Friday, February 28, 2014

Lobo fan misconduct due to the failure to lead by the leadership of the APS

To the extent unruly Lobo fans are largely APS graduates,
it is apparent that APS did a poor job of instilling in them
as simple a value as good sportsmanship.

They weren't led to understand their obligation
to treat others as they themselves would be treated.

The decision to abandon leadership in the development of good character, was a deliberate decision by the leadership of the APS.  It was they who removed from their own standards of conduct, the words;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
The standards of conduct established and enforced upon APS students is a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

The standards of conduct that can be enforced upon the leadership of the APS is the law; the lowest standards of conduct there are.  The standards of conduct that every higher standard is higher than.

And that, only after spending whatever they want of operational funds, to exploit technicalities, loopholes and legal weaselry in an effort to litigate exceptions for themselves even from the law.  Litigation against the public interests.

There is no indication that the leadership of the APS has any intention ever, to step up as role models actual, honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law; like good sportsmanship, like respect. Consequently, students cannot be expected to hold themselves accountable to higher standards than the law.

Every generation expects the next generation to be the first generation to hold themselves honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct.  As far as I can tell, it doesn't work.

As there is no current effort to grow students into adults who embrace good sportsmanship and respect, you should expect Lobo fan behavior to get much worse before it gets any better, because they're not going to stop being unruly because someone tells them to.

That's kind of what unruly means.

APS could tell the truth today

APS spends around a half a million dollars a year on its Communications Dept.

About a fourth of that goes to roof top singer, link, Monica Armenta.

Exec Director of Communications Armenta could tell the truth today.  She could step up as one of the senior most role models of student standards of conduct, and show them what it looks like to be candid, forthright and honest.

She could tell the community what the leadership of the APS intends to do with the findings from Caswell APS Police investigation number two.

She could continue, by telling the community why the findings of Caswell APS Police investigation number one are still secret from public knowledge, seven years nearly to the day, after they were turned over to the leadership of the APS.

She won't of course because that's not what APS Supt Winston Brooks pays her to do.  She isn't making over a hundred grand a year to be candid, forthright and honest about problems in the leadership of the APS.

People acting in their own interests is nothing new.  Betrayal hits harder.  I'm talking about the local media; the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB.

To the extent they claim to be acting in the capacity of a free press illuminating the democracy, they should be fighting the leadership of the APS over our right to an ethically redacted version of Caswell 1; public records of findings of an investigation of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

Not only is the local media not fighting over them, they are keeping the whole thing secret.

  • Why won't they tell interest holders that APS is hiding Caswell 1 while starting Caswell 2?
  • Why won't they tell interest holders that APS is spending operational funds on litigation in federal court, in an effort to keep Caswell 1 hidden in violation of the NM Inspection of Public Records Act?
  • Why won't they tell them that starting Caswell 2 before the criminal investigation will obfuscate the filing of criminal charges over felony theft and God only knows what else.  This is APS' standard dodge for insulating themselves from criminal charges stemming from their corruption?
  • Why won't they tell interest holders that Caswell 1 never even made it to the DA and statutes of limitation on felony criminal misconduct have since expired?
  • Why won't they tell interest holders that the only agency of law enforcement that investigated the felony criminal misconduct was the APS Police force itself.  The current APS Chief of Police Steve Gallegos, ran the 2007 investigation.
Except that they are in cahoots in the cover up of the cover up?

According to a recent Council of the Great City Schools audit, evaluation in the leadership of the APS is "... subjective and unrelated to promotion and step placement".  The subjective evaluation is of the candidates ability to contain spills and keep their mouth shut.

Promotion in the leadership of the APS Police force correlates rather precisely with who is willing to cover up what.

That's why Steve Tellez was Chief.

That's why Steve Gallegos is Chief.
He and I have a history, link.

Monica Armenta could produce an ethically redacted public record of all of the investigations into public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS Police.

She could, but she won't.

She won't because that's not what we pay her more than three teacher salaries every year, to do.




photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Robert Caswell rides again!

KOAT TV has reported that Robert Caswell Investigations will investigate the allegations of employee misconduct leveled at APS Police Chief Steve Tellez.  As a matter of fact, I'm told that they have already begun the administrative investigation by interviewing witnesses.

Ive also been told that, by beginning the administrative investigation before the criminal investigation is complete, the leadership of the APS has effectively thwarted the subsequent filing of criminal charges over the felony theft of a bunch of rifle ammo that fits an assault rifle just like Steve Tellez likes to shoot.

It's not Caswell's first rodeo on Uptown Blvd.

Caswell investigated the incompetence and corruption in the APS Police force leadership in 2007, link.  As part of that investigation he must have investigated the complacency or complicity of the second in command Steve Tellez, and the current commander of APS' publicly funded private police force, Steve Gallegos.

Sworn testimony indicates that Caswell didn't do actually do the last investigation; they farmed it out because of the appearance of a conflict of interests in their investigation of the APS police leadership.  One wonders if that conflict no longer exists, or just Caswell's concern about it.

Adding to the appearance of a conflict of interests; Tellez used to work for Caswell before he came to APS.

The biggest problem; the last time Robert Caswell investigated corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS and its Police force, he turned the findings over the leadership of the APS and they haven't been seen since.

The leadership of the APS is hiding them still; spending ridiculous amounts of money trying to litigate an exception for themselves from public records law; an exception that doesn't apply.

The last time APS hired Caswell to investigate, the leadership of the APS promised the Journal the investigation would be complete in a couple of weeks and the results would be made public.

Seven years later, almost to the day, the (first) Caswell Report is still MIA.
As is the Journal's interest in it.

KRQE once asked for the (first) Caswell Report and then stopped asking for reasons to which I'm not privy.  Co-incidentally, APS School Board President Marty Esquivel is KRQE's lawyer.

KOAT is ahead of the pack right now; they found who the investigator is, and now they know why he was picked.

Now if they could just start insisting upon the production of all of the findings of investigations of public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS Police force, and then report on the fact that the leadership of the APS isn't going to produce any of them.

Why isn't the mission, the main goal and the primary objective of public school education

1.  Create independent lifelong learners
     at the earliest opportunity.

What legitimate agenda for humankind does not move forward
on the day that students learn how to learn by themselves?

Steve who?

It seems eerily Stalinesque, the way APS Chief of Police Steve Tellez has disappeared.  Three days ago he was banished from APS' innermost circle under mysterious circumstances and today you can't find him in the news anywhere.  Not even the Journal; not one inch.  It's like he evaporated.

