Sunday, September 30, 2012

APS stonewalls, media abets

By what stretch of the imagination do the concepts of

  • government of the people,
  • by the people and
  • for the people
allow the leadership of the APS to refuse to answer these three questions;
  1. why will they not surrender the ethically redacted public records of their investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.
  2. why are hundreds of whistle blower complaints being denied due process; executive review of administrative self-adjudication of complaints, and
  3. why are school board members and administrators not honestly accountable as role models of the standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students?  Why will they not hold themselves honestly accountable as role models of the nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, that they expect students to "model and promote"?  Why are they not accountable as role models, under a system over which they have no undue influence, and powerful enough to hold them accountable, even against their will?
How feckless must journalistic ethics and integrity be, that they cannot compel the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB, to ask those questions and report to the people, politician and public servant responses to legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service?

The answer to the questions by the way, is, they cannot summon, neither collectively nor individually, the character and the courage to hold themselves honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law.

Tell somebody.

Show up at a public forum and ask the questions yourself.

You will do so in blatant disregard for their self imposed
rules of decorum which prohibit the asking of questions.
Another tidbit the establishment media isn't telling anyone about.

It will feel great.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Martinez, by and through Barela; no comment

In a meeting held in secret from stakeholders, the NMFA Board fired their CEO, link.

Barela, waving.
When Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela was asked to tell the truth about the spending of public power and resources in that meeting in secret, he offered "no comment".  He added, it's a "personnel matter".

"Personnel matter"  is a widely used and utterly misconstrued exception to public records and open meetings law.

Pols and public servants interpret it to mean; anything I don't want to talk about; whether it enjoys legitimate exception under the law or no.

Martinez, not waving.
Governor Susana Martinez, who appoints 9 of the 11 board members, including Barela, has an interest in covering up anything that goes on in the meetings in secret, in particular since the board is the obvious culprit in egregious lack of oversight.

photos Mark Bralley

Friday, September 28, 2012

Charlie Moore mum

Journal City Editor Charlie Moore has had more than enough time to respond to the email I sent him.

Journal Investigative Reporter Thom Cole had informed me that he had forwarded to Moore, my several allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, link.

All I want Moore to do is acknowledge the receipt and state his intentions with regard to investigating and reporting upon them.

He is apparently disinclined to do either.

For what good and ethical reason, I wonder.

photo Temple Editing Residency blog, link.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Input of police sought, input of teachers not so much

 In the Journal this morning, link, we find that the Albuquerque Police Officers Association intends to survey union members on the state of their department.

Except for the fact that they're ignoring equally valuable input from union non-members, it's a great step forward in data gathering.  I have long wondered why our respect for the intellect, education, training and experience of police officers never extended to their opinions on the problems in their profession and department.

I have wondered longer, why the intellect, education, training and experience of teachers has never been tapped.  There are nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience in the Albuquerque Public Schools, and they have never been asked, by means of a survey, for their opinions on the problems in their profession and in the APS.

  “No one has ever spoken up about what the officers think,” said Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association President Greg Weber.  We are waiting still, for Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein to point out that, no one has ever spoken up about what teachers think.

The survey results will be compiled by an outside consultant and will be made public "in some fashion"; ominous words if ever there were.

City employees were recently surveyed as part of the Matrix investigation of city government, link.  The data were produced "in some fashion"; summaries as opposed to raw data.  An interesting finding; nearly half, 44%, of police department employees disagree with the statement;

 I feel supported by the managers in my department.
Considering that nearly 42% of all survey respondents were "managers or supervisors" likely satisfied with the support they offer subordinates, statistics like this are highly telling and critically important to study.

APS teachers will likely never be surveyed.  The leadership of the APS regards with fear and loathing, data gathering with regard to administrative performance.  As but one example, consider the data on student discipline, chronically disruptive students, bullying and criminal activity on campus.  There is none presented, likely there is none gathered.  Student discipline or the lack of it, chronically disruptive students, bullying and criminal activity on campus are administrative responsibilities.

They get away with it because the establishment's media steadfastly refuses to investigate and report upon the wide spread and deeply rooted cover up of administrative and executive corruption and incompetence.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Perry and Berry will need "several months" to do the job

The City of Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry and Mayor Richard Berry have just released a preliminary draft, link, of the Matrix Report on city government's efficiency and effectiveness.

Perry, in the forward he penned, is quite insistent that the report is preliminary, subject to modification, addition and change, and matters of opinion.  Both the city and the mayor are specifically and explicitly not accountable for any of the information, conclusions, and/or recommendations therein.

Which makes this rev the one we need to pay real attention to.

Perry and Berry would have us believe it will take "several months" to analyze, evaluate, and explore the recommendations and findings.

If Perry and Berry were running the kind of government we deserve, it would take several "days", maybe "weeks" to analyze, evaluate and explore the overwhelming majority of the recommendations and findings.  Never the less, Perry will wait until the last t is crossed and the last i is dotted on the last finding, before responding.

Perry writes; the report

"... is designed to be a catalyst for a robust discussion and analysis of possible efficiencies, program improvements and costs savings related to City of Albuquerque’s municipal operations. Best regards."
Why can't the robust discussion and analysis of improvements and cost savings begin relatively immediately?

Except to give people like Perry and Berry all the time they need, to cover their asses.

Speaking of Mayor Richard Berry, he continues to deny bloggers free exercise of their Constitutionally protected human right to be "the press".  The immediate result is that bloggers are not invited to press conferences and have no opportunity to ask inconvenient questions.

Questions like, why can't we start talking about most of these recommendations right now?

The establishment's press is less inclined to ask Perry any tough questions after "CAO Rob Perry was rushing the media in the room, throwing the reports at everyone like a dog with rabies foaming at the mouth.", link,  when reporters tried to ask questions about Perry's crony, State Fair Construction Manager extraordinaire Darren White.

photos Mark Bralley

Matrix investigation for APS?

The City of Albuquerque just invested a couple of hundred thousand dollars in an independent review of city government.   The draft version is online, link. From the report;

"The Matrix Consulting Group was retained by the City of Albuquerque to conduct an Organizational Design Project. ... This study was designed to provide an assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of City operations, identifying strengths and improvement opportunities relating to organization, staffing and management. ..."
APS could stand the same kind of investigation.  It could be paid for with money that is being used instead to polish the APS apple, the seemingly endless "APS Support the Potential" ad campaign.  The campaign has been running for nearly a year, link, and how has it helped even one student, teacher, parent or community member?

APS' Calendar Queen Monica Armenta
We will likely never know how much money APS has invested in the self serving campaign featuring APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.  Money being chipped in by the APS Foundation and the New Mexico Broadcasters Association, in the form of endless radio and TV time, also goes untold.

The leadership of the APS will never agree to an independent audit of their efficiency and effectiveness, as auditors would find instead, inefficiency and ineffectiveness.  Both warrant hiding.

