At issue is the power that public servants wield. At issue is stakeholders regaining control over power that is fundamentally their own. At issue is ending the abuse of that power that enables corruption and incompetence in public service.
The goal is to eliminate corruption and incompetence by raising the standard of conduct for public servants. More importantly there will be honest accountability to that standard; accountability even for the most powerful and influential of public servants.
The immediate objective is to establish a precedent. The best place to start is at an Achilles heel. One can’t expect to go directly to the President and demand honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
There is an elected seven member board of education. They are on the record; flatly refusing to be held accountable; not as role models, not as stewards of the public trust and treasure, and not as public servants. Their position is categorically indefensible.
As individuals and as a board they are influential. And they are lawyered up like you wouldn’t believe. They and their lawyers have a large bore pipeline to taxpayer support of education.
For as long as they can keep this situation secret; they will prevail. At such time as their position becomes widely known; their house of cards will collapse.
The local media refuse to investigate or report upon the issue. Voters have been, and will be denied pertinent and important information.
If the word is to be spread; it will spread by you.
The enabling objective it to get two hundred people to go to the December 6th meeting of the APS Board of Education. There they will stand in support of the principle that public servants are accountable to the public and to a meaningful standard of conduct.
If you cannot attend the meeting, your responsibility is to spread the word. Contact the local newspapers and demand that they investigate and report upon the APS ethics scandal. Demand that they do it in time for voters to make use of the information. The filing date, the last day to stand personally in opposition to the board’s position, is December 19th.
This is the last board meeting before the filing date for candidates for the school board. If on the filing date, the scandal is still secret, those who would have stood in opposition by becoming a candidate will have been denied the opportunity to make that decision them self.
You pick a side when you don’t pick a side.
Pick a side. Cowboy up.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
At issue is the power that public servants wield. At issue is stakeholders regaining control over power that is fundamentally their own. At issue is ending the abuse of that power that enables corruption and incompetence in public service.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:52 PM
Allegations of felony criminal misconduct, supported by incontrovertible hard evidence, remain unresolved after several years.
If the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools were accountable to the law; there would be either a conviction or an acquittal of the subjects of the allegations. There is none. There is no evidence even of a criminal investigation. There is no evidence that the allegations or the evidence have ever been considered by law enforcement. The Leadership of the APS is not accountable, even to the law.
In nineteen days, three of seven APS board members will be guaranteed an unopposed reelection to the board. The guarantee is granted by the Journal and Tribune who will neither investigate nor report upon the scandal despite their many obvious and inescapable obligations to do so.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:20 AM
All standards great and mean are meaningless without accountability. Without accountability, the most respected standard is just so many words; serving no good. It is all about accountability.
The Leaders of the APS maintain the wherewithal to dodge accountability. Whether or not it is used, they have at their immediate disposal the resources to avoid accountability even to the law. Their record proves it.
Like radar detectors, like photo defeating license plate covers, there is no reason to maintain the ability to escape accountability, except to escape accountability; it is ethically indefensible. It is itself unethical.
It is not in the interests of students, teachers, parents, or the community that APS Leaders maintain their immunity. The only interests served are their own; they are not legitimate interests.
They maintain their immunity through stealth. A public discussion of their immunity would lead to its abolition. It is indefensible; were it not, the defense would be manifest.
The responsibility for the fact that their immunity is not part of the political discourse, even through the election of board members and allocation of hundreds of millions of tax dollars, falls squarely upon the shoulders of the Journal and Tribune.
The failure of the Journal and Tribune to expose the APS ethics scandal is a betrayal of any interpretation of a journalist’s code of ethics, and of the public trust.
They, like the APS Leaders whom they protect, cannot be held accountable for their misconduct.
And so, it will continue.
Posted by ched macquigg at 8:37 AM
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I have rewritten this post to rectify mistakes and for clarity. I will save the original and will accept responsibility for errors there in.
I picked up a flyer from a stack of flyers on a table in the APS board offices waiting room. The flyer has no publication date and is obviously being currently distributed.
On the flyer is the following statement; “In 2006, voters approved a general obligation bond election to provide capital funding for the district, with 80 percent approval.”
Having just completed a bond issue election in September, I assumed that, that was the election to which the flyer referred. Knowing that the bond issue had not passed by 80%, I looked for the results on the county clerk’s website. I did not recognize an entry labeled APS/TVI, as a bond election. I assumed incorrectly that there had been only one bond issue election in 2006 and so reported. Again, I accept responsibility for my error.
Now to the actual results. In the February election, votes were divided; 23,317 or 79.66% for the bond issue, 5,955 or 20.34% against the bond issue. These are the results to which the flyer refers.
In the September issue election, votes were divided 22,431 or 57.54% for the bond issue, 16,551 or 42.46% against.
In comparing the results, one can see that 886 fewer voters voted for the bond issue despite a 33% greater voter turnout. Votes against the bond issue were 178% greater in September than February. Voting in 2006 overall is not accurately represented by the statement, “In 2006, voters approved a general obligation bond election to provide capital funding for the district, with 80 percent approval.”
It is that dishonesty to which I react. Measured against a “legal” standard APS told the truth. Measured against an “ethical” standard, they misrepresented the truth.
If you want to be able to take statements from APS Leaders at face value; then they will have to be held accountable to a higher standard of conduct; an ethical standard; like students.
If not, then no matter what they represent as the truth, you will have to wonder if it is the “legal” truth or the “ethical” truth.
There is a difference.
Posted by ched macquigg at 10:28 PM
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Leadership of the APS has a statewide reputation for dodging accountability. This fact is routinely acknowledged every time taxpayers are asked to support education with new taxes. Governor Richardson referred in an op-ed piece before the Sepember bond issue, to a persuasive argument that these eight individuals have “a long history of dodging accountability when it comes to managing (their) finances and modernizing schools.” Voters are asked to think of the students and their needs; and not to think about their misgivings about the men and women whom they must trust with their money.
APS Leaders would like to continue to dodge accountability for their past.
Before the school tax vote next February 6th, voters will be asked to think about the maintenance needs of aging and dilapidated school houses. Again voters will be asked not to hold children accountable for the sins of APS Administrators and Board Members.
And for at least the third election in a row, the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools will dodge accountability for the administrative corruption and incompetence that wastes so many tax dollars. It will not be a ballot issue, it will not even be discussed.
For ten board meetings in a row, APS Leaders have been asked to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. Their response is to stonewall. They just ignore the question. And then the broadcast version of the school board meeting is deliberately edited to remove their response; to misrepresent the truth; to avoid accountability.
The issue of the lack of accountability in the APS, should be part of the political discourse. It should effect decisions around the December 19th Filing Day for School Board candidates.
It will not. It will not because APS, Modrall, the Journal, and the Tribune are agreed that it will not be made public.
In whose interests?
Posted by ched macquigg at 12:22 PM
Monday, November 27, 2006
If you have to ask for someone’s permission to hold them accountable; they are not accountable.
If they create and maintain the ability to dodge accountability at will; they are not accountable.
Accountability is fatal to corruption and incompetence. Corruption and incompetence exist only because honest accountability does not. In the absence of accountability the public is protected only by the trustworthiness of public servants. When the trust is being betrayed; we are compelled to recognize that trust is a poor substitute for honest accountability.
It is not power that corrupts. It is the lack of accountability for the abuse of power that corrupts; absolutely.
APS Leadership has the wherewithal to dodge accountability. They can act against the public interest; and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Albuquerqueans watch APS board meetings in person or on TV. The broadcast version of the record has been repeatedly falsified. They have deliberately and methodically misrepresented the truth. APS’ Rigo Chavez says that it isn’t dishonest to deliberately misrepresent the truth to the community because, it isn’t the “official” record.
