Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wheels coming off Winter's run for city council.

Blogger Monahan reports that interim APS Supt. Brad Winter announced his intention to run for re-election to the city council.

Winter is bowlegged under his baggage;

  • Winter is and was in charge of the APS Police force at all times relevant.
  • The APS Police force was and is, a publicly funded private police force.  It is accountable directly to, and only to, APS board members, Winter and senior administrators.
  • In, 2007, the Journal reported state and federal felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators and the leadership of their police force, link.
  • The felonies were never investigated by any agency of law enforcement.  APS Police conducted a self-investigation; the results of which have been conveniently lost.
  • There was another investigation done by a private eye.  His findings name the names of APS administrators who were complicit in felony criminal misconduct.
  • The findings are being kept secret from public knowledge by means of litigation.  By "litigation" I mean unlimited budgets for spending without oversight for litigation and legal weaselry against the public interests.  Enormous amounts of money have and are being spent to pay lawyers to obstruct their production of public records enjoying no ethical exception to the NM Inspection of Public Records Act.
    Tellez reported to Winter directly.
    • The Deputy Chief at the time was Steve Tellez.  Tellez knew or should have known about the sea of corruption and incompetence in which he bobbed.

      Nevertheless, he was promoted to Chief.  Tellez had one of his sergeants investigate the felony criminal misconduct in which the former Chief Gil Lovato was involved, and of which his current Chief Steve Tellez, remained knowingly ignorant at best.
      Lovato knew where all the bodies were
      buried; he buried a bunch personally.
    • Lovato boasted through his attorney Sam Bregman, if he ever got to court over his firing, there wouldn't be a single senior APS administrator left standing.
      • The sergeant, Steve Gallegos, was promoted to Deputy Chief about the time he placed the only copies he ever made of the findings of his investigation into APS and Steve Tellez' hands. Gallegos claims that's the last he saw his report.
      • photo by macquigg
        If the report was candid, forthright and honest, it found Tellez negligently allowed or knowingly permitted felony public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of APS' police force.
      • Tellez was fired a few years later after he helped himself to a bunch of ammo that wasn't his.
      • Gallegos, still unable to find any copies of his report, was promoted to Chief and serves there still.  He will until a copy of his report finally shows up.
      • No agency of law enforcement ever investigated state and federal felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators, and

      • No evidence was ever turned over to the DA.
      The leadership of the APS and their lawyers decided that no one should be prosecuted and, that they could get away with not reporting felonies.  It was and is the DA's decision, not theirs, whether criminal charges should be filed. 

      Winter and the leadership of the APS have been fortunate through these many years and through innumerable APS school board, mill levy and bond issue elections, in that the local press media were willing to help them cover up the cover up.

      It is difficult to believe that Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz can continue the cover up for very much longer; in particular if Winter has a worthy opponent in the city council race.

      How does Walz now report credibly on the cover up after so many years of being part of it?

      Hell, he and Marty Esquivel even managed to bamboozled the NM FOG into giving former APS Supt. Winston Brooks a hero of transparency award all while the bunch of them were hiding public records that implicated APS administrators in a number of felonies.

      The wheels are coming off Winter's train and Kent Walz is still aboard.

      photos Mark Bralley

      Saturday, May 23, 2015

      APS' board meeting video not posted

      APS has missed their deadline for posting a link to the video of last Wednesday's school board meeting.  Coincidentally, the public forum at the meeting included a bunch of "disgruntled" current and former employees.

      ... just sayin

      English speaking middle schoolers to see what it feels like to be a non-English speaking student

      However bad it feels to be a non-English speaker in a class taught in English, however hard it is to learn new subject matter while at the same time learning a new language, students at Hayes Middle school will now find out for themselves, link.

      The "leadership of the APS" has made a decision.
      Made the decision mind you, not are thinking about  deciding to require English speaking students to take two of their core classes in Spanish, even against their will.

      It is one thing to offer classes in Spanish.  It is an entirely different thing to require* non-Spanish speaking students to enroll in them.