School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel once spoke publicly and on the record, in favor of an independent administrative audit.  School Board President Paula Maes spoke up immediately, saying  she would never agree to any audit that individually identified corrupt or incompetent administrators or board members.  Esquivel mumbled, questioning the point of an administrative audit without identifying any of the players, and then promptly shut up, forever.

APS Supt Winston Brooks and the Board will come before voters next spring looking for more millions of tax dollars to play with, and at the same time steadfastly refusing to furnish candid, forthright and honest accounting of how they've been spending bond money heretofore.

How many tax dollars have been spent at 6400 Uptown Blvd?  on what?  Are board members really sitting in chairs for which we paid $800 apiece?

The New Mexico Broadcasters Association affiliates in Albuquerque, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB, and the Journal won't do any investigative reporting.  The Journal once reported that the spending was running hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget, link, now they report nothing.  At the time, APS claimed it was going to sell the Stronghurst property to cover the overruns, and yet they still own it.

How will we ever know the truth except through an independent outside investigation?  The short answer is we won't.

And that's the way they like it.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Journal editors wonder; what purpose does timeliness serve, exactly?

APS found out about a couple of students who planned to shoot up their school, on a Wednesday.  They reported the situation to parents on Friday and to the media for in time for late on a Friday coverage - coincidentally, the best time to release inconvenient news.  Journal editors are not only alright with that, they offer extra credit.

Journal editors report, link, that by the time parents were informed;

"...the system kicked into high gear in the right way, with police inquiries and psychological threat assessments, counseling referrals and two school suspensions."

By delaying the release of information, the editors argue, APS had prevented unnecessary panic, a disruptive lock-down, and protected the troubled boys from being targeted by other students and their parents.

Because APS held the truth for as long as they did,
"... everyone else went to class and on with their lives."  
The editors wonder;
"So while some parents wanted to know about the boys’ plans on Wednesday instead of Friday ... what purpose would that have served, exactly?"
The purpose would be; as a matter of principle.

The district believes, and the editors agree, that in some circumstances; it is ok for public servants to withhold the truth for however long they like, as long in doing so, they can help people to "get on with their lives".  They can't handle the truth!

Unfortunately for them, open government laws don't provide for the comfort of the people, only for the prompt surrender of the legally redacted truth; counting on the people's ability to handle the truth.

APS thinks it will help interest holders to get along with their lives, by keeping them in the dark about the circumstances that create and enable students with plans to shoot up schools.

Stakeholders are being kept in the dark about bullying in schools.  They are being kept in the dark about the effects of chronically disruptive students and student discipline in general.  They are being kept in the dark about criminal activity on campuses.

They, APS and the Journal editors, suppose that's alright, because people are getting on with their lives in the absence of a candid, forthright and honest description of student behavior in APS Schools.

Friday last, I asked Journal City Editor Charlie Moore what he intended to do with credible allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.  He is yet to respond.

In the absence of his response, it is fair to begin speculation, including the speculation that the leadership of the Journal and the leadership of the APS are in cahoots to cover up said scandal, and anything else that might interfere with us getting on with our lives, for as long as it suits them.

cc letters to the editors upon posting

Monday, September 24, 2012

Does the Caswell Report even exist?

I'm beginning to wonder if the Caswell Report even exists.

I called Robert Caswell Investigations and asked them to confirm or deny that they had investigated allegations of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators.  The gentleman I spoke to, who never identified himself to me, claimed he could lose his license for answering the question with a simple yes or no.

I asked if recent changes in the Inspection of Public Records Act that include contractor's records in the public records of the government agencies that employ them, could be used to compel him to at least answer the very simple and legitimate question.  He indicated, he didn't think that they could.

When I first started looking for the public records of corruption in the leadership of the APS, their Custodian of Public Records and Director of Communications, told me an investigation had been done by "Access Investigations", he even surrendered a contract with them.

Access disappeared from view and RCI took their place.

Chavez is yet to surrender any documents that would actually prove RCI did any investigation at all.  He is yet to surrender the findings of APS own HR investigation.  He is yet to surrender the findings of the investigation done by APS police force, of their own felony criminal misconduct.  The same police force preventing any of these questions from being asked at a public forum.

All the public records of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators is still secret from public knowledge

If they're not hiding something, why are they hiding everything?

Why are KRQE, KOAT, KOB and the Journal all ignoring manifest proof of an ethics and accountability scandal in the highest levels of the APS?

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Education Secretary-Designate Skandera

It was recently wondered aloud, whether Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera could be talked into suspending the APS Board of Education like she did the one in Questa.

It is an interesting question worthy of pursuing in an open letter to the Secretary-Designate.

What have we got to loose?

Dear Secretary Skandera,

I write in the hope that you will intervene in a situation quite similar to the situation in Questa; a school board failing to meet NM PED standards.


  1. They are complicit in, or complacent about, an internal cover up of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators.
  2. They are employing a publicly funded private police force, a Praetorian Guard, to limit the free exercise at school board meetings, of Constitutionally protected human rights to speak freely and to petition one's government for redress of grievances.
  3. They have abdicated as role models of student standards of conduct.  There are two standards of conduct in the APS; student standards and, administrative and executive standards.  Students are expected to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.  Administrators and board members hold themselves accountable only to the law and whatever their legal weaselry will allow them.
  4. They are denying due process to hundreds of whistleblower complaints against administrators and board members.
  5. They are hiding statistics on criminal behavior in schools.  They are hiding public records related to student discipline, bullying, and employee morale.
  6. The School Board freely admits, they are absolutely unaccountable to their own code of conduct.  They provide no avenue of redress over which they have no undue influence, and powerful enough to hold them accountable even against their will.
  7. Their School Board President is publicly slandering me in retaliation for my efforts to hold her accountable for her public service.
  8. Their former President, now enforcer Marty Esquivel, created an unlawful restraining order and ordered their uniformed and armed Praetorian Guard to enforce it, denying my liberty and my right to present my petition face to face.
It is my belief that the situation warrants investigation and a report to stake and other interest holders.

I would be deeply grateful for your time and attention.

ched macquigg

photo Mark Bralley

cc upon posting, except that the NM PED website constituent services contact seems to be not working.  I'll keep trying.

Paula Maes' behavior is disgraceful

APS School Board President Paula Maes is the very senior-most role model in the entire APS.

She once said, in an open meeting and on the record, that she would never agree to any audit that individually identified corrupt or incompetent administrators.

Since then, she, the rest of the board and senior administration have been hiding the Caswell Report; the final report on an investigation into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators; a report that names the names of senior administrators and describes the felonies they committed.  When, if, the establishment's media ever investigates and reports upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools, "there won't be a single senior administrator (or board member) left standing."

Nor will Paula Maes be left standing.

