Sunday, June 30, 2013

Esquivel lets students down

APS School Board President Marty Esquivel is the subject of a number of complaints file in federal court.  He would like very much, to escape the consequences of his several violations of my civil rights.

The truth is not on his side.

He doesn't want to tell the truth in response to Interrogatories,
he doesn't want to produce the truth in response to Requests for Production.

He looking for standards of conduct that allow him to not tell the truth, "the law" being one such.  The law allows him to hide legal advice the people paid for.  It allows him to delay and deny justice.

Esquivel can point to any standard of conduct he chooses and argue his accountability to it as opposed to some other.  It doesn't change the fact that he is accountable to one set of standards in particular, the standards of conduct he establishes and enforces upon students.

Those standards, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, are higher standards of conduct than the law.

Esquivel doesn't want to be held accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law, because even the least of them requires telling the truth, distinct from not lying.

The law allows Esquivel to hide the truth about the advice given to him by APS' lawyers regarding the propriety of his creating for me, a lifetime ban from board meetings  (or until I agree that I did something wrong, though I didn't, and then promise to not do it again, though I have every right and intention to, as soon as their publicly funded private police force stands down).

Student standards of conduct require candor, forthrightness and honestly in response to legitimate questions.  Student standards of conduct require doing more than the law requires and less than the law allows.

Esquivel's circumstances are unique in that when he became a school board member, he became a role model of student standards of conduct; whether or not he likes it, whether or not he will admit it.

The Pillars of Character Counts! link, are the standards of conduct for students.  In the APS Student Behavior Handbook, an extension of School Board Policy, they write,

Students are expected to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!
Accountability is fundamental to Character Counts!

One cannot model the Pillars of Character Counts! except by holding them self accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts! either through their own moral courage, or by a system free of undue influence, free of the appearance of conflicts of interest and impropriety and, powerful enough to hold them accountable, even against their will.

When students learn about the Pillar of Responsibility, they learn that responsibility means "being accountable for what we do and who we are".  They learn, "ethical people show responsibility by being accountable ...".  They learn that accountability means leading by example.

Within his service and capacity on the school board, Marty Esquivel is accountability to the same standards of conduct to which he hold students accountable.  Within his service on the school board, he can be expected to show students what it looks like when someone does more than the law requires and less than the law allows, link.

Character is taught by means of personal example, and by no other.

If we want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like.

... just not APS School Board President Marty Esquivel.





photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NM FOG elects Executive Committee - badly

Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Terri Cole has been elected FOG's (interim?) President.

The election of the Executive Committee normally takes place in October.  This one took place "earlier this month".  Another election is scheduled for the fall. 

"Administrator 2" informed me that "there were some delays and the board had not met since October", and, "there was a vote for a slate of board members and executive committee and both were approved unanimously".

Cole and I have history, link. She, and the Chamber of Commerce, were huge supporters of Character Counts! in the APS.  Huge.

Naturally, when I found the leadership of the APS had abdicated as the senior most role models of the Pillars of Characters Counts! which were and are still, the APS student standards of conduct, I went to Cole and Chamber.  When I asked Cole for help in exposing the abdication of the entire leadership of the APS as role models of the Pillars of Character Counts!, she sided with Paula Maes and the rest of her cronies in the leadership of the APS.

A disappointing pick for President if you ask me.

But then, at least she was willing to serve.  My impression was that people weren't exactly lining up for the opportunity to serve, if you know what I mean.  Cole may well have just picked the short straw.

More disappointing still;

APS School Board President Marty Esquivel received the Board's unanimous approval as FOG Vice President.   It's a step down in his aspirations, Esquivel was once on tap to be FOG's President.  At least that's what he was telling people when he interviewed them for their Dixon Awards in 2010; that he was interviewing them in the capacity of the next FOG President.

A wrench was thrown in the works when I stood in front of the FOG Board of Directors and told them about Esquivel's complicity in a cover up of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.

I told them Esquivel was giving at least tacit approval to hiding public records of findings of at least three investigations into public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

I told the Board how ridiculous it was for Marty Esquivel and the newly unanimously re-elected, apparently perpetual NM FOG Secretary, Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz, to have bamboozled them into giving APS Supt Winston Brooks a Dixon Award, link, in the middle of his fight to hide public records of public corruption and incompetence in blatant violation of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act; records the FOG itself had argued belong to the people.

So here we are;

  • the players are largely the same, (link), 
  • the facts are the same, and
  • those facts have not been refuted, rebutted or even acknowledged by Esquivel or Walz, and
  • they are both still covering up the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

And Cole, who was at that meeting in 2010, Esquivel, and Walz have all been selected "unanimously" to "lead" the FOG.

Wow, what do you do with that?





 photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Eubank Elementary School staff is "sick". Winston Brooks is the cure?

In the Journal this morning, link, we read that Eubank Elementary School is "struggling".  The Journal coverage amounts to reporting the administrative spin on the problem, as usual.  Data on real problems at the school; violence, drugs, weapons, chronic disobedience; is still being carefully, deliberately, hidden, link.

The data they provide on the struggle is predictably sketchy.  The usual demographic data can be found on APS' award winning website, link.  It is not unimportant data.  If a school has a high turnover in students, those students will struggle.  If students are largely poor, they will struggle.  If new students are expected to join a marching band on the run, a thought choir in continuous recital, they will struggle, and so on through a list of factors over which teachers have no control.

There are other elements in play, elements that are at least somewhat within the control of teachers and staff, not the least of which is the synergy in the school community.  The administrative perspective on synergy is, all you have to do is find the "right" administrator.

It is based on the belief that there are people who know more than everyone else altogether, and all you have to do is find them and put them in charge of failing schools.  There is no need to empower staffs and other interest holders.

There are somewhere around a hundred thousand years of teaching experience in the APS and no seat for any of them, at the table where decisions are made.

It has been argued; the most important decision a group will make, is when they decide how decisions will be made, and further, that it should be their first decision.

In the APS decisions are made by the superintendent or administrators acting in his stead.  It doesn't make any difference what teachers or other community members think.

APS Supt Winston Brooks is fond of going on input gathering tours, they're good for public relations, but if anyone but Brooks thinks they have any decision making power, they're sadly mistaken.

If Brooks is so hot, how did the "struggles" at Eubank come as such a surprise to him?

None of us is as smart as all of us.  The supt isn't smarter than all of his subordinates, they are not smarter than theirs, and principals are not smarter than all the teachers who work in their schools.  The solutions to the struggles in public education are not going to be found in an endless search for the perfect administrator; s/he doesn't exist.  Wouldn't s/he have written a book?

Hailey Heinz, David Peercy, Brad Winter
Journal reporter Hailey Heinz pointed out that a quarter of the staff at Eubank ES have already left and more might leave when they see the administrative plan for redesign.

She did not apparently, interview any of them to report upon their perspective.  Or, perhaps she did, and chose to not report upon it.

They're only teachers; what would they know?




photos Mark Bralley

Monday, June 24, 2013

APS School Board voted; the Pillars of Character Counts! are still the student standards of conduct.

I have stumbled upon the minutes, link, of the March 18, 2013 Policy and Instruction Committee meeting.

They indicate that, following the annual review, School Board Vice President Kathy Korte moved to accept changes in the Student Behavior Handbook, link.  Her motion was seconded by Lorenzo Garcia, and then passed unanimously by the entire board.  It was on the agenda, link, for final approval at a regular board meeting two days later.

The minutes from that meeting, link, indicate Kathy Korte moved to pass it, and Dr Analee Maestas seconded her motion.  It passed unanimously save Lorenzo Garcia who was absent, and maybe David Peercy who is listed as participating by phone.

The Student Behavior Handbook is school board policy.

When they adopted changes in the SBH, they adopted the "not changed" language as well.

Language not changed this year link,

Students ... are expected to model and promote the pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS! (sic) Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship)
The Pillars of Character Counts!, link, represent a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.  They were adopted as APS' student standards of conduct by unanimous approval in 1994.

For awhile, they were the adults standards of conduct as well.
The adults' standards of conduct read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards for students as found in
the Student Behavior Handbook.
Therefore, adults could have no lower standard of conduct than the Pillars of Character Counts!

There was a time when I was trying to hold the leadership accountable in court, as role models of the Pillars of Character Counts! citing the role modeling clause.  Their response was to remove the role modeling clause from their standards of conduct.

They believe that because they removed the role modeling clause, they are no longer accountable as role models of, and therefore accountable to, ethical standards of conduct.

Regardless of the existence of a role modeling clause in their standards of conduct, board members and senior administrators are accountable as role models of same personal accountability to higher standards of conduct that they expect from students.

If we really expect students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like.

The only way the leadership of the APS can escape accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts! is to eliminate them as the student standards.  All they have to do is lower student standards to a level where they are comfortable accepting actual accountability as role models.

They haven't the courage to lower student standards.  Nor do they have the character and courage necessary to raise their own.  Talk about caught between a rock and a hard place.

The simple truth; there is not one member of the senior administration nor of the board of education with the character and the courage to hold them self honestly accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts!; accountable according to a process over which they have no undue influence and powerful enough to hold them accountable, even against their will.

Instead, they will continue to establish higher standards for students than for themselves, and hope no one notices their hypocrisy.

Ask them.  They won't answer.
Any answer except yes, means no.

Aiding and abetting their effort to cover up an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz.

He isn't alone.

KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV steadfastly refuse to;
  1. investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, though there is, or,

  2. investigate and report that standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS are beyond reproach, though they are not.
I'm not saying these folks are "evil", but when Edmund Burke wrote;
All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world,
is for good men to do nothing.
these are the people he was writing about.

We, are the people he was writing to.

Who is going to stand up and demand open and honest public discussion of executive and administrative standards and accountability in the Albuquerque Public Schools?




photo Mark Bralley

APS Board Meeting minutes and videos - nowhere to be found.

The leadership of the APS made a commitment to post minutes and videotapes of board meetings.  A quick check on their award winning website, link, reveals they've not posted minutes since the beginning of April.  They've not posted a videotape since March.

Why not?  Has their policy changed?  When? Why?

The Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV can at least get in the doors at 6400 Uptown Blvd, they could ask why APS' live stream of board meetings is not viewable, why board meeting videotapes are not being posted, and why meeting minutes are not being posted.

They could, but they won't.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Learning to read, reading to learn"; anything more than a jingle?

Decisions are being made that will have a profound impact on the education and lives of children in public schools.

It will be a mistake to make those decisions based on a jingle;
"the catchy sound of a simple, repetitious rhyme or doggerel"
rather than on the best interests of those children.

It will always be in the best interests of a child to be learning.
It will always be in their best interests even if they're learning something other than;

  1. the same thing 30 other kids are learning; all at once, or, 
  2. what anyone else thinks they should be learning, but aren't, at that moment instead.
On the first; currently, as many as thirty children with nothing in common but the year of their birth, are assembled into "thought choirs".  For reasons of economy and supposed advantages in behavior management, and in blatant disregard of the individual needs of students, they are seated in five rows of six desks, and expected to learn in unison, for twelve grueling years.

Cemetery seating; rows and ranks of students in desks, was created in acquiescence to fact that there was only one teacher.  The only way a teacher can teach groups of kids in is by first forming them into groups.  It precludes a teacher's individual attention to students. Thirty students cannot individual attention at once.  Independent learning in conventional class rooms is all but impossible.

If the goal of public education is to create independent lifelong learners, why aren't we teaching students how to learn independently from the start?  Independent learner don't need "teachers" most of the time.  That frees teachers to give the individual attention students need.

On the second;
You can lead a horse to water.
You can't make it drink.
You cannot make students who are not paying attention, learn.
In particular, you cannot make very young children pay attention.

A mother cat doesn't "teach" her kittens by herding her kittens through the world, she teaches them by allowing them to learn, and keeping them out of trouble.

Teaching small children in groups is like herding kittens.
Even if you could do it, why would you want to?
Why do students need to learn to be herded in the first place?

Children come to school excited and motivated to learn.
That excitement is our advantage.
What is the purpose in taming it for no purpose?

For how long do we let our kittens follow their noses?
When do we insist that they follow "our" path instead?
Certainly by high school graduation, in exchange for a certificate, they must comply with our determination of the width and depth of their knowledge in specific areas.  One could argue that a students' individual path to that point is inconsequential.

One could argue as well for mile markers along the way; ideally growth would be measured continuously.  Students, in order to graduate, need only to be making continuous and adequate progress toward that day.

If  teachers weren't so busy trying to keep students learning in unison, they would have the time to pay individual attention to students.  Teachers would have time to individually encourage their kittens to move in appropriate directions.  Students will not arrive at graduation day without anyone noticing they haven't the credits or skill set for certification.

Those who argue that if a child cannot "read" by the third grade, s/he should be held back in every subject other than reading, argue without evidence that, if a child cannot "read", they cannot learn.

The fact that every reader was once a non-reader and learned how to read anyway, proves non-readers can learn.

If textbooks are your only tools, then yes, students have to know how to read, and read well, very well.  And, all but the most proficient readers will be handicapped in every other subject they learn.

By all means, by any means, students should learn how to read.   Learning to read doesn't have to precede learning everything else.  It needn't even be the first thing that is learned.  Learning to read requires a preexisting vocabulary.  There are ways of building vocabulary besides reading. In fact, if your only source of vocabulary is reading, you're pretty well screwed.

Does anyone really suppose that student who is failing reading but really interested in and learning about something else, something they find intrinsically motivating, is not going to learn how to read in the process?

Isn't a child who learns an "unimportant" thing better off
than a child who doesn't learn an "important" thing

Independent learners don't need most teachers, most of the time.

A whole class needs the teacher at once is when the teacher to get the whole class to do some thing at once; managing every kids behavior all at once; when teachers are expected to be the conductor a thought choir of students learning in unison.

When a student needs a teacher, they need individual attention.
Individual attention, at the time it is needed, is not possible if the teacher is conducting a "class".

Individual educational paths allow students to get individual attention.  In the proper circumstances, the attention would come from a subject specialist, not a generalist.