      * Students who don't like it are free to leave; uproot themselves from their community and attend other school.  If this isn't coercion, what is?
      Students are invited to move away if they don't want to participate in a self-evidently ridiculous plan. Do the math;
      • There is a quantity of knowledge students are expected to acquire during one school year.
      • The quantity of knowledge in the classes must remain the same (or they will not be prepared for subsequent classes).
      • Students are clearly struggling to acquire the knowledge, even in their own language.  Witness test scores and reading levels.
      • It is more difficult to learn a body of knowledge in any language in which the learner is not fluent!

      Even if the scheme could be made to work, there is no way that the same amount of information can be presented and acquired in the time they have.

      These kinds of decisions are the product of APS' decision making process; without any open and honest two-way communication with people who were stake and interest holders in the decision.

      Just so my personal opinion on teaching non-English speaking students is not misunderstood, I would like to clearly state it; each student's individual needs should be our top priority; right along side their becoming fluent in English at the earliest opportunity.

      Thursday, May 21, 2015

      PowerPoint presentation on discipline in the APS; in the works?

      60 seconds isn't very long when you are trying to explain why the leadership of the APS must be candid, forthright and honest in describing to incoming supt. Dr. Luis Valentino, "the truth" about the many issues awaiting his attention.

      The school board counts on the fact that 60 seconds are not nearly enough to build a case contrary to something they do or don't want to do.  They don't want to tell the truth about student discipline in the APS.

      I challenged the board and interim Supt Brad Winter to own the creation of a PowerPoint presentation on discipline in Albuquerque Public Schools.  Such a presentation would provide for Dr. Valentino, everything he needs to know.  A PowerPoint presentation would show stake and interest holders everything they need to know.

      Why do we never talk about discipline?

      Why is there nothing ever in the newspaper about the way children behave at school?  Sure, if some kid or handful of kids are misbehaving in ways that will sell newspapers, the Journal will step in.  Look at the papers they sold with students ''misbehaving'' around PARCC testing.

      But where is the Journal's comprehensive coverage of the fundamental issue; students are out of control.  Students no longer respond (adequately) to the authority of adults. When someone tells them to stop doing something (disruptive); their response increasingly more often, is no.

      What is the state of student discipline in public school classrooms and hallways?  I haven't worked in a school in over a decade.  I am presuming that since I retired, discipline has continued its decline.

      I base the presumption in no small part, on the fact that there is no data to indicate otherwise.   If the fact was that things are getting better, we would be hearing about it from APS' million dollar a year public relations department.

      So what is the truth?

      • What is the current state of affairs?  What part of the average teachers day is consumed by chronically disruptive students?  What do teachers have to say about the way kids behave and the help they get, or not, from the administration?
      • Are things getting better or worse?
      • What have we tried before, and why didn't it work?
      • What are we doing now, and why isn't it working?
      • What are we going to try next?
      Brad Winter was asked for a
      candid, forthright and honest
      accounting of spending over-
      budget at 6400 Uptown Blvd.
      He is yet to produce it
      More importantly, are Brad Winter and board willing to answer those questions candidly, forthrightly and honestly?

      Brad Winter was asked to tell the truth about the involvement of APS senior administrators in felony criminal misconduct that was never reported to law enforcement*.  He is yet to produce it.
      *This points coincidentally to the issue of giving administrators the authority to decide what is and isn't criminal misconduct in their schools. 
      If you give them an inch, they will take a mile.  The leadership of the APS took it upon themselves to decide that state and federal felony criminal misconduct wasn't ''bad enough'' that it needed to be reported.
      Winter and the board are paying lawyers to this day, to hide public records that name the names of APS senior administrators who committed or covered up felony criminal misconduct.

      Winter and the board are paying lawyers to this day, to cover up their cover up of felony criminal misconduct.

      Winter and the board represent the senior-most role models of student standards of conduct, and there is not one of them who will accept actual, honest to God accountability even to the law.  They spend operational dollars without limit and without oversight, on non-viable litigation and legal weaselry in order to gain settlements where in they can write; and we admit no guilt.

      Why in the world would anyone expect Winter or the board to put together a PowerPoint telling the truth about the most hushed up issue in APS?

