Monday, September 29, 2014

Every politician and public servant redacting their own record, breaks the law in so doing

In New Mexico, politicians and public servants are allowed to redact public records.  Among the records they are allowed to redact are the public records of their own public service.

Simultaneously with their self- redaction, comes an appearance of conflicted interests.  Did the politician or public self- redact their record

  • in the spirit of the law; in the best interests of the people, or
did they self-redact their record
  • in order to forestall their own accountability for some yet to be exposed incompetence or corruption?

If self-redaction is not malfeasance;
the commission of an act that is unequivocally illegal
or completely wrongful
then surely, self-redaction must be nonfeasance;
the failure to act; especially failure to do 
what ought to be done*;
*having the redaction done by someone whose interests aren't conflicted; someone who will redact the record "in the spirit of the law" and in the people's interests.

They act like deliberately creating an appearance of conflicted interests is alright just because it's "legal"*.

*Not even legal actually; rather; "manageable" by means of
their legal weaselry and unlimited budgets for litigation even against the public interests.

Adding insult to injury, not a one of them to can be compelled to defend, deny, explain or even acknowledge the appearances of conflicted interests that they create.

Who else gets to redact their own record?  Do tax payers?


How about some leadership from some organization,
association or foundation with a stated interest in 
governmental accountability by means of transparency?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

More on truancy, drop outs and, what in the world should we do?

The apparent goal; every child who enters public education at K
will emerge 12 years later with an "education".

The quality and quantity of that "education" will manifest itself in the results of a battery of tests that students must pass in order to earn a certificate.

Any student who can pass the tests should earn a certificate (diploma, whatever) demonstrating the extent of their learning and skill sets.

It really does not make any difference at all, how students prepare for the tests or how much time they spent preparing; it is irrelevant.

All that really matters is that students emerge from public education able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to do whatever it is they intend to do next whether it be additional education, training or meaningful employment.

It does matter if students make adequate progress every year.
One doesn't want to enable a poor student to screw around for 12 years with little or nothing to show for it at the end.

Adequate progress can be thought of in the following manner;
every bit of knowledge is worth a point.  In order for students to pass their battery of tests, they will have to accumulate, let's say, 130,000 points (10,000 points per year K-12 inclusive).

The number of points from which any student might select, in order to prepare for testing; is virtually unlimited.

In order to be making adequate progress, a student must be accumulating on average, about 10,000 points* per year.

*The exact number of points and what should and should not count as a point will be determined in enormous public meetings of the people who read this post and who's first reaction is to pound out a comment about how this could all go wrong because of what might or might not count as "a point" worth learning.
If a particular student is not accumulating 10,000 per calendar year, then that student is not making adequate process and should draw individual and specific teacher attention and remediation.

Teachers will actually have time to offer individual attention and remediation, when we stop requiring them to standardize individual student performances using group attention to and group remediation of their individual problems. 

Teachers have time for individual attention and mentoring,when (all) students start learning more or less independently of the teacher.  Many students, if given the opportunity to become independent lifelong learners, will.  In so doing, they will each become less of a burden on their teacher and on the system.  Many of them will earn meaningful certification in far fewer than 13 years.

Because teachers will have the time and opportunity, they can be expected to continuously monitor each individual student's progress and path.

Finally, there is something to be said for mastery learning, wikilinkMastery learning and learning in unison are entirely different goals.  More importantly, they are inconsistent goals - you can't achieve both in normal circumstances.

Mastery learning is a practical impossibility except by individual learners.  How can any but the very, very best students possibly master learning material, while at the same time expected to move in "lockstep" with a bunch of other kids with whom they have nothing in common; save their age and the neighborhood in which they live.

Creating arbitrary groups of students to learn in unison is like having kids who are racing around a track 13 times, stop every time they cross the start/finish line, to form back up in five rows of six.  Even if you could, why would you want to?

Changing the education model won't entirely solve the problem.  There is another aspect of the relative failure of public schools in general and APS in particular.  It is the relentless refusal of the school board and senior administration to allow teachers to participate meaningfully in decision making on solution development.

There are in the APS, nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience.  That wealth of education, experience, dedication and expertise is yet to be included in decision making.

The "leadership" of the APS; the school board and senior administrators, do not regard 100,000 years of current and ongoing teaching experience as an asset in decision making; not on truancy, not on dropping out.  If they appreciated the experience, they would exploit it.  They would mine it for everything it's worth.

You have to wonder why teachers don't have a seat at the table where decisions are made with regard to how to best educate nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.  But not for long.

The short answer is that once teachers have a seat at that table, they're going to want to deal with issues other than truancy and drop outs.  One of the things they are going to want to deal with is administrative character and competence.

The single largest obstacle to empowering teachers (and improving public education) is;
superintendents and school board members who do not want to be held accountable for quantity and quality of their own public service.
Coincidentally;
the single largest obstacle to holding superintendents and school board members accountable for their public service from the speakers podium during public forums in APS school board meetings is;

superintendents and school board members who do not want to be held accountable for quantity and quality of their public service.
imagine that


photo Mark Bralley


Friday, September 26, 2014

Drop outs cost taxpayers a lot of money

Drop outs cost communities untold and unnecessary suffering.  Drop outs are a problem.

Somebody should do something.

Imagine an "at risk" student standing between two otherwise identical high schools.  S/he wants to go to one of the schools and does not want to go the other.  Further imagine you have the authority to decide which school the student will be allowed to attend.

Imagine you have the authority to decide which classroom s/he will attend.  Imagine you have the authority decide which subject the student will study next and for how long.

In every case would you not allow the student to follow their own path?

Our only obligation is to get them to the end of school; then able to fully engage in whatever it is they decide to do next.  It doesn't matter how they get there.