I have for some time, been pointing to Maes', other board members' and administrators' conduct as role models for students, employees and community members.  In particular, I have been riding the establishment's media for their failure to step up with the truth.  Their relentless refusal to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of the ethics and accountability scandal, is obvious.  I don't have to prove they're part of the cover up, it is self evident.

I have been told, that in her capacity as the New Mexico Broadcasters Association President and CEO, link,  she is telling people I am a pedophile; a completely, utterly unwarranted accusation, unsupported by even one iota of truth.

An accusation unsubstantiated by any evidence or testimony.  An accusation which would have been proven ten times over if there was any way in the world the leadership of the APS and all of their unscrupulous lawyers best efforts could prove anything at all, except that her accusation is made maliciously, and in retaliation for my efforts to hold her personally accountable as a role model of the standards she establishes and enforces upon students.

I took photographs of students sagging.  If you search Google images for sagging, you will find nine and half million photos like the ones I took.  The real problem with the photographs was that they documented the principals incompetence; they proved he routinely permitted prohibited behavior.  Saggers were in charge at Hoover Middle School.

Paula Maes held in her hand, or willfully ignored, a polygraph test proving false, that and all of a number of other allegations made by, or on behalf of, a principal and his assistant, both of whom were described by a former New Mexico State Supreme Court Chief Justice as "lacking credibility in the face of contradictory testimony from any other witness."

It is only the latest attempt to destroy my credibility and my reputation in retribution and retaliation, first for my efforts to hold my corrupt and incompetent principal accountable for his conduct and competence, and ultimately, for my efforts to hold a much longer list of senior administrators and board members accountable for their failure to hold him and themselves accountable; honestly accountable as a role model of the APS Student Standards of Conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

When her corruption and incompetence becomes known, Maes will be compelled to resign in disgrace.  Her only defense against legitimate allegations of corruption and incompetence at the highest levels of the leadership of the APS, is to destroy the messenger; me.

Assume everything she accuses me of is true; imagine I have no reason at all to point to credible evidence and testimony of their corruption except that I want to "get even with them"; so what?

School board enforcer Marty Esquivel
Assume everything that Marty Esquivel has called me;
a personal and professional failure, obsessed, a crybaby, unhealthy, unproductive, a gadfly, a critic, a liar, gutless, lacking integrity, misleading and, a nutcase, is true; so what?

So what?  The pile of evidence and testimony is still sitting there.  It doesn't make any difference who brought it or why.  My credibility is irrelevant; the evidence stands on its own.  I am not the story.

Meanwhile, Paula Maes cronies in the NM Broadcasters Association, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB, are ignoring the pile according to her interests.

The Journal, City Editor Charlie Moore, is ignoring credible evidence and testimony of an ethics and accountability scandal on the school board and in the senior administration of the APS, according to the interests of board members and senior administrators.

All any of them have to do to respond to any of these allegations, is to respond to the allegations.   Simply explain why the findings of at least three investigations into felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators are still secret from public knowledge; even as statutes of limitation expire on their felony criminal misconduct.

Or why hundreds of legitimate complaints against administrators are being denied the due process promised in School Board Policy.

Or why the truth about student discipline, bullying, and criminal statistics, is being manipulated or outright hidden.

Or why the APS Police; a publicly funded private police force, is the only agency of law enforcement to investigate felony criminal misconduct in their own leadership.

Or why their Praetorian Guard, is being used to enforce Esquivel's utterly unlawful restraining order.  The order barring me from asking legitimate questions at public forums; a Constitutionally protected human right to assemble freely in front of, speak freely to and about, and to petition my government in any manner consistent with the law and the Pillars of Character Counts!.

Or that the entire "leadership" of the APS is derelict in their duty to lead by their personal example, to step up as role models of honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

And none of it is newsworthy.

photos Mark Bralley

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hillerman bullies have no criminal record

If you ask the kids at Tony Hillerman Middle School, the two students recently arrested for planning to shoot them on December 12, are widely known as miscreants and bullies.

Yet KRQE reports, link, the would be shooters have no criminal record.

Bullying' assault is a criminal act; battery is a criminal act.
Why do they have no criminal record?

It is no accident that these two have never been handed over to the law for their criminal acts.
The leadership of the APS interferes with the criminal prosecution of students by never turning them over to the law.  They protect bullies from the legal consequences of their criminal acts, in order to prevent a record from being created.

They continue to under report criminal activity on APS campuses in order to manipulate public perception.

A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found criminal statistics being "routinely" falsified by administrators, according to their need to protect APS' public perception.  They continue to under report criminal activity in order to mislead interest holders.

APS Supt Winston Brooks is caught between a rock and a hard place, he can't solve an out of control bullies problem without admitting the problem exists.  He can't admit the problem exists, without revealing the administrative incompetence that enables it.

Brooks needs to stop criminal assaults while at the same time needing to hide their statistics from public knowledge. 

Brooks just ran two "forums" on "preventing bullying" without disclosing a single statistic or data bit of the truth about bullying in APS.

The only thing he has going for him is a million dollar a year communications department and local news directors and editors covering for him.

Seriously, does any one really think APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta is going to communicate the truth about bullying in the APS?

Or is she being paid more than $106K a year, to hide the truth in order to make people think her boss is on top of the problem?

You don't have to hide the truth,
unless the truth makes you look bad.

Most of the 90,000 or so of this community's sons and daughters are not bullies.  Most of them need protection from bullies.  Instead of admitting their existence and then separating bullies from potential victims, Brooks hides them by mixing them in, and then hides the truth about the consequences.

Brooks is enabling criminal assaults on innocent students, by hiding the truth about the damage they are doing.  He's letting criminals roam free to cover up his own incompetence.  He covers that up, to hide his own corruption.

Visit please, link, the Wednesday night board meeting, matters of information, 1:03:25 and witness for yourself Brooks' grasp over the public meetings on bullying prevention.  He doesn't even know what the meetings were called, or which of the District goals the meetings addressed.

photo Mark Bralley

What if they threw a board meeting and no board members showed?

The two fora on bullying were billed as "board meetings"; board members attendance mandatory.  At the west side Bullying Prevention forum, only two board members showed up; David Peercy and Kathy Korte.

Also conspicuous in his absence APS Supt Winston Brooks.

Aside from that, the meetings were largely indistinguishable and classic APS; feel-good doing no good.  Again, Brooks et al, expected participants to do their work without the data necessary to do the work.  Not one single data point was furnished upon which participants could build; we have no idea how big the problem is, where it resides, or even whether things are getting better or worse.

Stakeholder participation and input was limited to three District supplied questions; what current efforts are successful (again, with no data to support any of them), what are the family and community responsibilities in solving the problem, and what are other possible solutions?

