Friday, December 15, 2017

Journal editors mistaken in belief in APS "graduation" rates

The Journal editors would like you to believe that while things aren't very much better, they are at least a little better, link.

APS’ graduation rates have gone up. They would like you to think it is because they are finally doing a better job of educating nearly 90,000 of this community’s sons and daughters.

In fact, the graduation rate went up in no small part, due to at least two mathematical manipulations. The first was to change the grad rate calculation to include students who graduated a year late. The grad rate went up, but not because students were learning any more effectively.

The second manipulation was to exclude from the calculation, students who had previously failed 9th grade. Again, the graduation rate climbed, but not because anything good was happening.

Graduation rates are a poor measure of educational effectiveness; if for no other reason than they are so easily manipulated.

A better measure is one of the actual performances of graduates. Take for example, ACT and SAT scores. They are an apparently accurate measure of the performance of the group of students who normally take them. ACT and SAT scores of APS students are static. APS graduates are not performing any better on objective testing than they used to; they aren’t getting better.

“Graduating” more students with meaningless graduation certificates is not improvement.

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Lucrative gigs" and the leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools

The Journal reported this morning that Luis Valentino has landed on his feet; for a few months at least, link.  In the report, it was mentioned tangentially, that a secret settlement had been reached with a player in Valentino's local scandal.  I posted a comment on his settlement;

"Terms are confidential for six months."

The leadership of the APS is in hope that in six months’ time, people will have forgotten what happened here.

What happened here is; school board members and senior administrators have spent untold hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars on yet another cost-is-no-object legal defense for APS insiders.

According to whoever wrote the headline, Valentino has landed a "lucrative gig in Portland". It is a shame (literally) that the Journal will not investigate and report upon the very “lucrative gigs” right here in River City; being a lawyer defending APS insiders; spending without limit or oversight from a large bore pipeline to the operational fund.

The APS school board has access to the operational fund. The operational fund is supposed to be spent educating nearly 90K of this city's sons and daughters. Operational dollars could, should and would be spent on education were they not being squandered instead on litigation and legal weaselry.

The board underwrites the cost-is-no-object defenses in secret from stake and interest holders. They steadfastly refuse to record their meetings in secret. They spend without oversight (subordinate oversight is not oversight; it is an oxymoron) and without (practical) limit.

“Terms are confidential for six months."

Then they keep the settlement secret from the taxpayers who thought their tax dollars were being spent on teachers and the others who actually work with children.

The Journal could have the record right now if they wanted it. APS tried to keep my settlement terms secret from the people who paid for the "most expensive lawsuit of its type" in the history of the United States.  We prevailed, link, and the Journal had no choice but to publish the details (albeit in a manner that steered accountability and the leadership of the APS in different directions).

Nor will the Journal investigate and report in six months’ time, how the leadership of the APS is squandering trust and treasure in order to buy admissions of "no guilt" in unjustifiably expense legal settlements in their effort to escape any real consequences for their public corruption and incompetence.

It runs far deeper than complacency about the scandal and the cover up in APS; they are complicit. Kent Walz and the Journal are part and parcel of a cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership.

Else, they would prove otherwise. They would investigate and report upon stewardship and the leadership of the APS. Are the public trust and treasure being squandered or are they being well spent?

Either truth is newsworthy.

No truth is a cover up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

APS illegally wiretapping employees - "disturbing if true"

according the editors at the Journal, link.

That the Journal editors are "disturbed" is of zero import.

The bottom line is that they have no intention of investigating and reporting on the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, just the most resent manifestation of which is, this illegal wiretapping of an employee.

I posted a comment on the editorial.  It reads;

“disturbing if it’s true”
Dear editors,
Prepare to be disturbed.

Robert Caswell Investigations is part and parcel to a cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

Caswell investigates (in particular) allegations and evidence of criminal misconduct against school board members and senior administrators. If they find evidence of criminal misconduct, even felony criminal misconduct, they turn the evidence and testimony over to the leadership of the APS who then hides it from stake and interest holders.

For example, in Feb, 2007, the Journal reported upon felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators and the leadership of their publicly funded, private police force, link.

Caswell investigated and then turned the evidence over to APS to hide. This despite, what I understand to be, their legal obligation to turn any such evidence over to law enforcement.

There is NO record that any evidence was ever surrendered to the District Attorney for consideration for prosecution.

APS covered it up and then retaliated against anyone who tried to expose it.

The Journal knows about it and has made a deliberate decision to enable the cover up.

The Journal knows about the double standards of conduct in the APS; students are expected to model and promote honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics, while school board members and senior administrators (by means of cost-is-no-object litigation and legal weaselry) are demonstrably unaccountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable among civilized human beings.

The Journal knows about the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS and relentlessly refuses to inform stake and interest holders, even to inform them that the worry is unfounded.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

APS squandering millions on "cost is no object" legal defenses

The leadership of the APS continues to spend money like water; millions and millions of operational dollars spent on cost is no object legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators, link.