If a kid or kids cannot manage independent learning, then by all means slap them into desks arranged in five rows of six, give them textbooks to read in unison, and watch them flourish.

Friday, June 21, 2013

APS School Board split

It would appear there is a split in the APS School Board - basically old members against new.  The newbies are School Board Member Analee Maestas with two years of experience and the brand new members, Donald Duran and Steven Michael Quezada.

Whether a split board is good or bad is subject to dispute; it's nice to have a smooth running board in basic agreement, but it can be taken too far as in the monolithic boards under former School Board President Paula Maes and current School Board President Marty Esquivel before the elections.

The latest split vote is reported in the Journal, link.  The vote was over raising health insurance premiums for APS employees.

The dissenting board members are reported to have voted against the raised out of concern for the hardship it would place on employees. 

Analee Maestas wondered;

“How do our educational assistants, how will they be able to afford insurance costs like this?”
Like the members who voted in favor of raising premiums, the board members who "took care of business", don't have any concern for employees?

The vote should not have been split.  To vote against the raises, without a having any other alternative, was disingenuous.

School Board Secretary Kathy Korte put it succinctly;
“I’m going to make a motion to approve even though it’s horrible.”
“My heart goes out to our employees.”
The Journal reports that the board members who voted for the changes "... did so reluctantly, feeling they had no choice".

I wonder what Maestas, Duran and Quezada would have done if three board members before them had already voted no; would they then have voted yes (because they had to, because it was the only choice?)

I can't help but feel that in this case, board unanimity would have been a better call.  Dissenters voted against something that they knew was going to happen regardless of their vote.  In some future election they can claim to have voted against raising premiums while the board members who stood up to take the hit, will have to explain to voters, why they voted to raise premiums on financially strapped employees.




photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Will Esquivel be deposed? Will Brooks? Will Armenta?

I was asked by a friend if I believed that the most powerful people in the APS are actually going to be deposed; testify under oath.

The possibility that they and co-defendants David Robbins and Rigo Chavez might somehow weasel out of testifying under oath is a constant possibility; their litigation budget is unlimited and there is no (public) oversight, link, over the spending.

The board and administration pretend that lawyers defending board members and senior administrators, are expected to present a "case analysis" to the entire board.  They would have us believe that the lawyer, because they are meeting in secret from the people, is candid, forthright and honest in the presentation of the facts to other board members.

Despite the fact that the whole board is a named respondent in the lawsuit, there is no evidence that the whole board has been given a case analysis in the litigation against School Board President Esquivel, Supt Winston Brooks, Exec Director of Communications Monica Armenta, Chief of Police Steve Tellez, Director of Communications Rigo Chavez and former School Board Member David Robbins.

They should know that among other things, all the defendants will be asked under oath to tell the truth about what they know about a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.

A key player in the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded private police force, Gil Lovato once said, if the truth ever gets out, there won't be a single senior administrator left standing.

Lovato is the guy who knew where all the bodies were buried.

The Journal exposed the scandal, link, but steadfastly refuses to expose the cover up;

  1. At least three investigations were done; all three in secret from public knowledge.
  2. The criminal investigation of felony criminal misconduct involving the leadership of the APS Police force was conducted by the APS Police force.
  3. The findings of that investigation and of the at least two other investigations are being kept from public knowledge in blatant violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act. 
  4. One of those investigations, names the names of APS senior administrators who broke the law.  The findings are in the Caswell Report.
  5. No evidence of felony criminal misconduct was ever turned over to the DA for prosecution.  Perhaps I am wrong and there was none. Then why hide the findings?  Why violate to the law to hide the findings?
There is only one reason to not tell the truth and that is to
escape the consequences of telling the truth.

I'm not a lawyer, but I have slept in enough Holiday Inns to know that when they raise their right hands and affirm their intention to tell the truth; when they don't, escaping the consequences will not be as easy as it has been heretofore.

Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz is going to find it impossibly difficult to keep their names and the truth out of the "newspaper of record".

Not that he won't keep trying.




photos Mark Bralley

Monday, June 17, 2013

Who is the "press"? Sez who?

“Man is free at the instant he wants to be.”

according to Voltaire wikilink.

And by logical extension;

Wo/man is the press, at the instant s/he wants to be.

According to the First Amendment to the Constitution;
the government, at every level,
shall make no law ... abridging ... the freedom of the press.

A law that requires man to "prove" they are the press,
and in especially that, they be required to prove it to some
bureaucrat indulging a whim, and who is herself, utterly
unaccountable to the people, or to the Constitution,
manifestly abridges man's freedom to be the press.

Is the onus really upon me to prove to APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta, that I am entitled to the protection provided by the First Amendment?

Or should she, the government, have to prove by some due process that I am not?

It seems pretty clear to me.