I am told that a meeting is to be held this morning inside the administrative complex at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

The press, I'm assuming, are not invited to a meeting of the leadership of the APS and the entire Albuquerque Public School Police force.  The APS Police force is not a police "department" despite the deliberately deceptive pretense.  They are a publicly funded private police force that reports directly to and only to the leadership of the APS.  As an institution, it is accredited by no one, it is certificated by no one and it is accountable to no one except the leadership of the APS.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston "commissions" individual officers, he does not certify them as force or department.

He wrote some rules recently in an MOU with the leadership of the APS, in exchange for his willingness to commission their officers.

The leadership of the APS is as unconcerned about ignoring the MOU as Houston is unconcerned about the MOU being ignored.

He doesn't seem to mind for instance, that the officers he commissions are being employed in the capacity of a Praetorian Guard for the leadership of  the APS; ready willing and able to violate community members' constitutionally protected human rights, at the whim of a board member or senior administrator; just following orders, link.

I will concede that there are things these people might want to discuss in private.  I will even concede there are things they are legitimately entitled to discuss in private.

But that's not where the leadership of the APS draws the line on privacy.  They draw the line at "everything"; everything is "private".  Everything is a "personnel" issue.

APS Supt Winston Brooks,  APS COO Brad Winter and APS Police Chief  Steve Tellez testified in deposition and under oath that, they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars hardening the castle keep on Uptown Blvd.  Security cameras everywhere, monitored 24/7, controlled access and Kevlar ballistic shields to protect them.

Its all to keep people out.  In especially it is to keep people out if those people want to hold them personally accountable for their misconduct and incompetence.

They really don't want interest holders to know what they're doing in there; anymore than they want them to know what they've done in there.

They've spent untold millions in there and cannot (because the records are missing or were never created) or will not (because the record is of abuse) produce the records of their spending.

What have the twin towers cost taxpayers - precisely?


APS Chief Operations Officer Brad Winter flat out refuses to produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd is a scandal in its own right.

The media stopped reporting on the current scandal in the leadership of the APS.

I suspect it is because the leadership of the APS is stonewalling them and they don't want to look ineffectual when have to report that APS is stonewalling them and they're powerless to do anything about it.

Today was the day, by the way, when the Journal should have reported to readers that the leadership of the APS is hiding public records from them; records of findings of investigations into felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators, link.

They missed the deadline.  Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz is unwilling apparently, to expose honest to God corruption in the leadership of the APS.

He and his equivalents at KRQE, KOAT and KOB TV.

What an outrage.




photos Mark Bralley
Walz ched macquigg

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tellez investigation goes dark!

APS Chief of Police Steve Tellez is on paid administrative leave while an investigation takes place regarding his alleged "employee misconduct".








The leadership of the APS, by and through APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta does not care to elaborate.

The leadership of the APS, by and through Monica Armenta, say this is a "personnel matter".

The people's right to know is trumped by the public servant's opportunity to hide it.

I would say the terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people and not of the public servants.  It is up to the people to decide what truth about the spending of their power and resources will be told to them, and what will not.

In the interests of justice; the investigation should proceed with due quickness and speed.  In the interests of the leadership of the APS;

"There is no schedule for the investigation"
How about right now?  How's that for a schedule?  Is the investigator too busy?  Haven't people had enough time to get their stories straight?
The right time to do the right thing is always right now. unk 
APS Supt Winston Brooks may insist upon a timely beginning and
early conclusion of the investigation, or, he may not.  We'll just have to wait and see.

According to the Journal, link,  
Albuquerque Public Schools has hired a third party to investigate a complaint made against its police chief, Steve Tellez.
It is important to note that the "investigator" works for and reports only to the leadership of the APS; not for you, not to you, and not to the DA.

The investigator will produce his findings to the leadership of the APS; and to them only.  Apparently, even if there is criminal misconduct the findings.

The last time this happened, in the Spring of 07, the Journal relayed an assurance from the leadership of the APS, that they would produce the findings in a couple of weeks.

We're still waiting.

A question for the Journalism ethicists, does the Journal, because they deliberately and willingly forwarded an assurance from the leadership of the APS, that they would shared the findings publicly, at least tacitly recommend that their readers accept that assurance?  Do they have any consequent ethical obligation to remind their readers about the assurance they approved, and then point out to their readers that the assurance was nothing more than a bunch of hooey?


Because the leadership of the APS and their lawyers hired the guy who hired the lawyer who hired an investigator who hired another investigator to investigate public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS, the leadership of the APS will claim ownership of the truth in the findings albeit at the great distance they have created.

And then will vigorously defend their interests with all the lawyers, guns and money they could possibly ask for.  How about an unlimited budget for litigation?

Tellez chat with his boss APS COO Brad Winter, officer looks on.
Tellez removing peaceful protesters from a "public input" meeting
Tellez, in addition to "just following orders" is defending interests of his own.

He is trying to keep the findings of investigations into the 2006 scandal hidden.

The findings are that Tellez was second in command at the time the Gil Lovato was running amok, link, in plain sight.

The findings are that Tellez knew what was going on and didn't act to expose it, or he didn't know what going on and then you have to wonder; why the hell not?

Was his ignorance willful?

The findings are that Tellez' public service before and during the scandal was manifestly corrupt and or incompetent.

The findings are public records that do not enjoy exception under the NM Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act; not in spirit an not in letter.

I am suing them currently in federal court over their ongoing refusal to produce these very public records including but not limited to the findings of their last private investigator.

You have no idea how much money they're willing to spend to obfuscate the production of public records.  Really, you have no idea what they spending, because those records too, are hidden behind their lawyers.

The leadership of the APS won't say who the private investigator will be.

They will insulate the findings through a number of layers, each of can be dragged through as much litigation as they care to conduct.  They spend without oversight.

I hope you heard what I just wrote.

Oversight over the spending on legal defenses for senior administrators and school board members is provided by subordinates.  The board's obligation to hear case analyses of pending litigation (to provide school board oversight) over litigation of public interests, is abandoned when their own interests in litigation.

Cost is no object; they have a budget as unlimited as their entire operational funds discretionary budget.
"Deputy Chief Steve Gallegos will serve as acting chief during the investigation."
Gallegos, in charge while Armenta gives me the APS thumb.

Terrific, same hen house; different fox.

Deputy Chief Gallegos has the same personal interest as Steve Tellez in hiding the findings of their complicity or complacency in scandals in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.

If an  investigative reporter asked, s/he would find that all of these findings are immediately available.  As such, APS has 3 business days to produce them or, to defend their refusal to immediately produce them.

They will do neither. They will not produce them and they will not explain why they will not.

They will explain in as legal briefs as their lawyers care to write, "how" they will not produce ethically redacted public records of findings.  They will not explain why they care to take advantage of those exceptions, even if they did legitimately exist.