And there’s nothing you can do about it.
Except go to the next board meeting and defend the principle that public servants are honestly accountable to the public; and to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Posted by ched macquigg at 12:22 PM
Thursday, November 23, 2006
As an essential term of public service, public servants will be honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. The terms of public in-servitude are the sole prerogative of the public, and not of the public servant.
The immediate objective is to compel the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools to recognize the terms of their public service; that they will hold themselves accountable to a standard of conduct that protects the public interest.
This objective will be reached in one way. A number of people will assemble at a board meeting and present their demand to the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools. If the number of people is large enough, the community will regain control over their power. Corruption and incompetence in the APS will end.
If the number of people is too small, when the question is asked;
As public servants, as stewards of public funds, and as the senior role models for employees and students; will you hold yourself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?
They will ignore the question.
And they will ignore their obligations as public servants, stewards of the public trust and treasure, and as role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:07 AM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
If you asked a Leader of the APS, did you chop down the cherry tree? If they answered they would say, through their lawyers, “Prove it.”
And then they would use a whole bunch of money to keep you from doing that. The money comes from people who think that their taxes are being spent in the best interests of children.
APS Leaders are spending money to protect their own interests. They’re doing it in diametric opposition to the interests of children.
Taxpayer trust is being betrayed.
But just you try to hold them accountable for it.
Posted by ched macquigg at 3:48 PM
Re: IPR o6-220, 06-222, 06-223
I call your attention to complaints filed with the Educator Ethics Bureau. The complaints have been denied a principled resolution.
The scandal unfolds under your letterhead. I am offering you an opportunity to involve yourself appropriately.
The New Mexico Educator Ethics Bureau has ended its investigation of an allegation of ethics violations by APS Superintendent Elizabeth Everitt.
The investigation took three months and involved no investigation what so ever. There is no record that a single question was asked of anyone, ever.
Elizabeth Everitt was not even asked apparently, if the allegations were true or not.
Ms. Everitt never had to say; "Yes, it is true that I refuse to be held accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct. And in so doing, I violated not only the standard of the code of ethics for educators, but of any recognized, accepted, and respected code of ethics."
Nor did she have to say "No, the allegations are not true. My record is proof that by my personal example I have modeled honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct."
She told neither the truth nor a lie, and yet she was found innocent. Actually they didn’t use the word innocent, that would have been a lie, and on the record. So they said that I had not proved guilt.
I had offered that a code of ethics that requires accountability by personal example; is violated when a person refuses to be held accountable for their personal example.
Apparently that was not proof enough.
And then the custodian of public records helped to cover it all up.
Accountability has been dodged, leaving no trail at all.
Nobody said they weren’t good at it.
Posted by ched macquigg at 1:47 PM
Monday, November 20, 2006
Stonewall; to refuse to cooperate with somebody by avoiding answering questions or providing information.
Stonewalling is what you have to do when a lie can no longer protect you from the truth.
Their record is one of dodging accountability. They can’t lie and say that they are accountable for their conduct.
They can’t tell the truth because the truth is that they really are not accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct.
Clearly, that is the way that they want things to remain.
So when you ask them if they are willing to be held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; they have to stonewall.
Their broadcast record of board meetings shows that, in the ten times that they have refused to answer the question,not one board member nor the superintendent looks into the eyes of their constituents as they dodge accountability. Not once.
Posted by ched macquigg at 4:33 PM
Suppose that instead of stonewalling, the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools actually answered the question. What if when asked, in your public service, will you hold yourself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; they said “no”
What if they said, “No; we won’t be held accountable to ANY standard of conduct. Deal with it.”
What would you do?
You need to think about that, because that’s what happened.
Unless you think stonewalling adequately answers the question.
Any answer except yes, is no.
Their answer is no; deal with it.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:17 AM
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Nobody wants to talk about it; except me of course.
I think that public servants, within their public service, should be honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
It doesn’t help to try to read anything into “honest accountability” and “meaningful standard”. They mean exactly what you think they mean.
I can understand why people who don’t want to be held accountable; don’t want to talk about accountability.
I cannot understand why people who think that public servants should be honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; don’t want to talk about it.
In less than a month there will be a filing date for candidates for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education. After that date it will no longer be possible to be a candidate. If the issues are not discussed before the filing date, then the issues cannot compel someone to become a candidate based on the issues. A healthy election depends on everyone knowing the truth while there is still time to do something about it.
I want to make honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct an issue in the school board election.
I want the terms of public in-servitude to be an issue in the board election.
Despite the fact that I am a candidate, I cannot compel a discussion of relevant issues.
There are those who do not want to discuss these issues. Their personal interests are at stake. No one will argue that honest accountability would not be good for students, and teachers, and parents, and the community. Nor will they argue that any public interest is being served by their refusal to be held honestly accountable for their conduct.
Nor will they argue.
There is only one defense of an indefensible position, it must be hidden; it must be kept secret.
Why are the Albuquerque Journal and Tribune helping to prevent the meaningful involvement of stakeholders?
You tell me. I could suggest a lot of cynical possibilities. The point is I can’t think of a single ethical possibility. Not one. The Journal and Trib are up to their eyeballs in a cover up of an ethics scandal in the leadership of the APS. So is most of the rest of the local media.
If there isn’t a scandal, why won’t someone say “There is no ethics scandal in the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools.”?
No APS leader has said it. Pete Domenici won’t say it. Nor Marty Chavez, nor any member of the City Council, nor of the Chamber of Commerce, nor the Character Counts Leadership Council, nor the teachers union, nor an editor of the Journal or Tribune, nor a news director of KOAT, KOB, or KRQE.
Nobody will stand up and say that there isn’t a scandal; because it would be a lie. No one wants to be the one to tell this lie on the record. Nobody will tell the truth. All that’s left is to stonewall; which is precisely what they are doing. They have no choice but to pretend that there’s not an elephant in the room.
The APS senior administration, the board, Modrall, and the Media do not want to talk about this. I can understand why.
Those who want to end corruption and incompetence in public service; apparently don’t want to talk about it either. That; I don’t understand.
There’s an elephant in public service. Talk about it.
Posted by ched macquigg at 11:07 AM
Friday, November 17, 2006
I offer an idea whose time has come.
As a fundamental term of their in-servitude; Public Servants will hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Whether or not this is an idea whose time has come will be manifest in the sacrifice that people are willing to make to defend the principle.
If no one wants to do anything; then the idea’s time is not come.
There’s only one way to find out.
There is a small group of people, seven board members and one superintendent, who run the seventeenth largest school district in the country.
They are refusing to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. Their position is indefensible; their only hope is to keep it hidden.
A few hundred people can make a difference.
All we have to do to win is to spread the word widely enough to motivate a few hundred people to stand up at a board meeting or email a reporter.
Everybody has their own agenda. I submit that my agenda moves your agenda. What legitimate agenda is not advanced by public service honestly accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct?
Honest accountability anywhere is honest accountability everywhere. It just needs to get started somewhere. There will be no better circumstance, no better time, and no better place to draw a line in the sand and defend it.
A precedent must be set. This is the place to set it. It’s time to kick the ball on to the field.
Where ever you live, you are a stakeholder. There is an opportunity to make a real difference, and all you have to do is help to spread the word.
All we need is people.
Posted by ched macquigg at 11:35 PM
Three school board seats are up for grabs in February.
One of the editors told me that they would start paying attention to candidates after filing day. Filing day is I believe December 19th.
