Monday, December 22, 2014

An open letter in response to the Journal's most reprehensible editorial ever

The editorial in the Journal this morning, link;

Rape of unconscious girl troubling on many levels

"The reported rape of a Valley High School student", you wrote,

... is troubling on several levels.
Then you have the unmitigated gall to wonder aloud;
Could the school have done more in a way that might help to protect future victims? emphasis added
You sons of bitches!  You cowardly and corrupt pukes!

I told you eight years ago, that the leadership of the APS was completely abandoning character education.  More than abandoning it; they were and are erasing their ties as fast an furiously as they can.

I told you that year and several times every year since:
they removed role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
be lower than the standard of conduct for students
I told you they had utterly abandoned any concerted effort to help students develop their good character, and you relentless refused and still do, to investigate and report on their abdication.

You relentlessly refuse to investigate and report upon credible evidence and testimony of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, and then wonder aloud if the schools could have done something!  How dare you?

Even your solution today, in the face of such unconscionable behavior?; is to underwrite the validity of APS'  current efforts to help students develop their character;
"maybe we could have them read a book".
Maybe “Lord of the Flies” isn’t required reading anymore, but perhaps it should be if peer pressure is such that young people appear to willingly accept animalistic group behavior they know is wrong – and then ridicule the victim.
Have you forgotten, for the purposes of this editorial,
that most students can read? And, further, it wouldn't do any real good even if they could.

Do you really suppose there was a single student there that night who hadn't at some point in their last decade in school, "read" the fable about George Washington and personal accountability to higher standards of conduct? 

Character is taught by personal example, only.

You continue;
Rape isn’t a new problem, so it’s hard to fathom that some people need to be told that they have a role in stopping it.
No harder to fathom than the sun rising in the east.

Obviously they do.  Students do need to be told why you don't stand around and do nothing in the face of a rape.  How else can we expect them to make the right decision, rely human nature?  Not only do they need to be told, they need to be shown.

Edmund Burke could not have said it better;
All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world
is for good people to do nothing. derived
It is fair I think, when something goes really wrong; to blame the people who could have done the most to stop it, but did little or nothing at all.

If there is a decline in the manifest character of students, there is no one who could have done more to reverse the decline than you, the editors of the Journal.

The problem is; this isn't about the best interests of students.

It's about the best interests of school board members and senior administrators who have no interest at all, not even in its smallest measure, of being held honestly accountable as role models of higher standards of conduct than the law, and about your complacency about and or complicity in their efforts to cover it up.

If I'm wrong, somebody ought to be able to stand up in an open meeting and point out why.

Somebody ought to be able to explain in words that any student can understand; why it is that;
students are expected to model and promote honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, and
school board members, senior administrators and newspaper editors, are not.
Every generation expects the next generation
to be the first generation to hold itself honestly
accountable to higher standards of conduct.

It hasn't worked before, it isn't working now and, there is no reason to believe it ever will.

If we truly want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone is going to have to show them what it looks like; by their own personal example.

In this context that would be; school board members, senior administrators and news paper editors.

If Trevor worked for me, he would draw the editors hiding behind their masthead watching students  watching students rape students and wondering in a collective thought bubble;
shouldn't somebody be doing something?

cc the editors upon posting by means of a comment posted on their editorial.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Running for the APS School Board problematic

I want to run on principles, and apparently, the only way to win (any election) is to condense the important issues into negative bumper stickers.


Somebody, please tell me how
to fit that on a bumper sticker.
If after the election, you want policy making decisions to reflect the input of stake and interest holders, if you want public meetings in which there will be candid, forthright and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve
you need to elect board members who support that goal.

There isn't another candidate offering stake and interest holders meaningful participation in decision making that affects their interests.

Not one.




photo Mark Bralley


APS and APD police officers are working at cross purposes

In many circumstances, you will find both APS police officers and APD police officers on APS campuses.

Their purpose there generally runs in parallel but at the most fundamental level, contradict.

Albuquerque Police Department officers are there to enforce the law as they understand it and according to the discretion they are allowed as police officers.

Albuquerque Public Schools officers are there to enforce the law according to the discretion of principals, superintendents and school board members.

However outlandish that sounds, however unbelievable,
all you have to do is ask an APS officer whether they are
following their own conscience and discretion, or
following administrative directives, link.

The APS Police force is a publicly funded private police force.  They answer directly to, and only to the leadership of the APS.  Ask, if you don't believe me.