      Which brings us to ''the press''; the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.  Everyone one of them knows about all of these issues.  The have known for years about corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

      Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz relentlessly refuses to investigate and report upon an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

      Why not?

      To be fair, the allegation; there is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS is unproven.  It is difficult to substantiate in the face of the power and resources they bring to bear in covering it up.

      The records they're hiding; the findings of investigations into the criminal misconduct going on in the leadership of their publicly funded private police force, would substantiate the allegation beyond doubt.

      That is precisely why APS is litigating to this day to skirt the NM Inspection of Public Records Act and keep hidden, the records of their corruption and incompetence.

      Why won't Walz investigate?

      Would it be too expensive, too cumbersome, too time consuming?  Hardly.  All he has to do is ask APS to produce copies of every set of standards to which the leadership of the APS claim to be accountable, and of, the due process by which they can be held accountable to those standards.  A handful of documents at most.

      The lack of (high enough) standards and (certain enough) accountability will be self evident.

      The problem is the problems truth telling will create.  There in only one reason to hide the truth and that is to escape the consequences of the truth being known.

      APS Police Chief Steve Tellez and APS
      COO Brad Winter shared oversight over
      corruption in the leadership of APS'
      publicly funded private police force.
      Brad Winter, and a handful of others will be held accountable for their parts in a cover up of felony criminal misconduct.

      We can't have that.

      Let's say, for the sake of discussion, the allegation is nonsense; I'm just another disgruntled former employee and in Walz' expressed opinion, a gadfly and bomb thrower.

      Let's say APS does have standards of conduct and competence that are high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools.  Let's say they are actually, honestly accountable to those standards by a due process powerful enough to hold them accountable, even against their will.

      Why wouldn't Walz report that?

      Why wouldn't Walz inform and reassure the democracy that all is well with standards and accountability in the leadership of the largest school districts in the country?

      Is it because he doesn't want to attach his name and reputation to a lie?

      Is it because he is actually part of a conspiracy to cover people's asses, because that's the way good ol' boys and the privileged roll?

      The real problem is that there can be no "grandfathering in".
      The possibility of future corruption and incompetence cannot be eliminated without first exposing the ongoing one.  You can't eliminate corruption and incompetence without exposing the corrupt and the incompetent.

      Names will be named.  Heads will roll.
      People will embarrassed, shamed, fired, possibly prosecuted.

      Kent Walz and the news directors at the NMBA affiliate stations can't report credibly on the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS without first reporting credibly on their failure to report on the scandal heretofore.

      There will be no grandfathering in.

      photos Mark Bralley

      Wednesday, May 20, 2015

      Elephant in the room at SFPS board meeting

      In the Journal this morning, link, a report on a meeting of the Santa Fe public schools board of education.  The school board and the superintendent wore T-shirts in support of one of their principals and his handling of criminal misconduct on his campus.

      The elephant in the room; a conflict of interests;

      school board members, superintendents and principals
      have an interest in under reporting crime.  
      Whether they actually give way to their interests is moot; there is still the appearance of a conflict of interests.  It is particularly intolerable, if the school board members, superintendents and principals steadfastly refuse to deny, defend, for even acknowledge their conflict.

      The Journal proves to be still,
      no great shakes in elephant spotting.

      Tuesday, May 19, 2015

      If you've an interest in character education in the Albuquerque Public Schools

      there are three documents that you should read.

      The first is called the Aspen Declaration, link.
      It was written in July, 1992.

      United States Senator Pete
      Domenici helped write it.

      He helped sell it to congress
      who appropriated a bunch
      of money to sell it to students
      in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

      It came in the form of a specific model for teaching about character called Character Counts!. The model was later adopted by the APS board of education by unanimous resolution.  The second document to read; the resolution  they passed, link, which reads in significant part;

      3. That the Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to creating models of ethical behavior among all adults who serve students and schools;

      4. That the core curriculum should continue to give explicit attention to character development as an ongoing part of school instruction;
      That year and every year since, the board has told students via their Student Behavior Handbook; the third document you should read, link, page 3 at least, whereon it is written; students;
      are expected to "model and promote (honest accountability to) the Pillars of Character Counts! ... link.
      This is not about "Character Counts!" specifically.  It happens to be in this case because The Pillars of Character Counts! are the current standards of conduct for students and have been since 1994.