A great disservice is done by waiting until after filing day. What it means is that political discourse will not take place before filing day. Perhaps when stakeholders find out that Leonard DeLayo, Miguel Acosta, and Robert Lucero are among board members who refuse to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; someone might be motivated to run against them; somebody who is willing to hold themself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
And if the APS Leadership, Modrall, the Journal and the Tribune; don't want to talk about this now; what makes you think they will talk about it ever? The longer they wait the worse it looks. And the more it needs to stay secret.
Maybe this will be the first stealth election. Talk about voter fraud.
Posted by ched macquigg at 2:54 PM
Are you willing to be held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?
If you are, visit my blog and post your name.
In God we trust; everyone else will be asked for proof.
Posted by ched macquigg at 11:54 AM
If a public servant breaks the law while abusing her power, should the public pay for the attorney who saves her from accountability for that abuse?
If so, is it still OK if the money goes to her husband’s law firm? It is a large amount of money; an amount so indefensible that it must be kept secret; even in response to a public records request.
May the public expect that their taxes be spent in a manner that supports the public interest?
If public assets are spent to advance a personal agenda at the expense of the public interest; the law has been broken. Hasn’t it?
Which brings us back the fact that these people cannot be held accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct. They cannot be held accountable even to the lowest standard of acceptable conduct; the law.
Posted by ched macquigg at 11:44 AM
The New Mexico Public Education Department may be accumulating fines of up to $300 per day. They have failed to surrender public records by the deadline set by the law.
According to the law, the public agency responsible for the failure to surrender the records will pay the fine out of agency funds. Those funds are tax funds. Likely they are the very dollars that taxpayers contributed in order to provide the best education for their children.
As are the funds enriching the lawyers of Modrall. Public money is being spent to cover up the APS ethics scandal as well.
Taxpayers are paying for protection for public servants who will not hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
That’s wrong, right?
Posted by ched macquigg at 10:12 AM
The terms of public service
I am not the person to list or defend them all. I submit two.
The first and most fundamental term is; public servants must hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Flowing from the first; public servants must answer legitimate questions about their public service.
The members of the Albuquerque Public Schools are public servants. Whatever else, whoever else they are; they are public servants.
They have no choice but to answer the question; or resign.
Paula Maes, Robert Lucero, Miguel Acosta, Berna Facio, Mary Lee Martin, Gordon Rowe, Leonard DeLayo, and Elizabeth Everitt;
As public servants, as stewards of the public trust and treasure, and as role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters;
Will you hold yourself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?
Any answer except yes; is no.
Stakeholders have dues. At the very least your dues include standing up for what you believe in. You are at a fork in the road; you can do something or you can do nothing.
You can email the Journal and Tribune and tell them that you have a right to the truth far enough in advance of the filing deadline to make a difference.
You can copy this appeal and post it where other people will read it. You can ask them to read it.
You can post it on your blog.
You could go to the next board meeting and be counted among stakeholders demanding an answer to the question.
Or you could do nothing.
If I am missing something here; tell me. Please.
Posted by ched macquigg at 8:31 AM
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Within the New Mexico Public Education Department lies the Educator Ethics Bureau.
If you file a complaint alleging ethical misconduct by an educator, they will investigate the complaint and assign consequences. They have the authority to revoke educational licensure.
All of the APS Administrators who refuse to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; do so in violation of any justifiable code of ethics. If for no other reason, they fall short of the standards of the Code of Ethics for the Education Profession. The standard requires that they teach ethics by personal example. People who choose not be held accountable to a standard cannot also maintain that they are modeling accountability to a standard.
Almost two years ago, a complaint regarding this ethical misconduct was filed with the Educator Ethics Bureau against APS Superintendent Elizabeth Everitt.
I called recently to check on the progress. I was told that because the case was still open, I am denied any information about the complaint.
I found it a little hard to believe that it would take almost two years to investigate a simple case. Also I doubted that just because they claimed to be investigating, that they could claim any exception to public records law. I filed a request for public records with the NMPED. I asked for my records, any record that substantiates their allegation that they enjoy exception to the law, and a copy of their “Rules”. It is ironic that you have to file a public records request in order to see the "Rules"; but hey, it’s New Mexico.
The deadline for the surrender of the public records has passed.
I don’t know how my complaint was resolved, they won’t show me the rules, and they won’t show me the rule that excepts them from having to show me the findings or the "Rules".
An agency of the state government has failed to comply with the requirements of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.
There is nothing that I can do about it. Theoretically the attorney general and the district attorney are at my disposal in the prosecution of my suit to obtain public records. In truth,they actually do have better things to do. They aren’t going to help. I’ve been there.
The AG’s website suggests, “hey, just sue ‘em yourself". So there you are in District Court standing opposite two Modrall lawyers. Imagine a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. It wasn't pretty. You don't get the records, ever. They have lots of time and lots of money. Tax payers give it to them in order to provide the best educational opportunity for their sons and daughters.
Apparently Superintendent Everitt is not accountable even to the law. The state agency that is charged with holding her accountable won’t, and they can’t be held accountable either.
Constituents have a right to know, before the election, before the filing date, that these folks can not be held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. That they are not accountable even to the law.
The records will not be surrendered until such time as they no longer represent a problem to eight men and women and their lawyers.
Did I mention that taxpayers are paying for the lawyers?
Posted by ched macquigg at 7:55 PM
If you know nothing, you know that, that is a sign of organizational ill health.
Culture; “the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another”.
I did not choose the word culture, the Council of Great City Schools did.
One generation after another of APS administrators and board members who wield our power, use it to create fear of retribution and retaliation against anyone who questions their decisions or actions.
It’s not the way to run a school district.
Posted by ched macquigg at 3:05 PM
APS senior administrators have a reputation for fiscal incompetence and corruption, and of dodging accountability.
I have paraphrased Governor Richardson’s remarks from before the last bond election.
They refuse to accept accountability to any meaningful standard of conduct.
Yet they are the stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
When the Council of Great City Schools audited APS after the M&O corruption scandal, they reported that the evaluations of APS administrators were subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement.
I will paraphrase their point.
People are being promoted into positions of responsibility based on evaluations that were subjective; “They're cool, we'll make them a Director of Something”. And then the Director of Something is given responsibility for spending a bunch of tax dollars. Apparently they are not required to offer any objective proof that that they are in any way qualified to spend money in the best interests of students. They are not enjoined from spending it unethically. They are accountable to no standard of conduct that uses the word ethical.
Is there evidence of incompetence? How much more to you need?
It is the Peter Principle on steroids. No one is accountable for anything. They are not accountable at least in an “honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct” kind of way.
How much (more) money do you want to put into the hands of someone who won’t even look you in the eye when they refuse to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Show me where the axis of APS senior administrators, Board Members and Modrall, have ever fought to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Their record is one of dodging accountability.
It costs money to dodge accountability.
Have tax dollars been misspent?
Did dollars destined for the interests of students, get spent instead in the interests of senior administrators, board members, and their lawyers. Should taxpayers pay for the defense lawyers of those who are accused of deliberately betraying the public interests? If their lawyers were part of it, aren’t taxpayers paying these lawyers to defend themselves against allegations that they have betrayed the public trust as well?
Does unwitting taxpayer support for “education” pay for Get Out of Jail Free cards for administrators and board members?
Posted by ched macquigg at 1:51 PM
What part of that premise is acceptable?
School Board President Paula Maes says board members will not answer questions during public forum. She implied that questions will be answered elsewhere.
In truth, the question, “Will you hold yourself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?” will not be answered ever, under any circumstance.
Public servants have an obligation to answer any legitimate question about their public service; in any circumstance. The board is not prohibited from answering the question by any statute, regulation or policy; they choose not to answer the question.
