Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Albuquerque Journal takes a shot at APS’ lack of accountability; misses the target.

APS has failed to adequately account for the spending of a couple of million tax dollars. As bad as that is, how do we know that it isn’t going to happen again this year? We don’t.

Assume for the sake of argument that the Peter Principle is valid; people get promoted for a job well done until they are finally promoted into a job that they can’t do. Realize that APS, according to an independent audit, evaluates administrators by a system that is “subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement”. The combination seems to substantiate the supposition that inadequate accounting has to do with some administrator doing a job s/he can’t really do. Perhaps s/he didn’t to the job because they just didn’t feel like it. Maybe they didn’t even know it was their job.

The point is that nothing has happened that addresses the problem; there is no reason to believe that anything different will happen this year. That possibility is underscored by APS’ front man Rigo Chavez, who apparently thinks it was the city’s job to collect the data.

APS obviously doesn’t care about the job not being done. They have been dodging accountability forever. And because the Journal can’t be bothered to track down the responsible party or process, nothing has changed.

The whole idea behind accountability is to make sure that the same mistake is not made twice; or three times, or over and over again.

What the Journal Editors won’t report is that the leadership of the APS stands squarely against honest accountability to any meaningful standard of conduct for board members or administrators.


Monday, October 30, 2006

It’s the system, stupid

The problem: public service does not serve public interests. Instead, public service serves private and personal interests. In so far as it is corrupt to use the power given to public servants for any interest except the public interest; the failure to serve the public interest is the manifestation of corruption and incompetence among public servants.

There are those who believe that the problem can be solved by electing a particular candidate or slate of candidates. The underlying contradiction that utterly destroys that belief, is the two hundred years of history leading up to a system that still enables corruption and incompetence. It is naïve to expect that the system can be fixed by electing a particular candidate or slate of candidates. It has been suggested that proof of insanity lies in doing the same thing over and over and over, and expecting a different result.

Imagine rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Imagine rearranging public servants. What is the difference?

Honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct is the only defense against corruption and incompetence. It is the perfect defense. Honest accountability is fatal to corruption and incompetence. It is that fact that accounts for the fact that those who benefit from corruption and incompetence never have and never will, provide honest accountability for their (mis)conduct.

The public cannot expect to change the system through intermediaries. It has not happened. It is not happening. It will not happen.

There is an opportunity for the public to change the system without depending on intermediaries; an opportunity to directly affect (change) the system.

There is a small group of elected officials in their version of the Titanic. It is possible to throw them and their lawyers, out of the boat. It is possible to take command of the boat and plug the leak in the hull. It is the time and the place for mutiny.

The axis of the APS Board, Superintendent, and Modrall, are opponents of honest accountability in their public service. Their position is indefensible. Their only defense is provided by the local media, primarily the Albuquerque Journal and Tribune, who have helped them suppress the truth about the APS Ethics Scandal.

If the story can be made public, even against the manifest will of the Journal and Tribune editors, those who have betrayed the public trust will be removed. They will be replaced by those who will hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. They will be replaced by those who have the moral courage to provide for honest accountability; even against their will.

If only the scandal could be made public.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez; MIA on the APS Ethics Scandal

Is there a scandal? I submit that there is based on the following facts. The leadership of the APS has repeatedly refused to hold itself honestly accountable to the same standard of ethical conduct that it enforces upon students. Further, the leadership of the APS pays lawyers to litigate unethically to save board members and senior administrators from the principled resolution of allegations of ethical and criminal misconduct; including felony criminal misconduct.

These facts represent an ethics scandal. These facts have never been refuted; by anyone.

Martin Chavez is aware of these facts. He also claims to be a founding supporter of Character Counts in Albuquerque. The Pillars of Character Counts represent the widely recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics that students are required to model and promote. It is the code of ethics to which every single board member and the superintendent have repeatedly refused to be held honestly accountable.

The scandal exists only because the local media, primarily the Albuquerque Journal and Tribune, refuse to investigate or report upon it. All Mayor Chavez has to do to end the scandal is to call public attention to it. He has that power and that responsibility.

If Mayor Chavez truly believes in Character Counts, then by its tenets, he is required to stand up for what he believes in; to stand up and be counted for honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.

Perhaps he has been told by the leadership of the APS, that if he challenges them to accept honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts, they will challenge him to do the same. Perhaps that is why the people who run the Journal and Tribune will not stand up to be counted. Perhaps that is the reason that Character Counts founding father, Senator Pete Domenici will not stand up. Maybe when this stink is boiled down to its essence, the essential truth is that accountability to a higher standard of conduct is not for adults; it is only for children.

Through out history, accountability, honest accountability, to a higher standard of conduct has always been the expectation for the next generation of adults; not the current generation. We tell our kids about George Washington and the cherry tree to inspire them to embrace a higher standard; not ourselves.