Among solutions, I suggested two; revive character education in the APS and, start telling interest holders the truth about the problem.  The board resolution that adopted Character Counts! as the Districts model for character education is still binding.  Not that you could tell.  The District hasn't spent even one dime on a district wide effort to provide character education for students.

As for telling the truth, Brooks and the District need to share with interest holders, whatever information and data they have compiled.  Data driven decision making is impossible without data; problems cannot be both hidden and solved at the same time.

The District, read Winston Brooks, has not surrendered one bit of data on bullying or upon one of its most important driving influences, student behavior (discipline) in general.

Why is Brooks hiding the truth, except that his administration is damned by it or its absence?

Why is there not one word in the Journal about his cowardice or corruption, except that they are complicit in it, or complacent about it?

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Journal "ombudsman" Thom Cole - not so much

Journal investigative reporter Thom Cole claimed, via an ad in the online Journal, that he was our "ombudsman"; that he would pry loose public records for us.

Admittedly just for drill, I emailed him and offered an opportunity for him to make good on his boast by prying loose any, even one, of the public records of a number of investigations into public corruption, incompetence, and felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS (police force).  So far, no response.

Cole is not the first investigative reporter asked to dig for the truth about the coverup of of criminal misconduct in the APS police force.  Reporter Colleen Heild was the first.  It was her investigation in February 2007, link, that exposed the scandal in the first place.  She has ignored my followup appeals.  I say "ignored"; I can't prove it.  All I know is that she never responded.

When I wrote to Cole, I wasn't really expecting him to follow up; the Journal's participation in the cover up of the cover up comes from higher up than Heild, Cole, or education reporter Hailey Heinz.  It is my belief, it comes from senior management; specifically Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz.

I sweetened the offer when I wrote to Cole, offering to meet with him, all his editors, anyone APS would send, and as many of their lawyers as they can fit it the room.  I offered to meet any time, any place, with anybody.  And, I've heard nothing.

Cole never responded to my emails; not even the one where I asked him to simply admit that he received them.  Perhaps it isn't Cole; perhaps the emails are still in limbo, floating around in the internet ether for some unknown and unexplained reason.  Maybe he's home sick and hasn't been to work.  Maybe he's on vacation.  From my perspective, being stonewalled or ignored, is indistinguishable from any number of legitimate reasons for a failure to respond.

Maybe he has no intention of exposing the corruption and incompetence at the highest levels of the "leadership" of the APS, either because he is complicit (willingly or otherwise), complacent, or maybe it's Journal payback for my relentless pressure on them over their failure to do journalistic due diligence on their cronies at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

The investigative findings that APS Supt Winston Brooks is hiding are all public records; the kind Cole promised to ferret out as our ombudsman;
someone who receives and investigates complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials; one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints.
Whatever the excuse for Cole's failure or refusal to honor his commitment, the bottom line is; he has not honored it and offers no inclination that he ever will.

I will forward a link to this post to Cole along with an opportunity for him to respond to, refute or rebut my allegations.  I won't hold my breath waiting for his response.

Cole, Heild, Heinz, and Walz are caught in the proverbial bind between a rock and a hard place; they cannot report credibly on the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS without first reporting credibly on their failure to investigate and report on it heretofore.

Too bad, they made their bed, and now they must lie in it.

cc Cole and Heild upon posting

Update, 10:13 am; Thom Cole responds;
Thanks for the email. I don't routinely write about APS but will forward your information to those who do. Rgds, Thom
The ball, as they say, is still in the Journal's court.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Few surprises at bullying forum.

I was surprised that APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta was in attendance but played no role. I would argue that communications would be a huge part of any solution to bullying.

I was surprised that I was allowed in without any harassment from APS' Chief of Police Steve Tellez or one of his underlings.

I did feel shadowed all night.

I've been told I'm just being paranoid;
though not without reason, link.

I was surprised when Board Member David Robbins approached me to talk about the need for character education as prong of any earnest anti-bullying effort.

He offered what I felt was a commitment to talk about the need for character education at the board meeting tonight.

I was surprised that Board Member Lorenzo Garcia did not participate.

I was not surprised that School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel was a no-show.

I was not surprised that APS Supt Winston Brooks tried to pull off a bullying forum without presenting any data whatsoever; not even on bullying itself.

Is it that unimportant how wide spread or not bullying is? Is it that unimportant to know how successful previous anti-bullying efforts have been?

Is it that unimportant how students in general, not just bullies, behave at school?

Brooks is hiding the data for one of two reasons;

  1. he's embarrassed by it, or
  2. he hasn't collected any.
It's been nearly a year since Brooks was asked for a candid, forthright and honest accounting of student discipline in the APS, link.

What is he hiding?

I was not surprised that APS provided for redundant note takers. I will be surprised if they share them with interest holders. Brooks and the board go on these "information gathering" tours all the time; point to one on APS' award winning website where the notes are shared as was promised.

I am not surprised to find the Journal relentlessly reporting nothing.

photos Mark Bralley

APS web team earns another Sunny Award

... the second this year.

According to agenda for the regular board meeting tonight;

Albuquerque Public Schools Web Team has earned the national Sunny Award, which recognizes government organizations for an exemplary job of disclosing information to the public with a transparent website.
Nothing has changed since they won the first Sunny in March of this year, link; if you visit their "award winning" website, you still will find neither;
  • a candid, forthright and honest accounting of the tax dollars they spent on their new and yet to be justified boardroom, nor
  • the findings of any standards and accountability audits of the administration or board, nor
  • any data on student discipline or chronically disruptive students, nor
  • the findings of any number of investigations of administrative and executive corruption and incompetence, like the Caswell Report or any of the other investigations into corruption in the leadership of their publicly funded, private police force and the felonies they committed, nor
  • any other data that doesn't paint the leadership of the APS in the best light.
The APS Communications Department spends nearly a million dollars a year shining APS' apple. Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta, >$106K, and her staff's job is anything but, fully informing interest holders regarding the wielding of their power or the spending of their resources by the administration and board.

She will never tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the ethically redacted truth about anything that might make APS Supt Winston Brooks look bad, link.

Their Sunny Award is a sham.

Let Armenta tell the truth about
  • "why" Brooks is hiding the Caswell Report, or
  • how much the board room cost, or
  • why they're denying due process to whistleblower complaints, or
  • why they're dodging an independent audit of their standards and accountability, or
  • why they won't post audit findings on their website,
and then we can talk about APS being "transparent".

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Journal editors ambivalent about role modeling.

In the Journal this morning, the editors link, laid laud on APD Chief Ray Schultz. Justly, they point out that Schultz wasn't just another clown on a scooter in the State Fair Parade; he was on patrol when his number was called to protect and serve. He risked life and limb on our behalf; I for one, am grateful.

And I agree with the editors;

... it is heartening to get a concrete example from the top what real community policing involves.
In some respects he is a good role model.
In others, not so much.