There is only one reason to refuse to answer a question, and that is to avoid accountability for the answer. By refusing to answer the question they are demonstrating that they are not honestly accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct.
Public servants have no obligation to tell the truth in response to a legitimate question about their public service.
The premise is unacceptable, yet we tolerate the behavior.
I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that public service is awash with corruption and incompetence.
Posted by ched macquigg at 12:03 PM
You can’t just say no. You have to say why.
And it cannot be claimed. It must be established by proof
Posted by ched macquigg at 2:07 AM
On February 6, 2007, voters will make a decision on another school tax issue. A Journal reader would think that was the only election that day. No mention that on the same day, voters will decide who they must trust with that money.
One of the most often heard criticisms about the Leadership of the APS is that they can’t handle money, and that they dodge accountability. These are germane issues. They should be part of the political discourse.
In the last bond issue election, we had public leaders begging us to give the money to kids for classrooms and forget about the issues with the current leadership’s administration of our schools. And I told you then; they were going to ask you to do the same thing again this spring.
No. Not this time.
This time an issue will be made of public servants and the terms of their in-servitude. This time an issue will be made of honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
The APS axis and the newspapers won't talk about the scandal. It would be bad for the three sitting board members, and it might unfortunately be bad for a worthy tax maintain schools. Why are we always compelled to give money to people we can’t trust, because we have no other choice if we want to maintain our children’s schools?
The Journal and the Tribune should be reporting on the APS ethics scandal. Their refusal is not in the best interests of people who expect them to tell them the truth.
Voters are absolutely dependent upon the media for information to guide their voting. If only for that reason, they obligated to tell the truth.
By refusing to cover the issues, the Journal and Trib are manipulating voter’s choices on taxes; and on those who they must trust to spend them in the interests of education.
If this scandal were honestly covered, there wouldn’t be three board seats on the line, there would be seven.
How can you let someone who refuses to be held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct, sit on a school board for even one day longer than you absolutely must?
Posted by ched macquigg at 1:01 AM
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
…until they report credibly on their failure to report credibly on the APS ethic scandal, so far.
If my allegations of scandal are true, and the papers have known about it even through two elections; then it goes without saying that the Journal and Tribune have done something wrong. And they need to explain themselves.
If my allegations of scandal are untrue, then why haven’t they written an article that said, we looked into allegations of ethical and criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators and board members and found that the allegations lacked substance?
Why haven’t they reported upon the innocence of the Leadership of APS if they are indeed innocent?
It would cost them nothing. The investigation has already been done. They have investigated the allegations, right? They took a look at public records that I said were incontrovertible proof of ethical and criminal misconduct; and found no evidence of misconduct, right?
There is only one reason that they haven’t printed the allegations of innocence, and that is because when the truth does come out; it will be obvious that they lied.
…a deliberate lie, and not the kind of lie where you just don’t tell the truth, but the kind of a lie where you tell an untruth. It’s a harder kind of lie to explain your way out of, when you get caught.
Posted by ched macquigg at 11:28 PM
There is an ethics scandal in the Albuquerque Public Schools.
No one in the APS has denied it. Who? When?
My allegations against administrators and board members have never been refuted by any principled resolution of the complaint.
The people that run the APS refuse to answer this question:
As public servants, as stewards of the public trust and treasure, and as the senior role models of 98,000 of our sons and daughters; will you hold yourselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?
Any answer except yes is, no. Their answer is no.
This is an ethics scandal on its face.
They stuck from their own code of conduct language which read,
“…in no case shall the standard for adults be lower than the standard for students…”
If that is not a scandal, what is?
Somebody should do something.
Is it important? Every day, all day, our children are bombarded with messages that contradict the values that we hope that they will embrace. We need to set an example of an adult worthy of emulation. It is especially important that a worthy example is set in their schools. Yes this is important.
The scandal is real, the stakes are important; is it possible to make a difference?
Of course it is, all we have to do is to march into the board room and take back the control over our power. The board, if compelled, could pass a binding resolution that held them honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. A few hundred people could do it. Yes it is possible to make a difference.
Real important and possible; all that is missing is a few hundred people who are willing to defend their principles with their sacrifice. Should be a snap.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:37 PM
A principal lied to the president of the student body about an issue before the student council. When I attempted to hold him accountable for ethical misconduct, I found out that APS does not provide for the principled resolution of complaints against administrators. Instead of a prinicipal being held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; I was chastised for minding someone else’s business. According to a senior APS Administrator, “…it doesn’t hurt a kid when their principal lies to them.”
I once tried to secure public records. I was investigating an allegation that fire drill records had been falsified. It had been reported that a principal,in order to escape accountability for violating state statutes, board policies, and fire code, had deliberately falsified fire drill records; criminal misconduct.
When I asked a senior APS Administrator to surrender copies of the submitted fire drill reports, he refused.
There is a state law that allows me to ask for a public record, and if it is immediately available (it was) it is to be surrendered. It wasn’t.
I called the APS Police (Praetorian Guard) and asked them to seize and protect the evidence. They refused and ordered me to leave; which I did. In a police report (subject to perjury laws) the senior administrator swore, that in an effort to intimidate him, I had slammed my hand on his desk. In a sworn statement during an arbitration hearing, he swore that I slammed a portfolio down on his desk with such violence that “…papers flew everywhere”.
I will swear under polygraph examination that neither is the truth.
At best, one is the truth; the other is a lie, perjury, a fourth degree felony.
He was not held accountable for his misconduct.
He was not held accountable criminally because a settlement agreement was reached. Public funds were exchanged for his immunity from criminal prosecution. …and also for immunity for other senior administrators and board members.
The proof of these allegations is among public records that the District controls. Under law they are required to surrender public records upon demand.
Expect to pay for each page, fifty cents, plus whatever it costs you to fight for the records in court, against Modrall, for years.
Perhaps it is legal to use unwitting taxpayer support for “education” to allow senior administrators and board members to escape the consequences of their misconduct. But it isn’t ethical.
I believe that taxpayers would feel betrayed. …if they knew.
These people rewrote the code of conduct that applied to them. They took out the part that read,
“…in no case shall the standard for adults be lower than the standard for students…”
The student standard by the way, the one, upon which we tell children their character rests, is; honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
There is no good reason to except APS Leadership from honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
There is less reason to allow them to except themselves.
Without explanation or defense, they are simply, unaccountable. And like the school yard bully they want only to know, "So whadaya gonna do about it?"
Their position is indefensible. The only defense of an indefensible position is to hide it. What position on this issue must be hidden?
As public servants, and as stewards of the public trust and treasure, and as the senior role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters; will you hold yourself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?
Stakeholders; you will have to stand up in order to hear an answer.
Posted by ched macquigg at 6:46 PM
There is an election less than three months away. City voters will vote to appropriate another 138 million dollars to APS. They will also elect three of the seven people who will spend that money. In 12 column inches of a report on that election, the Journal’s coverage of the board member election rated not one word.
Why is the board member election a secret? It is a secret because any discussion around candidates will reveal that the Journal, and the Tribune, are covering up an ethics scandal. They have covered it up through two elections, and apparently they intend to cover it up through a third.
If this all sounds incredible, consider that reporters will witness first hand, at tonight’s board meeting, the board’s ninth refusal to be held accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct. And for the ninth time, their refusal will not be reported.
To excuse the Journal and Tribune of what appears to be a betrayal of the trust and interests of voters, all one has to do is imagine an ethical justification for their failure to report that the board is honestly accountable to no standard at all, not even the law.
No ethical justification exists. If you think that one does, post it. Let's see what scrutiny that justification can bear.