The immediate obstacle to individual paths to education is standardized testing.  Standardized testing is the mechanism by which the efficacy of public schools is measured, in the effort to standardize individual performance.  Even if we could, why do we want to?

For as long as there is standardized testing, there will be standardized education.  One cannot standardize and individualize at once.  A choice has to be made.

The mission, primary goal and first objective of public school education is or should be;

to create independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.
The overwhelming majority of children who are offered the opportunity to become independent lifelong learners, will not turn their back on that opportunity.

Educating children, especially immature children, has been compared to herding kittens.  It is an apt comparison.  And useful to note that kittens don't drop out; they never stop exploring.  Neither will children, if we enable them.

... if we allow them.

Cemetery seating; six rows of five desks.  Each occupied by students with nothing in common really, except their age and the neighborhood they live in.  Each has a book open to the same page on the same day, each preparing for tests they will all take all at once.

Even if we could create learning choirs; why do we want to?
If teaching children in groups was ever the best way to enable
students to educate themselves, it is not now.
It will never be again.  It is forever obsolete.

How do you encourage children to strive toward their potential,
when every time their "group" crosses the start/finish line,
they have stop; regroup themselves; hold the faster ones back
and then run in place until the slowest ones catch up?

It doesn't make sense.

submitted to Journal Letters to the Editors 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NM FOG weighs in on APS' (Marty Esquivel's) Public Participation Policy and Procedural Directive

NM FOG was asked to weigh in on APS' recently adopted public participation policy and procedural directive.  If APS School Board member and Defendant Marty Esquivel was hoping NM FOG might back his play to further limit public participation in APS school board meetings, he must be disappointed in their response; link.

NM FOG made it clear, when the issue gets to court,
their letter should not be read to offer any opinions or
commentary on either the issues in that case or on the
circumstances surrounding APS' adoption of its new
"guideline". quotation marks added

"Guideline" ? It isn't a "guideline" when it will be enforced
a publicly funded private police force taking orders from
out of control petty politicians and public servants.



photo Mark Bralley

Hero story in Journal a worthy read

By "in the Journal" I mean mixed in the advertisements stuffed in the fold.

The story was published in a pamphlet called Athlon Sports Magazine. The story is about Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.

By all appearances, Jeter is the kind of person we would like the next generation to emulate.  There would be some point in spending some APS class time talking about Jeter.

That won't happen because in a nutshell, spending time teaching kids about character won't raise standardized test scores; the holy grail of education administrators and school boards.

APS records include no expenditures in any district wide effort to teach children about character and courage and honor.  This despite a binding school board resolution, link, that reads in significant part;

  • The Albuquerque Public Schools endorses ... ways to develop character based on six core ethical values; trustworthiness, respect, responsibility , fairness, caring and citizenship; (and)
  • is committed to creating models of ethical behavior among all adults who serve students and schools; (and)
  • the core curriculum should continue to give explicit attention to character development as an ongoing part of school instruction, (and)
  • materials, teaching methods, partnerships, and services to support school programs shall be selected, in part, for their capacity to support the development of character among youth and adults; (and)
  • that all schools examine school curriculum and practices to identify and extend opportunities ... which help students learn and model caring and ethical behavior.
Instead, the APS school board voted unanimously to remove the role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct.  Their role modeling clause read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.

Journal Editor Kent Walz
I have a feeling, if Derek Jeter sat
at Kent Walz' desk; a reporter
would be assigned to investigate
and report upon ethics, standards
and accountability in the
leadership of the APS.


Do you suppose its too late for a trade? 
Maybe the Yankees might want Walz for some reason.




photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Armenta at odds with "aggressive" KOAT reporter

In records released to NM FOG in response to a request for public records surrounding former APS Supt Winston Brooks' firing, there is an email from APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta to APS School Board President Analee Maestas.

Good Morning Analee,

Just a head's up that a very aggressive Regina Ruiz, link, (KOAT TV 7) called insisting someone go on camera to talk about the Agnes Padilla report. I told Regina the board issued a statement last week and it still stands.  KOAT TV 7 is doing daily stories with lawyers arguing the report is no long (sic)) a personnel issue, but a settlement agreement.


When I told Regina I could not talk and that the statement was still accurate, she said she'd try to reach the board's attorney and individual board members.

Nothing we can do, but I wanted you to know.

Thank you

Monica
Who does this person work for,
the people, who pay her $106K,
or the leadership of the APS?
Why are taxpayers paying Monica Armenta $106K a year to defend board members and senior administrators from the press?





photo  Mark Bralley

Town of Mountainair Mayor; newest poster child for Open Meetings Act reform

In some states, if a public body is going to take action on any issue; the public meeting in which that action is taken, must have a public forum.

New Mexico's Open Meetings Act requires no such; it is entirely up to politicians and public servants to decide whether to allow public comment during public meetings.  Though if they do provide a public forum, Constitutional protection of human rights to speak freely and petition one's government kick in.

The other transparency accountability law is New Mexico's Inspection of Public Records Act.  While the OMA allows politicians and public servants to limit public participation in public meetings; the IPRA allows them allows them the equally ridiculous opportunity self-redact the public record of their own public service.

The terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people.  The people are to decide how they will participate in decision making that affects their interests.  The people are to decide how public records will be redacted and by whom.

Or not.

A stake and interest holder in Mountainair NM reports

Mayor Chester Riley has determined that
he will not allow any public input 
at the town council meetings.
The best way to defend rights is to exercise them
freely and often.  Speak up. Stand up for what you believe in.
Call bullshit on your mayor.

Journal editors' box of pandoras - not that at all

Journal editors are concerned this morning, link , that a recent State Supreme Court decision has turned elections "...into a game of 20 Questions that don’t matter".

