Friday, August 01, 2014

Does APS listen? To whom?

The APS School Board and senior administration spend more than a billion tax dollars every year.  The wield enough of our power to educate (or not) nearly 90,000 of our community's sons and daughters.

The decisions they make are consequential.

Their decision making process includes input from;

  • each other
they can even meet in secret from interest holders in order that they can frankly discuss anything they want to.
  • their lawyers
Of course they listen to their lawyers.  I listen to my lawyers.

Taxpayers, in the end, will have paid my lawyers for their considerable efforts in helping me hold the leadership of the APS accountable to the law for their personal and collective incompetence and corruption.

Taxpayers, in the end, will have paid APS' lawyers to carry out cost is no object / neither is critical oversight legal defenses with a diametrically opposite purpose; to enable them to escape those consequence.   APS spends millions of dollars every year on litigation against the public interests and in the interests of a handful of board members and senior administrators.  Marty Esquivel and board will spend a million dollars on my case alone; in defense of Esquivel's ego.
  • teachers
If you would like to see for yourself, how the school board feels about input from teachers, you can, link APS website, July 16 reg board meeting, click on video, ff to 22:20 and see how they feel about input from teachers union President Ellen Bernstein.

As to input from teachers themselves, APS has not once, surveyed teachers to ask them
what can the administration and school board do to help you succeed?
APS teachers have between them, nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience, most of it in APS, and no seat at the table where decisions are made.
Teachers will not be given the opportunity to point to the inconvenient truth.  The overwhelming response from those who actually work in schools and classrooms would be; you could do your jobs;  enforce student discipline policies and in particular get a handle on chronically disruptive students.
  • other interest holders
Are given two minutes every two weeks.  Sometimes it is only a minute.  On occasion, they show up and sign up only to find that because more than 15 people want to speak, they have 0 seconds to speak during a the public forum during regular school board meetings.

Some school board members listen, some search for something at Home Depot on their laptops.  All support "rules of decorum" designed to keep board members from being embarrassed by mention of their individual incompetence or corruption, while at the same time allowing boundless praise should that materialize.

They promise; if you can't get your idea across in 120, 60, or 0 seconds during public comment, they will read your written submission.  In the fine print; you will find their commitment is only that someone in the board office (could be anyone from Executive Director Brenda Yager to the guy that sweeps their floor and empties their waste baskets) will read your submission and then edit out all the unimportant parts up to and including the entire submission, before passing it up to board members.

If the submission is anonymous, perhaps out of legitimate fear of retaliation, it will not be passed along at all.
It's pretty clear, the leadership of the APS is not really listening.

They spend another million dollars a year spewing spun truth, but they won't spend a penny creating a venue where interest holders can ask legitimate questions and expect candid, forthright and honest responses.

No comments: