Saturday, December 28, 2013

APS administration clears self of inappropriate behavior

In the Journal this morning, link, we found that an investigation of APS by APS found no wrong doing by APS.

The investigation was conducted by APS School Police detectives.  The APS Police force reports directly to and only to, the leadership of the APS.  As a police force they are without certification or accreditation by anyone but themselves.  They are accountable to no one except themselves.

The very act of self investigation creates the appearance of a conflict of interests; the same administration that conducted the investigation had a manifest interest in finding no wrong doing. 

It is a conflict of interests on its face.

APS was not required to conduct this investigation themselves.  At best, the law may "allow" them to self-investigate allegations of their own felony criminal misconduct.

If not in violation of the law, they appear to have conducted the investigation in violation of a Memorandum of Understanding with Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston.  They had assured him that they would hand over investigations of what may be felony criminal misconduct, to the APD or BCSO for their impartial and independent investigation.

Why would the leadership of the APS choose to self investigate in the face of a manifest conflict of interests?

Why wouldn't they?  Who's going to do anything about it?

Obviously the Journal sees nothing wrong with APS' ongoing self investigations nor with the cover ups of criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

An important distinction needs to be pointed out. If the APD or BCSO had conducted this investigation, either of them would produce the public records of their investigation in response to a request for public records.  Because this is APS investigating itself, few if any public records will have been created and, those that were will secreted from public knowledge because the investigation was "internal" and a "personnel issue" and therefore not subject to the requirements of the Inspection of Public records Act except on "the order of a judge in the highest court of competent jurisdiction".

Consider that these are the very same folks who have been hiding the truth about corruption in the leadership of the APS Police force since 2007, link.  Felonies were committed and APS never surrendered any of the evidence of them to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Statutes of limitation were allowed to expire, no charges were ever filed.

The Journal knew about it, the Journal knows about it and the Journal continues to aid and abet in the cover up of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Disability and disruption or more specifically; chronic disability and chronic disruption.


constantly vexing, weakening, or troubling.
There are students in the APS who have been determined to have "disorders". The manifestations of some of their disorders create disruption in the classrooms and on the campuses where they take place.

Students with disorders have the same right to public school education as do students without disorders.

Students without disorders have the same right to public school education as do students with disorders.

A survey of students and adults who work with students would reveal a widespread belief that some disorders more than others, are creating great disturbances in classrooms and on campuses.  Those disturbances interfere with the right of other students to an educationally efficient environment.

The leadership of the APS has decided that no data will be compiled that documents the cost of unnecessarily enabling chronically disruptive students to continue to disrupt classrooms and school campuses.

If they did compile a record, it would be a record of failure to protect the rights of students and teachers who do not disrupt education and would rather that their own educations not be disrupted.

The enforcement of district and school discipline policies is first and foremost an administrative responsibility. The record, if one existed, or a survey if one were to be taken, would document administrative mis, mal and nonfeasance in enforcing school and district discipline policies.

An illustrative example;
Despite the fact the students are specifically and expressly forbidden by APS School Board Policy to "sag", they still do.
Not APS students as far as I know, but easily could have been.

A chronicle about student discipline in the APS is newsworthy.

It does not appear in the "news" because "the news" would rather help the leadership of the APS hide the problem than address it effectively.

Shame on the news; shame on the leadership of the APS.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"My (APS) school has an adequate response to bullying."

APS going to survey parents, link. The first survey item reads;

1. My (APS) school has an adequate response to bullying.
How would parents know if their child's school does or doesn't have an adequate response to bullying?

They would base their opinions on information and experience. If they have no experience, they must base their opinion on information alone.  That information could be informal and anecdotal, or it could be actual data.

There is no actual data on bullying in APS.

APS steadfastly refuses to share real data on bullying, chronically disruptive students, or student discipline problems in general.   I suspect it is because they have gathered none. The best APS can do is offer some statistics on bullying and vandalism conflated (for who knows what reason).

If students can name bullies at their school, then there has not been an adequate response to bullying at their school.

APS is yet to produce the truth on student discipline and bullying. They have yet to share their record, their current efforts and their future plans to enforce discipline policies and deal with chronically disruptive students and bullies. Why? except to hide the truth?