      It is about the abject failure of the leadership of the APS to make good on a solemn promise to provide opportunities for the nearly 90,000 of our sons and daughters who attend the APS to develop their good character in an environment that is deliberately supportive of their efforts.  It is about reneging on their promise to be good role models of honest accountability to higher standards of conduct.

      aps image
      In one month, Dr Luis Valentino will take charge of the APS.  He will become the senior-most administrative role model of student standards of conduct.

      Or will he?

      APS Brad Winter, interim
      Supt and former COO.  He
      still won't tell the truth about
      spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.
      Interim Supt Brad Winter would not (will not) step up to honest accountability to the same standards of conduct he expects students to embrace.
      • Former Supt Winston Brooks would not.
      • Former Supt Beth Everitt would not.
      • Former Supt Joey Vigil would not.
      • Former Supt Peter Horoschak would not.
      • No school board member ever has, will now, nor likely, will ever.
      APS' efforts to get students to embrace character and courage and honor have fallen short because of an ignoble want of honest to God role models.  Not one APS "leader" has ever been honestly accountable as a role model of anything.

      The APS School Board Code of Ethics, link, is
      by their own free admission, utterly unenforceable.

      It's one thing to say you are accountable to a set of standards; it is a whole other, to prove it.  Yet, if it is true, if one is truly accountable, it is easy to prove.  All you have to do is point to the standards and then point to the due process by which you are accountable.

      The leadership of the APS can point to neither really; not high standards and not honest to God, real accountability to those standards even against their will.

      They enjoy the aide and abet of the ilk of Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz and the news directors at the NMBA affiliate stations in Albuquerque.

      If Walz and the rest were about informing the democracy they would investigate and report upon the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

      If only to inform the democracy that there is no scandal; there is no cover up.  Incoming Supt Valentino will take charge of an oligarchy whose members are honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct within their public service.

      Ayn Rand argued;
      To fear to face an issue 
      is to believe the worst is true.
      Walz and the establishment's "press" will not face the issue because the worst is true; the leadership of the APS spends hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in order to not be accountable even to the law.  Witness the three quarters of a million dollars they've spent in a non-viable defense of their unconstitutional restrictions on public forums and Marty Esquivel's ego.

      Walz and the rest are not complacent.
      They aren't unknowingly ignorant of the scandal.
      They are complicit in its cover up.

      Walz and they are complicit in the cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crises in the leadership of the APS.

      photos Mark Bralley

      Sunday, May 17, 2015

      Editors wonder; what's the point in calling the cops?

      The Journal editors penned a piece yesterday;

      What’s the principle in bringing the law to class?, link.
      They are, I suppose, at least superficially interested in beginning a public debate on the involvement of "law enforcement" in maintaining order in schools.

      Discipline in schools, mountain or molehill?

      APS teachers are not, have not been, and will not be surveyed about student discipline and the effects of chronically disruptive students.

      Were they, there is no reason to believe that they would respond much differently than the thirteen hundred respondents in a survey, link, entitled;
      Teaching Interrupted: Do Discipline Policies in Today’s Public Schools Foster the Common Good? 
      They found;
      Too many students are losing critical opportunities for learning—and too many teachers are leaving the profession—because of the behavior of a few persistent troublemakers.
      Persistent trouble makers; chronically disruptive students, are interfering with the education of other students.  Their right to make trouble trumps the rights of other students who count among their rights, the right to have order in the classrooms, hallways and campuses.

      School boards, superintendents and principals, in their efforts to "protect" students from "law enforcement" and the consequences of their criminal misconduct, actually enable and encourage criminal misconduct.