Footnote; The Journal's Thursday morning coverage of the board meeting did not, in fact, include coverage of the Leadership's ninth refusal to be held honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Posted by ched macquigg at 8:54 AM
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
• the senior role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters;
• And as stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars;
• And as public servants; who are required as an essential term of their in-servitude, to subject themselves to honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
The leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools must hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Accountability to a standard requires; a standard and a system that provides for accountability to that standard.
A meaningful standard will be of carefully chosen words that represent the principle. The words will be chosen by the public; not by the public servant
Honest accountability means that, on the one side you have lawyers who will pervert words like honor, and courage, and character in order to allow their clients to escape the consequences of misconduct. On the other side you have the lawyers who represent the people; and who will create a system that provides accountability as defined by public interests. They will be the people’s champions.
And we will do battle. And we will defend the line that separates us. And we will no longer equivocate around “honest accountability”.
Let us not forget that each of us is a role model. And if as a role model we cannot model perfection; we must at the very least, model accountability for our imperfections.
A principle without a defense, a principle without people who will make sacrifices in its defense; means nothing. It serves no function. All principles great and mean, are equally worthless. …if no one will defend them. Talk, great or mean, is just talk. It is never anything more than talk.
Some people will stand up for what they believe in; some will not.
Like exactly every other issue, you come to a fork in the road. You can travel the path to talk is cheap. Or you can take the path to do something.
If enough people are willing to do something, anything can be done. … if you have enough people. … actually willing to do something.
What could be a decisive battle takes place in less than two days.
The window will open at 4:59 pm, Wednesday afternoon. The window will close about ten minutes later.
If you were there, you were there. If you weren’t, you weren’t; and it doesn’t matter why.
If you can’t go, you can email someone; or everyone. Out of town stakeholders have dues just like the locals whose principles are under attack.
There is really only one proof of commitment to a principle; willing sacrifice in defense of the principle.
Or, honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:40 AM
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Senator Pete Domenici, Mayor Marty Chavez, City Councilors, APS Administrators, Character Counts Leadership Council, Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Character Counts advocates,Albuquerque Teachers Federation, Parents, Students,bloggers,readers, ...stakeholders.
If we really want our children to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct,
We, ourselves, must be an example of honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Talk is cheap. Walk your talk at the School Board Meeting this Wednesday night.
Out of town stakeholders; email the local media, demand coverage
Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque Tribune, KOB TV, KOAT TV, KRQE TV, KKOB AM
Posted by ched macquigg at 10:01 AM
Friday, November 10, 2006
This is about the message, it is not about the messenger.
If we really expect our children to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; someone has to show them what that looks like.
We walk our talk only by deliberately placing ourselves in a situation where we will be held honestly accountable for our conduct; even against our will.
I am in some respects an unworthy messenger.
Except that; in my public service as a member of the school board; I am willing to hold myself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts; the current student standard of conduct.
I will submit my resignation simultaneous with my first failure to hold myself honestly accountable to that standard.
As for myself, I will neither solicit nor accept any endorsement, except of the message.
My personal worthiness as a member of the school board is the sole prerogative of the voters who will either accept or reject me as their representative.
I am offering an opportunity to stand up against the corruption and incompetence in public service. I am offering an opportunity to begin that crusade by eliminating the corruption and incompetence in the Albuquerque Public Schools.
Honest accountability is fatal to corruption and incompetence. absolutely.
I seek to eliminate the corruption and incompetence in the Albuquerque Public Schools by compelling the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools to hold themselves honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
I have talked the talk; I will walk the walk.
I invite your encouragement, your help, and the opportunity to answer any question that you ask. On my honor and on the record.
Posted by ched macquigg at 10:26 AM
The Genovese syndrome; also known as the bystander effect, or bystander apathy
The stink of it is; in New York City, in 1964, Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death by a serial rapist and murderer. The murder took place over a period of about thirty minutes, during which dozens of alleged "witnesses" failed to help the victim.
The parallel is that “dozens of witnesses” are watching honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct, being stabbed to death by APS Leaders, and are failing to help the victim.
As you can imagine, this phenomenon weighs heavily on me. I researched the Genovese syndrome in an effort to understand, why?
The first thing I found out is that individual bystanders are less likely to intervene if there are other bystanders.
According to the Wikipedia;”…the most common explanation of this phenomenon is that, with others present, observers all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so they each individually refrain from doing so. This is an example of how diffusion of responsibility leads to social loafing. People may also assume that other bystanders may be more qualified to help, such as being a doctor or police officer, and their intervention would thus be unneeded. People may also fear "losing face" in front of the other bystanders, being superseded by a "superior" helper, or offering unwanted assistance. Another explanation is that bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since others are doing exactly the same, everyone concludes from the inaction of others that other people do not think that help is needed. This is an example of pluralistic ignorance and social proof.”
“Furthermore, pluralistic ignorance is countered by the implication that all bystanders are indeed interested in helping, and social proof kicks in when one or more of the crowd steps in to assist.”
Or, Somebody should do something. If one person can summon the courage to intervene, they will be joined by others.
Is there an emergency? The concept of emergency is subjective, my emergency is not yours, and vice versa. Perhaps the question is not, is there an emergency, but, is there a problem worthy of investment in a solution?
The Josephson Institute does a survey of American Youth every two years. The survey and results appear to be reputable. The Institute’s website is the first source should you want to verify my summary.
The results indicate that among our sons and daughters; three of five agreed that, “In the real world, successful people do what they have to do to win, even if others consider it cheating”. Two of five believe that “A person has to lie or cheat sometimes in order to succeed”. One in five believes that “People who are willing to lie, cheat or break the rules are more likely to succeed than people who do not”. Four of five admit they lied to parent within the past 12 months about something significant.” Three of five admit they lied to teacher within the past 12 months about something significant”; one in three said they lied two or more times.”
One in three copied an internet document within the past 12 months; one in five did so two or more times. Three in five cheated during a test at school within the past 12 months; one in three did so two or more times. One in five stole something from a parent or other relative within the past 12 months; one in ten did so two or more times.
If this is not an emergency, perhaps we can agree that there is a problem whose solution is worthy of investment.
In 1998, the local CHARACTER COUNTS! task force surveyed parents in Albuquerque. Among the results; 94 percent agreed that "it is important to teach character education in the public schools."
Character education is not being taught in pubic schools whose leadership openly refuses to be held accountable to the same standard of conduct that they are telling students deserves their honest accountability.
I find myself very discouraged by the lack of attention that I am able to draw to what I think is an important problem. I really believe that the best interests of children are among the stakes on the table. I believe that there is an emergency.
It appears to me that my readers are comfortable sitting on the fence. No one will argue that the truth is misrepresented; yet no one is compelled by the truth to abandon their seat on the fence. In order to stand on my side of the fence you are required to help to spread the word, and at some point you will be asked to stand up for what you believe in. You will be required to speak up (at least symbolically) at the next board meeting, even if it is only by email.
This is about the message; it is not about the messenger.
For my part, I am not asking you to support me as a messenger; or in any other capacity. I will do that only once; when I ask you to vote for me as a candidate for the board seat representing School Board District 4.
In the mean time, I am asking only for your support of the principle. At the next public forum, I will ask the Board and Superintendent to respond to their lack of accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
If at that moment, you stand up; I will neither assume nor represent that by standing you offer support to me. By standing you will represent only that you too expect the Leadership of the APS to tell the truth about their honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct.
It would seem that I am the only one who cares. I suffer certainly; but so do the students in the Albuquerque Public Schools. That’s why I can’t just give up.