The local media, to the extent that they consider themselves to be the press and all that entails, have an obligation to ask for the ethically redacted public record and then
  1. report on the records or
  2. report on Winston Brooks' refusal to produce them.
There has been a decision made at the Journal, at KRQE, at KOAT and at KOB to
  1. not ask and or 
  2. not report on Brooks' refusal to produce the findings of investigations into allegations of public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS police department in particular and administration in general.
I don't know and it's surprisingly hard to find out whose fist pounds the table last when these kinds of decisions are made at the Journal, KRQE, KOAT and KOB TV.

Armenta, Maes pose for photo
At the level of station owners and general managers, I suspect the influence of the New Mexico Broadcasters Assoc President and CEO Paula Maes.

The former APS School Board heavy hitter has undoubtedly done whatever she could to discourage her friends and colleagues from digging too deeply into the darker aspects of the leadership of the APS.



I know that APS School Board President Marty Esquivel and Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz are friends.

And Esquivel works for KRQE.







I know the decision to not investigate and report upon incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the APS is not made at the level of investigative reporters.

It would be interesting to know at what level that decision is made, and who made it.

Who investigates and reports upon that?




photos Mark Bralley
thumbs up by  ched macquigg

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Albuquerque Journal integrity on the line

The Journal coverage of APS Police Chief Steve Tellez' situation is so far, inadequate to the need, link.

There is the issue, or not, of corruption and incompetence in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.  Interest holders need to know about the conduct and competence of a heavy hitter in Supt Winston Brooks' inner circle.

How else are community members to hold Brooks accountable for promoting Tellez to Chief considering the cloud, link, that hung over Steve Tellez then and does still now ?  Brooks swears he had only sketchy knowledge of the scandal that embroiled Tellez, at the time he promoted him.

How else are community members to hold school board members accountable for allowing Winston Brooks to use their publicly funded private police force as a Praetorian Guard; a police force admittedly accountable directly to, and only to, the leadership of the APS.

The Journal reported this morning;

Tellez has been acting APS chief at least twice according to Journal archives, although it’s unclear when he was appointed chief and Armenta said late Monday night she didn’t know promoted in secret
He was promoted in August 2011.  According to our archives, link, he was promoted in secret which is why news of his promotion is not, in fact, in Journal archives.

I find myself wondering how Monica Armenta could not have heard about Steve Tellez being made Chief of Police.

It would have been her responsibility at the time to have communicated that happy news on their award winning website and through her extensive connections to the establishment media.

It would have been her job, or at least her ultimate responsibility to let the Journal know that Tellez had been promoted.

Was Tellez promotion kept secret from her as well?
Maybe she just missed the memo.
Or maybe either possibility is a pill too big to swallow,
except apparently for the Journal staffer
who gulped them right down.




photo  Mark Bralley

APS Top Cop Finds Himself on Hot Seat. Again and again.

It would appear that APS Police Chief Steve Tellez will join the list of APS Top Cops to leave under a cloud of allegations of wrong doing.

They will remain allegations, I suspect, because APS' past practice is to put them on leave until their contracts expire and then not renew them.

They have to do that because if they actually fired them, everyone would end up in court and all kinds of nasty facts would find themselves in the public record.

Court is the last place the leadership of the APS wants to meet with a disgruntled former police chief ready to spill his guts.

As the head of APS' publicly funded private police force, chiefs are called upon on occasion, to extricate senior administrators and board members from delicate situations;  situations that senior administrators and board members would rather not be discussed in open court.  Remember when then APS Assoc Supt Michael Vigil was caught drunk driving, he wanted the APD cop to let him call Gil Lovato.  It was in the hope that Lovato could get him out of a jam.

 Lovato replaced a chief whose APS career also ended in scandal.

Lovato's scandal was reported in the Journal, link, in early 2007.

The leadership of the APS found themselves twixt a rock and a hard place;  they needed to fire Lovato but if they did, they'd end up in court and he would spill his guts about their collective and individual corruption and incompetence.  He probably helped more than a few of them out of problems they'd gotten into in the middle of the night.

The Journal reported that APS Chief Legal Counsel Art Melendres had said that Lovato's lawyer, Sam Bregman had told him, when Gil Lovato gets to court, there won't be a single APS senior administrator left standing. It wasn't an idle boast.

Tellez holds the same cards Lovato held, the mother of all body maps.  APS Chiefs of Police are pivotal in covering up various administrative and executive misconduct.

Tellez is part of a cover up of his own.

When Lovato was sent home on paid leave, Tellez became the acting chief.   It was under his command, the APS Police force self-investigated the allegations against Lovato and the leadership APS Police force.

The APS Police were the only police of any kind, who investigated felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS.

Tellez was second in command during the scandal.

As the second in command, Tellez was complicit, complacent in the ongoing scandalous conduct, or he remained ignorant of behavior Lovato was making no effort to hide.

Tellez, because he was not part of ending the scandal was corrupt in his participation or incompetent in his ignorance of it.

Nevertheless, the leadership of the APS put him in charge of the investigation of the corruption what amounts to his own incompetence and or corruption.

Tellez and the leadership of the APS have been hiding not only the findings of the APS Police force investigation, but the findings of all of the other investigations into the scandal as well.

The leadership of the APS will send Tellez home with full pay.
He will remain there until his contract expires.

He will not end up in court because, if he ever got to court,
the whole truth would become public knowledge and

... there wouldn't be a single senior APS administrator left standing.




photos Mark Bralley

Monday, February 24, 2014

APS Police Chief put on administrative leave?

Camera shy ex-Chief?
Nothing up on APS' award winning website or on the websites of any of the local TV stations, but I've been told that APS Police Chief Steve Tellez has been put on administrative leave.  I consider my source reliable.

Tellez has been the subject of a number of complaints in the past and, he is part and parcel to the cover up of the cover of the corruption in the leadership of the APS' police force, so it could be just about anything.

I have no way to corroborate the story because I'm not allowed to ask them questions apparently, while I'm suing them.  At this point, we'll just put it out as a rumor.

One that's way, way overdue.




photo Mark Bralley

APS is first and foremost, a business

Actual education happens in classrooms and schools, all the rest of APS is the "business" of supporting classrooms.

The leadership of the APS would like to be evaluated on apparent success in education; rising test scores and graduation rates.  None of that speaks to the quality of the management and administration of our power and resources in public schools.

Evaluation the business end by counting diplomas is a misdirection.  Sure, it makes a difference when more students graduate, but a rising graduation rate is not necessarily indicative of a good business model.