      Part of their reasoning is that there are other, better strategies for dealing with students who break the law, than involving law enforcement.  One, and the one advocated by the Journal editorial staff;
      An after-school lesson in respect and self-control ...
      If teachers, or anyone else working at the educational interface in the presence of chronically disruptive students, were surveyed;
      Would after-school lessons in respect and self-control improve the behavior of chronically disruptive students?
      The response would indicate a shared professional consensus that that that particular strategy would be about as effective, and the results as long lasting,  as "jumping" in an effort to get closer to sun.

      APS is crippled in problem solving by their problem solving rubric.  They are about solving problems such as student discipline and chronically disruptive students;
      • without admitting that there is a problem and
      • without gathering any damning data even if data is useful in addressing problems
      APS has policies but no underpinning philosophy regarding chronically disruptive students.  In fact they have no "discipline philosophy".  They closest thing they can come up with is a student behavior handbook written and the 14th grade level.  Most parents can't read and understand it, never mind students many of whom can't read at all. 

      Instead of investigating and reporting on student discipline; student standards, accountability and chronically disruptive students, a sound first step in addressing those issues, Kent Walz and the Journal spew drivel;
      "after-school lessons in respect and self-control."
      What they need is some;
      after-school lessons in honest to God journalism.

      Friday, May 15, 2015

      Eighth graders run amok; field trip cancelled.

      Enough eighth graders at APS Tony Hillerman Middle School behaved so badly all year that a scheduled field trip to Cliff's Amusement Park was cancelled for the whole class.  KRQE, as far as I can tell, provided exclusive coverage, link. APS' award winning website offers no coverage at all, of problems at THMS.

      Noteworthy, the backside comments number more than fifty. That is unusual and speaks to strong feelings on the issue.  A lot of commenters have problems with the "blanket punishment" TH laid on the entire eighth grade.  It's based on the logic, that if the rest of the class really wanted to go to Cliff's they would have done something about the chronically disruptive students at their school.

      If powerful adults cannot control the chronically disruptive students at THMS, how can they expect powerless children to control them?

      The report offers some incontrovertible proof that
      a significant number of APS students* are out of control.

      *If you think this is just Tony Hillerman's problem, you are mistaken; badly mistaken.

      If you think adults who make the rules are "in charge"; look up "in charge" - it means in control.  Who is in control, the adult who makes the rule, or the student who chooses to ignore it?

      The worst is true; about APS and about Kent Walz and the Journal

      "To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true."

      Ayn Rand
      There is an issue that is not being faced;
      student discipline in APS classrooms.
      There is some debate about the breadth and depth of the issue and the problems it creates, but reasonable people agree there is "an issue".  In particular, there is an issue with chronically disruptive students interfering with the education of other students.

      I maintain that the leadership of the APS is too afraid and or too corrupt to face the issue of student standards of conduct and the board and administrations largely fectless  enforcement of those standards. 
      There is no evidence to the contrary.

      There are at least two reasons the school board and senior administrators are afraid to talk about student discipline and chronically disruptive students;
      1. it is they who establish the standards of conduct for students, and
      2. it is they are responsible for their enforcement.  Enforcing discipline policies is an administrative responsibility. The failure is their failure.

      Why else than the worst imaginable? is there no record at all of student discipline in the APS to examine and review; no historical record, no contemporary record, and no intention to create any records henceforward, of student discipline problems or their effect on learning.

      Never forget that it was Walz
      who joined Marty Esquivel in
      bamboozling the NM FOG
      into giving Winston Brooks 
      a Dixon Award while the
      three of them together were up
      to their eyeballs in a cover up
      of a cover up of felony 
      criminal misconduct in APS.
      Why else, other than Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz' own complacency or complicity, in APS' cover up, does the Journal have no record of investigating and reporting upon student discipline in the APS?

      If you "Google" "newspaper articles on student discipline" you get 127K hits.  If you search the Journal's website for "student discipline APS" you get zero hits.  I rest my case.

      In the absence of their willingness to face the issue with candor, forthrightness and honesty, it is fair and prudent to believe that the worst is true;
      • there are student discipline problems and chronically disruptive students in the APS; the scope of which has been deliberately minimized and or covered up.
      • we cannot expect the Journal to report on real problems in the APS, if in that reporting, school board member and senior administrative incompetence or corruption will exposed.

      photo Mark Bralley