“The essence of inhumanity is indifference.” unk
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:12 AM
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Take for example; truth telling. According to the standard of least acceptable conduct; the law, you only have to tell the truth after having uncrossed your fingers behind your back.
At all other times, particularly if you are powerful, your fingers are tightly crossed behind your back and you have entirely justified deliberate deception.
In contrast, if you are accountable to a higher standard of conduct, like the one we have asked our children to embrace, then fingers don’t get crossed, ever.
The trustworthiness we expect from our children is diametrically opposite to any deception that can be justified by crossing your fingers behind your back. If we shake hands with our other hand behind our backs, our children will learn to do the same.
Every child needs to know what the line is. Every child needs to know that anyone who crosses that line must hold themselves accountable, even the role model. Otherwise the child is taught that it is acceptable, after having crossed the line, to then compound that misconduct by trying to escape the consequences.
It is not about being perfect. It is about being willing to accept the consequences of being imperfect.
It is about drawing a line. On one side of that line, a list of acceptable imperfections; and on the other, a list of unacceptable imperfections. It is about accepting the consequences of crossing the line.
If that can be done while a child is watching, then a child can be taught what it looks like to accept the consequences of misconduct.
Every generation expects the next generation to be the first to hold itself accountable to a higher standard of conduct. Invariably the next generation will hold itself accountable only to the standard modeled before them. Children, by in large, will not hold themselves accountable to a higher standard of conduct than the one modeled by their mentor.
We tell our children about George Washington and the cherry tree. We tell the story to illustrate our expectation that they will grow up holding themselves accountable to a higher standard of conduct.
If asked, we will say that we are models of a higher standard. We are leading by our example. We are expecting no more from those we lead, than we expect from ourselves.
Yet we teach them by our example, that the accouterments of power include exception from accountability; absolutely.
If the next generation is to grow up to embrace honor and courage and character; someone has to show them what it looks like.
If we want the next generation to hold it self honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; someone has to show them what it looks like.
There is only one way to model honest accountability, and that is to hold yourself honestly accountable; willingly enter a situation where you will be held honestly accountable for your misconduct; even against your will.
Assume that you say that you support speed limits. Imagine that the ballot question before you asks; will you support installing what ever measures are necessary to insure inescapable accountability to an unequivocal standard with respect to speeding?
In other words; will you hold yourself honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct?
If you vote yes, you have walked your talk. The child who watches you will learn that principles are worthy of sacrifice.
It is not about being perfect. It is about being accountable.
Posted by ched macquigg at 8:54 AM
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Diogenes searched for years for one honest man. My task is to find but two hundred; two hundred men, women and children who are willing to stand up for two minutes while the following question is put to the Leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools;
As Board Members and Senior Administrators; to what standard of conduct are you willing to be held honestly accountable?
By honest accountability it is meant: inescapable accountability to an unequivocal standard. It means accountability in the manner in which we want our children to understand it.
Are you willing to be held accountable to the standard to which 89,000 of our sons and daughters are accountable?
The Leaders of the APS must identify the standard to which they are accountable. They must present tp scrutiny, the process by which all allegations of their misconduct will see a principled resolution. By principled resolution it is meant; universally available, beyond undue influence, fair and impartial, and consistent with agreed upon principles of acceptable conduct, such as a code of ethical conduct.
It would seem to be a question that reasonably requires a response from any person who enjoys the public trust; in particular educational leadership.
To what standard of conduct will you be honestly accountable?
There is a counter at the bottom of this blog page. On the day that people visit this blog at the rate of 200 per day; I will attempt to organize a rally of those 200 people. We will stand together to respectfully deliver the question each member of the Board, the Superintendent, or their designee. We will hope that we have gathered in a number large enough to compel a reponse.
If a large enough crowd of people gather in one place to ask the question; the media will be compelled to cover the story. At that point every stakeholder in the District will have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not to protest the APS Leadership’s response to a legitimate question, stonewall. Stonewalling is not telling the truth.
This endeavor will not be supported by the media. I am compelled to toss it into the blogosphere and see what happens. They made a difference in Connecticut.
Please spread the word on Diogenes’six. Email friends, relatives, any stakeholder whose address you know. This can be done.
When it looks like we have the attention of 200 people, we will attempt to hold the Leadership of the APS honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
If we fail, we will have to do it again, and again if necessary; until the terms of public service, as defined by the public, are clearly defined.
I look forward to comments or questions.
Posted by ched macquigg at 2:51 PM
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The little kid points out that the school yard bully is cheating. The bully asks, so whadaya gonna do about it? And the pretty much ends it.
Republican precincts get shorted ballots. So whadaya gonna do about it? The county clerk singly most responsible for the mistake, a manifestation of incompetence or corruption, will be promoted. She will enjoy a larger salary for a position in charge of even larger and more important elections. So much for accountability by voter.
Having disproved the illusion of accountability by voter; we are left with no accountability at all.
What ever has happened will happen again, and again, and again. Democrats will do it, Republicans will do it, Greens will do it, …
The problem isn’t the party, it is the system.
The system allows incompetence and corruption because it provides no honest accountability even for the most egregious misconduct.
Accountability is fatal to incompetence and corruption. It is not provided because accountability is not in the interests of those whose political existence depends upon a lack of accountability.
The first step to righting that which is wrong with public service, is to provide honest accountability for public servants; even against their will.
We can begin with the Albuquerque School Board, whose position against honest accountability is utterly indefensible. They are defended only by the Albuquerque Journal and Tribune, who together help to keep their dirty little secret.
Let’s hold them honestly accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct; even against their will.
Posted by ched macquigg at 6:30 PM
In an Albuquerque Journal article entitled, Smart Discipline; an entirely superficial examination is afforded to the District’s response to discipline problems.
A deeper examination would have revealed that discipline problems in the District stem APS’ lack of a discipline philosophy. Philosophy is the connection between a goal and the policy that enables the goal to be achieved. It is the answer to a student’s question, Why not? The absence of a well thought out and grounded discipline philosophy is telling. It could not be more important.
For example; APS routinely permits prohibited behavior on schools campuses. Students who are told that sagging is prohibited; are allowed to sag habitually; in plain sight and in diametric opposition to District Policy.
Sagging, wearing pants so low as to expose underwear, is not the issue. Allowing students to ignore rules is the issue. Allowing students to take charge in school is the issue. Permitting prohibited behavior is the issue.
For the sake of discussion, let’s suppose that the goal is to provide an educationally efficient environment; an environment where teachers can teach and students can learn without distraction. APS’ response was to create a policy to prohibit sagging. They skipped the step of identifying the philosophical statement that connects sagging and the educational efficiency of the teaching and learning environment. That is why they ended up a policy that doesn't work. If the philosophy is that sagging does negatively affect the environment, then why is it permitted? If the philosophy is that sagging doesn’t affect the learning environment, then why is it prohibited?
One of the most basic philosophical statements with regard to effective discipline policy is that, if you have a rule, you should enforce it. Admittedly, it can be argued that enforcing a rule can cost more than the enforcement is worth. In effect, “Yes, sagging does negatively affect the environment, but not as negatively as fighting with kids all day long about their dress.” It is a legitimate point of view. The appropriate course is determined during the identification of a District discipline philosophy. And then based on the philosophy, one either prohibits sagging and enforces the rule, or one allows sagging and moves on to other issues. In no case is it appropriate to accustom children to routinely ignoring rules; a position without philosophical foundation and with far reaching negative consequences.
The second page headline reads; Discipline options smarten up suspensions. In practice, options are used by many administrators to make their own lives easier. If a principal wants to discipline a student with bellicose and powerful parents, the least harsh option is chosen. If the student is obnoxious and has disinterested parents, the harsher option is chosen. The disparate treatment does not escape the attention of either student. Nor does it escape the attention of other students.
Consider the following quote from the article; “At Valley, administrators use community service as a form of discipline. So a student busted for vandalizing the campus might be required to do something to beautify the school. Of course, it’s always on an individual case basis.”
In so far as students are concerned, "On an individual case basis" means only differential treatment, an unfair system unworthy of their respect or allegiance.
“On an individual case basis” is APS speak for permission to choose the consequence which creates the fewest waves. The Board of Education used that exact phrase when creating their policy for dealing with administrators who for instance, are charged with aggravated drunk driving. “On an individual case basis”, allows a favored administrator to escape consequences.
There is another telling quote in the article. “A lot of times, a kid is having a rotten day.” It represents a discipline philosophy that begins with making excuses for a child’s misconduct in order to trivialize the situation. Is this a philosophy that reflects the views of teachers, parents, or students? No, it isn’t. It is an unexamined administrative philosophy that allows administrators to avoid the nastiness of having to enforce the rules by imposing unpleasant consequences.
There are two ways that one can avoid honest accountability for their conduct; one is to muddy the expectations, the other is to corrupt the system by which one is held accountable.
The decision not to write a District discipline philosophy is deliberate. If there is no philosophy against which to measure conduct; conduct cannot be criticized; or, muddied expectations. They function beside the administrative immunity that is provided by the District’s failure to provide a system under which allegations of Administrative misconduct will receive a principled resolution. A principled resolution of a complaint is impartial, beyond undue influence, universally available, and consistent with agreed upon principles.
The simple truth is that the Leadership of the APS cannot provide discipline policies that guarantee an educationally efficient environment for students and teachers. They cannot because in large part, they will not accept honest accountability for themselves. They are not honestly accountable even to the standard that they established for and enforce upon students. They have refused publicly and repeatedly to hold themselves accountable to any meaningful standard of conduct.
Is it any surprise then, that many students make the same choice?
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:47 AM
Monday, November 06, 2006
It isn’t of course, but it could be.
It stands to reason that the larger a government body is, the harder it will be to make substantial change. It stands to reason then that a small government body, a seven member elected school board, is the logical place to start a reform effort. The seven member board is the Achilles heel of governmental bodies that tolerate corruption and incompetence. A change there could well be the beginning of change everywhere.
Corruption and incompetence are the cause of almost every “bad” thing that a government does; wasted money, ineffective efforts, and every decision that serves private interests over public interests.
Accountability is fatal to corruption and incompetence.
To the extent that corruption and incompetence exist, it is because there is no accountability. Socrates is widely credited with observing that, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Consider for a moment that it is not power, but the lack of accountability for the abuse of power which corrupts, absolutely.
If any public servant who abuses the power entrusted to them is held accountable, honestly and absolutely accountable for that abuse, how could it continue? It can’t.
Instead of accountability, people are offered an assurance; you can trust me. Trust is a poor substitute for accountability. How else can it be explained that government still suffers widely from the effects of corruption and incompetence? Even after all of the years of opportunity to eliminate corruption and incompetence.
Transparency is an excellent example of a concrete step toward accountability. Yet transparency does not exist. Those who we have trusted to protect our interests have yet to provide a level of transparency that provides protection against the ravages of corruption and incompetence. It is naïve to expect that they will. You cannot expect a wo/man to eliminate corruption and incompetence when their political being depends on their existence.
All that is necessary to provide for honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct in the Albuquerque Public Schools is to remove the current board and elect in their place seven men and women who are willing, in their public service, to be held accountable, honestly accountable.
The current Board, Paula Maes, Leonard DeLayo, Robert Lucero, Berna Facio, Miguel Acosta, Gordon Rowe, and Mary Lee Martin, has individually and collectively renounced honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct. It is on the record.
DeLayo, Acosta, and Lucero’s board seats are up for election in February 2007. They need to be replaced by three individuals who in their role as public servants, as role models for 98,ooo school children, and as stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars, are willing to be held accountable to a meaningful standard of conduct.
Someone needs to run against them. It would seem that anyone willing to stand for accountability would be a shoe in.
Posted by ched macquigg at 9:35 AM
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Proof? …just ask any of its advocates to take some lumps in its defense.
At some point you have to hold yourself accountable to the standard you promote. If you don’t, you are a hypocrite, a charlatan, a fraud.
The leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools requires students to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts. Students are expected to hold themselves accountable to a higher standard of conduct (than the law; the lowest standard of (acceptable) conduct). It is the principle we illustrate when we tell children the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. We expect children to revere George Washington as a hero worthy of emulation because he had the moral courage to hold himself accountable to a higher standard of conduct.
The Leadership of the APS has renounced the same higher standard for themselves. For reasons that they will not admit, reasons that enjoy no ethical justification, they have refused to hold themselves honestly accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts. They will not model before students, the behavior that they expect from students. They have renounced their obligations as role models for 6,000 employees and 98,000 students.
They have escaped the consequences of their decision largely because the Albuquerque Journal and Tribune refuse to investigate or report upon their actions, even through two elections.
The situation would be resolved by public exposure. Because the Journal and Tribune won’t report the truth, a number of persons who cast a longer shadow than I, have been asked to use their influence to illuminate the situation. They have refused. They are apparently unwilling to take some lumps in defense of Character Counts.
Among those who know of the APS ethics scandal and who refuse to stand and be counted are:
• Michael Josephson, the founder of Character Counts.
• Senator Pete Domenici, among those who helped to write the six pillars of character.
• Mayor Martin Chavez, who when he gets the chance, calls himself a founding influence of Character Counts in Albuquerque.
• Albuquerque’s City Councilors, who have failed to protect the interests of their constituents.
• The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, in the person of Teri Cole, who wears a Character Counts badge.
• Every Church Leader whose email address I could find in a long evening of searching for help.
• The Albuquerque Teachers Federation, who under Don Whatley, brought Character Counts to APS.
When push comes to shove, no one will stand up and be counted. I can’t tell you why; I don’t understand why.
Perhaps it is as simple as the fact that you can’t stand up for Character Counts without being willing to be held honestly accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts yourself. Perhaps it is as simple as the fact that these people are simply frauds; they will advocate for Character Counts for as long as it serves their interests. But when it comes right down to it, …?
Every generation expects the next generation to be the first to hold itself honestly accountable to a higher standard of conduct. Every next generation has then fallen short of that expectation. They have however, managed to live up to the example that has been set for them.
If we really want our children to embrace character and honor and courage; I mean REALLY want them to embrace character and honor and courage; someone has to show them what it looks like.
People are fond of saying “Somebody should do something!” Apparently what they really mean is “Somebody ELSE should do something.” And that is why things are getting worse rather than better.
Posted by ched macquigg at 4:02 PM
That phrase and expectation used to be part of the APS employee standards of conduct. It is a powerful premise. It recognizes the inherent power in leading by example. It recognizes the obligation of role models. It justified morally, the authority of adults over children.
When the Leadership of the APS lowered the standard to which they would be held accountable, they did so be removing that phrase from their code of conduct. No longer would they be held accountable to the student standard of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts; a widely recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.
They removed that expectation for only one reason. There is only one reason to oppose honest accountability; to avoid the consequences of misconduct.
A number of board members and senior administrators are the subjects of legitimate allegations of ethical and criminal misconduct, including felony criminal misconduct. Using taxpayer support of “education”, they paid lawyers to manipulate the law to escape the principled resolution of those allegations. They are not accountable even to the law, the lowest standard of acceptable conduct.
