typo – should have said “while I watch tv on the floor”. Two nice furry pillows.

        • CW

          I was joking. Making fun of spelling errors is a slippery slope, but I liked it. 🙂

          • Maria

            It was a good one. Just funny; not mean.

  • Rodney

    Found that a lot of homework given out by Arlington County schools was kind of worthless busy work though that’s more of an issue of quality rather than quantity. Compared to a lot of private schools in the area, Arlington is kind of a joke in terms of amount of work given and level of challenge.

    • M

      Are you forgetting the IB program at W-L? I don’t remember that as being a joke in terms of work.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    “A proposal before the School Board states that homework should count for no more than 15 percent of a student’s quarterly grade. However, Board members have asked for clarification after learning that certain take-home projects apparently aren’t considered “homework.” Some parents have complained that students are being asked to do too much school work outside of school.”

    ??? I don’t recall anything like this back when I was going to Arlington public schools many years ago. Back then, I don’t believe the School Board ever defined a percentage of homework counting for a student’s quarterly grade, or for certain “take-home” projects not being considered “homework.” There were standards of difficulty or length of time to complete for types of homework based on grade level and that was it as far as I know. As for “some parents complained that students were being asked to do too much school work outside of school”, neither my parents or those of my friends ever thought of such a thing. We were expected to do our homework assignments, period, whether the assignments took 30 minutes, an hour, two hours and so on. They would have found the “too much school work outside of school” laughable. We were expected to do our assignments and do them well as preparation for going out into the real world as adults.

    • jan

      I never made my children do homework in grade school. There was no time if they spent a least an hour playing, an hour with family and helped with family chores like cleaning up after dinner. They were in bed at 8PM to ensure they’d be sharp the next day.

      Play, family time, and simply day dreaming develop the range of skills children need to succeed.

      Teachers were always perplexed by how well these kids did on achievement tests.

      • Interesting. Certainly there is a point where homework begins to be important in developing a child. I would guess somewhere in grade school it would be. I know my mother credits my 4th grade math teacher for the technical degrees and achievements I’ve made in my adult life. While that may seem a bit silly (I would credit many other things), she does have a point that early development is very important. Each person and child is different and kudos to you if you found the formula to make it work for your children.

  • Mrakademik

    I’m the “fat” dog on the right. My name is Abbey. The picture was taken shortly after I ate a whole child. If you call me fat again I will eat all of your children and their children’s children.

    • Dog Parks Forever

      Perfectly acceptable, as long as you were in a dog park. If you’re in a kid park, it’s OK for the kids to eat you.

    • ilovefatdogs

      Yeah Abbey! Own it! <3

  • Cate

    As someone who graduated high school relatively recently (as in, the past decade), I never once had an issue with the amount of homework I was given. Rather, a lot of it was just b.s. busywork that didn’t actually lean towards learning anything.

    What happened to the nightly writing of the times tables, rote memorization of French vocabulary, spelling tests, all that jazz? Kids these days.

    /goes back on porch and continues to yell “get off my lawn!”

  • Teacher

    The hours and ammount of homework you give a child has nothing to do with anything!! I went to APS schools from age 5-18. I was hardly given any homework in highschool, and still got a 4.0 grade level, got great SAT score, and went on to a great university. Having kids do hours and hours of homework, as previous people stated, does not make them any smarter.

    • ranting old man

      But you won’t be ready for the real world, where you’ll have to do hours of homework every night, or slave away in a factory! Damn kids today!

    • Just because you are a genius and it worked for you doesn’t mean no home exposure to school work will work for most kids. As a parent, I was happy to sit down with my son and to be involved in the homework the child was getting. It gave me an opportunity to emphasise how important school is through demonstration of my interest. It educated me on what the school was teaching my son. And, it gave me insight to his progress. I guess we could have spent an extra hour an evening watching TV and I could rely on periodic report cards, standardized tests, or just asking him “How’s school going?” to be in touch with my child’s mental development.

      • PhilL

        That’s a very reasonable statement.

        But it makes me wonder, does some of the parent’s objection to the amount of homework have anything to do with them not wanting to have to spend so much time helping their kids with it?

        • I would guess some parents don’t want to be bothered. Many parents may want to, but don’t have the time because of work or other duties necessary to support the household or family. Not having the homework relieves the guilt of not being there to help with it whether the parent would chsos to be there or not. I find it hard to believe people can think you can succeed at anything without putting in the proper amount of effort. Only the really gifted or really lucky can do that. We all know this isn’t the majority of children…

          • Ann of Tan Gables

            I don’t want my kid being assigned more homework than he can do himself; I don’t see any value in assigning so much that a first-grader’s attention span gives out before that night’s batch is done. I’m happy to help my kids with things they don’t understand. I don’t plan to sit on them to get them to do their work. Just like in real life — feel free to make no effort. Watch it bite you in the ass! What have we learned?

        • Kool

          As a parent, I can’t imagine complaining about the homework. It really has to be up to the teacher, especially in the upper grades, and I’ve never felt that homework was excessive. But is it really a complaint about too much homework or about the problem of excessive homework help? If 90% of the grade is homework, and little Ronnie’s mom stays up all night doing it for him, and sends him in with a project that could win a Nobel Prize in kindergarten, is that really fair to little Donny, who bravely glue-sticks together an age-appropriate masterpiece all by himself but is dismayed to see how fabulous everyone else’s (parents’) projects are?

  • Shane

    The dogs are off-leash, natch.

    • Tabby

      You can’t criticize dog owners or their dogs without facing the wrath of Khan.

  • Thes

    Here is a cool video showing why pumping kids with more homework is probably the wrong idea.

  • danielobvt

    Dog picture for an update about homework.
    Are they in a line-up for a child?
    “Please identify the dog that ate your homework”

  • PhilT

    15% is not going to be enough of an incentive to get the best efforts of many students. If I could have received a “B” through attentiveness in class and never done homework, that would have been my course of action.

    And let’s be honest about the homework. It’s not about comprehension and application of subject matter. It’s about memorization to perform well on the SOLs.

    Revoke the Kings Dominion law, get them back in school a little earlier, and get them out before the end of June.

    • Lou

      I was surprised to see Arlington schools still in session this late. When I graduated in the mid-80’s we were already at the beach by this time in June.

    • Bob

      Very few students take the trouble to figure out what 15% really means and adjust their homework habits accordingly.


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