Somebody who casts a shadow longer than I, must stand up to be counted. If not, the senior role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters, and the stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars will continue to dodge accountability to any standard higher that the law. They will continue to dodge accountability even to the law; the lowest standard of acceptable conduct.

That situation is unacceptable. It is not in the interests of taxpayers, parents, teachers or students.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

APS lacks accountability; again, and again, and again, and again …

According to this morning’s Albuquerque Journal, the APS have violated city contracts by failing to properly track the spending of millions of tax dollars.

The Journal didn’t use the word “again”. They know better. The leadership of the APS is all about dodging accountability whether for corruption or incompetence. It starts at the top. The board and superintendent have repeatedly refused, in public and on the record, to be held accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct. They will not be held accountable even to the standard that they have established for students.

Does it surprise anyone that there is then no accountability among their subordinates; from assistant superintendents down to principals?

Forget for the moment that they are refusing to recognize that they are role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters. (How can we forget that, even for a moment?) They are stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars. Their failure to hold themselves accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct as they administer those funds; enables, in fact encourages, incompetence and corruption; wasted tax dollars.

The Journal did not use the word “again”. They, and the Albuquerque Tribune, steadfastly refuse to investigate or report upon the APS Ethics Scandal. As a result, tax dollars are gone; stolen by the corrupt and wasted by the incompetent.

Whose interests are being protected by the Journal and Tribune? Clearly it is not the interests of taxpayers, parents, teachers, or students.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Mexico Educator Ethics (Shmethics) Bureau

Within the Public Education Department lies the Educator Ethics Bureau. It is the mechanism used by administrators to hold teachers accountable for ethical misconduct. However well it serves in that respect; when a teacher tries to hold an administrator accountable for ethical misconduct, it serves exponentially less well.

Almost two years ago, a complaint was filed against APS’ Superintendent Elizabeth Everitt. The complaint alleged that the effort, to save administrators and board members from accountability for ethical and criminal misconduct, was itself unethical.

Yesterday, I sought information on the outcome of that complaint and another complaint. I contacted one Paul Calderon, the Director of the Educator Ethics Bureau. He informed me that “The case is still under investigation. At this time no information is allowed to be given until the investigation is completed.”

So, almost two years later, the Educator Ethics Bureau is still investigating whether or not dodging ethical and legal accountability is unethical.

Frankly, I find it hard to believe. It seems a lot more plausible that in fact, Elizabeth Everitt (and her lawyers) enjoy the same exception to honest accountability that every powerful person in New Mexico enjoys. It is worth noting that although the Bureau is supposed to acknowledge that a complaint has been received, I have not received that letter of acknowledgement for either complaint. That situation enables, I suppose, that at some time the Bureau can argue that they never, in fact, received a complaint.

I would like to hold the Ethics Bureau accountable for the mishandling of my complaints. The effort requires two things; a standard against which their conduct can be measured, and a system under which the complaint will be resolved.

On the Ethics Bureau’s website, there is a link to “Our Rules”. The link doesn’t link. So much for a standard against which to measure their conduct. Before he started ignoring my emails, Calderon had been asked five times for access to the rules. Five times he ignored my request.

As to a system by which he might be held accountable; twice I asked Calderon for the name of the person with whom I could file a complaint over his obfuscation of the follow up on my complaints. Twice he ignored my request.

So there it is. No rules against which to measure his misconduct and no system under which his misconduct can be reported. It would seem his Directorship of the Educator Ethics Bureau has more to do with personal connections than personal example.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics is feckless

There is an old adage about buying padlocks; locks only keep out honest people. The understanding is that an honest person will recognize and respect the boundary implied by even the cheapest padlock, and a dishonest person will neither recognize nor respect that boundary implied by the heaviest lock.

Similarly, codes of ethics are of little use to ethical people; they simply do not need reiteration of boundaries. Unethical people will not be bound by them under any circumstance. In particular if the code is unenforceable as is the Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

Take for example, Albuquerque’s Tribune and Journal. Their refusal to report on a widespread ethics scandal in the Albuquerque Public Schools clearly violates the Journalists’ Code of Ethics. But what is one to do? There is no body to which they can be reported; no system by which they can be held accountable. Like a burglar with a ten pound sledgehammer against a cheap padlock, they will have their way.

Like a 79 cent padlock, the Code is useless in protecting the community even against the most egregious betrayal of their interests and trust.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The APS Ethics Scandal, the fight, the combatants, the MIA.

The scandal; the leaders of the Albuquerque Public Schools have decided that they will not be held accountable for their (mis)conduct. They have eliminated standards against which their conduct can be measured. They have rendered powerless any system by which they might be held accountable even to the meaningless standards that remain.

The stakes are not unimportant. Students no longer have role models of accountability to a higher standard of conduct. The story of George Washington and the cherry tree has been reduced to an exercise in hypocrisy. Community members now have no choice but to entrust hundreds of millions of tax dollars to individuals, not one of whom will accept accountability even to the law. Parents have been denied their right to meaningful participation, by silencing of their citizen advisory councils. Teachers have been denied the basic rights of citizenship; level two grievances can be denied without a hearing, teachers are not allowed to record meetings in which they are active participants; even disciplinary proceedings. It cannot be argued that the leaders of the APS have excepted themselves from accountability without cost.