I trust it will be equally clear to a jury of her peers.

I can  hardly wait.




photo Mark Bralley

APS Board Meeting open to the public

The APS School Board will have a regular board meeting Wednesday night.  On the agenda, link, "discussions" of the district's progress on the first two of its four goals.

Progress on the third goal was subject of a previously postponed presentation and defense by APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.

Armenta's "spin" on her own progress
(the leadership of the APS being loathe as it is to evaluation of itself by anybody but itself) was delivered in what amounts to an "in secret" meeting last Friday morning.

The fourth goal, originally on the agenda for the last regular meeting has apparently disappeared; I cannot finds its mention on any upcoming meeting agenda.

The defense of the fourth goal would feature APS' Chief of Police Steve Tellez and the defense of the district's need for a stand alone publicly funded private police department, accountable only to the superintendent and board.  More importantly, a police department with the authority to self-investigate felony criminal misconduct.

Such self-investigation of felony criminal misconduct is currently prohibited under a Memorandum Of Understanding imposed upon APS' Praetorian Guard by Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston, link.

h. Any report of a crime which may be determined to be a felony offense, excluding property crimes, shall be promptly reported to and investigated by BCSD or APD.
Tellez is scheduled, in the near future, to testimony under oath, over his handling of APS police force's (last) self-investigation of allegations of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS police force, link.

The agenda for the Wednesday board meeting, indicates that APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya and APS Chief Academic Officer Shelly Green are scheduled to present and defend on goals one and two.

While APS' award winning website does provide links, link, to still more unsigned "authorizations", for the discussions, it does not provide even one link to information that might be of actual use to interest holders in advance of the discussion. 
(UPDATE; sometime between when the agenda was posted and today, links to the goals were added, goal 1, link, goal 2, link.)

Armenta, though she appeared effectively "in private", at least showed up with 29 pages of progress, link,  to present and defend.

So far, the establishment's media, let's say the Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz to put a face to it, has chosen to not investigate and report upon the district's progress on any of it's goals, much less its failure to (adequately) progress on any one or more of them.

The Journal is yet to report, link,
even that APS has four goals.




photos Mark Bralley




Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Citizens Advisory Council on Communication

In August, 2011, a group of good and decent people got together, wrote a petition, gathered more than a hundred signatures, and then hand delivered it, link, to the school board during a public forum at a regular school board meeting.

It was ignored until March, 2012. link, when it was "considered" by the District and Community Relations Committee.  The petition was denied a good faith response; in particular by School Board Vice President Kathy Korte.

The human right to petition one's government, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

What is the point in protecting the right to deliver a petition for redress of grievances, if there is not a corresponding obligation on the part of the government, to accept the petition? to consider it with an open mind, treat it fairly, and provide for it, due process.

There is no venue in the entire APS where community interest groups can ask questions about the public interests and about the public service of senior administrators and board members.

Questions are expressly forbidden during the public forum at school board meetings.

If the questions are inconvenient enough, if the questions are asked persistently enough, a publicly funded private police force, a Praetorian Guard will remove dissidents at the whim of out of control board members and senior administrators.

The questions are not illegitimate;

  • Where is the Caswell Report on felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators?
  • Why hasn't evidence of felony criminal misconduct been turned over to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution?
  • Why is there no role modeling clause in executive and administrative standards of conduct?
  • Why are students expected model accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, and board members and superintendents are not?
  • Why are hundreds of whistleblower complaints being denied due process by the Audit Committee?
  • Where is the PowerPoint presentation on student discipline and chronically disruptive students?
  • Where is the PowerPoint presentation on administrative and executive standards of conduct and competence?  Where is there due process of complaints filed against administrators and school board members?
The language in the petition, link, is dated.  The leadership of the APS is scrambling as fast as it can to rewrite all their polices and procedures to eliminate language like;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
and any other any references to higher standards of conduct, "two-way" communication with community members, or the intrinsic value of community input in the decision making process.

The truth those now rewritten policies and procedures conveyed, cannot be so easily swept away.

There is a legitimate need for a venue where two-way communication is enabled rather than prohibited.  Community members input is still valuable.  All of the justifications in the petition are justifications still; even if the leadership of the APS erased the policies and procedures that formally recognized them.

APS spends nearly a million dollars a year spinning the truth for interest holders.

APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta makes over a hundred thousand dollars a year polishing APS' apple.

But she doesn't make enough apparently, to stand up in front of stakeholders and explain to them why their million dollar investment in communication between the district and community members, is not enough to buy them a public forum where they are allowed to speak and associate freely, and where they can freely exercise their constitutionally protected human right to petition their government.

A forum where taxpayers, stake and interest holders can ask legitimate questions about the public interests and the public service of politicians and public servants.  A place where the expectation is that legitimate question is entitled to a candid, forthright and honest response.