If the questions don't matter; the problem lies with the questions and not with the process or procedure.  (except that process and procedure heretofore has been demonstrably lacking)

It would be a relatively simple matter to establish appropriate limits on both the number of questions (20 doesn't really seem all that bad), and on their purpose.

It seems to be; if the purpose is to enable a future decision then it is appropriate for a ballot.  But if it is to hold politicians and public servants accountable for their past service, then it can't be on a ballot. Why not?

Why couldn't school board members get a snapshot of their voter approval before they ask for hundreds of millions of mill levy and bond issue tax dollars to spend?

Why couldn't the ballot for the school board election in February offer interest and stakeholders the opportunity to express their opinion regarding the character and competence of school board members and superintendents?

A poll of people who care enough to vote is as representative a sample of people who care as any; better than most.

The editors argue;

"... it’s a waste of time as well as a false promise to voters to ask them weigh in on topics that have not been adequately vetted..."
The editors have not noticed apparently, that voters routinely weigh in on topics they don't comprehend.  Joe Monahan reports this morning;

A poll ... found many Americans don't know how the government works. The poll showed only 36% of Americans could name all three branches of the government and 35% couldn't name any of them. It also found over 60% of Americans don't know which political party controls the House of Representatives and the US Senate.
The editors argue that opening up ballots
... has the potential to deliver more disenchantment with the democratic process.
It has as well, the potential to allow voters to leave the process feeling like they have held politicians and public servants actually accountable for their public service.

The money quote comes from Bernalillo County Commission Chairwoman Debbie O’Malley who says,
“Let the people speak.”
... let the people speak about the public interests and
about the public service of the politicians and public servants in their employ.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Still waiting on NM FOG

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is reviewing APS' new public participation in school board meetings policy and procedural directive.

By that I mean, apparently somebody in the fog has "volunteered" to review the policy and procedural directive and then respond.

I defy anyone to read and then defend the Constitutionality of

Defendant and NM FOG
heavy hitter Esquivel
the policy and procedural
directive written by
Defendant Marty Esquivel
and taxpayer underwritten
lawyers from Modrall;
likely Art Melendres.

It reeks.

The FOG has already opposed Esquivel's efforts to hide the ethically redacted public records in the firing of form APS Supt Winston Brooks and the subsequent loss of more than a third of a million tax dollars.

APS Modrall lawyer
Art Melendres
Marty Esquivel and Modrall lawyers are (former) FOG heavy hitters.  Another candid, forthright and honest opinion from the FOG would be devastating to both Esquivel and Modrall.

That potential creates the
appearance of conflicted interests.

That appearance is aggravated
by further passage of time.




photos Mark Bralley

Monday, September 22, 2014

APS Acceptable Use of Technology Procedural Directive manifestly useless.

If you take APS' new Acceptable Use of Technology Procedural Directive and subject it to a Microsoft Word Flesch Kincaid readability analysis, you will find it can be read and understood by people with a reading grade level of 14.2.  That's two years out of high school in most districts; in the APS 3 or 4.

What is the point in having parents and guardians sign agreement with a document they can't understand no matter the language in which it is published?

It would be interesting to know, what it cost taxpayers in operational dollars to create another procedural directive that nobody but lawyers can easily understand.
And to whom those dollars went.
And why the school board signed off on it.

The school board signs off every year, on their APS Student Behavior Handbook; another pamphlet that nobody can read and, by which, students are expected scrupulously abide.

It is in the Student Behavior Handbook where the board articulates its expectation that student model and promote accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

It is in so doing, that they obligate themselves as the senior-most role models of accountability to the standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students.

It is in the Journal, where none of this is "newsworthy".




photo Mark Bralley

Confidence votes to appear on ballots

Voters are going to able to hold politicians and public servants
individually accountable for their conduct and competence at every election.

Apparently, anything goes (on a ballot).

Why not include on every ballot;

the opportunity for politicians and public servants to be periodically evaluated by the people they serve?
Why not provide the opportunity for stake and interest holder input on politicians, public servants, their public service and the policies they create and enforce?

Why shouldn't APS school board members not up for election,
be subject to electoral scrutiny?

Trust me, it isn't because they can't stand the adoration.

There are voters who would express their displeasure with the mid-termers, for their endorsement of Marty Esquivel and Art Melendres Constitutionally indefensible public participation in school board meetings policy and procedural directive.

The next time the school board and administration want to pass a bond issue or mill levy, voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on how they feel about how the board and their superintendent spent the last few hundred million tax dollars entrusted to their stewardship.

There is a lot of talk about holding teachers accountable for their public service; for their conduct and for their competence.

What logic demands accountability from teachers within their public service and does not demand accountability from politicians and public servants within their public service?

On the day it is decided that voters can weigh in periodically
on the conduct and competence of sitting politicians and
public servants; even with so little as a simple thumbs up or
thumbs down, is the day;
  • pigs will fly,
  • fish will speak,
  • rocks won't sink,
  • snakes will smoke,
  • frogs will grow hair,
  • hell will freeze over,
  • chickens will grow teeth,
  • fish will climb poplar trees,
  • grapes will grow on willows,
  • the sun will rise in the west,
  • white crows will fly upside down,
  • crayfish will whistle on the mountain, and
  • monkeys will fly out of my ass.
Adynatons; wikilink

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Westphal and the Journal create quite a brouhaha

D'Val Westphal and the Journal stirred up quite a hornet's nest of comments in response to Westphal's "Looking for the lowdown on student testing" link.  There are 180 comments posted as I write.

A lot of them are from APS
School Board Member
Kathy Korte.

They are pretty uncivil.

Does that make any difference?

It's a fair question.  Korte, if she decides to run for re-election, will be running for election.  Her effort will be to become among other things, one of the eight senior-most role models of student standards of conduct.

