Sunday, April 15, 2012

APS' four new goals

Assuming the Journal has it right, link, the leadership of the APS has agreed upon four goals to last them until their next goal setting exercise;

  1. improving academic achievement,
  2. maintaining sound financial stewardship,
  3. improving community engagement and
  4. maintaining a safe school environment
Improve academic achievement - seems reasonable under the circumstances.

Maintain sound financial stewardship - implies sound financial stewardship exists. What definition of "sound financial stewardship" does not include candor, forthrightness and honesty in the accounting of the spending of public resources? Until they produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of their spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, the goal should read; improving sound financial stewardship.

Maintain a safe school environment - again, implies that schools are safe now. Until they produce empirical evidence to substantiate their claim, the goal should read; creating a safe school environment.

The recent audit finding; there is a "culture of fear of retribution and retaliation" in the administration of the APS, points to a lack of safe environment for adults. There is no reason to expect students to feel any safer at school than their teachers do.

Improve community engagement
If there is a pinnacle of "community engagement" it is two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

But School Board member Kathy Korte has a different idea; she is pretty clear about what she means by community engagement; folks will get background checks and then go volunteer in classrooms.

She has a right to her preference.

She has no right to impose her preference upon people she supposedly serves. It is not her prerogative to define community engagement, it is the prerogative of the community.

The Citizens Advisory Council on Communications is ready, willing and able to help create a model for two-way communication between interest holders in the APS.

Korte has done everything she can to thwart the CACoC effort. Her utterly indefensible justification for denying petitioners due process, appears to be their association with me.

They, of course, have a Constitutionally protected human right to associate with whomever they please, and without becoming targets of a school board member's vendetta.

Korte is more comfortable attacking the messenger than responding to the message, because her position on the message is indefensible. She has no good and ethical argument against creating a venue for two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community. If she had a defensible position, she wouldn't need to bring me in to the discussion at all.

Korte is not alone.

There is a reason, at the beginning of every public forum, Korte tells citizens they are not allowed to ask her or anyone else, any questions.

There is a reason they oppose the creation of a meeting venue where questions can be asked and candid, forthright and honest responses are expected.

Despite their stated goal; improve community engagement;
there really isn't one of them who will stand on the record in
support of the creation of a forum where open and honest
two-way communications can actually take place.

photo Mark Bralley

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