There is a problem; a conflict of interests.

The leadership of the APS does not want students to be charged with crimes on campus.  It looks bad.

I had a high school principal once tell me;

"If I told the truth about what is going on at my (high)school, the realtors in my neighborhood would have my neck."
I had an APS Supt once tell me, when I was relaying the teachers union interest in teachers knowing the truth about what is going on at their own schools;
"You can't just tell the truth, you never know how someone might want to use it."
A recent enough audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found; administrators routinely "falsified crime statistics" to protect the public image of their schools.

School principals, superintendents and school board members do not have legal authority to decide which laws will and will not be enforced.  They do not have the authority to decide which students will and will not be arrested.  They do it because they can.

They do it because they cannot be held actually, honestly accountable for doing it.

They will tell you, if they answer your question at all;
  • They are protecting the interests of children.

  • They don't want young children to be branded as "criminals".
  • They want (some) children who commit (some) crimes to be indistinguishable from all children who commit no crimes;
... standing in favor of open
honest and public two-way
communication between the
leadership of the APS and the
community members they
serve.
If nothing else, it's more than
just a little unfair to children
who commit no crimes at all.

Ayn Rand wrote;
It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and from condemning men's vices. 

When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you - whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?

Whether young children should or should not be arrested and charged with criminal misconduct is an important question, worth discussing; openly, honestly, and publicly.  We need to know exactly how much discretion is allowed the leadership of the APS.  We need to know whether they are abusing their discretion in their own interests.  What impartial oversight is there?

Ask them.

Better yet, ask Kent Walz and
the Journal to ask them, link.

They'll get right on it.




photo Mark Bralley

Friday, December 19, 2014

Why do you want to be a board member for Albuquerque Public Schools?

So begins the Albuquerque Public Schools 2015 Questionnaire for Board of Education Candidates, link.

Candidates are cautioned;

Answers should be brief and concise
Unclear whose instruction that is; why they think responses need limiting by anyone except the respondent, or from where comes the authority to expect that they do.

It is eerily similar to APS public forums where speakers are now expected to collect and present their thoughts, on even the most complex of issues, in 60 seconds or less.

I expect the Journal will do the same; give us your thoughts in 25 words or less, 50, if its a slow news day and there's room among the ads.

...........................................................

Why do you want to be a board member for Albuquerque Public Schools?

I want to be a board member in order to change from the inside, the communication dynamic between the leadership of the APS and the community. I will propose;
  • open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve around important issues and decisions.
  • that these discussions be facilitated by expert and independent meeting facilitators whose goal is to enable meaningful participation by stake and interest holders, in decision making that affects their interests.  It is preposterous in my opinion, that despite their shared nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience, teachers have no seat at the table where decisions are made. And that it is equally preposterous that the people whose children attend the APS and whose taxes underwrite APS efforts, have no seat at the table where decisions are made.
  • that transparency in public records and public meetings will be limited only by ethical interpretation of the law.
Each of these points represent a current problems created by an ongoing and intransigent reluctance on the part of the board and their superintendent to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly in response to legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service.

I want to be a school board member in order to draw attentions to and rectify the problem that allows board members and superintendents to refuse to answer inconvenient questions;
  • School board members and administrators are not actually, honestly accountable to any set of standards that require them to tell the truth to be candid, forthright and honest with stakeholders. 
  • Student standards, annually re-established and enforced by the board via their superintendent, are higher standards and require truth telling.  
  • The standards to which the board and supt are actually accountable, the law, are the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings, and does not require candor, forthrightness and honesty, even in relationships of trust.

    The board and supt hold themselves accountable only to the standards that all higher standards are higher than.  And that only after spending unlimited amounts of money with no real oversight in efforts to litigate for themselves, exception even to the law, and admissions of no guilt even in settlements they lose.
I want to be a school board member in order to restore the role modeling clause they struck from executive and administrative codes of conduct.
  • In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult (in particular school board members and administrators) be lower than the standards of conduct for students
I want to be a school board member to create honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct for school board members as role models for staff and students, because
  • if we really want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, who willing accept honest accountability to higher standards of conduct, someone is going to have to show them what it looks like;
    1. the board will be expected to show the Supt what it looks like, and then
    2. the Supt and administrators will be expected to show teachers what it looks like, and then
    3. teachers will show students what it looks like.
"The proper time to influence the character of a child is about a hundred years before he’s born", according to William R. Inge, American playwright (1913-1973)
Having missed that deadline by about a hundred years, we must attend to the next;
The right time, to do the right thing, is always right now. unk
Character development should be part of the core curriculum.
To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and president (1858-1919)
The formation of character in young people is educationally a different task from and a prior task to, the discussion of the great, difficult ethical controversies of the day.
William J. Bennett, author and former U.S. Secretary of Education (b. 1943)
If we want our children to possess the traits of character we most admire, we need to teach them what those traits are and why they deserve both admiration and allegiance. Children must learn to identify the forms and content of those traits.
again - William J. Bennett

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Achievement gaps

third in a series of position papers on the APS School Board race.

Achievement gaps are individual.

All you get when you add together all the individual achievement gaps of students of a particular ethnicity and divide by their number is statistically defensible but otherwise educationally useless number.

It doesn't make any difference what the student looks like or where they live.  If the student is standing behind a screen, any good teacher can figure out after awhile, what that individual students problems are.

Any good teacher would address those problems individually (if they could) and that student's individual educational gap will close.

When all student's individual gaps close, groups of them divided by their number will take care of themselves.  Why do we even do that; if group fixes of individual ignorance worked, public education as we know it, would be working.


There is no group fix for individual problems.  If there were, the educational model we're still using; cemetery seating and thought choirs exploring, thinking and learning in unison for twelve years, would be producing better results.

People talk of "herding kittens"; which is exactly what we expect teachers to do; take 30 children with nothing in common but their age and the neighborhood they live in, and expect them to learn together, in unison, each on the same page in the same book on the same day.  All while maintaining and supporting and nurturing their kitten-like curiosity and motivation.

When our mission changes to;

create independent learners at the earliest opportunity
there will be no talk of gaps based on ethnicity or anything else except on each student's ability and motivation.

There is no such thing as a disengaged learner.

You cannot make a student "engage" any more than you can make a horse drink water.  We have abandoned the exploitation of an an intrinsic, absolutely natural curiosity and motivation to explore and learn, in favor of standardizing performance on standardized tests.

Enough already.

They say there is no stopping an idea whose time has come.
As a matter of fact, it was Victor Hugo who said it first, link,
“On resiste a l’invasion des armees; 
on ne resiste pas a l’invasion des idees.”*
*if you don't read in french;
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea
whose time has come.”
Ched MacQuigg; individual
lifelong learners at the earliest
opportunity.
It is time to let students learn
as fast and as furiously
as they are able.

Let them follow their nose,
keep them out of trouble,
point them only if you really,
absolutely, have no other choice.




photo Mark Bralley

Korte; about to get steam rolled out of office?

School Board elections are supposed to be non-partisan.  Reasonably so.

Blogger Monahan suggests
this morning, link, that
Governor Susana Martinez
maybe starting to throw
her political weight around
in the election of the next
School Board; in particular
the race for Kathy Korte's
school board seat.

Korte has been a thorn in
the governors' side.

Los Aragon at filing.
Running against Korte,
teacher Peggy Muller-Aragon.

Monahan is concerned, her ties
to the Martinez administration, in
which her husband, Robert Aragon
is a favorite, portend interference
from the Governor's political machine,
in a supposedly non-partisan race.

Muller-Aragon proudly proclaims  on
her own website, link; to have been
"Active in Governor Martinez's successful 2010 campaign ..."


Adding to speculation that Martinez might be going after Korte personally, is the likely participation of the UNM Health Sciences Senior Strategic Advisor, Ryan Cangiolosi in the decision to fire Korte from her job at UNMH, link.

Awhile back, Cangiolosi was Gov Susana Martinez' Deputy Chief of Staff.



Is the Martinez/McClesky steam roller about to roll over Kathy Korte?

NM shadow governor (because
it's always and only about "winning"
elections) Jay McClesky
Martinez/McClesky still has lots of money left over from the gubernatorial race.

In a race where Monahan says the average candidate spends $15K, a candidate with McClesky's support could end up spending $150K and never bat an eye.

Is that what we really need, back to back attack ads on Korte on every TV station and billboard from now until the election?

If there ever were an election that belongs to the people more than another, it would be a school board election.

Just because the people have no expressed interest in voting in it, doesn't mean it should be turned over to political parties to decide.