Winston Brooks is the APS' Chief Administrative Officer.  He is responsible for administering more than a billion tax dollars a year.  We pay him a quarter of a million dollars a year for his ability to protect the public interests in the public schools.

Is he any good at it?

How would you know?

Aside from the educational successes Brooks claims, the remaining data suggest he is struggling as CAO.

Audit findings, according to the Journal editors, link;

... add evidence to the argument that this administration is not a good steward of taxpayer money and there is a policy and accountability vacuum. (emphasis added)
which Winston Brooks owns, part and parcel.

I am not sure what the editors mean by "policy and accountability vacuum".

I suspect that policy and accountability means the same thing as standards and accountability.  I suspect that vacuum in this context, is synonymous with scandal.

In which case the Journal has finally admitted that what I have been writing for these many years is true; there is a standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

So, how will we ever know for sure?
We could ask the leadership of the APS.
They spend a million dollars a year telling us how well they are doing.

Or, we can begin an independent audit of APS' business practices and procedures; administrative and executive standards of conduct and competence.  Auditors will search for corruption, incompetence and the business practices that enable them.

Are all APS administrators incompetent or corrupt?
Of course not, and we do them a huge disservice in
not addressing inadequate standards and accountability
and the actual incompetence and corruption they enable.
Knowingly enabling public incompetence and corruption is corrupt.

On the other hand, if the auditors find instead; adequate standards, honest accountability, no incompetence and no corruption, wouldn't that be great news?  Shouldn't interest holders be told?

The need for this audit has been suggested by at least one other person; APS School Board President Marty Esquivel.

He wasn't the president when he suggested the audit; he was a brand new school board member.

He suggested an administrative accountability audit.  He articulated the need for one.

Then, then School Board President and, NM Broadcasters Assoc President and CEO Paula Maes let him know in no uncertain terms, that she would never agree to any audit that "individually identified" corrupt or incompetent administrators.

That was pretty much the end of Esquivel's interest in an independent fact finding on standards and accountability in the APS.

The Journal is yet to investigate and report upon the "policy and accountability vacuum" they have just now discovered.

It seems unlikely they will.

During his sworn testimony, Esquivel identified Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz as his good friend.

Is being Esquivel's good friend interfering with Walz' several obligations to investigate and report candidly, forthrightly and honestly about the "policy and accountability vacuum" in the leadership of the APS.

Or is their some other reason; some good and ethical reason I cannot imagine, and no one else has articulated?





photos Mark Bralley
Walz by ched macquigg

If not "COPS", then how?

As voters, taxpayers, and community members we have a manifest interest in how police officers perform on our behalf.

Our leash on our police is tenuous.  Once every few years we get to vote for a mayor who appoints a police chief who determines how police officers will behave.

To say that community members have any real say in how the police department and police officers perform, is a stretch at best.

If we had any control over the police department and police officers, that control would begin with, and rest upon our knowledge of pertinent information.

How can  the people exercise control over politicians and public servants if they don't know what's the pols and public servants are doing?

How many community members have any idea at all what it's like to be a police officer?

Not that COPS is a great resource for unbiased representation of the street life of the police, but it is better than no resource at all.

Protecting Albuquerque's image at the expense of recording the truth is at least as dishonest as the editing that COPS producers do to sell a little soap.

I would encourage any politician or public servant who takes a stand against COPS ride-alongs, to offer a better alternative for giving community members a look at what happens when local police officers and bad boys get together.

It makes sense to replace a bad plan with a better one.
Not so much, replacing a "not the best plan" with no plan at all.

The fundamental issue is transparency.

Any transparency is better than none.

Allowing politicians and public servants to decide which truth about their own public service, will or will not be shared with the people is a manifest conflict of interests.

If the Albuquerque Police Department had a sterling reputation, would we even be having this argument?




photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Journal editors throw gauntlet down before APS board and supt

The Journal editors stepped up this morning with an uncharacteristically hard hitting editorial on the lack of high standards and honest accountability in the leadership of the APS, link.

They began with a solid upper cut;

It would be nice to know where the buck stops in Albuquerque Public Schools. Unfortunately, lately nobody at APS can find the buck in the first place.
followed by a jab to the nose;
On the heels of more than $1 million in missing computer equipment, in which the best explanation was “we are not doing a good enough job of tracking all of our technology,” come troubling internal audits at a third of the district’s schools.
and another to the solar plexus;
So there’s not really any comfort in the notion that the former AHS activities director “may have broken the law,” but since she’s gone, the case is closed.
a hook to the face, and another and another;
  • Having a $4 refund check for a lost library book cashed for $1,500 at a Bank of America branch should dictate more than a “need to hone up on processes.”
  • It is incumbent on the state’s largest district for someone to take responsibility for where the bucks stop before the next round again reveals nobody knows where the bucks even are.
  • The internal audit results add evidence to the argument that this administration is not a good steward of taxpayer money and there is a policy and accountability vacuum.
and then, the coup de grĂ¢ce;
... it’s time for the Board of Education to ask Superintendent Winston Brooks some tough questions about how these issues will be addressed – and share those answers with the taxpayers who foot the bill for APS.
"Share the answers" with stakeholders?

"Share" the answers with those whose trust and treasure are being squandered?

How about asking the questions in an open public meeting?

How about answering the questions candidly, forthrightly and honestly in an open public meeting?

What questions are they so afraid of being asked on the record, that they will not answer any questions on the record at all?

What are they hiding that justifies employing a Praetorian Guard, a publicly funded private police force, to prevent someone from asking inconvenient questions?

What's wrong with asking them to deny, defend, or even acknowledge their abdication as the senior-most role models of student standards of conduct?

What is wrong with asking them to explain why are they are hiding the public records of corruption and incompetence in the leadership of their Praetorian Guard?  Not how, why?

Why will they not produce an ethically redacted record of investigations into felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators?

Why won't the Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz ask for them?

The records are public records. 

And, as they are the subject of ongoing litigation in federal court, they are immediately available. 

That they are immediately available and have not been produced in accordance with the Inspection of Public Records Act is costing taxpayers more than $100 a day, every day.

Why won't he then report his outrage at their response; that they will not produce even an ethically redacted version of the findings.

If in four days or so, the Journal has not reported that the leadership of the APS is secreting public records of investigations into public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS, for no good reason except to protect APS senior administrators and school board members from the consequences of their felony criminal misconduct, it will become apparent, just how far the leadership of the Journal is willing to go in holding the leadership of the APS honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

Let's give the Journal editors a full week;
Thursday morning, February 27, 2014. 




photo and frame grab  Mark Bralley

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Teacher survey bad news for school boards and administrators

Except for circumstances beyond their control, to the extent that public education is failing, the failure is someone's fault.