Student standards of conduct prohibit incivility.  As a role model of student standards of conduct, Korte should not be modeling incivility.

In fairness, there is some manifest confusion over what are APS' student standards of conduct and, who is accountable to them; honestly, actually accountable.  There isn't a single senior administrator or school board member who admits to honest accountability to student standards of conduct.  The most cursory examination of their public record, reveals that the leadership of the APS is not only not accountable to student standards of conduct; they are barely and only occasionally accountable to the law.

We presume students are accountable to student standards of conduct.  They aren't of course, but for the sake of discussion, let's say students are expected to hold themselves accountable to a specific set of standards of conduct and competence.

Those standards are called the Pillars of Character Counts!, and they have been APS' student standards of conduct since 1994.  Every year since, the school board has reiterated their expectation that students

...model and promote (accountability to) the Pillars of Character Counts! link,
a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics.

Any discussion or debate over the whether the Pillars of Character Counts! should be APS' student standards of conduct is not germane to the question whether they are; they are.

That
  • Kathy Korte and
  • David Peercy and 
  • Donald Duran and
  • Marty Esquivel and 
  • Lorenzo Garcia and
  • Analee Maestas and
  • Steven Michael Quezada and
  • interim Superintendent Brad Winter
will not look us in the eye, and explain why there are two standards of conduct in the Albuquerque Public Schools;
  • one for senior administrators, school board members... and
  • one for students.
and why their standards of conduct;
the standards that higher standards are higher than,
are by far the lower standard means something.
Saying nothing says something.
Inconspicuous role modeling is oxymoronic.

How can they categorically refuse to discuss student standards of conduct?

If the Pillars of Character Counts! are no longer an appropriate set of standards, some one of them has to say in an open meeting; I move to lower student standards of conduct.

And then, some other one of them has to say; I second that motion.

Then every other one of them has to agree, by saying "I".

And then they will be free to lower student standards of conduct
as low as their own.

Are the individual members of the leadership of the APS
accountable as role models of the standards of conduct
they establish and enforce upon students?  Or are they not?

In principle; they don't get to win that argument by not having it.

In practice; they are winning that argument by not having it.

All they have to do is not have it.
All they have to do is stonewall.

All they have to do is pretend
there is nothing wrong with
holding students accountable
to higher standards of conduct
than senior administrators and
school board members.

All they have to do is pretend that
  • they have meaningful standards of conduct and competence, and that 
  • they are actually and honestly accountable to them.
The "credentialed" press should be investigating ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS and informing the democracy.  They won't.

The complicity of the establishment press in covering up an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS,  allows the leadership of the APS to
  • never defend their abandonment of their obligations as role models, and
  • never defend removing the role modeling clause* from their own standards of conduct.
More importantly, the complicity of the establishment's allows them
  • to never defend their relentless refusal, link, to put in back.
*In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.


photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Esquivel disingenuous on the dearth of truth

In the Journal this morning, link, Jon Swedien reports on the struggle for public records, going on between the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and former FOG President and Director Marty Esquivel and his team of taxpayer underwritten litigators.

The Journal goes regularly to APS school board member Marty Esquivel and allowed him to complain this morning that;

“FOG is operating on a dearth of facts. 
It’s unfortunate that they would make inflammatory 
comments without knowing all the facts.”
The disingenuous part;
Esquivel is the person most responsible for that dearth.
He is the one hiding the facts; hiding as many as he likes
and "the law" will allow.

The ends on the continuum of public record and fact sharing are;
  • share as many facts as the law will allow, as opposed to
  • share only those facts that that law absolutely requires

Though Esquivel is one of the senior-most role models of standards of conduct that specifically require doing more than the law requires and less than the law allows,  Esquivel is firmly of the opinion, the truth is his to parse.

If you think you can pry it lose from him and his lawyers,
go right ahead.  He will stop or obstruct you will unlimited access to all the lawyers guns and money anybody could ask for.

Esquivel will never tell you why he needs to hide the truth,
only how he is able to hide the truth;

inadequate oversight,

an unlimited budget for

legal weaselry and

friends at the Journal.





Swedien did not report that the FOG and Esquivel are about to lock horns again over Esquivel and APS/Modrall lawyer Art Melendres' rules for public participation in school board meetings.

They are manifestly unconstitutional as will ultimately be determined after expensive and prolonged litigation against the public interests, that settle with no admissions of guilt.

FOG is tardy in their response the request that
they take a position on the Esquivel, Melendres/Modrall policy and procedural directive.




photo Mark Bralley


Friday, September 19, 2014

I stand corrected

I have been writing for the longest time that Kent Walz is the "Managing Editor" at the Journal.

He is in fact the "Editor in Chief".

I stand corrected and,

I stand on everything else I have
said or written about Kent Walz and
his complicity in the cover up of an  
ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.




photo Mark Bralley

The hardest part will be finding a wizard

I propose a public meeting.  The purpose of that meeting will be
the articulation of the shared community philosophy regarding
public school education and administration.

Sound policy requires a sound philosophical foundation.
That foundation is made of shared philosophical beliefs.
Despite the emphasis specific philosophical disagreements, there is common ground.

If we cannot find that common ground and on it together,
we cannot elect school board members and hire a superintendent
who will administer policies that reflect our shared philosophy.

We can effect change toward common goals.

This meeting has to be done right.
If it isn't, there will never be another meeting.

All that is necessary is money.  Money to;

1. rent a space.  And then equip that place so that perhaps hundreds of stake and interest holders could participate meaningfully.  Perhaps some kind of WiFi connection to lap tops.  I am confident that there are people who could figure out how to do that.

2. spread the word.  Invite everyone who wants to participate.  Yeah, what if so many people want to participate that if over whelms the capacity to deal with them?  We should be so lucky.