In any fight, there are opponents and indifferent bystanders. On the side of dodging accountability are the men and women who run the district, their lawyers, and the local media. Least powerful in the axis are the board and administration. When the details of the scandal are finally revealed, it is likely that they will simply disappear. Their position is absolutely indefensible. Their lawyers on the other hand have seemingly unlimited influence. Feeding at the bottomless trough of unwitting taxpayer support for “education”; they have the capacity to save the leadership from accountability even to the law. And finally, there is the media. Were the scandal to become public, the leadership and their lawyers would fall. The media has steadfastly refused to report upon the scandal; even through two elections. They are aware of the scandal; their support for the leaders of the APS is considered and deliberate. They are responsible, more than any other participant, for the continued success of the board members and senior administrators in dodging accountability for their misconduct.

Allied against them; me. I have tried for a dozen years to create for the board and administration honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct. If there is anyone else standing up against this egregious betrayal of trust, they are unknown to me.

The MIA, those who know the truth and who enable to the scandal to remain unquestioned, are a constant disappointment. They include:

Senator Pete Domenici; a founding father of Character Counts.
Michael Josephson, the founder of Character Counts.
Martin Chavez, Mayor of Albuquerque
Members of Albuquerque’s City Council; Ken Sanchez, Debbie O’Malley, Isaac Benton, Brad Winter, Michael Cadigan, Martin Heinrich, Sally Mayer, Craig Loy, and Don Harris. (In fairness, I represent that these individuals are aware because I emailed the truth to them. If they represent that they are unaware because the message was not forwarded to them by a mail screener, I cannot maintain otherwise. The exception is Brad Winter who has witnessed the scandal firsthand as a member of the audience during a number of School Board Meetings where the board refused to be held accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; the scandal manifest.)
The Albuquerque Teachers Federation. The Federation’s failure to stand up and be counted is particularly upsetting because it was the Federation who brought Character Counts to the APS. Their failure negatively impacts the teachers whom they represent.
Teri Cole and the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce who bask in the warmth of their claim to support Character Counts, but don’t.
The Character Counts Leadership Council. I will concede that the efforts to keep them in the dark may have been successful; however unlikely that possibility now seems.
APS senior and subordinate administrators. In their defense; APS’ culture of retaliation and retribution, makes the potential cost for standing up to be counted, higher than the cost for most. There is a concerted effort to keep them in the dark as well.
Finally, the untold numbers of eyewitnesses at board meetings and recipients of my emails begging for their support. Those who are apparently willing to do nothing but sit by and watch the scandal live on.

The board and senior administration will not end the scandal. Their lawyers will do what makes them rich. The media will not report it.

The scandal will end when the MIA stand up to be counted. Or it will never end.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Albuquerque Journal’s Amy Miller saves ink; reports half the truth

When a reader reads a newspaper article on a school board meeting, what do they expect to find? I submit that they expect to be told the truth, the whole truth. I submit that they would be disappointed to find that a part of the truth had been deliberately withheld. In particular I submit that they would feel betrayed when they find out that the truth has not been told at the behest of powerful people who manipulate reporters and newspapers to hide personal guilt; to avoid accountability for misconduct.

During the board meeting, it was entered into the record, that the broadcast version of a previous meeting had been falsified. APS gave a dishonestly edited videotape to a local TV station for broadcast. Viewers were deliberately misled.

The proof of this allegation is on the record. There is the tape of the broadcast version which can be compared to the “official” version and to the memories of anyone at the meeting. APS’ Rigo Chavez declares that this is not “dishonest” because the broadcast version is not the “official” record. His argument is as compelling as the school yard belief it is OK to lie if you cross your fingers behind your back.

It stands to reason that a reporter cannot report everything. Some judgment must be exercised regarding that which is important enough to burden readers with additional copy.

The Board was asked again, in recognition of National Character Counts Week, to hold themselves accountable to that standard; the standard they enforce upon students. Ms. Miller (and/or her boss) apparently feel that the Board and Administration’s seventh refusal to be held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct, is also unworthy of mention.

Apparently Amy Miller and/or her boss, think the fact that APS has deliberately deceived the community regarding their unwillingness to be held accountable for their misconduct, is unimportant.

I can’t help but feel that readers would disagree. I think they would feel betrayed.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Falsifying the record of a board meeting isn’t “dishonest”

…says APS’ Rigo Chavez, because it wasn’t the “official” record.

During the public forum of the board meeting before last, the board and superintendent were asked if they would hold themselves accountable to the same standard of conduct that they enforce upon students.