Someone somewhere has not done what they were elected or appointed or hired to do.

If you are inclined to blame teachers, I need point out that,
if there are bad teachers, it is because of administrators
who failed to improve or remove them.

Some factors are truly beyond the control of school boards and superintendents.  They cannot for example, control the socioeconomic status of their students.  The SES of students is not their fault.  Socioeconomic status is a commonly accepted indicator of likely student success. 

Consider then, only the variables that are within the control of school boards, superintendents and teachers.  If they are not provided or met, it is because someone somewhere failed to provide or meet them because they could not do it, or because they would not do it.  It makes a difference who "they" are.

A number of variables that are within the influence and control of school boards and superintendents can be found among survey questions on the Tell New Mexico Survey of teachers, link.

Take for example, this survey question;

Q11.1. As a beginning teacher, I have received the following kinds of supports. Yes No
a. Formally assigned mentor
b. Seminars specifically designed for new teachers
c. Reduced workload
d. Common planning time with other teachers
e. Release time to observe other teachers
f. Formal time to meet with mentor during school hours
g. Orientation for new teachers
h. Access to professional learning communities where I could discuss concerns with
other teacher(s)
i. Regular communication with principals, other administrator or department chair
j. Other
k. I received no additional support as a new teacher.
How many of those variables are the responsibility of school boards and superintendents?  For which of them should the teachers be held accountable?

This survey will gather data from teachers about whether they have been given the support they need to succeed.  If their opinion is that they have not, then it is somebody's fault.

Is it a failure to write policy, or a failure to implement policy, or a failure to follow policy?  Is it the school board's fault, the superintendent's fault or the teachers' fault?

Teachers are a convenient scapegoat, wikilink; powerlessness lends itself being scapegoated.

The truth is that the failure is largely the failure of the school boards to establish adequate policies and or the failure of superintendents to enforce them.  Is it fair to hold superintendents accountable for inability or unwillingness to enforce school board policies?  Isn't that precisely what they are hired to do?  Superintendent's are billed as "able" to enforce policies; if policies are not being enforced, it is an administrative failure.

Except under circumstances beyond control, failure flows from either or both of two springs; incompetence and corruption.

Either school boards cannot or will not establish necessary policies, or superintendents cannot or will not enforce them.  Either they are unable (incompetent) or they are unwilling to enforce them (corrupt).

Are all school board members and superintendents incompetent or corrupt?  Of course not.

But every one of them has guilty knowledge of executive and administrative incompetence and corruption, and that is corrupt.
Guilty knowledge; knowing that incompetence and corruption exists but choosing to ignore it.  Tolerating incompetence is malfeasance.
In truth, NM school board members and superintendents don't really haven't much to worry about.  The survey ends Friday and so far the response rate is abysmally small, link.  The poor showing will cast legitimate doubt on the validity of the results however accurate they might otherwise be.

A real opportunity for teachers voices to be counted, will apparently come and go without a peep.

This would is a perfect opportunity for a Journal editorial; not about how the poor the turnout on the survey was, but rather, on how important it is for teachers before it's too late, to take advantage of an opportunity that will not come again for a very long time.

Likely they will not, which suits the interests of school board members and superintendents who have failed to do what it was they were elected and appointed to do.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Skandera's failure to launch

The inability or unwillingness to confirm Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera is illustrative of a fundamental problem and consequent failure of public education in New Mexico; it is a power struggle.  Powerful people are fighting over decision making control of public education and it the problem is, it doesn't make any difference who wins.  It makes no difference, because nobody has a solution that is very much better than anyone else's solution; doing the same thing more.

Because they think that they and handful of others are the only ones who can see the light, they would like to consolidate decision making in their hands; a few important people; governors, secretaries of education, superintendents and school boards.

Each of them feels like they are, or have access to individuals who through their solitary influence can fix public schools.  Their premise; there really are only a handful of people capable making the decisions.

Their premise;

There are those of us, smarter than all of us.
None of these people are teachers.

Skandera has at least had classroom teaching experience at the college level.  None of the rest of them teaches.  APS Supt Winston Brooks lead a classroom for three years thirty years ago!

There is no magic.  There are no magicians to hire or elect who can fix what's wrong with public education.  If public education can be fixed at all, it will be fixed by the people who work in classrooms and schools all day; thousands and thousands of them with hundreds of thousands of  hours of experience between them.

The real truth is, there is no one of us as smart as all of us; especially in education.  There is no governor, no cabinet secretary, no superintendent and no school board member who knows more than teachers.

Yet teachers have no power; no seat at the table where decisions are made.  (Please do not substitute teachers unions, federations or any other "representative" group name for the word "teachers").  And, by "teachers" I mean all of the other adults who spend their days working with students in classrooms and schools.

Empowering all teachers is not as difficult as it may sound.  It begins with counting their voices.

It may be already underway.  The Tell New Mexico Survey, link, of teachers represents a singular opportunity for teachers to say what's on their mind, and have their voices counts.

Granted, an anonymous survey is not the necessarily the best way to count teacher input, but it's a whole lot better than not collecting their voice at all.  The anonymity is in fact quite necessary in school districts like the APS, where the fear of retaliation (against whistleblowers) is part of the culture.

Barring unethical manipulation of the data, about the only thing that could go wrong with the survey probably will.  The number of teachers who will respond will be too few to matter, link.

It's hard to imagine a better way to defend freedom and liberty than to exercise them at every opportunity.  It could be argued it borders on sacred obligation.

There is no legitimate agenda for public education
that does not move forward on the day we start counting
the education, training and experience of teachers.

Every teacher needs to tell every other teacher about the survey, and encourage their participation.

Every teacher in New Mexico must invest 20-30 minutes in completing the survey in order to provide validity to the results - else they be ignored.

Teachers are being asked, what should be done?

If their collective answer is no answer at all, they shouldn't be too surprised when a governor, cabinet secretary or superintendent steps up and tells them what to do regardless of what they think. 




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Journal takes a superficial glance at APS' audit woes

The Journal is up this morning, link, with the story KRQE broke last Thursday about problems with APS audits.

KOB will come last or not at all, and the mainstream coverage of APS' inability to get it right when it comes to audits will end.

There has not been, nor will there likely be, anything but the most superficial investigation of the problems in the leadership of the APS.

This isn't about just financial audits; in this context audit means any investigation or evaluation of administrative or executive standards and accountability.

APS does audits like they do roofs.  A hundred years later and they still can't get them right.

I once asked APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta if she (or anyone else in her department) could point to an audit without "findings".

I asked if there had ever been an audit of administrative or executive standards and accountability, that had no findings at all.  Did they ever once in more than a hundred years, get it right?