3. and hire a wizard.  Someone has to stand up in the front of the room and guide the process through the rapids.  I am not talking about a local celebrity.  I am talking about someone with demonstrated ability to protect the process from endless reiteration and personal anecdotes.  Someone who can keep people focused on the task at hand and able to create an atmosphere conducive to real dialogue and consensus building.

The search then, is on; 
For money and
for a wizard.

Moments later; it dawned on me, we already have a space.  We paid a million dollars for it and the surrounding accoutrements.  We paid so much for it, APS interim Supt Brad Winter still will not produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of all the money he spent, and how he spent it.

It has everything we need including security.
Boy is it secure!

We just have to find a time when it's not in use.
That would be about 28 days a month.

The Susie Rayos Marmon Board Room, link, it is then!
Stand by for time and day.

D'Val Westphal and the Journal have a bucket list in mind

D'Val Westfal, "of the Journal" comes this morning, link , with what look like the facts about how much time is actually spent testing public school students.  We don't and won't know for certain that they are "the facts" until we hear from someone with a different set of facts.

I'm sure that APS School Board Member and, StandUp4Kids NM co-founder Kathy Korte's rebuttal to Westphal's facts cannot be far away; perhaps in an op-ed of her own.

The pity is, Westfal facts and Korte's rebuttal will never meet each other; the disagreement between them will not be settled civilly, it will not be settled at all.

There will never be a "workshop" on testing.

Educated, experienced and dedicated proponents and opponents, good and decent people with different opinions, will never get together in an impartially facilitated open meeting.  Interest and stakeholders will never get to the bottom of the issue.

An old friend used to talk about settling issues by means of
"getting all the liars at the same table".

All the "liars" who know and care about testing and students' best interests will never get together in the same room at the same time to compare their lies wart by wart by wart.

It is not the people with the better facts who fear such a meeting, it is those with half-truths and out of context facts who won't sit down.  They would rather screech in tweets than have their opinions tested in a civil discussion.

The real problem with open and honestly facilitated public meetings is that the outcome cannot be preordained.  Asses cannot be covered.

If a liar or a half-truther or an out-of-contexter, or stonewaller
actually had to sit down at such a table, they would be exposed.
Ergo, they don't sit down; don't even talk about sitting down.

D'Val Westfal asked readers to send her recommendations for a New Mexico Bucket list.

How about;

a time, a day and a place where stake and interest holders can participate in open and honest civil discussions and meaningful decision making on the issue of student testing? or,
Common Core or
or teacher evaluations
student Discipline or
administrative and executive ethics, standards and accountability




photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Korte rips off Bralley

Mark Bralley is a professional photojournalist and blogger.  He owns the photographs he takes.

He owns for example;
this photograph of APS School Board Member Kathy Korte moments after loosing himself from her grip on his camera lens.

It is against the law to use his photographs without his permission.

APS School Board Member and social media maven Kathy Korte apparently likes his work enough that she has used one of Bralley's photograph without his permission and in violation of the law.

She and her group StandUp4Kids have stolen one of Bralley's photographs and used it not only without his permission, but in blatant violation of his long standing policy on how his photographs can be used.

He doesn't offer them up for use in negative political ads.

Bralley's original and the defaced and manipulated copy that Korte posted, link.
















photo Mark Bralley


In an aside;
interest and stakeholder Galen Smith stood up at the podium during public forum last night.

He stood to try to outline in 120 seconds, the senior administrative (perhaps criminal) misconduct related to his attempts to serve APS Defendants in Bralley's federal complaints.

Photo posted by Korte on social media
in an effort to defame Mark Bralley.
A manifest violation of the social media
policy she just established for
staff and students to obey
The complaint names Korte, senior administrators and school board members.

About half way through his presentation, Smith said, Korte turned her back on the public forum. Other board members were variously engaged in some manner of inattention, as is their want and practice.



APS Board considers Brooks settlements

The APS school board met in secret last night to take "action" in "settling" several complaints against former APS Supt Winston Brooks, the board, the district and of course, taxpayers.

According to the agenda, link, here pasted in significant part;

Michael Bachicha, an individual and Susan Stanojevic, an individual, Plaintiffs, vs. Board of Education of the Albuquerque Public Schools, Defendant, Case No. 10-CV-00710 MCA/LAM

Ruby Ethridge, Plaintiff, vs. Albuquerque Public Schools, Winston Brooks,, in his individual capacity, John or Jane Doe, in his or her individual capacity, Defendants, Cause No. 1:12-CV-00897-KG/SCY;
it would appear the complaints are close to "settlement".

The settlements will be secret; as secret as the meeting where they were made.

All we know for sure is;
  • large numbers of operational dollars are going to be given to victims of Brooks and APS' misconduct, and to
  • the victim's lawyers, and to
  • APS' lawyers.
The exact number of dollars will remain secret from the people whose dollars they used to be. They will remain secret until the information is so old, it is no longer "newsworthy". They will never be published in a way that they would get noticed. They never show up on APS' award winning website.

The settlement agreements will include admissions of no guilt by the guilty.

This always pisses off victims, thereby multiplying the number of operational dollars required to make victims whole, compensate their lawyers, and further enrich the APS stable of lawyers including at least a few lawyers willing to do just about anything, for a few hundred thousand dollars worth of billable hours.

The settlement agreements will prohibit victims and their lawyers from telling the people what happened to the power and resources they entrusted to the leadership of the APS for the purpose of educating children.

It gets worse.

School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel and the board, are prepared to spend another million dollars on non-viable litigation in an effort to escape the consequences of their individual and collective corruption and incompetence.

They will spend those dollars in secret and without real oversight*.
*school board oversight amounts to self-oversight and subordinate oversight in meetings in secret.