The truth is that they refused to answer. They sat in silent shame shuffling papers or engaging in childish staring contests with me. When the “record” of the board meeting was broadcast on local TV, their refusal to respond had been edited out of the record. Every person who watched the public forum on TV was deliberately deceived. But it wasn’t “dishonest” according to APS front man Chavez. The broadcast record isn’t “official”.

Who falsified the record? No one on the Board or Administration has come forward to be held accountable; so the finger now points to Russell Reid, the guy who edits the broadcast version. Mr. Reid knows better. In a previous chat with me, he assured me that the edited tapes reflect the truth; the entire board meeting without omission. It is beyond me why he would sacrifice his integrity to protect board members unless someone told him to, but like I said, no one else is standing up.

This has a familiar ring to it. Robert Lucero, who will be running for re-election next February, insisted that board members are not covered by the employee code of conduct because they are “not really employees”. They get paid by the District, but they are not “really” employees. And deliberately misleading people is not really “dishonest”.

Doesn’t it make you want to puke?

Mr. Chavez, Mr. Reid, and Mr. Lucero will be allowed to post a rebuttal if they care to.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Albuquerque Journal, Amy Miller; fall short on Trustworthiness

Ms. Miller’s article, Family Values, explores Character Counts and its presence in the APS. The article is dishonest.

According to Making Ethical Decsions, published by the Josephson institute;

There is no more fundamental ethical value than honesty. It involves both communications and conduct. Honesty in communications is expressing the truth as best we know it and not conveying it in a way likely to mislead or deceive. There are three dimensions:
Truthfulness. Truthfulness is presenting the facts to the best of our knowledge. Intent is the crucial distinction between truthfulness and truth itself.
Sincerity. Sincerity is genuineness, being without trickery or duplicity. It precludes all acts, including half-truths, …, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading.
Candor. In relationships involving legitimate expectations of trust, honesty may also require candor, forthrightness and frankness, imposing the obligation to volunteer information that another person needs to know.

Ms. Miller, and the Journal, have presented a half truth. Yes, in some classrooms and schools, Character Counts is taught and modeled. The untold half of the truth is that the Leaders of the APS have renounced Character Counts as their own standard. Her article leaves the impression that the APS are invested in Character Counts by failing to mention that the Leaders of the APS refuse to hold themselves accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts; the student standard of conduct. The community needs to know that the senior role models for 89,000 of their sons and daughters, and the stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars, refuse to be held honestly accountable to any code of ethical behavior.

Ms. Miller and the Journal are unworthy of trust.

Monday, October 16, 2006

APS Police officers reveal student safety issue despite fear of retaliation

According to KRQE news, two employees of the APS Police department stepped up to tell the truth about safety concerns regarding APS portable classrooms. The news report on the officers’ allegations substantiated the concern that they had raised.

The officers had asked that their identities be kept secret for fear of being fired. They raised a legitimate concern about student safety; and for that they fear retaliation.

Their fear is not unjustified. An audit by the Council of Great City Schools revealed that fear of retribution and retaliation against those who question decisions of superiors was part of the “culture” in the APS. Their use of the word “culture” is not insignificant. Retribution and retaliation against those who rock the boat in the APS is not limited to isolated instances.

Telling the truth about a school safely issue should not provoke retaliation; but in the APS it does. The men, women and lawyers that lead the APS are all about suppressing inconvenient truth. Not to forget, it was only one month ago that the broadcast record of a school board meeting was falsified to conceal the truth about the refusal of the board and superintendent to hold themselves accountable to a code of ethical conduct. Because they have excepted themselves from ethical accountability, they are able to continue to hide the truth from stakeholders; even when the stakes include student safety.

For how much longer will APS Leaders and the media continue to conceal the truth about the APS Ethics Scandal and the damage it is causing?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

There is probably no title more likely to have driven off a reader. Thank you for your time and attention.

The Problem:

Children will grow into adults. If we have a preference between the kinds of adults into which they will grow; we need to involve ourselves in that growth.

What ever it is that we model; we teach. If we want children to grow to embrace character and honor and courage; we have to teach them what they look like. Character is taught by example; it is taught only by example.

I believe that the parents and community of the 98,000 students in the APS want those students to be taught to embrace a higher standard (than the law). We represent that George Washington was a hero and worthy of emulation because he was willing to hold himself honestly accountable to a higher standard of conduct. It is precisely the point of the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.

APS Leaders have abandoned their responsibilities as role models. They have refused repeatedly and on the record to hold themselves accountable to the same standard that they enforce upon students. The code of ethics that the state uses to hold educators accountable, requires that educators must demonstrate through personal example, their commitment to the higher standard of ethical conduct.

The Solution:

People need to show up at the next board meeting. At that meeting they need to express their belief that educational leadership begins with honest accountability to a widely recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics.

Or simply stand in support of those who do.

At some point, when the crowd is large enough, the Leadership of the APS will accept honest accountability; or they will resign. The terms of public service are the prerogative of the public; not of the public servant.

Alternatively, post a comment on this essay. Tell why you won’t come. Please

Protecting Children from School Violence

A suburban school district in Fort Worth Texas trains students to attack their attacker.