I indicated that I would settle for just the latest one.

She chose to not answer.  I assume that means no.

APS once had an audit finding (CoGCS audit, 2007) that; ... the leadership of the APS routinely ignores audit findings.

Is it reasonable to expect that after a hundred years of trying, the leadership of the APS has established standards of conduct and competence that are high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools?

Is it reasonable to expect that after more than a hundred years of trying, they should provide due process for complaints against senior administrators and school board members who have not met those standards?

What would an independent standards and accountability audit of the entire leadership of the APS reveal?  Would auditors find high standards and honest accountability?  If they did, wouldn't that be newsworthy?

Would auditors find inadequate standards and inadequate accountability?  If they did, wouldn't that be newsworthy?

The only reason to not have an independent audit is to protect the interests of the incompetent and the corrupt.

APS Supt Winston Brooks' cannot stand an honest audit of APS administrative standards and accountability.









School Board President and enforcer Marty Esquivel cannot stand an honest audit of APS executive standards and accountability.

By their own admission, school board members are absolutely unaccountable to their own code of ethics; much less as role models of accountability to the same standards they establish and enforce upon students.

Fortunately for Brooks and Esquivel, there is Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz.

As a manifestation of where his loyalties lie, Kent Walz and Marty Esquivel once bamboozled the NM FOG into giving Winston Brooks a hero of transparency award, while at the time and still, Brooks is hiding public records in violation of the not only the law, but an opinion expressed by the FOG itself.

Brooks is hiding the findings of several investigations of allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.  Some hero.

Walz is willing ignore the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS on behalf of the leadership of the APS.

He, and the news directors at KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.

Walz and the rest could investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of an ongoing cover up of felony criminal misconduct.

All any one of them has to do is file a request for public records from the several investigations into incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the APS Police force, link.  They could ask to see the findings of the APS Police force self-investigation of their own felony misconduct.

They won't ask.  If they have asked, they are yet to report that they were told no, you can't have them; not even redacted ones.

I believe KRQE did ask for those records and has dropped the request based on the counsel of their lawyer Marty Esquivel.

Someday, one of the establishment's media will tell stakeholders the truth about what happened in the leadership of APS publicly funded private police force.  They will tell the truth about how it was covered up until statutes of limitation expired on felony criminal misconduct.

One of them will be the first to tell truth,
every other one of them will be among the last.

One of them will be the very last to tell the people the truth about the lack of standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.




photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sheriff Dan Houston; bad boy! Bad boy!

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston is in trouble with some County Commissioners and others.  He will be taking some flak over his decision to allow Cops to ride along with his deputies.

There are those who think the truth (to the extent that Cops tells the truth) might make the County look bad.


Houston expressed confidence that his deputies would acquit themselves well in front of the cameras.  He expects to be proud of them.

Good for him.

The last time this issue came up the, if the truth might look bad, the best thing to do is hide it, school of thought prevailed.

Then Mayor Marty Chavez decided to not allow Cops in city cop cars.

He was of the opinion that the truth would make Albuquerque look bad.  So, he ordered that it not be told.

If the truth is inconvenient, it's OK to hide it.

A couple of questions are begged; who gets to decide what truth will be told, and more importantly, who gets to decide who gets power enough to be put in charge of the truth?

I would argue that if there is a decision to be made regarding limitation on truth telling about the public interests, it is up to the people to make that decision.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people.
It is not up to public servants to establish the terms of their in-servitude.

The most fundamental terms of public service are transparency and truth telling.  If limits are to be set on transparency and truth telling, it is the prerogative, and the responsibility of the people to establish them.

Allowing politicians and public servants to redact public records and restrict access to public meetings, creates a conflict of interests.  The public interests in open meetings and accessible records conflicts with the self-interests of politicians and public servants; in particular those needing to limit public access to the records of their public service.

If one were going to start from scratch and write an Open Government Act, would they begin by allowing politicians and public servants self-redact the records of their public service, and to limit access to their meetings?

Who would even suggest such nonsense?

Is it government of, by and for the people, or
is it government of, by and for public servants?

The truth about the spending of public resources and the wielding of public power belongs to the people.  The convenient truth and the inconvenient truth; it all belongs to the people.

And yet, a person looking for a public record or access to a public meeting finds a bass-ackwards abuse of power; public servants are allowed to close meetings and hide records at their own volition.  The onus falls upon the citizen to prove to a court that they do indeed have a right to attend the meetings and inspect the records.

Why aren't all meetings open and all records public, unless the public servants have to established to the law; their need to meet in secret and or their need to hide public records?

I can't imagine a more dangerous situation than allowing powerful politicians and public servants to believe they have the right to decide what truth gets told to the people.




photos Mark Bralley

Journal readers to remain ignorant of APS audit woes

KRQE has done the right thing.  Their viewers not only know about problems with APS audit findings; link, but about additional issues, link.  KOAT offered a modicum of attention, link.  KOB offered its viewers no coverage at all.

Journal readers too, have read jack.

I suspect it isn't the reporter assigned to cover APS, who doesn't want to investigate and report upon standards and accountability issues in the leadership of the APS, it's his boss Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz.

I will bow as always to controverting truth.




photo ched macquigg

Friday, February 14, 2014

Teachers being surveyed!

Some news from this morning's Journal editorial, link, here quoted in significant part;

"Teachers, ... have a say about education today."
Were it true, it would be truly remarkable.

It would represent a diametric reversal in the fundamental paradigm.  As I have oft mentioned, in the APS alone, teachers have nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience and no "say" at all.  Teachers have no seat at the table where decisions are made about education.

A lot depends on the survey instrument itself.   If they have asked the right questions,
 “The results of the statewide survey will inform how we can best prepare classroom teachers and school leaders.”
If the right questions weren't asked, the survey will have been pointless.

So far the survey, link, is apparently unavailable to non-participants.
Update: the survey is available; link, I didn't search far enough. It appears the right questions have been asked.

It would seem that the roll out of the survey has been bungled (teachers don't know about it).  The return rate is only around 1 in 20.  They were hoping for a return rate of 1 in 2. The fewer teachers who respond, the less valid the results. 

With regard to the word "not getting out"; the survey began more than two weeks ago and the word came out on APS' award winning website 13 hours ago, link.

The editors wrote;
"... the information gleaned will be available and important to all of New Mexico’s education policy leaders."
... but not to any interest holder, not to every interest holder?

I can't help but wonder if the survey results are going to be as hard to find as the survey.
Update; the survey was available, I failed to find it.

Will the results be redacted in the interests of powerful people trying to protect the corrupt, the incompetent, and those with guilty knowledge of incompetence and corruption?  Will any findings that name names, be hidden?

