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.

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