The Citizens Advisory Council on Communications is willing to create that forum, the leadership of the APS is bent on obstructing it, and their cronies in the establishment media are willing to play along with them.




photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Armenta goes into hiding

APS Communications Director Monica Armenta was scheduled, in a regular board meeting last Wednesday, to present and defend her part and progress in meeting the third of the district's four goals; establishing communication between APS and the community it serves.

Had she presented last Wednesday,

  1. there would have been a public forum, 
  2. her presentation would have been videotaped and most importantly, 
  3. it would have been (supposedly) live streamed and then archived for stakeholders.
At the last minute, the plan changed.
The change order, link, is missing a few signatures.

The new plan provides for her to make her presentation during a Special Board Meeting early Friday morning.

Nobody will attend or pay any attention to the Special Board Meeting except the inner circle.  There will be no media coverage.

No videotape will be made.
There is no good and ethical reason to not videotape;
it's just not the way they roll.
An audiotape will be made, for whatever that's worth;
unless they decide to adjourn into an in secret meeting,
and then no record at all, will be made or preserved.

Not surprisingly, the agenda, link, for the special meeting includes no public forum;
no where, where a stakeholder can stand up and ask;
Ms Armenta, why, after this exhaustive attempt to establish communications between APS and the community, is there still no public forum where questions are allowed? 
Why is there no public forum where interest holders can exercise their constitutionally protected human right to petition their government, by means of asking legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service; questions about the wielding of power and the spending of resources that belong fundamentally to the people?.
Why is there still no venue for open and honest public discussion between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve?
Armenta, and co-incidentally the board and senior administration, have dodged the question for now.

She, and they, will be asked that question in the near future.

The questioning follow the raising of their right hands and their solemn affirmation, they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in their deposition regarding complaints of civil rights violations they committed individually and in conspiracy with their co-defendants.

I'll let you know what they say.  I'm still trying to find a way to videotape Armenta's deposition.

Nothing in the Journal, nothing on TV

Count on the establishment media to continue to not cover relentless efforts on the part of the senior- most leadership of the APS, to escape open and honest public discussions and their consequent honest accountability for their conduct and competence.

Count on the Journal's continued complicity in efforts to avoid any public discussion of their honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

Count on KRQE's, KOAT's and KOB TV's continued aid and abet in that same endeavor.




photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Will Marty Esquivel commit perjury?

Or will he instead, finally admit that he has no intention to be held accountable as the senior-most role model of APS student standards of conduct?

Note; student standards of conduct is lower case.  There is no such thing as "APS Student Standards of Conduct".

There is a place, the APS Student Behavior Handbook, where students are told they are expected to "model and promote" the Pillars of Character Counts!

There are no higher standards mentioned in any document any where in the entire APS.

School Board Member David Peercy likes to pretend, link, that he and they are accountable to "higher standards" than students, but he is yet to point to them.

Whether the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, should be the standards of conduct for students is moot.  The simple fact is they are the standards of conduct for students.  They "are" by unanimous school board resolution, link.

Unless and until the board rescinds their unanimous acceptance of the Pillars as the standards for students; unless and until they lower student standards of conduct by no longer expecting them to "model and promote" the Pillars, the Pillars will remain the student standards of conduct.

And for as long as the Pillars are the student standards of conduct,  they are the standards of conduct for every "role model" in the APS.

For as long as Marty Esquivel is the School Board President, he is the senior-most role model in the entire APS, of the student standards of conduct.  For as long as the Pillars of Character Counts! are the student standards of conduct, they are Esquivel's standards of conduct.

Esquivel does not agree.  He told me; he isn't a role model of student standards of conduct because he isn't "an educator".

NM Development Department Secretary Jon Barela, then a school board member, was in the meeting, link; he heard it too.

Try as I may, I cannot get him to admit his abdication in public.  I asked him in board meeting after board meeting.  I asked them all;

Why are students expected to hold themselves honestly accountable, at the risk of the forfeit of their good character, to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, and you are not?
Forget about "promoting" character; good character is promoted by people who model good character and by no other method.  Character is taught by example; character is taught only by personal example.

How does one role model any standards of conduct,
except by holding themselves personally accountable to them?

There is no equivalent gesture.

You can't expect children to hold themselves accountable to higher standards of conduct than their role models.  Those who believe a kid can be told, do as I say, not as I do, and do it, believe in something that is not, never was, and never will be.

The ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS remains unknown to stakeholders because Journal Editor Kent Walz would rather see APS Supt Winston Brooks get a hero of transparency award, than be held accountable for hiding the Caswell Report; credible evidence of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators in their Praetorian Guard.

The standards and accountability crisis remains a secret because the establishment media steadfastly refuses to investigate APS administrative and executive standards and accountability, and report the truth to stakeholders; voters, taxpayers, and community members.