A significant number of parents who complete the survey will report what the administration has reported to them; everything is hunky dory.  This though, an independent audit found administrators routinely falsifying crime statistics to manipulate public perception of schools.

It's time for the leadership of the APS to come clean on student discipline problems and the effects they and chronically disruptive students have on the education of other students.

APS Police ignore MOU with the County Sheriff.

According to the Journal this morning, link, an investigation is being conducted by the APS Police force.  Allegedly, a principal bashed a student's head against a wall.  If true, it would seem that a felony "may have" been committed.  According to NM State Statutes;

Aggravated battery
30-3-5. Aggravated battery .
A. Aggravated battery consists of the unlawful touching or application of force to the person of another with intent to injure that person or another.
B. Whoever commits aggravated battery , inflicting an injury to the person which is not likely to cause death or great bodily harm, but does cause painful temporary disfigurement or temporary loss or impairment of the functions of any member or organ of the body, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
C. Whoever commits aggravated battery inflicting great bodily harm or does so with a deadly weapon or does so in any manner whereby great bodily harm or death can be inflicted is guilty of a third degree felony.(emphasis added)
History: 1953 Comp., § 40A-3-5, enacted by Laws 1963, ch. 303, § 3-5; 1969, ch. 137, § 1.
Any investigation by the APS Police force, of felony criminal misconduct, is specifically and explicitly prohibited by a Memorandum of Understanding between the APS and Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston.  The MOU, link, prohibits the APS Police force from investigating felonies.
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. (emphasis added)
The ball is in Houston's court; will he enforce his MOU or let them slide?

APS is prohibited from investigating felonies because the last time they investigated their own felony criminal misconduct, they hid the findings from prosecutors.  They hide them still.

An additional wrinkle;

APS "spokeswoman" Monica Armenta spoke to the Journal on behalf of the APS.

The Journal for some reason calls her a "spokeswoman" as opposed to using her title; APS Executive Director of Communications.

Armenta shared from the records of an ongoing investigation;
"(APS) investigators who talked with the child at the hospital said there were no visible signs of injury to him."
She and the Journal shared that information in APS' interests.  Anyone else looking for public records and information would be told they are sealed because, there is an "ongoing investigation".

APS doesn't tell the truth; not about "ongoing" investigations and not about long closed investigations.

Ms Armenta,
Why will APS not produce ethically redacted public records and findings of investigations into public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS police force circa 2006-7, link?
Not "how" does APS hides those ethically redacted records (legal loopholes, technicalities and weaselry), but "why"?  Why will APS not tell the ethically redacted truth to stakeholders about public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS police force?

Why do Kent Walz and the Journal aid and abet?

photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Retaliation alleged in APS

KKOB talk show host Billy Cornelius expressed some concern the other night, over a story he had heard.  Apparently a teacher was alleged to have taped a student's mouth shut, another teacher reported the incident, was retaliated against, and now is now suing APS.  It begs a question or two.

  1. Does the leadership of the APS retaliate against whistle blowers? 
  2. Does it make any difference if they do?
To the first; they do.  To the second; yes, it does.

Independent auditors from the Council of the Great City Schools, found a culture of fear of retaliation in the APS against whistle blowers and other complainants.

Retaliation is a bad management tool.  Powerful people use it to protect themselves from consequences of their corruption and incompetence.  Retaliation has no good and ethical use in the administration of the APS.  It makes a considerable difference whether there is a culture of fear of retaliation for filing complaints.

Does the leadership of the APS use fear of retaliation as a tool to avoid honest accountability for their conduct and competence?

The answer is easily found. All you have to do is ask. APS employees could be easily surveyed;
Does fear of retaliation discourage you from filing legitimate complaints against administrators or school board members?
A simple anonymous survey of employees would settle the question at once and for all.

If a culture of fear is confirmed, it would need to be eliminated.  The issue would be newsworthy.

If the preexisting culture of fear has been eliminated, it would be evidence of a monumental managerial achievement.  It would be just as newsworthy.

Kent Walz and the Journal will not investigate and report upon the culture of fear of retaliation in the APS.