I sent following letter to the editor with no expectation of publication; it's just not the way they roll.

The leadership of the APS has (obviously unlimited) access to the district's operational fund - dollars that could, would and should be spent in classrooms were they not being spent in courtrooms on litigation and legal weaselry.  Students are being cheated out of millions of dollars in order to fund "cost is no object" legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators.  The board knowingly permits and/or negligently allows the spending in meetings in secret, and of which no recording is ever made (nothing that could be subpoenaed and used against them in court.

There are a very few law firms and lawyers who have been the beneficiaries of the board's largesse for decades.  At one point, the president of the APS school board and the president of APS' all-time favorite law firm; the Modrall, were married and reaping  the benefits together.  There is talk of making former school board member (and personal beneficiary of "cost is no object" defenses of his own) is going to get own private spigot off the operational fund pipe line.

Imagine for a moment that none of the above is true.  Imagine that the board actually has a record of appropriate spending.  By what logic would that not be newsworthy? 

If student discipline problems were not adversely affecting the educational process; if campuses and classrooms really were under the control of the adults, by what logic would that not be newsworthy?

If criminal misconduct on campuses were not being covered up by administrators and their own publicly funded police force, by what logic would that not be newsworthy.

If school board members and senior administrators were willing to stand up as role models of student standards of conduct, if they were willing to be held honestly accountable the same standards of conduct that they establish and enforce upon students, by what logic would that not be newsworthy?

Kent Walz has for years, enabled the cover up the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.  He and Marty Esquivel managed a “hero of transparency” award for Winston Brooks for God's sake.

When is the Journal going to investigate and report upon the truth about the lack of accountability in the leadership of the APS?  When are you going to stop enabling them?  When will interests of students and staff and the educations of nearly 90,000 of this community’s sons and daughters percolate to the top of your list of priorities?

Monday, May 08, 2017

The truth in Don Moya's allegation will be hard to come by

The Journal reports, link, that the leadership of the APS has spent $680K on their legal defenses regarding the whistleblower lawsuit filed by former APS CFO Don Moya.

Moya's lawyer Kate Ferlic, alleges that the district has “... spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in this case, and they’ve had every opportunity to let the truth be known.”

Unclear to me, what Ferlic meant by the leadership of the leadership of the APS has had

“... every opportunity to let the truth be known.”  
They've had every opportunity to let the truth be known and then what exactly; haven't? won't? can't?

I suspect that had Ferlic chosen to speak less politically correctly, she might have said;
the leadership of the APS has spent $680K trying to hide the truth from stake and interest holders.
Ferlic might have pointed out that the dollars being spent against the public interests, are operational funds; money that should, could and would be spent in classrooms, being spent in courtrooms instead.

$680K is the equivalent of 17 teachers salaries.
$680K will buy a whole lot of teaching supplies.
$680K would more than pay for middle school intramural sports.

There is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.  The unassailable proof of which is
their abject inability to point to any standards at all to which they are actually and to which they are honestly accountable by any due process at all.  
Even the due process promised by the legal system is effectively denied to complainants by the legal weaselry practiced by APS lawyers (presumably) at the behest of their handlers in the leadership of the APS.  By which it is meant, whichever school board member or senior administrator who is personally responsible for authorizing the squandering of 680K tax dollars.

That the school board can spend $680K on cost-is-no-object legal defenses for themselves, is just tip of the iceberg.  The iceberg is manifest in their unimpeded, unmitigated squandering of trust and treasure without consequence; they simply but their way out of trouble at taxpayer expense.

They are enabled to squander money because they are unaccountable for their their conduct and competence.

Consider that the very first ethic in the school board's own code of ethics reads;
Make the education and well-being of students the basis for all decision making.
The decision to spend $680K to buy admissions of no guilt for school board members and senior administrators has nothing to do with education and student well-being.  They get away with it because, by their own free admission, the first of their ethics, and every ethic that follows it, are utterly and completely unenforceable.

Their decision has to do with the well-being of the leadership of the APS and their lawyer friends; who happen to be making a killing off the large bore pipeline to the operational fund and cost-is-no-object legal defenses.

The iceberg will remain unexplored for as long as the Journal and NM Broadcasters Association affiliate news outlets continue to not investigate and report upon the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

Whether or not Don Moya's whistleblower complaint is valid, whether senior administrators and school board members were incompetent or corrupt will never be known.  The settlement will not allow the truth to be told and the media will let the whole thing slide.

Journal photo
To put a face to the cover up;
consider the new editor-in-
chief at the Journal, Karen
Moses.

Again, I feel quite confident
that it was Moses to whom I
complained many years ago
about the Journal's lack of
interest in the accountability
crisis in the leadership of the
APS, and by whom I was told,
if I could get 600 signatures from
Journal readers who cared about the alleged crisis, she might cover it.

I wasn't able to, she didn't.
I shouldn't have been required to collect any signatures at all.  It is the Journal's responsibility to cover the APS and report the truth to its readers.

Ever since, the Journal has been quite brazen about their part in the cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.  Their complicity is proved on its face by their ongoing failure to investigate and report upon the crisis, even to ensure readers that no such crisis exists.

Even to assure readers that the leadership of the APS is bound by ethics and standards that are high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools, and further that there is actual, honest to God accountability to those ethics and standards by means of any real due process.

She can't report the latter because is simply isn't the truth.  No evidence exists that supports such a claim.  She won't report the former, because the Journal has been part of the cover up for so long, and as far as I know, is still comfortable in remaining so.

Further, she can't report the truth; that there is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, without first reporting on her and the Journal's failure to report on the crisis heretofore.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

APS squandering millions on cost-is-no-object legal defenses

In the Journal this morning, link, news that the leadership of the APS, who has seen their (our) insurance premiums raised over uncharacteristically high spending on litigation, is still spending outrageous and wholly unjustifiable amounts of money in litigation.

The process by which the school board, et al, decides to spend a million dollars of operational funds is supposed to protect taxpayers; the board is supposed to provide stewardship over the spending of millions of dollars on legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators.

In fact, the process of spending millions of operational dollars on litigation legal weaselry, takes place in meetings in secret, of which no record is made. There is no oversight. "Subordinate oversight" is not oversight; it is oxymoronic.

The result being; school board members and senior administrators are afforded cost-is-no-object legal defenses without regard to their often manifestly obvious guilt.

Again, despite having too few resources to fund middle school athletics, the leadership of the APS has found money to squander on litigation and legal weaselry ("Ferlic said APS has buried her in nearly 100,000 pages of “meaningless documents ...").

If Ferlic's allegation is true, it is newsworthy. Politicians and public servants should not be using tax dollars to impede justice. Ferlic's allegation is also easily proved or disproved; all the Journal has to do is look at the public record.

The Journal steadfastly refuses to investigate and report upon the squandering of millions of dollars that should, could, and would be spent in classrooms were they not being spent unjustifiably, in court rooms.

As evidence of the Journal's complicity in the cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, consider that this report comes on a weekend; knowing full well that anyone who gets worked up over this outrage today, will have gotten over it by Monday

Thursday, April 27, 2017

KRQE covering up for APS and Modrall


KRQE has reported, link, that the leadership of the APS has entered into a settlement agreement with an employee.

KRQE reports;

It took them more than a year to get APS to hand over the supporting documents.

(Why did it take a year; how much did the delay cost taxpayers. This is typical APS; they paid lawyers to obfuscate the surrender of public records.  KRQE chooses to let it slide - undoubtedly upon the advice of their lawyer Marty Esquivel(?).)


The suit ended up costing APS considerably more than the $65,000 settlement because the district also had to pay Broussard’s attorneys and pay a high-powered law firm to represent the district.

... his attorney declined to comment on the settlement.
KRQE should know; they should have found out, how much the leadership of the APS had to pay to the “high-powered law firm”. They know who the high-powered law firm is and didn't mention them.

KRQE decided apparently; neither fact is “newsworthy”; their viewers have no need to know those two salient facts.

KRQE furnishes a link to the settlement agreement which does not include the amounts that APS paid its own attorneys nor the amount paid to the plaintiff's attorney.

Viewers can read the actual settlement agreement; they can decide for themselves whether taxpayers have bought more admissions of no guilt in exchange for operational funds.
Operational funds are tax dollars that should, could and would be spent in classrooms if they were not being squandered instead in courtrooms; if they were not being spent instead on "high-powered", and really, really expensive lawyers and legal weaselry.

Secrecy surrounding APS and their lawyers is particularly important now because the leadership of the APS needs stake and interest holders to believe that APS is so strapped for cash that they cannot afford to underwrite middle school sports.

They need stake and interest holders to not know;
how much money they’re funneling to their friends at the Modrall and others.  Modrall makes so much money, through their large bore pipeline into APS' operational fund, that the amount they guzzle is secret.  The board spends without limit and without oversight.

The "oversight" that the APS school board is supposed to provide amounts to
  1. meetings in held secret, 
  2. of which no recording is made, and 
  3. over which, there is no oversight. 
    Subordinate oversight is not oversight; it is an oxymoron.
KRQE has been in the bag for APS for a long time; for at least as long as, former school board member and direct beneficiary of APS’s willingness to squander millions of dollars in cost-is-no-object legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators, Marty Esquivel has been their lawyer.

In fairness, it’s not just KRQE covering for APS.
You will notice that there isn’t a word of this in the Journal this morning. Nor anything (a cursory search revealed) from KOB or KOAT.  No surprise there.

When the Journal finally does get around to it, if they get around to it, they cannot be expected to have honestly investigated and reported upon the wholly unjustifiable amount of money the leadership of the APS squanders every year on litigation and legal weaselry.

cc KRQE upon posting
KRQE responded "The settlement follows the dismissal order – just scroll down"