APS trains its students to lie silently and motionless in the dark, waiting for their murderer, and contemplating their helplessness. …for hours.

Experts in childhood psychology tell us that these different approaches, coupled with training in the approaches, carry with them profoundly different lasting psychological effects on children. In particular, on those students who already feel afraid at school for what ever reason.

School Violence; submit or resist

A suburban school district in Fort Worth Texas trains students to attack their attacker. APS trains its students to lie in the dark for hours, in silence, contemplating their helplessness.

The correct approach could be determined after an informed debate. But the leadership of the APS does not permit debate. According to the Council of Great City Schools audit, the board, administration and Modrall, have created a culture of retaliation and retribution for those who dare to rock their boat.

APS’ Praetorian Guard, according to their union president, wants to discuss the possibility of being armed all day long. After all, in addition to protecting the administration and board, they are responsible for protecting students. The board will not have their decision revisited.

It is arrogant, ill advised, and completely inappropriate.

Similarly, they refuse to discuss their decision to except themselves from accountability to the student standard for conduct; or any other meaningful standard of conduct.

It is arrogant, ill advised, and completely inappropriate.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ethics Scandal, APS School Board President Paula Maes

The Trib’s Susie Gran reports that School Board President Paula Maes wants to find better ways to communicate with parents. Yet on her watch, the board decided the two influential and active citizen groups were not the best way to involve parents, and silenced them.

From a leadership standpoint, and until a better format is provided: it would seem to be prudent to keep the groups intact and allow them to address the issue themselves. The protests of the silenced community members are proof that those involved in the groups wanted to continue. How can Paula Maes and the board simply ignore them?

The answer is simple. The groups were not disbanded to improve communication with parents. The decision was made to obstruct communication by large, and therefore influential, groups of stakeholders.

At the very first meeting of any advisory group, or any other large group where I will be allowed to speak or hand out fliers, the members will be informed about the APS Ethics Scandal. And then Paula Maes will be compelled to resign. As will other Board Members and the Superintendent. Allegations of ethical and criminal misconduct, including felony criminal misconduct, by senior APS Administrators and Board Members will see principled resolution; they will be held accountable.

This is not about better communication; it is about suppressing the truth.

If a half truth is a whole lie, Susie Gran and the Trib have lied. Again.

Dear Senator Domenici

There is an ethics scandal in the Albuquerque Public Schools. The leadership of the APS; the board, administration and Modrall, has abandoned their commitment to the Pillars of Character Counts. Although the pillars remain the higher standard of ethical conduct for students, APS Leaders refuse to hold themselves accountable to the same standard.

In your role as a United States Senator, the scandal in your hometown school district may be inconsequential. But as a founding father of Character Counts, surely you must be appalled by the egregious betrayal of the principles of character which you helped to articulate. I wonder why you have not spoken up in defense of the necessity of ethical leadership, particularly in education

My hope is that you are unaware of the depth and breadth of the scandal. The effort to cover it up is monumental.

In my effort to contact Albuquerque’s Character Counts Leadership Council, high ranking APS Administrators, Toby Herrera, Dee Dee Stroud, and Carole Smith, all members of the Character Counts Leadership Council, have apparently done nothing to inform their fellow council members of the scandal. What other reason could there be for the failure of the Leadership Council to intervene? Carole Smith, Director of the APS Character Counts Leadership Cooperative, not only refuses to respect the stakeholder rights of fellow members by sharing the truth, but refuses to furnish contact information for members in order that I may.

Lisa Breeden, Communications Director in your Senate Office, is aware of the scandal. As you know, she sits on the Character Counts Leadership Council herself. She has repeatedly refused to establish contact between the council and me. Perhaps she, the APS senior administration, and others like them, have kept the scandal secret from you as well.

I have received two letters over your name indicating that you had contacted both the APS and State Boards of Education asking for a response my allegations. The APS Board claims to have received no letter. I prefer to believe the assurance sent to me over your name. I have heard nothing from the State Board either.

I cannot suppose that you would have heard about the scandal in the news media because it has not been reported. You, like your constituents have been kept in the dark; deliberately. Perhaps it is because Paula Maes, School Board President, in her capacity as President of the New Mexico Broadcasters, is able to manipulate the media. What other reason could explain their failure to inform voters even through two elections, and most probably, through a third?

She is in fact the President of the Character Counts Leadership Council; yet that group is not on the record in response to their betrayal.

I am supposing that given the number of people who will read this post and can actually get face time with you, that I can be assured that you will be finally informed, that I will have broken the circle of those who are apparently denying you your opportunity to speak up.

The specific allegations of the APS’ culture of corruption and incompetence are fully covered in by blog and are substantiated by public records. As yet, not one allegation has been refuted with evidence or sworn testimony. In fact, none has been refuted at all

I would like to know the truth. Are you aware of the truth surrounding the APS Ethics Scandal?