The APS image is of a smiling Marty Esquivel.

"Smiley" and six other school board members offered an assurance to stakeholders, that the million dollars they intend to spend in search of admissions of no guilt, is not being spent in their own self interests, but in the interests of the nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters in APS classrooms.

The only protection taxpayers have,
the ONLY protection taxpayers have,
is the personal trustworthiness of people who deliberately do not record their meetings in secret.

Normally, the democracy could look to the press to cowboy up, ride in and save the day. The press is supposed to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of public corruption and incompetence.

In this case, you couldn't separate the press from the players
with both hands and a crowbar.
Marty Esquivel, Journal Managing Editor and former APS Supt Winston Brooks managed to bamboozle the NM FOG into giving Winston Brooks a hero of transparency award.

At the very same time, Esquivel, Brooks and Walz were all playing parts in hiding public records; the findings of investigations into allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators and the leadership of APS' police force.
The ethically redacted findings are still being hidden and the leadership of the APS is still spending operational dollars to keep them hidden. They have never, not once, offered a good and ethical justification for needing to keep the record secret in anyone's interests but their own.

The establishments' press has not once asked them for that justification and reported on their response.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Our trust and treasure, squandered at 6400 Uptown Blvd, or not

Where is the ethically redacted public record* of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd?

Did they really spend $800 apiece on chairs?  They won't say no.












*There is a body of records called public records. Every single one of them belongs to the people.

The people, recognizing that some public records should not be make public, provided for that necessity by allowing "redaction" of public records. In what can actually be described as epic disregard of the appearance of a conflict of interests, the Inspection of Public Records Act allows public servants and politicians to redact the public's record of their own public service.

The public record can be redacted in at least two ways; it can be redacted "legally" or ethically.

Ethical redaction is done is in the spirit of the law; with the intention of providing as much access as the law will allow.  It is a manifestation of accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law; the standards that every higher standard is higher than.

"Legal" redaction is done in the self interests of politicians and public servants in order to provide as little access as the law will allow.
"Legal" redaction allows the redaction of everything that unbridled legal weaselry* and cost is no object litigation can enable.
*using weaknesses laws to deliberately circumvent the intention of laws.

If the record of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd was clean,there would be no need to hide it.  It says something about the record, that the record must be hidden; that a candid, forthright and honest accounting will not be produced.

Taxpayers were promised a money saving enterprise at 6400 Uptown Blvd.  One of the twins was to be rented out to cover costs.  Instead, stake and interest holders were witness to a stampede of administrators promptly filling both towers to capacity.

They began spending money hand over fist.  Auditors, Meyners & Co, were called in to examine the spending.  They found at the time;
  1. inadequate standards and
  2. inadequate accountability to inadequate standards and
  3. inadequate record keeping.
The trifecta of public corruption and embezzlement;
how could money not have been wasted;
how could money not have been stolen?

The players are the same players,
Brad Winter Chief amongst them.

They want us to trust them with
hundreds of millions more dollars
and they can't or won't show us
what they did with the last few
hundred million dollars we
entrusted to their administration.

They are using public resources to hide public records; the findings of every investigation* that has ever been done of allegations of senior administrative and executive misconduct.
*APS self-investigates administrative and executive misconduct and uses legal weaselry and unlimited and without real oversight spending to hide the findings from public knowledge.  No real law enforcement agency, for example, investigated the felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators in 2006 and 7.



photos Mark Bralley


Shame on the Journal. Seriously, shame on Kent Walz

If you read Journal coverage of APS Supt Winston Brooks before and after his demise; you will find two different men; a veritable Jekyll and Hyde, wikilink.

Granted, before his demise, the Journal sold as much advertising as they could reporting on Brooks major blunders; how could they not?  But they really didn't dig any deeper.  Readers never read about investigations into the allegations of bullying, misogyny and anger management issues.

If you read the press on Brooks before he came to APS,
you will find evidence of the problems that ended his administration here.  After his demise, the Journal and interim APS Supt Brad Winter are happy to point out fundamental flaws in Brooks' character and personality.

macquigg photo
In between the before and the demise, the Journal failed to inform the democracy.  They failed to investigate and report upon credible evidence and testimony of Brooks problems.

Had the democracy been informed, school board members who gave Brooks a three quarters of million dollars worth golden parachute might not have been (re)elected.

Had the democracy been informed all these years, the Brooks debacle would have ended before it started.

When the question is; will you tell the truth? the whole truth and nothing but the ethically redacted truth, any answer except yes, means no.

It means no from a public schools superintendent, it means no from a school board member, it means no from from a news director or managing editor.

Not saying yes, means no.

The standards of conduct, of which Brad Winter is the senior-most administrative role model;
APS' student standards of conduct, link,
could not be more explicit;
"telling the truth" precludes all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading. emphasis added
Stonewalling is prohibited.

APS students, if they are given any character education at all,
are told they forfeit their good character if they stonewall the response to a legitimate question.

Brad Winter and the Journal are stonewalling at least three questions;
  1. Why don't interest and stakeholders know the truth about spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd?  Why is there no candid, forthright and honest audit of spending at 6400 Uptown? and
  2. Why won't the school board and superintendent produce the ethically redacted finding of investigations of allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators? and
  3. Why won't the senior-most administrative role models in the entire APS not explain to students in words they can understand;
why students are expected to hold themselves honestly and actually accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law, and senior administrators, school board members, and their lawyers, are not?

Not one of them, not one senior administrator, not a one school board member, not one politician nor public servant, not one Journal editor, not one a single news director or broadcast affiliate owner in the entire city of Albuquerque.
There are two reasons the truth isn't being told;
lack of character and or, lack of courage.

If there is a third reason that legitimate questions cannot find answers in the APS or in the establishment's press, I would like to know, what is that reason.