Were they accountable to an ethical standard of conduct, they would not be able to pervert justice to their interests. That is why they are fighting so hard to escape honest accountability to the student standard of conduct; an ethical standard.
They are like the school yard bully telling their victim, "So what, what are you going to do about it?" They are so powerful that they cannot be held accountable for their misconduct; unless they can be held accountable to an ethical standard. In a court of “ethics”, their power cannot be used to escape accountability. There will be a principled resolution of the allegations made against them.
But they will not be held accountable to an ethical standard; not as the role models for 98,000 of our sons and daughters, and not as the stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars. Because you can’t make them.
There is no other reason to do what they are doing. If there is another reason what is it? Why won’t they answer the question, “Will you hold yourself accountable, honestly accountable, to the same standard of conduct as students?
There is only one reason to oppose honest accountability and that is to avoid the consequences of misconduct. There is no defense of their action unless there is some other legitimate, and ethical, explanation for their refusal to be held accountable to a higher standard of conduct.
“All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world, is for good men to do nothing.” Burke
They will prevail unless people stand up for what they believe in. They will prevail if YOU do nothing.
Posted by ched macquigg at 7:22 AM
Saturday, November 04, 2006
(This is a repost of a September post. I have since found out that members of the council have not been informed about the APS ethics scandal.)
By way of background; Character Counts represents a widely recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics. It is the standard to which students in APS are held accountable. In my opinion, it is by far the most promising approach to children who we hope will come to embrace character and courage and honor.
It is also a network of organizations from locals to a national site. It is worth a google.
• The Character Counts Leadership Council is the local.
• There is also a Character Counts Office in APS; headed by one Carole Smith.
• Paula Maes, the School Board President, is also the President of the Leadership Council.
• As it pertains to (the lack of) attention by the media, Paula Maes is the President of the New Mexico Broadcasters Association.
• Paula Maes husband is the President of APS’s legal arm; the Modrall Law Firm.
As part of my strategy to address the APS Ethics Scandal, I have been trying to get people of gravitas to stand up and be counted in opposition to the efforts of the Leaders of APS.
I have tried to approach the Character Counts Leadership Council. It is difficult because the APS site where their contact information would be proudly displayed; displays only a bankrupt excuse for its absence.
I believe that APS Leaders have violated the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, in their failure to provide contact information for the members of the Council. They have also failed to provide information to contact administrators; and teachers, and students, and their parents.
There are several people who know that I want to tell the Council the truth. And they sit on the Council. What have they shared with the Council? Do Council members know that their President, Paula Maes, refuses to be held honestly accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts? Do they know that APS Leaders have all excepted themselves from accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts?
That they know; is important. Character Counts recognizes the stakeholder right to autonomous decision making. They have a right to the truth. They have a right to decide for themselves whether they will ignore the APS Ethics Scandal, or will they stand up and be counted? They are being denied the right to make that decision by those who are suppressing the truth.
According to Character Counts doctrine:
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.
It would seem that council members, who know the truth, have some obligation to tell it.
Unless of course, there is no legitimate expectation of trust.
Sincerity: if you can fake that, you've got it made. Daniel Schorr
There is something especially obnoxious about betraying trust among people who place such high value upon it.
Their names are Paula Maes, Carole Smith, Toby Herrera, Dee Dee Stoud, and Lisa Breeden. In an odd irony, Lisa Breeden works for one of the founding fathers of Character Counts, Senator Pete Domenici.
Posted by ched macquigg at 1:11 PM
Thursday, November 02, 2006
And so it begins. If you read the comments on the following post, “APS Leadership disgraces itself yet again”, you will find a post from “anonymous” (of course), who suggests that I had behaved “inappropriately” with students when I was a teacher.
There is a record of my career as a teacher. It is a public record; which means if any person asks for the opportunity to inspect and or copy it, they have a lawful right to do so. There is a State Statute called the Inspection of Public Records Act. According to the law, APS must surrender any public record in it possession or under its control, to anyone who asks for it.
The “record” of my career contains every public record generated by the allegations I have made against administrators and board members, records generated by the allegations that they have made against me, and records that were produced subsequent to those allegations.
I have asked for that record on a number of occasions. I have been denied access on every occasion. The reason that I have been denied that access is that, the record contains incontrovertible proof of ethical and criminal misconduct, including felony criminal misconduct, by high ranking APS Administrators and Board Members.
Although the law requires the surrender of public records, the Leadership of the APS has, by and through their lawyers at Modrall (whose President is married to School Board President Paula Maes; herself the subject of allegations of misconduct), managed through legal weaselry, to avoid having to surrender the record.
I have nothing to hide. I have always insisted, and continue to insist without reservation, that the entire public record be made available to anyone who wants to see it. I have offered, and continue to offer, to submit to polygraphy regarding any allegation made by me or against me. I have previously taken and passed a polygraph regarding the then current allegations.
If you choose not to believe this allegation, contact APS front man and Custodian of Public Records, Rigo Chavez. Ask him if he will surrender the entire public record surrounding the allegations made by me and against me.
Any answer except yes, is no.
Posted by ched macquigg at 11:58 AM
For at least the eighth time in as many meetings of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, the Board and Superintendent were asked, Are you willing to hold yourselves honestly accountable to the same standard of conduct that you enforce upon students, or, explain why you will not?
Perhaps out of shame, perhaps in simple arrogance, their eyes and attention immediately shifted to the paperwork on the table before them. During the next two minutes of deafening silence, unable to meet the eyes of a single member of the standing room only audience, they fiddled with the imaginary task of sorting their paperwork.
For the at least the eighth time they have renounced their obligation as the senior role models for the District’s 6,000 employees and 98,000 students. Students are required to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts, a widely recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics. The Board has eliminated accountability for itself even to their recently lowered Employee Standards of Conduct; because they are “not really employees”.
And for the eighth time this disgraceful display by the stewards of hundreds of millions of tax dollars will not be reported by the Albuquerque Journal or Tribune, which together have refused to investigate or report upon the APS Ethics Scandal, even through the elections of board members and a 350 million dollar bond issue.
Posted by ched macquigg at 7:28 AM
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
(this is a repeat of an September post)
There is a fight going on.
On one side is the Leadership of the APS. They refuse to hold themselves honestly accountable to the same standard of conduct that applies to students. They refuse to be role models of the student standard of conduct.
On the other side there are those who believe that the Leadership of the APS should lead by their example. That they should be honestly accountable at the very least, to the student standard of conduct.
I don’t know how to use the phrase, “battle between good and evil” with out sounding histrionic. But if this is not, what is? I don’t know how much clearer the line can be drawn.
I don’t know how the stakes could higher.
There are times in life where you pretty much have to pick a side. You watch, you consider, and you find that you simply must pick a side.
The moment of truth is that time when you realize what you have to do; and then must summon the courage to do it.
Confucius wrote, "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice."
Those who wait for better circumstances to make their stand, in the end will have made no stand at all.
Climbing off the fence will always mean sacrifice. It often requires courage.
When the danger has passed, so has the opportunity to display courage. The line between heroism and cowardice is in fact, a point. It is a moment. And when the moment has passed; the same act will never be more than too little and too late.
If we truly want our children to embrace character and courage and honor, then we must show them what it looks like. Now is a moment of truth.
I confess to an admiration for the builders of Stonehenge. The admiration isn’t inspired by the moving and placing of giant stones. A greater wonder is that someone could say something that compelled so many people to help with such a monumental and seemingly impossible task.
I wish that I knew what to say to get a few hundred people to go to a school board meeting.
Posted by ched macquigg at 5:48 PM