Monday, January 28, 2013

Are the Pillars of Character Counts! passé in APS?

Does character count in Albuquerque Public Schools?

Character Counts! at its most fundamental level, is a declarative sentence.  Because it amounts to a declaration, and someone is declaring it, it makes a difference whether it is true.  In particular it makes a difference, if the declaration is the foundation for student discipline policy making and enforcement.

Will character count in the APS?

The election of a majority of board members will determine the answer to that question for the next four years.

Is character education an issue in the upcoming election of the senior-most role models in APS' efforts to develop character in students?

It is not.

If you don't read the Journal, you are uninformed;
if you do read the Journal, you are misinformed.Mark Twain (derived)
In 1994, the APS School Board voted to establish the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, as the highest standards of conduct for students. The Pillars of Character Counts! are a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.  They voted in resolute endorsement of the Aspen Declaration, link.

You owe it to yourself and this discourse, to read the Declaration, and read the names of the people who wrote it.

Not the least of them was, US Senator Pete Domenici.  He was pivotal in bringing a great deal of federal grant money to APS, to be burned through APS by then Character Counts Leadership Council President Paula Maes and a few of her cronies.

When the money ran out, so did they,
in very short order.

In the intervening years, both have grown, shall we say, less enthusiastic about the need to help APS students develop character.  Less enthusiastic about the need for adults to role model accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

A few years after the money was gone, I did my best to track down every member of the Leadership Council.  I asked for their help in stopping APS abandonment of character education in general, and Character Counts! in particular.

It was at a time when Maes and the rest of the board voted unanimously to remove the role modeling clause from their code of conduct.
In no case, shall the standards of conduct for adults,
be lower than the standards for students.
Not one of the so called "leaders" of Character Counts!
would lift a hand, link.

Students are expected to "model and promote" the Pillars of Character Counts!.  The obligation to model and promote the Pillars, represents the highest standard of conduct that applies to students. 

Arguably, the most fundamental tenet of Character Counts! is the critical necessity of holding oneself accountable for ones conduct and competence.  How does one model "accountability" except by holding them self "accountable"?  Honestly accountable; accountable in a venue where complaints see due process.

It's all well and good to tell students the fable about George Washington and the cherry tree.  But sooner or later, someone has to step up in the flesh.  Leadership by example.  Character is taught by personal example, and by personal example alone.

Someone else first observed;
The proper time to influence the character of a child, 
is about 100 years before they're born.
If we want kids to grow  into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like.  In public schools, it begins with the school board.

In coverage of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, it begins with the Journal.

photo Mark Bralley


Anonymous said...

Ched, did you happen to see the article in Saturday's paper?

ACLU: Police Board Violated Free Speech

Just wondered what the difference was regarding your case and this. Both entities are not letting people speak!

ched macquigg said...

I am seeing a lot of push back from pols and public servants who are tired of people standing up a public forums and making them feel uncomfortable.

I hope we're headed toward a fight and that the results will be public forums required at public meetings and real consequences for pols and public servants who stifle dissidence and dissidents.