The Department of Justice is deciding whether they will conduct a full scale investigation of allegations of civil rights violations by the APD. Among Schultz' arguments that there needs to be no investigation, is representation that interactions with the public are all recorded on lapel cams. It turns out they aren't.

No one recorded any part of the Chief's bust; not even the Chief.

Apparently, the only recordings come from citizens' cameras.

Ok, Schultz is a good role model for the arrest, but not so much for following the rules he expects his subordinates to follow.

The editors think Schultz' leadership is "good" overall.
They think his example is a "good" one.

They also think the School Board and senior administration of the APS, are "good role models".

This despite the fact, the editors know, or remain willfully ignorant of, credible allegations and evidence of their role modeling failure; the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS;
  • there are two sets of standards of conduct in the APS. "The law" applies to adults, while they fully expect students to "model and promote" the Pillars of Character Counts!; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; higher standards of conduct. and
  • School Board Members and senior administrators are hiding the findings of a number of investigations of corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS. Most noteworthy among them, the Caswell Report; evidence and testimony of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators,and
  • the only agency of law enforcement who has ever investigated credible allegations and evidence of felony criminal misconduct, was the APS Police force itself. The record of which is still secret from public knowledge.
  • that same Police force, their Praetorian Guard, their publicly funded private police force is enforcing an unlawful restraining order to stifle the free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights to speak freely and petition one's government, and
  • School Board Members are denying due process to hundreds of whistleblower complaints against administrators and board members.
The editors were pleased that the "... city had a chance to see its police chief lead by example."

The editors are equally albeit tacitly pleased that the city has a chance to view the leadership of the APS, lead by their example.

APS Supt Winston Brooks ordering the arrest of poster holders, and
School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel creating an utterly unlawful "banning letter" and ordering his praetorian Chief of Police Steve Tellez and the APS Police force to enforce it, and
School Board President and New Mexico Broadcasters Association Affiliates liaison Paula Maes keeping it all under wraps.

photos Mark Bralley

Jennings not so thrilled with Gardner's apology

In the Journal this morning, link, we find there is some discrepancy between Governor Susana Martinez' spokesman Scott Darnell's account of the relationship between the Governor's Chief of Staff Keith Gardner and State Senate President Pro Temp Tim Jennings.

Darnell has offered a manifestly dishonest characterization of the damage done, insisting; Jennings and Gardner

"have been able to work together, ... This was a private conversation from a year ago, they’ve worked together since (Gardner attacked Jennings behind his back) on multiple occasions, and will move forward.”
The problem of course, is that except for the last couple of weeks of the year in question, Jennings was utterly unaware of what Gardner was saying about him behind his back. One might reasonably assume their future relationship will be a little more strained.

Jennings questions the sincerity of Gardner's belated apology; wondering aloud if it only came under pressure from the Governor. What kind of apology could possibly undo what has been done?

Jennings says the whole thing rings hollow, in particular since it coincided with the arrival in his constituents' mailboxes, of campaign hit pieces sent out by the same group of political insiders.

Jennings indicated he would prefer an "eye to eye" apology from Gardner. And who wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall during that dressing down?

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, September 17, 2012

Should Shultz have engaged his lapel camera?

APD Chief Ray Schultz requires his subordinates to turn on their lapel cameras whenever they interact with the public; like for instance when they are arresting a drunk driver in the process of running over (the toes of) parade watchers, link.

His policy recognizes there are circumstances that make it impossible or imprudent to be trying to turn a camera, during especially fast developing situations, for example.

But, just because the camera cannot be turned on immediately, it doesn't mean it shouldn't be turned on eventually. Apparently, of all the officers involved in the incident, including the Chief and a Deputy Chief, no one turned on their camera ever.

An APD spokesperson reported;

“The chief had a whistle in his mouth. With his left hand, (he was) trying to control the segway, and on his right hand, (he) was trying to open the door.”

“He had no free hand to engage the camera, and there was a lot of dynamics involved. It was happening so fast and so quickly that there wasn’t enough time to afford him the opportunity to engage his camera. The same goes for the deputy chief as well.”
Couldn't the same excuse be made for nearly any police officer in any situation? At some point, there is time to turn the camera on.

Is there any excuse for never turning on the lapel cam?

If you're an officer in the APD there is;
"... just following the example set by the Chiefs."

photo Mark Bralley

Bullying fora begin

Two fora are scheduled, link, one tomorrow, Tuesday Sept 18 and another Thursday the 20th. The rules are simple;

The meetings will include work in small groups, where attendees will discuss identification of bullying situations and possible solutions.
Small groups means divide and conquer; allow no one to accumulate support for any position contrary to the position(s) board members and senior administrators support.

Noteworthy; the identification of "bullying situations" will not include a PowerPoint, or any other presentation, of student discipline in schools; likely the single most important "situation" affecting the incidence of bullying.

One might intuit, correctly, that schools with more discipline problems and greater numbers of chronically disruptive students have higher incidence of bullying. Yet those factors will be ignored in the search for solutions. One might wonder, why?

According to the Negotiated Agreement (Contract), link, p58, between teachers and the district,
The principal has the primary responsibility for administering the school’s disciplinary policy.
It follows that, at a school where student discipline is lacking, the responsibility falls first on the administration. The failure to create effective student discipline policies and procedures is an administrative failure. Statistics that signify discipline problems signify administrative failure.

Administrative failure, in particular at the district level, simply doesn't exist; at least not in any data the district compiles. There are only two possibilities for the lack of data, no problems, or no inclination to document problems. There are problems; ask any teacher; there is no inclination to document them.

I suspect Journal "education reporter" Hailey Heinz will attend at least one of the meetings. I suspect that her report will not point to Supt Winston Brooks' effort to be less than candid, forthright and honest with community members about student discipline, chronically disruptive students (including bullies) and the administrative and executive failures that enable them.

She, the Journal, has never reported on discipline in schools, despite that it is one of the most, if not the most important indicator of the likelihood of successfully educating students in any school or district.

The likelihood she/they will report on it now is the same as the likelihood she/they will investigate and report upon;
  • the cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators in their publicly funded private police force, or
  • the abdication of the entire leadership of the APS as role models of the Student Standards of Conduct, or
  • the denial of due process to hundreds of whistleblower complaints against Brooks and other administrators, or
  • any of the credible evidence and testimony of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.
... zero.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, September 14, 2012

APS moves to tighten monopoly on e-credits

It's no secret that APS Supt Winston Brooks and the board see charter schools as a threat to their monopoly on education here in River City. The Journal reports this morning, link,

Albuquerque Public Schools students soon could find it much tougher to get credit for online classes from schools outside the district.
The move, according to the Journal, was prompted by an incident a few months ago when a student upset the district by taking an online course over a weekend. Brooks filed a complaint with the NMPED hoping they would find something wrong with the coursework or with his arch rival charter Southwest Learning Center, link. The subsequent investigation by the NM Public Education Department found no wrongdoing; not in the online course and not by SWLC.