The people can take back control over the election simply by participating in it.  Go to forums; ask tough questions.  Vote.  Encourage others to vote.





photos Mark Bralley

Ethics, standards and accountability in the APS

Second in a collection of position papers related to my election campaign.

2.  Ethics, standards and accountability in the APS
I chose those words to describe the issue deliberately, I could simply have said standards and accountability but I think it is vitally important to start using the word ethics for something beside decoration on codes of conduct.

Nobody seems to want to talk about ethics.  Nobody seems to want to talk about student, adult, administrative and, executive standards of conduct.

Students are expected to behave ethically.

Every year, the School Board reminds them in their Student Behavior Handbook, that they are expected to model and promote (accountability to) the Pillars of Character Counts! link; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

Every year, the School Board reminds us that they are not accountable even to the law; the standards of conduct that higher standards are higher than.  They spend millions of dollars litigating exception for themselves, from the law.  Operational dollars are traded for admissions of "no guilt" in expensive settlements; does $300K ring a bell?

How can we possibly expect to teach students about ethics if we can't bring ourselves to use the word except in the abstract?

Do we even want to teach students about ethics?


Is character education going to be part of the curriculum or are we going to abandon students to their own devices?

It is time we had that open and honest public discussion.

Even an elephant in the room at two
school board meetings and an unlawful
ejection upon the second instance, 
could attract the attention of the Journal
They refuse to this day to investigate and
report upon the ethics, standards and 
accountability scandal in the so-called
"leadership" of the APS.
It is time to stop ignoring the elephant in the room; the leadership of the APS expects students to model and promote honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than those that school board members and senior administrators are willing to be held accountable.  It is an outrage.

It is a scandal.

There isn't any difference between the highest standards and the lowest, if higher standards of conduct than the law are unenforceable.

The APS School Board freely admits that their own code of ethics is absolutely unenforceable.

If it were, the board could explain in words any student could understand, how it is, that their code can be enforced upon them.  Hell, they can't even explain it in legalese.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What is your platform?

The question was asked of me, by a friend who takes elections seriously.  I don't. I think elections are routinely manipulated by powerful people in their own interests and I really have no expectation that they can be beat at their own game on their home field.

I am therefore, running on my own terms.

I am not going to play the politics game.  I'm not going to beg for money and favors from strangers or friends.  My objective is to get ethics, standards and accountability on the table for open and honest public discussion.

If anyone really wants to help, they need to spread the word on the school board election and the candidate forums.  Ask questions about ethics, standards and accountability in the APS.

Ask and listen to their response to the question;

Are you willing to hold yourself accountable
as a role model of student standards of conduct?
a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct
Are you willing to walk the talk?  Are you willing to show students by your personal example, what it looks like to;
 "model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!"
Will you hold yourself accountable to to those standards or to any standards by due process; free of appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety, free of undue influence and, powerful enough to hold you accountable, even against your will?

It is an important question because the senior administration and school board are not now, actually, honestly accountable even to the law.  They spend millions and millions of dollars (that could be spent in classrooms instead) in courtrooms litigating settlements containing admissions of no guilt of incompetence or corruption.

And, that needs to change.

It will not end until the school board and superintendent provide for themselves, honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

That will not happen if ethics, standards and accountability are kept out of the election discourse yet again.  The cover up of corruption in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force, has stayed out of Journal coverage since the election in 2007.

However ends the election, so ends your influence in the hiring of the next superintendent.  A man or woman who will or, will not bring honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct, to the board, to the senior administration, to educators and to students.

There are those in this election who do not want to talk about ethics standards and accountability in the APS.  There are those who don't want to talk about the inescapable responsibilities of the very senior-most role models of student standards of conduct.

They enjoy the aid and abet of those who you'd expect to be looking into the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the APS; the establishments media; the Journal for one.  They relentlessly refuse to investigate and report on the scandal, even to report there is no scandal.

No scandal would be newsworthy too, right?

Ethics, standards and accountability need to be on the table for discussion.

I intend that they will be;
in time for the election and
long before they hire the next
superintendent; in a series of
meetings they'll be holding
in secret from stakeholders.




photo Mark Bralley

APS insists; no criminal investigation of APS Police scandal

Up to and including late 2006, there was felony criminal misconduct going on in the leadership of the APS Police force.  The Journal investigated and reported, link, felonious abuse of a federal criminal database and felonious misappropriation of cash in evidence.