In the next month or so, Marty Esquivel is going be deposed in the federal complaint process against him.  He is going to raise his hand and promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The truth is; he cannot summon the character and the courage to hold himself honestly as a role model of honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!, by due process, and powerful enough to hold him accountable even against his will.

And he is either going to admit it on the record,
or commit perjury.

The same can be said for APS Supt Winston Brooks; the senior-most administrative role model of the Pillars of Character Counts.

He also will be deposed, he also will testify under penalty of perjury.  He will admit that he cannot summon the character and the courage to hold himself honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct he establishes and enforces on students, or perjure himself in hiding the truth.

The same can be said for the entire leadership of the APS.

Unfortunately, only Esquivel, Brooks and their co-defendants, Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta, the APS Chief of Police Steve Tellez, and Communications Director Rigo Chavez, and former School Board Member David Robbins will be answering the questions with one hand in the air and the other on a bible.

Yeah, I know, they don't use the bible anymore.

Maybe they won't even have to swear an oath.




photos Mark Bralley

Board meeting video not posted

Taxpayers have invested a great deal of money in video equipment and salaries in order to make video recordings of board meetings and whatever else they feel like taping.  The district has made a commitment to post the video by the following Friday; yesterday.

A check on APS award winning website, link, reveals that not only has this week's video not been posted, neither has the one from the previous regular board meeting.  Nor from the meeting before that, nor the one before that, nor the one before that.

If you choose to watch the meetings streaming live on their award winning website, you will be greeted with buffering issues that make the viewing useless.

APS has fielded complaints about the buffering issues and so far, has not corrected them.

We will have to wait and wonder about what had Supt Winston Brooks so worked up.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

APS postpones progress reports

On the agenda at the APS School Board meeting yesterday, two progress reports.

APS' highly paid Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta was scheduled to defend her progress in reaching the third of the districts four goals;

Family and Community Involvement; APS will meaningfully engage families and enhance partnerships with the community to maximize student achievement.
Also on the agenda, the highly paid Chief of Police Steve Tellez.

He and APS' highly paid COO Brad Winter were scheduled to defend their progress in reaching the fourth goal;
provide a safe and supportive climate for learning and working that maximizes student achievement.
Tellez would also explain how his publicly funded, private police force needs stand alone certification (in order that they can resume investigating their own felony criminal misconduct).

He would not be there to answer any questions about evidence of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators in the APS Police force, or about why that evidence still has not been surrendered to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Armenta would be there to spin APS' million dollar a year communications effort.

She would not be there to answer any questions about why there will be no place in the entire APS, where the people are allowed to "petition" board members , individually and collectively.  There will be no place where an interest holder can ask legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service, and where they have any intention to respond at all, much less candidly, forthrightly and honestly according to their expectations for students.

The people's right to a forum where questions can be asked, was defended by a representative of the Albuquerque Tea Party.  Judge David Walker (ret) introduced himself as the head of their education "action team".  Walker reiterated the interest in a Citizens Advisory Council on Communications.  The Council would help create a venue for open and honest communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

School Board Vice President Kathy Korte was running the public forum.  She is the tip of the spear in the board's resistance to creating any venue where they might have to sit and take questions on their spending of power and resources that belong fundamentally to the people;  the CACoC in particular.

Korte could not bring herself to call Judge Walker by his title.  People who know the judge, call him judge out of respect.  She repeatedly acknowledged him only as "Mr".

As School Board Vice President, Korte is the second highest role model in the entire APS, of the Pillar of Respect.

... more or less.

The presentations were tabled at the request of APS Supt Winston Brooks who was still visibly upset over something that had happened earlier and which had board members publicly apologizing.

Nothing in the Journal.

APS still can't live stream their board meetings without buffering issues.  This despite taxpayers' investment of tens of thousands of dollars worth of state of the art equipment.



We don't know exactly how much it cost, because Winter is yet to produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.




photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, June 02, 2013

APS student standards of conduct compared to APS Supt Winston Brooks' standards of conduct

They should be the same right?  They aren't.  There are two standards of conduct in the APS,
  1. the one that applies to students and 
  2. the one that applies to their adult role models; the people who write the standards of conduct that apply to the people who write the standards conduct.
The one, manifestly so very much higher than the other.

If you go to APS' award winning website and search for "student standards of conduct" you will find Student Rules, link.

You will find the Student Behavior Handbook, link.

A quick check on the readability of the SBH demonstrates that the handbook isn't for students. It is written by lawyers for lawyers.

There is no more useless book ever handed to students for them to not read. Nor will they take it home to their parents who, unless they are lawyers, likely can't read it either no matter the language in which it is printed.