The PED did find that APS has authority to decide what credits it will accept. The finding is reasonable since APS grants the diploma and has a stake in its validity. The problem is, Brooks and board will use that authority, not to improve education or in the best interests of students, but rather to cement their monopoly over education and the funding it brings.

One of the most vociferous critics is School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel. The Journal reports,
"he raised concerns that other students could be angling for quick credits, either to graduate on time or to maintain athletic eligibility."
What exactly, is wrong with a student wanting, not "angling", to earn credits quickly for any reason, especially wanting to graduate on time or maintain athletic eligibility?

Why do we care whether coursework is done quickly, or why a student wants to take an online course? As long as the coursework meets standards, the student's motivation is utterly irrelevant. More power to students who can complete coursework quickly. That is, unless one has a financial interest in keeping students in school as long as possible to keep the money flowing into APS.

The proposed policy is deliberately vague. The proposed Administrative Procedural Directives that would be used to implement the policy change are more specific and largely justifiable;
  1. Credits would be accepted only for classes not reasonably available to students through APS, including the district’s eCADEMY of online courses.
  2. Credits would be accepted only from schools or districts that have a written agreement with APS.
  3. Course curriculum would be subject to review by the APS curriculum committee.
  4. Students would not be able to enroll after the second semester of their senior year begins.
  5. Courses must require, and students must log, a reasonable number of instructional hours.
  6. Students may be required to pass an APS-approved exam to demonstrate they learned the course content.
  7. The course must be completed 10 days before the credit is posted to the student’s transcript.
1. The first requirement would all but eliminate competition, since APS offers most core classes (the ones students might want to take). There is an appearance of a conflict of interests. APS has two interests;
  1. education and
  2. perpetuation of an administrative oligarchy.
The School Board's own, albeit utterly unenforceable, Code of Ethics, link reads;
1. Make the education and well-being of students the basis for all decision making
Were their code enforceable, the perpetuation of their oligarchy would not play in their decision making.

2. What if APS (Brooks or some other) decides to not sign an agreement with some school or district? There is nothing in their standards which actually prohibits them from acting vindictively against some school or district because they're outperforming APS proper.

3. What makes APS "curriculum committee" the last word in curriculum approval? Are there no applicable state standards? What if the APS curriculum committee acts vindictively against their rivals for students and dollars that fund their own jobs?

4. Why can't a student enroll anytime they want?

5. What is a reasonable amount of instructional hours? Imagine you hire someone to dig a hole in your garden. You reason it should take 8 hours to dig the hole, so you offer your hired hand $64 to dig the hole. The worker digs in real earnest and finishes the hole in 4 hours. Has s/he not earned the $64? Just because it was dug quickly, do you still not have your hole?

The measure of satisfactory performance in any class is exit testing. If a student can pass the final test, they have proved what they need to prove. It doesn't make a bit of difference whether they studied for 100 hours, or 56, or five.

6. I assume that any school enjoying an APS or state granted charter, is using approved test instruments. Any legitimate approval is as legitimate as APS'.

7. Does it take 10 days for APS bureaucracy to post grades, or what?

Brooks and the board have a vested interest in requiring "face time" with teachers. They have not, and cannot, produce any empirical evidence that face time with a flesh and blood teacher is essential for every student all the time. How much have we learned in our own lives, without a "teacher" attending?

Students having problems need teachers. Students on cruise control though easy material, do not. Relieving teachers of supervisory responsibilities over students who don't need supervision, frees them up to give one on one help to those students who really do need a teacher.

Any decision about how students achieve their educations should be based on the students' best interests; not on board members', not on superintendents', and not on teachers'.

Submitted, just for drill, as a Letter to the Editors, Alb Journal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keith Gardner is a "cocksucker"

He is, and an "asshole", a "prick", and
"a son of a bitch", if you subscribe to
the theory that

"it takes one to know one."
Joe Monahan reports, link, on the behind the scenes conduct of the third most powerful person in the Governor's Office behind Jay McCleskey and the Governor.

If New Mexicans knew the whole truth about the "gentle (albeit foul-mouthed, vindictive, and seemingly corrupt) giant", they would not approve. They don't know the whole truth of course, unless they read blogs - the establishment's media is ignoring the most damning parts of the Gardner tape.

Monahan goes on to report, link, that the target of Gardner's scorn, State Senator Tim Jennings claims
"... he didn’t like the sentiments or the language Gardner used, but said he wouldn’t hold it against him. 'Hate and destruction have no place in government,'"
We are to believe that Jennings will act as though nothing ever happened. He will treat the Governor's Chief of Staff with the same respect he did before he found out about Gardner's personal and egregious betrayal of their "friendship".

The Governor's spin-meister Scott Darnell needs to downplay the seriousness, and did so by offering,
"... this particular private conversation took place a year ago and the two have talked and worked together since then on multiple occasions."
That it "took place a year ago" doesn't play; not unless you believe Gardner has reversed major character flaws in the last year. Does anyone believe he no longer calls people cocksuckers?

That they have "worked together since then on multiple occasions" could have something to do with the fact that Jennings only just heard about the backstabbing he suffered at his "friend's" hand. That, or Jennings, the "cock-sucking asshole, prick and son of a bitch", is actually a saint.

Darnell continues the effort to end the brouhaha by offering
"... we are moving on and won’t allow that to distract us from doing the work the people of New Mexico expect and deserve.”
How many times have we heard a politician or public servant caught with their pants down, offer that they are ready to move on? Ready to move on, despite the lack of closure and due consequences for their misconduct.

What if the people expect and deserve honest accountability to higher standards of conduct and competence among those, in whom, the people must entrust their control over the wielding of the people's enormous power and somewhere around $5B worth of the people's resources?

The most disturbing aspect of this situation is the establishment's media's unwillingness to tell the whole truth about Gardner's darker side.

Could it be that they're playing a game, a game where they get access to most of the truth in exchange for their complacency and complicity in hiding the rest? Could it be they're afraid of being reduced to "blogger access" to government; you only get in if you're reporting only the not too damning truth?

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, September 10, 2012

APS meetings in secret, not recorded

The APS School Board often meets in secret from public knowledge. They do so in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

They make no record of meetings they call "executive sessions"; no videotape, not even an audio record is made.

That is convenient if they choose to break the law during one of their in-secret meetings.

The board conducted an in-secret executive session during the Audit Committee Meeting on August 25, 2010.

After the meeting, School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel created an unlawful restraining order, link, he likes to call a "banning letter". That is when he is inclined to admit its existence. He is not above telling bald-faced lies about it, depending on the context, link.