I cannot imagine what good and ethical reason could possibly be.

So far, not one superintendent, not one senior administrator, not one school board member, not one editor or news director has articulated a third reason - much less in words that any student can understand.

If we really want students to embrace character and courage and honor, we have to show them what they look like.

There really is no equivalent gesture.

When the federal grant money was still around, APS' trainers of trainers used to have T-shirts to give to students after we talked to them about Character Counts!

On it's front and back it read;
Stand up for what you believe in
even if you are standing alone.
In truth, a child standing up for the right thing should never be standing alone.  There should be an adult behind in support, an adult beside to share the burden and, an adult in front of them leading by personal example; showing them what it looks like.

Character is taught by personal example.

We are at a fork in the road.

Stake and interest holders don't know about the choice because there are powerful people who like things the way they are, and who don't want the people to know that they a choice; that they can make a difference.

The powerful people who like things the way they are, own and manage newspapers and broadcast news outlets.  Or, they know people who do.  They have the will and the wherewithal to manipulate and mislead interest and stakeholders.



The choice has to do with an upcoming school board election and subsequent retention of a new superintendent. With a new school board and a new superintendent, there is an opportunity to move APS in an entirely different direction; one that includes
transparent, honest and actual accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants within their public service in the APS.


This is not about Character Counts! it is about
honest accountability to any higher standards of conduct at all, ever.

This is not the time to debate the meanings of the words or
whether the right choices were made.

This is the time to discuss "the terms" of politics and public service in the leadership of the APS.  It is time to consider whether the setting of the terms is the prerogative of the people or of the politicians and public servants.



School board meeting today.   5 pm.  public forum

If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?

You pick a side when you don't pick a side.

Silence gives consent.

All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world
is for good people to do nothing.  Burke derived.




photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Can one of the people count on NM FOG?

In the niche of open government, the NM FOG is pretty much the only game in town.  Without doubt, NM FOG and its members have struck more than a few blows in advancing the cause of open government, on occasion.

But if the question is;

can one of the people with an open government issue,
go to NM FOG and expect to be helped?
then the answer is; it depends.

It depends on a lot of things, even good and ethical things.  Not the least of which is that the heavy lifting in the FOG is done by volunteers.  Volunteers get tired, volunteers get overwhelmed.  Volunteers can't always put one of the people's issue at the top of their list.

So, no judgement offered over the length of time it has taken for the NM FOG to pick a side in the controversy over the Marty Esquivel and Modrall Public Participation in Public Meetings Policy and Procedural Directive.

Still, in the end, they haven't picked a side, and the appearance of a conflicts of interests and perhaps impropriety are created by circumstantial evidence and cannot simply be ignored.

The circumstantial evidence is that the people who came up with a manifestly unconstitutional policy and procedure, Marty Esquivel and the Modrall law firm, and the complicit media, the Journal for example, all happen to be NM FOG at least former heavy hitters.  To suppose they once swung a big bat and now can no longer swing at bat at all, is naive.

It could be that the lack of a timely response is entirely justifiable.
It could just as well be that Esquivel and Modrall are in fact benefiting from conflicts of interest and from impropriety.

Bottom line answer to the question; can one of the people
walk into NM FOG's office and count on the FOG's help?
is; the answer could be yes, at least occasionally, or it could be;
if you are the enemy of a friend, you get jack, link.


Winter and the Journal throw Brooks under the bus

Journal education (?) reporter Jon Swedien comes this morning, link, with an investigation and report on the "drama" in the leadership of the APS.

Some of what Swedien reports will come as news to Journal readers; they will not have read about it in the Journal before.  Which is the point.  A simple comparison of the truth they now tell, and the truth they didn't tell points to incompetence or corruption; they couldn't investigate and report, or they wouldn't investigate and report.

The Journal never before investigated and reported on the Winston Brooks administration inside the  most heavily fortified, guarded and electronically surveilled space in the entire APS, the castle keep at 6400 Uptown Blvd.













For the last few years, the APS school board was evaluating Winston Brooks on an annual basis.  Every year they came out of a process in secret, and announced that Winston Brooks was doing a wonderful job, and that they were extending his golden parachute to three quarters of a million dollars.

Now we read the truth, that Winston Brooks was not such a great superintendent after all.  Winston Brooks was not such a great superintendent, and the Journal didn't investigate and report on the problem in time to do anything about it; the democracy was never informed.

The Journal, Kent Walz, whomever, and the news directors, and whomever in the establishment's press cannot be trusted to inform the democracy, regarding the wielding of public power and the spending of public resources by the leadership of the APS.

I submit as proof in facts;

  • In February 2007, the Journal exposed, link, public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.  State and federal felonies were committed.  Senior APS administrators were involved.
  • A number of investigations were done.  Not one of them was done by any agency not on APS' payroll.  All investigations of even felony criminal misconduct of senior APS administrators and school board members are done internally - the self-investigate their own misconduct.
  • Evidence and testimony of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators has never been turned over to the DA for prosecution.  As old as the original scandal is, the cover up is as new as today.
The establishment's press knows and won't do anything about it.  The only one who ever offered any justification at all, pointed out that the corruption occurred seven years ago.  Yeah and but, the cover up of the lack of consequences for politicians and public servants who squandered the public trust and treasure, is still going on today.

Dr. Brad Winter is in a unique position to answer questions about corruption and incompetence in the APS Police force leadership.  He had immediate oversight over them during most times relevant.

Brad Winter has the authority to tell the truth now.

He could if he wanted, release ethically redacted public records; findings of investigations into allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

Instead, his authority authorizes lawyers to spend money that could hire a teacher, trying to litigate some exception to the law.