A comment in response to this post will suffice. In that manner it will be public record. It will be posted on NowPublic and on my blog; Diogenes’six

Ched MacQuigg

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Power Corrupts; Absolutely

…but only within a system that allows corruption. In fact power does not corrupt. The fount of corruption is the opportunity to abuse power without consequence.

The first intelligent abuse of power is to eliminate accountability for the abuse of power. Where there is accountability there is no abuse. Accountability is fatal to the abuse of power.

Consider transparency. Transparency is arguably the most effective deterrent to abusive power. To the extent that it is not provided, it is not provided because it is not in the interests of those who wield power. They prefer to wield their power in the dark. That is because they don’t want you to know what there are doing.

Now consider the amount of transparency that is provided for us by those to whom we entrust our power. Were there some way to quantify integrity, and the support for transparency, we would find that those with the least integrity are least supportive. Those with the most integrity are the most supportive.

There is proof, there will be more. Mario Burgos offered an opportunity for integrity to manifest itself in reporting campaign funding. He can report on the number of respondents and perhaps upon the implications of the number. Gideon Elliot reported upon the punch the clock campaign. He will be able to report upon the number of respondents and the implications of that number.

I am confident that the results will support the thesis that those who represent the “system” are not going to fix the system.

The system will be fixed only when the pubic crashes into the system and takes back control.

Who is in charge?

Apparently there has been an incident at a high school in Rio Rancho. What ever the specifics of that incident, in general, it was a manifestation of a deeper issue. There is a struggle for control in schools. The struggle exists momentarily and fundamentally.

If asked, I suppose that the leaders of the APS would argue that the school board and administration are fundamentally in charge of their schools. I would argue that they are not.

Board Policy forbids students from “sagging”, wearing pants low enough to deliberately expose underwear. The issue is not sagging. The point is that the school board prohibits sagging. And yet, students sag. The point is that the adults said no and the children are doing it anyway.

And when they do, they are toe to toe and eyeball to eyeball with adults. They are defying a rule; openly and deliberately. It is not inadvertent misconduct. It is deliberate and in your face misconduct And they are getting away with it.

Students are in charge at schools where prohibited behavior is permitted.

For a number of very good reasons; adults have legitimate and justifiable authority over children. It is widely conceded that that situation is in the best interests of children.

APS Leaders will not admit that they are not in charge of their schools.

For years the numbers associated with the lack of control in schools has been rising. APS Leaders offer that this is the result of keeping better track of the data. Apparently they keep getting better year after year. How long does in take to get good at writing the truth in the, How many kids got stabbed at your school today? box?

The axis of the Board, Administration, and Modrall, refuse to be held accountable for their conduct. They have forfeited the moral authority to demand that students be accountable for theirs. And they aren’t. At some substantial cost.

The situation is educationally inefficient. It must change.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

APS’ Everitt, the Subject of an Ethics Complaint

On July 2oth, 2006, a complaint was filed with the State of New Mexico, Department of Education, Educator Ethics Bureau. The complaint alleges that APS’ Everitt breached the Standards of Professional Conduct for Educators.

The complaint alleges that Everitt has breached the Standards by:
1. maintaining two standards of conduct; one for adults and one for students, the students being held to a higher standard. It was alleged that this violates her responsibility to lead by example; and is diametrically opposite to the requirements of the CODE OF ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EDUCATION PROFESSION. One cannot claim to model accountability by refusing to accept it.
2. failing to provide honest accountability for ethical misconduct by administrators.
3. failing to provide a consistent and justifiable personal example. Her refusal to hold herself honestly accountable to the student standard of conduct is a manifest failure to provide a personal example.
4. betraying the public trust. The public trust was betrayed by the removal from the employee standards of conduct, the expectation and the phrase, …in no case shall the standard for adults be lower than the standard for children.

There are two questions; does Everitt refuse to be held accountable to the same code of ethics that binds students, and, is it unethical to refuse to be held honestly accountable to a code of ethics?

On the first, Everitt has repeatedly refused such accountability at open meetings of the school board, on the record, substantiated by a video tape record.

As for the second question, the answer is self evident.

The allegation is simple, the evidence is clear. The Ethics Bureau is yet to respond to the complaint. They have yet to acknowledge its receipt, despite the fact that such acknowledgement is required the rules of the Bureau.

Is the Superintendent exempt from the process?

Does the Superintendent of APS enjoy some exception to the rules that bind her subordinates?

If so, perhaps she will defend that exception, on the record.

Accountability by voter; the myth

When voters lament corruption and incompetence in public service, they are assured that they can hold public servants accountable for their corruption and incompetence at the next election; by voting the scoundrels out!

At best, at the very best, they might occasionally remove a bad apple or two. But the expectation that the overall level of corruption and incompetence will be reduced in the process is naïve. Were there real efficacy in the approach; we would not now be the victims of widespread corruption and incompetence.

Ending corruption and incompetence in public service by attempting to vote out the corrupt and incompetent is a little like fighting a malaria outbreak by treating the headache and fever.