It wouldn't be the first time.  Not by a long shot.

The editors aver;
As the Legislature considers reforms this session, teachers have an opportunity to make their voices heard in another meaningful way.
If it's so meaningful, why is it not newsworthy? Why haven't the editors assigned a reporter to investigate and report on the survey?

The editors called out teachers,
Let New Mexico know what you think about education and what can be done to improve it.
Journal readers have a right to call out the editors.
Let New Mexico know what teachers think.  Let New Mexico know what teachers think of the survey; was it any good?  Did they ask the right questions?
What about the teachers who chose to not participate? Why didn't they?

The Journal's record is of reporting the administrative and executive perspective on education while steadfastly ignoring input from people who work in classrooms; people who work everyday at the educational interface, where the system and students meet face to face.

And for the record, my invitation to meet with the new Journal education reporter, link, was apparently ignored.

I say "apparently" because it is impossible to distinguish a difference between being ignored, being stonewalled or any one of a number of perfectly good reasons he hasn't responded; maybe he's on vacation or ill, maybe the email got lost in the ether.

Or maybe he was told to not respond.

Maybe it was his own deliberate decision.

The net result is the same, any answer except yes, including no answer at all, means no.



photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, February 13, 2014

APS spending millions without oversight

The leadership of the APS gets sued a lot; both individually and collectively. They spend millions of dollars annually on their defense.  They spend so much money on litigation, compared to comparable districts, that their insurer, United Educators, raised our premiums to cover their losses.  The premium payments come from operational funds; tax dollars would otherwise be spent in classrooms.

Some of the complaints against them are unwarranted.

Many more of the complaints are legitimate complaints of administrative and executive incompetence and or corruption. Rather than own up to the consequences of their incompetence and corruption, the standard to which they hold students accountable, the leadership of the APS will instead use an unlimited budget to pay teams of lawyers to litigate their exception to the law; the lowest standards of conduct there are; the standards that every higher standard is higher than.

The litigation is conducted in the interests of senior administrators, board members and the district, and against the public interests.

The only thing that might keep senior administrators and board members from spending tax dollars in the own interests is oversight.  Oversight in this case is by underling; APS Director of Risk Management Mike Wilson, himself subordinate to them all. The appearance of a conflict of interests is created when subordinates are asked to make decisions that affect the interests of their superordinates.

As far as public oversight over the administration of public resources, it is supposed to be provided by the school board.  It is not.  The board is supposed oversee litigation by listening to candid, forthright and honest "case analyses" presented by their lawyers.  If the lawyer's analysis is that the administrators and or board members are guilty as sin, should settle and decide instead to delay the inevitable through protracted and unjustifiably expensive litigation; the board is supposed to say hell no.  Instead, they have decided to enjoy the plausible deniability that accompanies "knowing nothing".

If at the end of protracted litigation, it looks like they're going to lose, APS and their lawyers will "settle".  Settle means; pay complainants enough money to get them to drop their complaints and sign an agreement that allows the guilty to exonerate themselves of all allegations.  The agreement will read; the respondents admit to no wrong doing.   As further cover over the underlying incompetence or corruption, the local media will then report that the settlement was only made in order to avoid more expensive litigation during which their innocence would have been established.

No administrator or board member is ever held individually accountable for their misconduct and the consequent cost to taxpayers.

That's wrong, right?

The establishment media's relentless refusal to investigate and report upon the spending of millions of operational dollars under conflicted or non-existent oversight is wrong, right?




photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Journal has a new education reporter; for all the good it will do

A link to Journal Staff Writer Jon Swedien's recent reports or the Journal, will lead you to a number of recent reports on the APS and a foundation for the supposition that APS is now his beat.

It is fair to say, there is not a critical one among them.

And that is problematic for Journal reading APS interest holders. It is problematic for voters and their efforts to hold School Board Members accountable for holding the Superintendent accountable.

The leadership of the APS would like to be held accountable only for their latest greatest acts.  Their incompetence and corruption, not so much.

For a "newspaper of record", wikilink, to aid and abet the leadership of the APS in a deliberate manipulation of the truth in their own interests is at the very least "journalistic malpractice".  Try holding them accountable for that.  In what venue can it be alleged that the Journal is engaged in ongoing Journalistic malpractice, and where that complaint will see enjoy due process?

Should the Journal report on the good things happening in the APS?  Of course they should; it's newsworthy.  But the truth about their earned success is no more newsworthy than the honest truth about their earned failures.

The earned success at Rio Grande and Highland High Schools, link, is no more newsworthy than the coverup of  senior APS administrative involvement in felony criminal misconduct, link, wanton criminal abuse of a federal criminal database, and the misappropriation of funds.

The earned success in musical education, link, is newsworthy, but no more newsworthy than the fact that the only agency of law enforcement that investigated felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators was APS' own Praetorian Guard; a publicly funded private police force that reports directly to, and only to, the leadership of the APS.  No more newsworthy than that, the findings of their self investigations were never turned over to the DA for prosecution.

I would like to point out that don't hold reporters like Swedien personally responsible for the Journal's malpractice, anymore than I hold the broadcast media "investigative" teams responsible for the orders they aren't given by their news directors.

I hold management accountable.

I hold people like Journal editor Kent Walz personally accountable for the failure to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of a standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

And so should you.




photo Mark Bralley
Walz photo ched macquigg
 

cc Swedien upon posting; including an offer to meet anytime, anywhere, should he be so inclined.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

What if somebody threw a march, and nobody showed up?

Mark Bralley and I went over to Wilson Middle School to document a "march" around the campus.

We found a familiar picture; a small group of parents and community members who are frustrated with what they perceive to be administrative indifference to their important concerns.

A meeting was held, I am told, and as many as 79 people indicated they would show up and march.

Very few of them actually showed up.



Granted, it was a crappy day;
cold and windy.  But still.

My dad talked to me often about the need for people who are willing to be the first to step into the breach.

More important than the people willing to be the first into the breach, are those willing to be the second and the third and the fourth ...  Otherwise there's no point in anyone stepping in.

The fundamental problem escaped media attention.

The impression of administrative indifference flows from the relentless refusal of the leadership of the APS to engage in honest to God two-way communication.  Their relentless refusal to point to a time, a day, and a place where they will simply answer questions candidly, forthrightly and honestly?

Is (the perception of) APS administrative indifference just that, or is it real?