APS' Custodian of Public Records and Directer of Communications Rigo Chavez relentlessly insists;
"... there was only one investigation conducted on allegations of misconduct and that was the one done by Access Investigations under a contract with Robert Caswell Investigations, which had an agreement with APS Human Resources."
No agency of law enforcement ever investigated allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators. 

Evidence of felony criminal misconduct was never turned over to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Which begs a question about the Robert Caswell investigation.  If he uncovered evidence of felony criminal misconduct, he did unless he willfully ignored what he found, wasn't Caswell under any obligation to turn the evidence over to law enforcement?

Is it really "legal" to have a private eye do the evidence gathering just so you can hide it away in a "personnel file"?

Either the leadership of the APS police force investigated it's own felony public corruption, or they didn't; meaning nobody did, ever.

I believe the APS police did self-investigate its own leadership.  And that the findings they are trying so hard to hide, show that Steve Tellez, who would later become Chief, knew, or should have known about the corruption in which he was awash as Deputy Chief.

photo by ched macquigg
I believe the investigation was
conducted by the current APS
Police Chief Steve Gallegos. 

I believe he is making $108K
a year to keep his mouth shut
about what he uncovered.

 




I believe they enjoy aide and
abet in the cover from Journal
Editor in Chief Kent Walz. 

Even in the face of school board election and search for a superintendent.

These beliefs are used on occasion, to characterize me as some kind of nut.  Who knows? but it's beside the point.

All APS has to do prove I'm only a nut, is to produce an exculpating, contradictory truth. 

That they relentless refuse to tell the truth, and refuse to explain why they won't produce the ethically redacted findings of investigations of allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators, says something. 

That they are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of operational dollars to keep them hidden, even through a school board election and superintendent search says something loudly; it screams it.




photos Mark Bralley

Korte axed by the "committee of leadership"

APS School Board Member and candidate Kathy Korte is nothing if not outspoken.

The Journal reports this morning, link, her outspokenness cost her her job at UNMH.

The scary part from my perspective, the circumstances of the firing.
"... Korte was called into (Supervisor Missy) LaBate’s office. ... Ryan Randall, director of employee and labor relations at UNMH, ...  informed her that the “committee of leadership” had met “and had made a decision to separate her employment from UNMH.”  (Korte was given) ...“an ultimatum, either to resign from her job at UNMH and leave the building of her own free will, or to be terminated and escorted off the premises by security.”
Ouch

Who do you suppose sits on the the "committee of leadership"?   Whose fist pounds on the table last?  Why is it a mystery?  Why do the men and women who sit on it think it should be?  It sounds creepily Orwellian.

Gee, I wonder if it will come out in discovery.

It's going to cost taxpayers a bundle. 
"Facing “the humiliation of being escorted out of the building in front of her coworkers and the stigma of being terminated, she was left with no choice other than to resign,” the suit states.
According to the Journal; according to the suit;
UNM’s decision to fire her “in retaliation for her exercise of protected free speech … were intentional, malicious, wanton and willful, and undertaken in reckless disregard of and with deliberate indifference to Ms. Korte’s rights.”
The same could be said for Ms Korte's participation in Marty Esquivel, her and the board's violation of my free speech rights.
APS' decision to ban me “in retaliation for my exercise of protected free speech … were intentional, malicious, wanton and willful, and undertaken in reckless disregard of and with deliberate indifference to my rights.”
Wait til she finds out what it's like to be on the other end of suing the government and their unlimited will and resources to conduct cost is no object litigation in pursuit of their admissions of no guilt.




 photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

APS' Mission Statement

Every once in a while, mission statements should be revisited. One could argue; the overall goal, the primary objective, should be continuously examined and reviewed.

APS' mission statement has been revised at least six times; the last time more than seven years ago.
The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education in collaboration with the superintendent and staff will work together and in partnership with families and the community in a systematic way to ensure that all students succeed.
Revised: January 17, 1990
Revised: May 3, 1995
Revised: February 20, 1996
Revised: April, 2001
Revised: September 20, 2006
Revised: August 15, 2007

Seven years is a long time to go between glances at a mission statement.

Teaching isn't difficult because the mission is difficult.  Teaching is difficult because of mission creep. It used to be about students learning; now it's about students learning in unison.

The mission results educators are expected to deliver reflect their success in standardizing the individual performance of dozens of students with little more in common than their age and the neighborhood in which the happen to live.