Corruption and incompetence exist because they can. The system tolerates and enables them. Those who created and maintain a system friendly to corruption and incompetence cannot be expected to create a system hostile to them. It is not in their interests.

Voters will never do more than choose between two, or a few, individuals who will then either join the system or be crushed by it. Voters are never offered anything but a choice. The extent of their exercise of power is to select between the choices offered to them. They will never be offered a choice between clean and dirty government. Voters will never vote on the system.

There is an opportunity to change the system; a window of opportunity.

APS Ethics Scandal; worthy questions.

Students are taught that their character depends on their accountability to a higher standard, a code of ethical behavior, the Pillars of Character Counts. They are taught that their character is worth developing and protecting. It is the fundamental principle that we illustrate with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. They are taught that their character counts; that it is worthy of deliberate and meaningful personal sacrifice.

The eight men and woman and their lawyers, who run APS are not accountable to the same standard. In practice, they are are not accountable even to the law.

Imagine that a student asks, why are there different standards? And then asks, why should I hold myself accountable to a higher standard, at some sacrifice, while you will not?

APS Ethics Scandal hiding the truth

There is only one reason to hide the truth; to avoid the consequences that the truth will evoke.

According to state law, public servants and public institutions are required to tell the truth in so far as they are required to surrender public records upon demand.

The failure to surrender public records is one manifestation of the ethics scandal in the APS.

Rigo Chavez, APS’s Custodian of Public Records was asked to surrender the truth regarding a number of issues. To date he has not. Has he broken the law? A number of lawyers feeding at the trough of unwitting taxpayer support of “education” and at the behest of the leaders of APS would argue no. And they will continue to argue no until “…directed otherwise by a court of law after exhausting all possible appeals.”

They can afford to do that because of a virtually unlimited budget that will be used to suppress the truth.

If you want the opportunity to inspect and/or copy records of the truth it will cost you $.50 per page; tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and years of your life.

I would like to know how much money the Modrall Law Firm makes off APS. That is particularly important because the President of Modrall, and the President of the School Board are married to each other. My request for pertinent public records did not result in the disclosure of the truth.

I am curious why the media will not investigate or report upon the APS Ethics Scandal. My request for public records revealing the amount of money that local media make off of APS did not result in the disclosure of the truth.

I believe that members of the APS Character Counts Leadership Council have a right to know about details of the scandal. My request for public records revealing contact information for council members did not result in the disclosure of the truth.

I believe that employees, parents, and students at school sites have a right to know the truth about the ethics scandal. My request for public records that would enable practical contact with school sites did not result in the disclosure of the truth.

Subordinate administrators have a right to know the truth. My request for useful contact information did not result in the disclosure of the truth.

Board member Robert Lucero argues that he and other board members are not accountable even to the newly lowered employee standards of conduct. He maintains that he and other board members are not “really” employees. My request for the truth about their “employment” did not result in the disclosure of the truth.

The record of a previous board meeting was falsified before its broadcast on TalNet. My request for the original video tapes of the meeting has not resulted in the disclosure of the truth.

I could go on, trust me. The point is made. The Leadership of the APS has an ethical and legal obligation to surrender the truth, even the inconvenient truth, and they will not. Their ethical obligation is unenforceable because they have eliminated accountability to any code of ethical conduct. Their legal obligation is unenforceable because they have a virtually unlimited legal defense fund, and because their lawyers are willing and able in the practice of Juris Mustelidae Mustela. If you are powerful enough and have resources enough and are so inclined; you are unaccountable even to the law.

Honest accountability defined

Honest accountability means;

the least powerful person can file a complaint against the most powerful person, and that complaint will be impartially adjudicated according to agreed upon principles.

(note; the actual post date is 10/11/07)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

APS Ethics Scandal and Senator Pete Domenici

Senator Pete Domenici owns my respect for among other things, being one of the founding fathers of Character Counts.

I am disappointed that he has not spoken publicly about the APS Ethics Scandal. In fairness, I have never spoken to him personally; so there may be some chance that he is still unaware of the scandal.

I know for sure that Lisa Breeden, who works for the Senator and who is herself a member of the APS Character Counts Leadership Council, is aware of the scandal. I know that she has repeatedly refused to allow me to contact the Leadership Council with information on the scandal. I believe that the stakeholder rights of Council members have been disrespected by the cover up of the scandal.

It is possible, I suppose, that Ms. Breeden has placed herself between me and the Senator as well. Somebody needs to tell him the truth. His home town public school leadership has repeatedly refused to hold itself honestly accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts. They refuse to hold themselves honestly accountable to the standard that they represent to be the minimal acceptable standard for student conduct.

I cannot imagine that he would not be upset.

APS Ethics Scandal covered up by the media

The local media, print and broadcast, are aware of the APS Ethics Scandal. It appears to be their deliberate decision to leave the scandal uninvestigated and unreported.