If it is only indifference to the people, that would be bad enough.
Indifference is the essence of inhumanity.  George Bernard Shaw 
What if they are simply hiding inconvenient truth?
What if they are covering up administrative incompetence and corruption?




photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Parents and community members on the march

Channel 7 reported at around 9 this morning;

Happening Today

Dozens of people will march (at Wilson Middle School) Thursday, starting at noon, asking for change. The protest will begin at Wilson Park and go up and down San Pedro and then around Wilson Middle School. (The hope is that) community members will attend and pay attention to realize how bad things are getting.
They and other folks who believe the leadership of the APS isn't paying enough attention to problems in their schools and neighborhoods are looking for support.

Perhaps if it had been reported under Happening Tomorrow,
KOAT's effort to inform the democracy would have enabled more parents and community members to show up and march. But at least they are reporting that there are a number of parents and community members who believe the leadership of the APS isn't paying enough attention to problems in their schools and neighborhoods.

Government of, by and for the people includes a seat at the table where decisions are made about wielding the people's power and spending their resources. A table where honest to God two-way communication takes place between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

Character education in public schools

A reader posted a comment, link, suggesting that I inform myself about what it is I'm trying to defend.  Actually, based upon my background and experience I consider myself pretty well informed on this issue.  Nevertheless, I followed their link to the Wikipedia, link, just to make sure.

There are some problems, they aren't new.  One issue is over what to teach; what is ethical, what is moral?

There is no consensus on which terms to use, or even how many pillars or principles to address and that is problematic.

According to the Wikipedia, salvation comes from Aristotle;

The key to finding this balance is to enjoy and recognize the value of developing one’s rational powers, and then using this recognition to determine which actions are appropriate in which circumstances.
Developing rational powers and using them to determine what is ethical or moral under the circumstances, requires a certain amount of learning and thinking about ethics and morals.

At the very least, character education requires a common vocabulary and mutually understood tenets.  It requires teaching, learning and practicing.  None of which will happen if we give up entirely on efforts to provide character education in public schools.

    • The formation of character in young people is educationally a different task from and a prior task to, the discussion of the great, difficult ethical controversies of the day. - William J. Bennett, author and former U.S. Secretary of Education (b. 1943)

    • If we want our children to possess the traits of character we most admire, we need to teach them what those traits are and why they deserve both admiration and allegiance. Children must learn to identify the forms and content of those traits.- William J. Bennett

    • To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. - Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and president (1858-1919)

      Grad rate increase > 40% over three years - too good to be true?

      APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta reports, link;

      APS saw gains in the graduation rate in every demographic sub group, but the biggest gains came from those students with disabilities. The graduation rate for that group increased more than 40% in three years!

      The increase is from 44.9% in 2011 to more than 63% in 2013. That rate jumped 14 percentage points in just one year. This is remarkable. Really.
      Really?

      40% growth in graduation rates over three years is indeed remarkable.  The growth can flow from either or both of two springs; lower standards or increased performance.

      If standards were lowered to increase graduation rates, student interests were not served.  The Community was not served.  Only the interests of those who need higher gradation rates to keep their jobs, were served.

      It's not the graduation certificate that gets you through the rest of your life, it's the knowledge and skill set that the graduation certificate is supposed to represent.  Making the certificate meaningless in order to give more of them out is utterly indefensible.

      On the other hand, if knowledge and skill set have actually grown more than 40%, it represents a near doubling of successful efforts to educate.  Again, "remarkable";
      worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary
      Worthy of coverage in journals of education.

      Worthy of coverage in the Albuquerque Journal.

      If a number of APS teachers, staff and students are experiencing unheard of success, it is newsworthy. Where is the investigation and report?

      Journal Editor Kent Walz
      It's time for the Journal to step up to their obligation to inform the democracy about the public interests in the public schools.

      Enough is enough.




      photo Mark Bralley
      Walz; ched macquigg 

      Tuesday, February 04, 2014

      APS Board reining in Kathy Korte?

      If nothing else, APS School Board Vice President Kathy Korte is volatile and vociferous.

      Korte seconds after attacking photo journalist Mark Bralley

      Korte, feeling stalked and intimidated by Mark Bralley
      Korte's v and v are creating problems for the Board.  Korte is known to show up in places and advocate on behalf of issues, not all of which necessarily enjoy the mutual support of the rest of the board.

      When Korte speaks outside board meetings and speaks as "APS School Board Vice President Kathy Korte", a perception is created that Korte speaks for the board.

      No problem if they and Korte are in tune.  It becomes a problem if and when she wanders off the reservation. APS School Board Policy makes it very clear; school board members have zero authority except when acting as a board.

      Exceptions are made.

      The most notable of which is the fact that APS police officers, the board's Praetorian Guard, freely admit that they take orders from board members despite their lack of authority to give them. 

      They freely admit they will eject someone from a public meeting; someone who has broken no law, no rule, no regulation, and at the absolute whim of a board member, link.

      According their agenda, link, the APS School Board will discuss "Clarification of Board Member Advocacy".  The agenda indicates no action to be taken.

      APS board meeting agendas typically lack "reasonable specificity", a phrase that comes up in the New Mexico Open Meetings Act.

      Their agendas lack specificity because if more people knew what they were doing, more people would show up to watch them do it.

      How would you know from
      C. Clarification of Board Member Advocacy (Discussion)
      Presenter: Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education
      whether you needed to be there or not?

      Board meeting attendance is routinely, abysmally low.

      The leadership of the APS like it that way.

      Attendance is low because nobody cares, because nobody knows what's really going on.

      Nobody knows what's going on because the establishment's press has let down the people.  They have failed to fully inform the democracy.

      The Journal aids and abets in their steadfast refusal to investigate anything in APS.

      Sure, they cover a scandal every once in awhile, link, when they haven't a choice.  Mostly they publish what the PR wing of the APS would like them to.

      Where is the Journal coverage of the cover up of that scandal?

      Doesn't the democracy need to know about the cover up even more than they needed to know about the scandal?  Isn't the cover up more newsworthy now, than the scandal was then?

      Why hasn't Managing Editor Kent Walz told readers that nobody ever investigated felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators except APS' own investigators or investigators in their employ?

      Why hasn't Walz told readers that evidence of felony criminal misconduct was never turned over to the DA for prosecution?

      Why hasn't Walz told interest holders that even after statutes of limitation on felony criminal misconduct have expired, all of the findings of all of the investigations are still being hidden from public knowledge by the leadership of the APS and their lawyers, in blatant violation of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act?

      Why hasn't the Journal investigated and reported upon the cover up, except that they are part of the cover up?

      Why are KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV's so call community serving investigative teams not picking at this scab?

      Except that they are at the management level;, at the former APS School Board heavy hitter Paula Maes' NM Broadcasters Association Affiliate level, are part of the cover up.




      photos Mark Bralley and Korte's own facebook.