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.

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