He can call it whatever he wants, it is still specifically and expressly prohibited in School Board Policy, link, highlighted in significant part;

Board of Education members shall have authority only when acting as a Board of Education in a regular, special, committee or emergency meeting. The Board of Education shall not be bound in any way by any statement or action on the part of any individual Board of Education member. No Board of Education member shall speak for or represent the entire Board of Education unless so authorized by the majority of the Board of Education.

Board Member David Robbins once averred; the unlawful restraining order, was in fact authorized by the board.

The only way he could be telling the truth, is if he and the rest of the board discussed the banning, agreed to it, and then authorized it as a board.

According to the Open Meetings Act, their discussion and action on any issue without having that issue on an agenda of a legal meeting would be illegal. Even their in-secret meetings have to follow the Open Meetings Act. Before they adjourn into "executive session" they are required to disclose with "reasonable specificity" what they intend to discuss. After the session, they are required, by roll call vote, to affirm that they discussed and acted upon nothing else.

The "banning letter" does not appear on any agenda for any meeting. Any authorization of the unlawful order by the board could only have occurred in violation of the law; during an executive session, or during no meeting at all.

They would each, have had to individually lie about having had the discussion and made the decision, when the roll call vote was taken after the session.

Either that, or Esquivel acted unilaterally and Robbins lied about the board's having authorized it.

It shouldn't go unmentioned that there was no outrageous conduct in the first place. The record of the two meetings that Esquivel cites in the unlawful restraining order were both recorded. The November 4, 2009 meeting can be viewed on APS website, link.

The second meeting, the August 25, 2010 Audit Committee meeting was recorded only in audio, though we have video, and Esquivel is seen hear, making one of his own.

You have to wonder, if he has a video tape of illegal conduct, why has he filed no complaint with law enforcement.

I would be happy to have anyone view and listen to these recordings, and then point to the place where I did anything illegal or even unethical. I would be happy to have any of the thousands of students to whom I taught Character Counts!, view and listen. I want the record illuminated.

By what stretch of reason, is this story not newsworthy?

Someone behaving so "outrageously" to be permanently deprived of their Constitutionally protected human rights to speak freely and petition their government, is newsworthy.

Consider that Geraldine Amato, who never behaved so outrageously as to be banned from public meetings, was newsworthy, the Journal even tipped their hat to her, link.

Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz and APS School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel are cronies.

That would seem to explain Walz' refusal to investigate and report upon a school board president permanently denying any citizen the free exercise of First Amendment rights.

It would also seem to explain Walz refusal investigate and report upon Esquivel's complicity in the effort to cover up the cover up of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators.

photos Mark Bralley
Esquivel "videographer" ched macquigg

cc Kent Walz upon posting
Esquivel and Robbins have indicated they would rather not be emailed by me about anything, ever. So be it.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

APS School Board enforcer tells union leader to shut up

Those weren't APS School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel's actual words. His actual words are difficult to discern because once again, our investment in at least two warm bodies and thousands and thousands of dollars worth of recording equipment has failed to produce a legible record of an APS School Board meeting.

Once again, the recording of a school board member embarrassing them self has been somehow been corrupted or lost. APS no longer allows links to specific board meetings, so you will have to go to, link, and then scroll down to the August 15, 2012 meeting. Click on "video".

Fast forward to 3:14:4?, where Esquivel's antics begin.

He is upset because Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein had pointed out that the board's decision making process (surrounding the policy changed that prevents APS employees from getting paid to serve in the legislature) manifest "bad faith" in so much as the board changed the terms of the contract without stakeholders representation in negotiations over the change.

Esquivel began with a PowerPoint presentation a la APS; too many words, too small a font, which he then read for us, over and over.

About 12 minutes later, he starts pointing his finger at Bernstein and taking a tone with her. Later he complains that he is a victim of her disrespect. She was in fact, giving him quite a spanking; but it was with logic and facts, not her demeanor. She remained in control of her temper even as he progressively lost his control over his own. Or, maybe he just thinks bullying is alright if you've been "elected". It could be one or both; in no case is it excusable or even acceptable.

At 3:43ish, Esquivel starts going off on Bernstein for suggesting that he was being disrespectful. "I'm not asking you for a comment" were the exact words, as nearly as I can make out, that he used to tell her to shut up when she tried to respond to his attack on her.

That the whole exchange is not intelligible could be the result of some technical glitch; although they have so many conveniently timed glitches that the odds they're honest glitches are astronomical. That leaves incompetence, always a possibility, or corruption; they're editing in obfuscation and editing out the truth.

Esquivel is a thug and a bully. He claims he has struggled for five years on behalf of teachers, and yet they still have no seat at the table where decisions are made. He is a hypocrite. He is dishonest.

There's a reason he won't hold himself accountable as a role model of any standard of conduct higher than the law, not even the APS Student Standards of Conduct, the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

None of Esquivel's constituents know how he treats citizens who show up at public forums. Scroll further down the list of board meetings until you can click on "show all past meetings". Scroll down to Nov 4, 2009; click on video. Fast forward to 42:00 and watch how Esquivel behaves when I attempt to ask legitimate questions, link.

Esquivel used my behavior that night, to justify the writing of an utterly unlawful restraining order, link, he calls it a banning letter, ordering a publicly funded private police force, which is not supposed to be taking orders from him in the first place, to deny me the free exercise of my Constitutionally protected human rights to speak freely and petition my government at school board meetings.

Of note; none of this was reported in the Journal, is being reported by the Journal, or ever will be reported by the Journal, because Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz is a crony of Esquivel's and has joined with him and APS Supt Winston Brooks to cover up the cover up of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators.

All any of them has to do controvert the allegation, is to explain why APS won't surrender the findings of at least three investigations into the felony criminal misconduct; two internal investigations, one by APS personnel and the other by the same police force whose corruption and incompetence were investigated, and one by private investigator Robert Caswell. His report names the names of APS senior administrators and the felonies the participated in.

All Walz has to do, is to explain why the hiding of the corruption and incompetence his paper first reported, link, and the fact that evidence of felony criminal misconduct was turned over to the District Attorney, is not newsworthy. So far, he has not responded, link.

photo and Walz framegrab Mark Bralley

Saturday, September 08, 2012

APS/Discovery Ed Contract provides for secret keeping

APS just signed an $11,334,977.84 contract for techbooks (electronic textbooks) with a company called Discovery Education. The contract includes "professional development services" in the amount of $1,117,500.00."

The contract, link, contains a paragraph I found interesting, emphasis added;

10. Discovery understands that government entities, such as Subscriber, may be required to disclose information pursuant to applicable open records acts. In all other respects, all provisions of this Agreement (“Confidential Information”) shall be kept strictly confidential by Subscriber and may not be disclosed without prior written consent, except for any disclosure required by any order of a court or governmental authority with jurisdiction over Subscriber.
In other words; even records which APS knows to be public records and ultimately subject to surrender under the Inspection of Public Records Act, cannot be surrendered unless a citizen successfully sues them in a State District Court.