Walz is yet to articulate the reasoning that compels him to ignore credible evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the administrative and executive leadership of the APS.

I suspect he is in cahoots in the cover up.

APS Supt Winston Brooks will not claim that he has eliminated, or even ameliorated fear of retaliation against whistle blowers, because he has not.

Quite the opposite; he is the subject of numerous complaints that he engages personally in retaliation against complainants.

For as long as the leadership of the APS is enabled by the establishment press, to maintain the culture of fear of retaliation, employees will ignore conduct that should be addressed.

Corrupt and incompetent administrators and school board members will continue to escape the consequences of their incompetence and corruption.  APS will continue to flounder.

Brooks' photo Mark Bralley
Walz photo ched macquigg

Friday, December 13, 2013

On "embracing the suck"

Representative Nancy Pelosi is in trouble, link, over her use of the military slang; embrace the suck.  In the context, I found it clever.  I think it is funny.

Not so, in the political press.  It is fair to say that mountains are being made of a mole hill.

People will find its use in that context amusing or they will not.  If they do not, then just with any joke, no amount of explaining is going to make it any funnier.

Had she said;

You have to take the bad with the good.  You can either embrace the suck or whine about it.
no one would have noticed. 

Just sayin'

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why is there so little consensus in public education?

It seems odd to me that after millennia of experience educating children and centuries of efforts to publicly educate them, a really good solution is yet to be found.

The practitioners of (public) education are highly educated; all have at least a bachelors degree, many have masters degrees and a not an insignificant number have doctorates.  The vast majority have several years of experience, many have decades of experience.  In any other endeavor those qualifications alone would spell success.

So why does public education perform so poorly?

It is precisely because those with the most education, the most training and the most current and ongoing experience have the least say in how it is done.

Teachers do not meet to identify (global) problems and then create solutions.  Teachers have always been powerless in directing their profession.  They are at the mercy of superintendents, school board members and government bureaucrats, each with their own agenda; each with their own idea about how to fix the mess, and who then tell the real experts how they ought to be practicing their craft.

As but one example, it is superintendents, school board members and bureaucrats who keep chronically disruptive students in classrooms.  It is their belief, not teachers', that keeping "bad" students in the same classroom with good students makes them all better students.

It is time to empower teachers in educational decision making.

It is time to gather them, listen to what they say about why public education isn't working and more importantly, listen to their ideas about how best to fix things.

That hasn't happened, and likely will not happen because the people who hold the power to make those decisions have no interest in sharing it, even with teachers.  Especially with teachers.

And there we are.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, December 06, 2013

"Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet has free access to the sum of all human knowledge."

The non-profit Wikipedia's plea for financial support, link; quoted in significant part.

I can't help but imagine;

A school system in which every single student has free access to the sum of all human knowledge, and the opportunity to learn how to use it safely, effectively, and efficiently; rather immediately and for the rest of their lives.

If the creation of independent lifelong learners is the ultimate goal of public education, why is it not the immediate objective?

Why are we not creating independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity?

Except that independent lifelong learners do not by definition, require huge bureaucracies to oversee and enable their education, while  grouped and "standardized" learners do?

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Korte rebellion wrong headed; sets poor example for students

APS School Board Vice President Kathy Korte is leading a rebellion against unnecessary testing.  I object to open rebellion as an acceptable solution to any problem for which there are better, less confrontational solutions. Her rebellion is after all just a power play, albeit a power play in response to a power play (by the Public Education Department).

John Kennedy argued;

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable."
The Korte rebellion while not "violent", is not peaceful.  It is confrontational and counterproductive.

Begging a question;
Has a peaceful revolution in the evaluation of students and educators, been made impossible?  By whom?  When? Where?
Is it really too late to have a meeting* to identify and resolve the issues of evaluation of teachers and learners?  Is it really too late for civil discourse on the evaluation of teaching and learning?

*The meeting would not be of education secretaries, superintendents and union presidents.  It would be a meeting of "experts" selected solely on the likelihood that they can contribute positively to an open and honest public discussion of the issues and their best solutions.

The meeting would need to be facilitated professionally; effectively, efficiently and impartially.

photo Mark Bralley