We (teachers) used to read it to our students word for word.
It used to be called a rights and responsibilities handbook.
Now only lawyers read it, and only to other lawyers.

You will find the APS Athletic and Activity Code of Conduct, link, and its admonition;
Students who are involved in athletics/activities are held to a(n unspecified) higher standard of conduct ...
and their
Participation in all athletics and activities is a privilege offered to students, and may be withdrawn on the basis of failure to adhere to the high standards of personal conduct and ethical behavior.
Frankly, I was surprised to find the word "ethical".  And then I found the weasel clause;
Professional judgment will be used by coaches, sponsors, and administrators ...
Professional judgement is not subject to review.  It requires neither defense nor explanation. It is what it is; "best" judgement.

When an administrator uses bad judgement, it can easily covered up as their best judgement.  "Easily", because there is no review.

You will not easily find, link, the school board's Code of Ethics, link.

By their own frank admission it is utterly unenforceable.
The title is the last time the word ethics appears.
Like school board policy, it contains no role modeling clause.

It does require them to
Establish an open, two-way communication process with ... the community.
Like I said, their Code of Ethics is utterly unenforceable.

As far as I can tell, aside from the "best judgement" of administrators, the lowest standards of conduct that students are specifically and explicitly required to meet is the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable amongst civilized human beings.

The highest standards of conduct mentioned anywhere on APS' award winning website are the Pillars of Character Counts!, link;
a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

According the Student Behavior Handbook, students
are expected to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!.
There is only one way to model the Pillars of Character Counts!
and that is to model honest accountability to them.
Character is taught by personal example.
Character is taught only by personal example.

Students are expected to model honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

The folks who established those standards for students, are not themselves honestly accountable to them.  When they removed the role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
it was by a unanimous decision to abdicate en masse from their duties and obligations as role models of student standards of conduct.

The leadership of the APS won't tell you the truth about that.

And the establishment media isn't going to tell you the truth about the deliberate decision of the leadership of the APS to, not tell you the truth about executive and administrative standards of conduct and accountability.

The establishment media has decided to not tell you the truth about the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

APS "communications" effort disengenous at best

During the APS school board meeting Wednesday, there will be a public discussion around their goal number 3:

APS will meaningfully engage families and enhance partnerships with the community to maximize student achievement.
Conspicuously absent from the recently reworded goal to improve communication with interest holders, is any mention of the word "communication", in particular, any mention of "two-way" communication.

By "public discussion" it is meant that their discussion will take place in front of the public, not that the public will actually be "meaningfully engaged" in the discussion about how to meaningfully involve them.

School Board enforcer Mary Esquivel
The leadership of the APS, let's say School Board President Marty Esquivel and Supt Winston Brooks to put faces to it, do not want to engage in two-way communication with stakeholders.

It is the last thing they want.

Winston Brooks
They refuse resolutely, to create a venue, or allow anyone else to create a venue, where stakeholders are allowed to ask questions, and where the leadership of the APS is fully expected to respond to those questions.

Not only to "respond", but to respond  
candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Esquivel and Brooks prefer public forums where questions are not allowed.  They specifically and explicitly prohibit anyone from asking questions during the public forum of regular school board meetings.

Anyone who insists on asking questions anyway, will be ejected by their Praetorian Guard;

video


their publicly funded, private police force.

Esquivel and Brooks will do everything they can to postpone the day when they will have to stand in front of interest holders and respond to their legitimate questions about;
  • the core curriculum,
  • test scores,
  • truancy,
  • the abject lack of respect for nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience in the APS and
  • declining staff morale,
  • the effects of the lack of student discipline and the number of chronically disruptive students,
  • the inadequacy of administrative and executive standards of conduct and competence,
  • their lack of honest accountability to those standards,
  • the lack due process for whistleblower complaints,
  • the abdication of every single solitary senior role model of the student standards of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!,
  • the public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of their Praetorian Guard; their publicly funded private police force, and,
  • whatever the hell else any one of us wants to know about their wielding of our power and their spending of our resources.
The Citizens Advisory Council on Communications stands ready, willing and able to establish open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

The leadership of the APS stands in foursquare in opposition to their efforts.

Nobody knows about the struggle, because the establishment media is in cahoots.

To put a face to it, how about Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz?

Kent Walz is responsible for the Journal's failure to investigate and report upon the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication's efforts to establish standing before the leadership of the APS.

Kent Walz is complicit in an effort to protect the leadership of the APS from legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service.

There, I said it.  Again.





photos Mark Bralley


APS has put a document together.

They call it Community Input on Goals.
It represents everything they learned during their
community meetings on APS Goals setting.
I do mean everything.

Even for APS, it is not to be believed.
It is 109 pages long, link.

I can't begin to guess how much it cost taxpayers,
nor can I  begin to describe,
of how little use it will be to them.