Why must any of the terms of an $11.3M contract be keep secret from the folks who ponied up the $11.3M in the first place?

What is it they need to hide?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Kent Walz; why is this not newsworthy?

There are two standards of conduct in the Albuquerque Public Schools, one for students and another for administrators, board members, (and other adults, none of whom influence executive or administrative decision making).

The standard of conduct for adults is the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings. They will hold themselves accountable for nothing, if it isn't against the law.

Read their entreaty in their current newsletter, link, encouraging employees to make use of their whistleblower hotline and

report fraud, waste and abuse of state resources
... all criminal acts; all against the law.

Nowhere in the newsletter, nor in any other place, will you find any mention of administrators and board members being held accountable to any higher standards of conduct, higher than the law. Nowhere will you find accountability to any code of ethical behavior.

Except in the Student Behavior Handbook, link, where on page three you will find, here highlighted in significant part;
Students are expected to be good citizens. They are expected to:
• model and promote the pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS! (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship)
• respect authority, property, and the rights of others.
• avoid confrontation and any activity that has the potential to cause a verbal or physical conflict.
• maintain standards of integrity and responsibility.
• maintain a safe school environment.
• report any/all information/circumstances related to campus safety and problems (fights, weapons,
or drugs on campus).
The Pillars of Character Counts! are a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of "ethical" conduct.

On its face, the requirement applies only to students. It reads; students are expected to model and promote "ethical" behavior.

Then there is role modeling; the obligation of adults, particularly administrators and board members, to show students what it looks like to hold oneself honestly accountable to standards of conduct like the Pillars.

If we really want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like. Someone has to show them what it looks like to hold oneself honestly accountable; accountable by means of a system over which they have no undue influence, impartial, and powerful enough to hold them accountable even against their will.

Instead, administrators and board members hold themselves accountable to each other, and each other only. The School Board does not offer even one venue where a complaint can be filed against them; not one. A complaint against a senior administrator, even over criminal misconduct, will be investigated by a subordinate. The appearance of a conflict of interest could not be more obvious nor more unacceptable.

Recently, the administration and board rewrote School Board Policy to eliminate executive review of the administration of complaints against administrators, including APS Supt Winston Brooks. The promise that the board would "review and approve" every single whistleblower complaint, was simply removed.

As but one, albeit particularly egregious, example of board members and senior administrators accountability only to each other;
In February 2007, the Journal investigated and reported upon, link, a scandal in the "leadership" APS Police and central office. The APS Police force investigated felony criminal misconduct committed by APS senior administrators. They reported what they found to Brooks and the Board. No evidence of felony criminal misconduct was ever handed over to the DA, even, or especially, as statutes of limitation expired.
In truth, senior administrators and board members are not even accountable to the law.

APS has a whistleblower hotline. It's called "Ethical Advocate" because that's the name of the third party vendor who acts as a clearinghouse for complaints; Ethical Advocate, link, and not because "ethics" are involved.

In fact, you will find the word "ethical" used nowhere else; not in the Employee newsletter item, link, encouraging employees to report (administrative) misconduct, nor in the full page dedicated to using Ethical Advocate, link.

Back when the whistleblower program was called Silent Whistle instead of Ethical Advocate, employees were encouraged to report unethical conduct specifically. An article in the Perspective read;
SilentWhistle is the new APS Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline that allows individuals to communicate their knowledge of any possible inappropriate, unethical or illegal activities within the district. (emphasis added)
There once was a link to the Perspective article and specific mention of ethics. The link has since been destroyed.

After a number of complaints were filed alleging unethical conduct by APS Supt Winston Brooks specifically, the word and concept of ethical misconduct has been methodically and deliberately removed not only from the whistleblower program, but from both School Board Policy and Administrative Procedural Directives.

  • There are two standards of conduct in the APS, one for students, one for adults. The student standards and expectations are higher than those for adults.
  • There is not a single senior administrator nor board member who will manifest the character and the courage to hold themselves honestly accountable as a role model of the standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students;
    not Supt Winston Brooks, not COO Brad Winter, not Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta, not APS Foundation Director Phill Casaus, nor any other member of their "leadership" team, link.
  • There is not a single member of the school board who can manifest the character and the courage to talk, openly, honestly and on the record, about administrative and executive standards of conduct and accountability.
    Not Paula Maes, not Kathy Korte, not Marty Esquivel, not David Peercy, not David Robbins, not Lorenzo Garcia, and not Analee Maestas.
These allegations and the credible evidence and testimony that support them are newsworthy.

And the only reason Journal
Managing Editor Kent Walz,
here shown giving Winston
Brooks a transparency award
while he, Brooks, and School
Board enforcer Marty Esquivel
covered up the cover up of
criminal misconduct by
APS senior administrators,
won't see an investigation and
report done on the ethics and
accountability scandal in
the leadership of the APS, is because he is in cahoots;
he is part of the cover up.

I would be happy to publish any credible alternative explanation.

cc Walz upon posting.

framegrab Mark Bralley

Thursday, September 06, 2012

"How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?" (After They've Seen Paree)

APS spends $11.3M on "techbooks" instead of textbooks,
Journal editorial, link, APS website, link.

Were Yogi Berra around (the quote is variously attributed) he would point to the "box of Pandoras" the APS School Board has opened; they are going to teach some students how to access information electronically, to become independent learners, while at the same time trying to control what they access and the rate at which they access it.

It is clear, the board intends to fold e-reading into their antiquated and obsolete model for education. The techbooks will be used as another fancier whip to be laid on the flanks of the dead horse called cemetery seating; every student on the same page, in the same (e)book, on the same day.

Someone else first pointed out, there is no stopping an idea whose time has come. And there will be no stopping engaged learns who figure out how to get to everything at once, rather than plodding along in classrooms with five rows of six desks (real or electronic) with 30 other students. How are we going to keep them on the farm, in their seats and on the same page, once they've seen Paree; the ability to be on any page, in any book, and on any day?

In an age where even the least sophisticated devices have access to nearly the entire wealth of human knowledge, the APS School Board has decided to buy for students instead, separate e-books for every subject. They will buy a book each for chemistry, physics, science, ...

Though each book comes with "videos, interactive lessons, educational games, reading passages and glossaries", they carry only the one subject. Videos, interactive lessons, educational games, reading passages and glossaries for any other subject will cost (taxpayers) more.

Nearly always a step behind everyone else, the "leadership" of the APS will dip into the future of education buying e-readers with integral speed and scope limiting governors. Instead of providing "the richest learning activities" by means of a machine that can access any subject, they've decided to buy machines dedicated to individual subjects; one "book" for each class.

Am I really the only one who sees the thought of a backpack full of e-readers, each for a different subject, as some how missing the point of e-readers?