When I asked Rigo Chavez for any public records indicating the amount of money APS pays to local media outlets, Mr. Chavez provided no pertinent information.

Perhaps the media is helping a big client with a big problem. Who knows? It would be difficult even to speculate whether the amount of money was large enough to warrant biased reporting.

The bias is profound. The APS Ethics Scandal has been covered up by APS leadership and the media through two elections, and probably through the next.

If the media is not protecting the administration and the board for economic reasons; then why?

Whose interests are being served by the cover up? Voters? Parents? Students? The only interests being served are those of the leadership of the APS. They are not legitimate interests.

There is no ethical interest of which I am aware that mitigates the media’s refusal to report the truth.

APS Ethics Scandal is bad business

Stewardship of tax dollars is at least the second highest priority of administrators and board members.

There are two impediments to effective stewardship; corruption and incompetence. The corrupt will steal money, the incompetent will waste it. A vacuum of accountability is filled by corruption and incompetence.

Although honest accountability is fatal to both corruption and incompetence; the leadership of APS has chosen to provide none. In the APS, an administrator or board member who is corrupt and or incompetent, cannot be held honestly accountable for that corruption and or incompetence The school board and superintendent have repeatedly refused to hold themselves honestly accountable for their conduct.

A recent audit of the APS revealed that administrative evaluations were subjective and unrelated to promotion and step placement.

The leadership of the APS tolerates and enables corruption and incompetence. They are misdirecting funds which should be used in the education of 98,000 students.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the media will not report upon this situation or upon any other aspect of the APS Ethics Scandal.

APS Ethics Scandal; school safety.

Your honor student is a whole lot more likely to get beat up at school than s/he is to get shot.

Your child’s safety at school is directly affected by the atmosphere at their school. To the extent that adults are in charge; that the adult will is manifest; your child is safer. To the extent that students are in charge, that their will is manifest; your child is less safe.

It is against APS board policy for students to “sag”. Rightly or wrongly, the board prohibits the wearing of pants so low that underwear is deliberately exposed.

If you visit a typical middle school or high school, you will see a number of students sagging; without consequence, in plain sight, in manifest defiance.

This is not about sagging.

Our sons and daughters are less safe at schools where prohibited behavior is permitted; schools where the will of the student is super-ordinate.

The responsibility for the enforcement of discipline policies falls upon the administration and board. With respect to the issue of sagging; the board and administration are permitting prohibited behavior. They are not in control of our school campuses; students are.

They cannot hold students accountable for their misconduct, because they themselves will not be held accountable for their own.

Before APS Leaders decided that the issue would no longer be surveyed; before they decided (deliberately) to no longer compile the statistic; most teachers reported that the failure of the administration and board to control the behavior of students represented a significant deterrent to an educationally efficient environment.

APS has no discipline philosophy. Even after the problem was entered onto the record, the leadership of APS failed to provide a philosophical foundation for their discipline policies. APS’s discipline policy is indefensible by any argument on the record.

The student discipline policy, in that respect, is indefensible. Were that not problem enough; the schools’ leadership refuses to model the policy before students. They expect students to hold themselves accountable to a higher standard than they will hold themselves. They model only hypocrisy. This situation enables disruptive students to continue to disrupt classrooms.

The situation will not be addressed because it cannot without drawing attention to the issue of administrative and board member accountability.

The Leadership of APS cannot afford to make an issue about accountability because that discussion would inevitably turn to their own exception from accountability. They would have to defend their decision to except themselves from accountability.

The only defense of an indefensible position is to stonewall.

The refusal of the administration and board to hold themselves honestly accountable to a widely recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; makes schools inherently less safe.

I am compelled to remind readers that the media has not reported upon this situation or upon any other aspect of the APS Ethics Scandal.

APS Praetorian guard; armed and unaccountable

On the table; should APS Police carry guns all day?

After that decision is made, those officers would be accountable to some set of standards that govern the carrying and the use of those guns. Or will they?

By his own admission, Chief Lovato’s APS Praetorian Guard is unaccredited and uncertified by any external organization. What that means is; if an officer mishandles his/her weapon it will be reported to Lovato, who will then, supposedly, report the incident to Tom Savage and or Beth Everitt. Neither Everitt, nor Savage, nor Lovato is required by APS board policy nor APS Procedural Directives, to tell the truth.

The truth will be managed. If it is inconvenient, it will be suppressed.

Students are required to tell the truth in response to a legitimate question. Everitt, Savage, and Lovato are not. Board member Robert Lucero disposed of a motion before the Board which would have required, as a matter of policy, that APS Administrators and Board Members be required to tell the truth. APS leadership is not required by any APS policy, to be accountable to any standard of truthtelling and ethical conduct.

I am not so worried about the individual police officers personal conduct, as I am worried about their oversight by a system that deliberately and methodically dodges accountability.

I am concerned that this situation, and the entire APS Ethics Scandal, is being covered up by APS Leaders and the media. Even through two elections, and most probably a third.