Outing Bloggers and Correcting Misconceptions

In recent months / years Prince William County has seen a number of local citizen activists create blogs to inform or inflame the public on issues affecting our county government.  Folks like The Sheriff and The Derecho have joined Virginia Virtucon, Citizen Tom, Moonhowling, and BVBL , just to name a few, in covering a host of issues going on at the federal, state, and local level.

There a lots of blogs and keeping track of them is difficult. On the education side alone there are two blogs / groups; this blog and Our Schools.

To clarify, this group is not and has never been Our Schools.  Our Schools is a group of concerned parents.  I am not and have never been part of that group. Because education is a focused issue, we sometimes cover the same issues.  As followers of both groups know, we don’t always see eye to eye. The folks behind Our Schools allow me to post articles I write on their facebook page, and I thank them for that.

As for this blog, it was created several years ago as an offshoot of the math wars in PWCS.  The math wars were fought in this county by a small, dedicated group of parents.  In the course of our research we discovered things we felt other county residents might be interested in learning, but we had no means of communicating that information as the local print media had little to no interest in covering the story. So we created this blog.

At first there was a group of parents contributing articles, research, and ideas for the blog.  We preferred to remain anonymous as we each had children in the public school system and feared that our activism would result in retaliation against them. As time went on our group thinned as people moved away, saw their children graduate, or removed their children from public school.  Our mission also expanded as there’s only so much you can say about math.

Our mission then, and now, is to inform people about the happenings in our school division.

For the past several years, unless otherwise noted, this blog has been written and edited by one person.  My name is Kim Simons and I am one of the founders of this blog, its editor, and primary contributor. My mother was a Fairfax County public school teacher and a proud FEA and VEA member.  I grew up watching her lobby the Fairfax County School Board for better compensation for and treatment of teachers.  She taught in Fairfax County for over 35 years.  She retired about 10 years ago, but even now, at 70, she still substitute teaches a few days a week.  So I guess I come by my outspoken activism naturally.

My children still attend public school in PWC, and, while I’ve never seen any evidence of it,  I worry about retaliation against them every day.  I’ve tried hard to keep my concerns with issues affecting my children as individuals from playing out on this blog.  Contrary to how I’ve been characterized by some PWCS administrators , I have never said bad things about my children’s teachers or their schools on this blog or to any school board members or school division administrators.

I’ve tried to keep my concerns with programs and policies PWCS has implemented focused on those programs and policies and not the people implementing them.  I don’t hate Chairman Johns or Superintendent Walts or anyone else who works for PWCS.  Milt and I disagree on the pool and several other issues, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and genuinely like him. I think Milt is a good and honest man.  Same with Superintendent Walts.

I’ve been criticized for not going after Superintendent Walts for things that happened in Greece NY.  There’s a reason for that.  Superintendent Walts was never charged with anything in NY.  The school division he led was investigated and the school board was criticized for failing to provide proper oversight, but Superintendent Walts was never charged with anything.  So I don’t want to rehash what happened in Greece, NY.  People can repeat the allegations against Superintendent Walts about what happened in Greece all they want, but I won’t be participating because my concern and focus has been and is on what’s happening here in Prince William County and ensuring that our school board provides proper oversight.

Several friends have commented that I don’t ever print anything positive about PWCS here.  They’re right, I don’t, and that’s a shame.  I hope to change that in coming months, but for now, I’m going to continue enjoying my vacation.

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