Monday, February 04, 2013

APS "not close", but "well on our way"

I hold in my hand, a flier.  There is no indication who printed it or who paid for the printing.  It carries the APS logo, suggesting APS' approval.  It was one of a stack available in the lobby at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

It is entitled;

Albuquerque Public Schools: Keep On Keeping On
For some reason I found myself humming the melody to "Truckin", wikilink, as I read.

The flier purports;
Albuquerque Public Schools has made lots of progress in the four and a half years since Superintendent Winston Brooks took the held in 2008.  Here is a list of just some of those accomplishments and changes.  The work isn't close to done (and let's be honest -- it never will be), but were well on our way to becoming one of the nation's premier school districts.
"... just some" of Brooks' accomplishments and changes?  There are 69 listed.  The order went out; think of as many things as you can to put on this list; this is what they came up with; who kids whom?
"The work isn't close to done (and let's be honest -- it never will be), ...
"Let's be honest, it never will be" is what's called a straw man.
The argument that no one offered, has been laid to rest.
It supposes that somebody has suggested that the problem with the leadership in the APS is, they aren't perfect.   The thread of truth that sells it, there is never a final solution to a dynamic problem.  That said, the dynamic component is a very small part of a much larger problem.  Perfection isn't the issue; being as close to perfect as possible, is the issue.

The fundamental problem has not changed much; maybe over decades, certainly not one year to the next.  Yearly tweaking of the solution to the overall problem of educating 90,000 students amounts to very little.

Their straw man draws attention away from their surprisingly candid admission;
The work isn't close to done.
Seriously, 120 years later, shouldn't they be at least "close"?
Shouldn't things be about as good as it gets?

It is not as good as it gets,  By their own free admission, not even close. Nor are they likely to get any very much closer; look what they've had to do to get the graduation rate to 70%, many of them carrying near worthless diplomas.

We are not all we can be.

Might we ask, why not?

They've been at it for more than 120 years; since 1891, wikilink.  The administrative model they prefer, has been tested and tested and tested and tested.  It has been tested  123 times.

It doesn't work.

It has always been supposed in the APS, that there are only a handful of people who have the wherewithal to fix education, and that they should be installed at the top an oligarchy, telling everyone else what to do, and accountable to no one but each other; a good ol' boys club that lets women in.  Though a couple of lawsuits pending in Federal Court suggest that, at least under APS Supt Winston Brooks, women don't feel all that very welcome.

There is another model, a model that carries more promise than empowering a handful of people and that is, to empower and resource the people who actually deal with students on a day to day basis.

Then, maybe, we will get closer to getting it done.
It's worth a shot.

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