It's called cemetery seating; five rows of six desks;
students learning in unison, each on the same page,
in same book, on the same day, for twelve years.

Except for the days when they put down their books
and take tests in unison.

Even if we could do it; even if we could herd cats,
why would we want to?

It isn't because anyone actually believes cemetery seating is the best way for any child to learn. It's because its a good way to sell textbooks and standardized tests; a multibillion dollar a year industry. 

I propose another glance at the mission of the Albuquerque Public Schools.  More than a glance, I propose a full blown open and honest public discussion and review.

That discussion needs to take place before we hire the next superintendent.

That discussion needs to take place before we elect the school board members who will hire the next superintendent.

Submitted for stake and interest holder approval, a new mission;
To create independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity. 
And, while we're about their creation,
doing whatever we can to encourage the nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters in the APS, to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor.
Adults who will serve as role models of honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

Adults who see doing more than the law requires and less than the law allows as a sacrifice they are willing to make, in defense of their good character.

Always and forever, every generation
expects the next generation
to be the first generation
to hold itself honestly accountable
higher standards of conduct.

Always and forever, do as I say, not as I do
didn't work.  It never has; it never will.


Ched MacQuigg; real accountability
to meaningful standards of conduct
and competence in public service
in the leadership of the APS
For two hundred years we've been reduced to propagating a tall tale, link, about a child, a hatchet and a cherry tree in an effort to show children what character looks like.

We wouldn't have to make up stuff to illustrate character and courage and honor, if when we needed an example of someone holding them self honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct,

if when we needed a role model for children to emulate,

all we had to do is point and say;
  • like your teacher does, 
  • like your principal does, 
  • like the superintendent does, and
  • like school board members do.



photo Mark Bralley

Monday, December 15, 2014

Since when is the will of the people a "wish list" for consideration by legislators?

Around this time of year, people start talking about
their wish list for the legislative session beginning in mid January.

If the will of the people is a list at all,
it is a to do list.
A list of the things we expect them to do.

The reason the "to do" list* never gets done, is because it isn't a "to do" list at all. It's a "wish" list.

*the people's to do list;
  • transparent accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence in politics and public service.
  • transparency in open meetings and public records, limited only by the law
  • meaningful participation by stake and interest holders, in decision making that affects their interests.
Masters don't wish their servants would do the things they are expected to do.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the public, not of public servants.

Fundamental among those terms; public servants are accountable to the public, and to meaningful standards of conduct and competence, at least for the eight measly hours a day that we have to "trust" them with the control over our power and our resources.

It is up to the people to decide which records will or will not be ethically redacted before they are produced.

It is up to the people to decide when their servants need to meet in secret, and what it is we will allow them to decide in secret from our oversight.

When it comes to protecting the public interests, trust in human nature in a temptation rich environment runs a far, far distant second to transparent accountability to high standards of conduct and competence.  At the risk of putting too fine a point on it; it is bone crushingly, mind numbingly naive to believe you can let people wield power and spend resources in secret, and that your interests are actually protected by your "trust" that they will not yield to the nearly irresistible temptations in which they are awash.

Accountability by due process of complaints; free of undue influence and powerful enough to hold superintendents and school board members accountable, even against their will. 

That is what is going to protect you from paying $800 for chairs for board members to sit in twice a month, ever again.




photo Mark Bralley

APS School Board President Analee Maestas has a challenger!

APS Board President Analee Maestas
Sylvia Boker, link, announces that Madelyn Jones, a south valley resident, has announced her candidacy for the APS Board of Education.  She will vie for the seat currently held by APS School Board President Analee Maestas.

Jones announced that she was registering as a school board candidate in District 1, South Valley, on Tuesday and that her campaign will start immediately as the election is early February.

She solicited help and offered an email address that I was not at liberty to share in the context in which I received it.  I will update as I am able.




photo Mark Bralley

Public servants and private lives

A number of questions will be asked during the upcoming campaign for school board seats.

In nearly every circumstance, questions will be allowed only limited responses.  The Journal will insist that we explain how we would fix what's wrong in 25 words or less; 50 if it's a slow news day.  In forums, answers will be limited to two minutes.

