Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Administrative and executive conduct and competence, in the APS

Whether the Albuquerque Public Schools succeeds or fails to adequately educate nearly 90,000 of our sons and daughters, depends on a number of factors some of which we can control and others we must simply accept.

One we can control, and one which consumes the overwhelming majority of spending on education, is human resources.

If the spending of human resources is done well, if there are meaningful standards and real accountability to them, the likelihood of succeeding educationally increases exponentially.

There are really only two aspects of the spending of human resources that affect the outcome;

the standards that apply to their spending, and
actual accountability to those standards.

There must be both. If there is no accountability, there isn't one whit of difference between the highest of standards and the lowest, in terms of outcome. And, if the standards are not high enough to ensure success, then even honest accountability to them makes the same, not one whit of difference.

If we want to predict the likelihood of APS administrators and board members actually fixing problems, we have to look to the standards and accountability which apply to their public service.

I suspect that an impartial examination of the standards that apply to APS administrators and board members would find them average; written by lawyers whose interests lie in mitigating their client's actual and future accountability to any meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

Whether the standards of conduct and competence that apply to administrators and board members are adequate, is not a rhetorical question. Nor is it impossible to measure empirically.

It requires only impartial investigation and reporting.

A good start would be for the leadership of the APS to simply answer the questions about the standards that apply to the leadership of the APS, by posting on their award winning website; a candid, forthright and honest list of every standard of conduct and competence that applies to them.

Then, let's look at their honest accountability to even the lowest of those standards.

Under their list of the standards that apply to them, they could identify all the processes under which allegations of failure to meet those standards, can be filed. They won't, but they could.

They won't because even the slightest scrutiny of them will reveal; there is no place within the entire APS, where the least powerful stakeholders can file a legitimate complaint against an administrator or board member and expect due process for their complaint.

There is no place in the entire APS where the complaint will not be adjudicated by someone who is clearly impartial, having no interest in the outcome of the adjudication. For example, a complaint filed against Supt Winston Brooks is adjudicated by a subordinate.

There is no place in the entire APS where adjudication does not include the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The School Board recently struck language from School Board Policy that had provided due process for whistle blower complaints, and now they have none.

If there is not honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence, under a system that is beyond undue influence, and powerful enough to hold even the most senior administrator or board member accountable, even against their will, all of the time,then there is honest accountability none of the time.

That they will neither post their standards nor defend their processes (for accountability to them), speaks to their fundamental unwillingness to be held honestly accountable for their conduct and competence,

and to their failure to adequately educate those 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.

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