I cannot explain in 25 words or less, nor can I explain in two minutes, how I feel about important issues.  Therefore, in those circumstances I will refer interest holders to a blog post on that subject.  I will endeavor to write, candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

1.  Public servants' rights to a private lives.

I'm going to start with that, because the nature of politics seems to be personal destruction in place of civil discourse; it's where campaigns begin, stay and end.

It will be politically "disadvantageous", but I refuse to surrender my privacy in order to get votes maybe, from people who forfeited my respect when they expressed their interest in invading my privacy in the first place.

I, and anyone else who is running for any office any where, enjoy a Constitutionally protected human right to privacy.

Because I, and they are citizens of the United States,

our privacy cannot be invaded except by warrant.

Public service does not create a warrant to invade private lives.  Running for public office does not create the warrant.

The invasion of privacy is not only unwarranted, it is manifestly unsuccessful.  We have long invaded private lives and still haven't managed to elect and hire enough people we can "trust".

When it comes to protecting the public interests from corruption and incompetence,  trustworthiness falls a long distant second to actual accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

If politicians and public servants found it impossibly difficult to hide their incompetence and corruption, there would be less public corruption and incompetence.  If they were actually accountable (punished) for their incompetence and corruption, there would be less public corruption and incompetence.

It is possible to make it virtually impossible to hide public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

It is only a matter of (their lack of their) will.

I, am willing.

Though I stand resolutely opposed to the invasion of private lives, including my own, by anyone who is not a stakeholder in that private life or, who is not carrying a warrant from a court of competent authority,

I do stand in favor of transparency
in public service limited only by
an ethical interpretation of the law.

Transparency, like you have never
seen before.

Actual, honest accountability to
meaningful standards of conduct
and competence,
like you have never seen before.






photo Mark Bralley

APS Quality of Education Survey results replace "data" in APS decision making.

APS conducts surveys annually.  One such, link.  The results will guide decision making in lieu of actual data.  In cannot help but lead to poor decision making.  For example, the survey results showing a majority of parents think their kids are safe at school, justifies their lack of adequate attention, link, to school discipline and violence.

An important part, perhaps the most important part of any decision making process is the consideration of data.  By which I mean, consideration of actual measurements or statistics as the basis for discussion and reasoning.

One could argue the considerations of real data is essential to sound decision making.  One should argue as well, meaningful participation by interest and stakeholders is equally essential to sound decision making.

The leadership of the APS is compelled at times to make important decisions.  They need to decide right now for example, what it is they intend to do about student discipline.  In particular, they need to decide what to do with chronically disruptive students.

When they make that decision, it will be based on survey results which indicate that a majority of survey respondents think their kids are safe at school.  The truth is, they have no idea how safe their kid is at school.  They have no idea how many fights there are at their school, or the number of bullies, or the number of other kids caught with drugs.  It's all a big secret.

A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found that administrators routinely covered up crime statistics at their schools as part of the public relations effort.  I once was told by an APS Deputy Superintendent, Tom Savage, that, while a principal at Albuquerque High, he couldn't tell the truth about what was going on at his school because "the realtors in my neighborhood would have my neck".

The APS School Board openly advocates "administrative discretion" over whether a student who breaks the law, will suffer the consequences of breaking the law, link.  Two officers standing side by side witnessing the same criminal act.  Both including their own professional discretion as to whether an arrest is appropriate under the circumstances.

One, the APD officer, would arrest the kid and allow the legal system to decide the consequences.  The other, the APS officer, is ordered to turn the kid over to an administrator to decide whether the kid should have a record of his or her criminal misconduct.

Imagine, if APS officers are not even allowed to arrest student criminals at their own discretion, what are they ordered to do when a senior administrator or school board member breaks the law?

Statistics on criminal activity and chronically disruptive students are not compiled because they don't look good.  Why, if statistics substantiated the belief that the leadership of the APS is trying to create;

  • that children are safe at school and,
  • that their classes are not being routinely disrupted by chronically disruptive students
do they conflate those statistics other unrelated statistics, or not gather them at all?

If there is a failure to keep campuses safe and orderly, it is an administrative failure.  Period.

The easiest way to cover up failure is to not document it.  Nobody ever loses their job over not keeping the records of their incompetence and or corruption.

Ched MacQuigg
That could change with the next school board election.

There could be ethics, standards and accountability in public service in the APS

Or not,

depending on whether the Journal completes its investigation and report upon ethics, standards and accountability in the APS before the election, after the election, or not at all.




photo Mark Bralley