Just how moot is, whether it might actually be "legal" to hide his record, is manifest in Winter's refusal to explain "why" he needs to hide an ethically redacted public record of his public service.

The law allows him to hide his record;
it does not require him to hide his record.

Why does he need to hide his record except that
it might embarrass, shame or indict him and others
in the leadership of the APS?

Dr. Brad Winter is in a unique position to inform interest and stakeholders about APS' spending on the administrative digs at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Auditors found senior administrators spending up to $50K at a whack
 on goodies for 6400 Uptown "without involving purchasing".

That accounting is necessary, because at the time huge amounts of money were being spent, auditors had found; inadequate standards, inadequate accountability to inadequate standards and inadequate record keeping.  Likely, millions of dollars have gone missing.

If so, they went missing on Brad Winter's watch; he was our oversight.

As interim Supt, Winter has the authority to produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown.  The accounting is absolutely relevant in the upcoming elections and the hiring of another superintendent.  The establishment's press will not press for its production.

The Journal will continue to help APS polish its apple,
Marty Esquivel's name will be dropped where ever they can,
and Brad Winter will never have to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to at least two legitimate questions;
  • Assuming the law actually allows you to hide ethically redacted public records of investigations of allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators, why do you want to? and
  • Why will you not produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, from the time APS promised taxpayers they would save money by buying the twins, until today?
Update; Hell, let's make it three questions and get it over with;
  • Why will you not explain to students in words they can understand, 
why are students apparently expected to hold themselves
honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct
than the law, and their senior-most administrative role model apparently is not?

Those questions can be asked from the speakers' podium during the public forum during the school board meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Those questions are prohibited under the Marty Esquivel / Modrall rules of etiquette, but they can be asked anyway.

Worst case scenario, some board member or administrator will tell their
Praetorian Guard to deprive you of your liberty; your Constitutionally
protected human rights to free speech, to freely assemble and
to petition your government, and they will.


























photos Mark Bralley

Monday, September 15, 2014

Should "character education" be part of Albuquerque Public School curriculum?

Should

"... the core curriculum ... continue to give explicit attention to character development as an ongoing part of school instruction"?
In 1994, the Albuquerque Public Schools passed a resolution, link.  It was their unanimous resolve that character development be an ongoing part of the curriculum.

Within the same resolution, a commitment was made to a specific set of standards of conduct.  It doesn't make any difference which set it was.  It was; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct. One of a multitude of higher standards of conduct than the law.

The resolution they made was a binding resolution.
It is still in effect.  It will remain in effect until it rendered otherwise by a simple majority vote of school board members conducted during in an open public meeting.

Whatever student code of conduct the school board adopted in 1994, became their standards of conduct before they became student standards - one cannot expect from children, what they do not expect from themselves.  see; do as I say, not as I do.

Members of the Albuquerque Public School Board of Education and the superintendent they hire, represent the 8 senior-most role models of student standards of conduct in the entire district.

That, if you accept that role modeling of accountability to the standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students, is a fundamental responsibility of board members and superintendents.  That, stepping up as a role model is an inescapable obligation.

School board members and superintendents are not comfortable being held actually, honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law*.
*The law represents the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.  They are the standards of conduct that higher standards are higher than.  Were that not bad enough, accountability even to the law, is easily escaped by school board members and senior administrators.  They spend endless amounts of money, with no real oversight, on litigation and legal weaselry in excepting themselves from the law.  They trade dollars that could have been spent educating nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters, for "admissions of no guilt." emphasis added
The standards of conduct for students and their adult role models must be the same.

I won't even begin in this post, to justify my beliefs about role modeling and the responsibilities of role models, except point to one of them, and that is;
there is no such thing as a inconspicuous role model.
Unless you're training spies, inconspicuous and role model are oxymoronic.

The whole idea of role model is to be conspicuous.
If we really want students to embrace character and
courage and honor, someone has to show them what they look like.

If we cannot find a single school board member or senior administrator willing to be held honestly accountable to student standards of conduct, we have a problem.

The solution to the problem is to lower students standards of conduct to the point where the senior most role models of those standards are at least willing to admit that they exist.

Or, we could find some school board members and senior administrators with the character and the courage to stand up in front of students and assure them that their standards of conduct are the same; no more is being expected from them than is expected from their senior most role models.

Standing in between us and finding people to replace them, are the people we need to replace and their friends in the establishment's press.

The simplest of investigations and reports on allegations of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS could be a done deal long before the next school board is elected and long before they hire the next senior-most administrative role model of student standards of conduct.

Journal Editor Kent Walz won't allow it because Marty Esquivel doesn't want him to.

Substitute in the above allegation, any name of any news director at any of mainstream "news" outlets and any name of any school board member or senior APS administrator; not one of whom has or ever will, explain to students in words they can understand;
why students are expected to model and promote
accountability to higher standards of conduct
than the law, and their senior most role models
are not.
When Character Counts! was "in", when Character Counts! Founding Father and United States Senator Pete Domenici was bringing home tens of thousands of dollars in federal grant money, Domenici wasn't the only heavy hitter standing on a stump somewhere and endorsing the Pillars of Character Counts! as worthy standards* for children (and adults).

It about honest and actual accountability to and standards of conduct that require truth telling.   It is Character Counts! because the leadership of the APS made it Character Counts! by resolution.
*This is not about Character Counts!  This is not the time to debate what standards should have been adopted instead, or which standards should have been reestablished every year since.  You could as easily substitute any recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.  This is not about Character Counts!
We have only to debate now; what will be the standards, and who will be actually, honestly accountable to those standards.  We could have that debate if enough interest and stakeholders insist that that debate be held.

Where are the people who stood up twenty years ago in support Character Counts!  What happened to all of the heavy hitters who endorsed the Pillars of Character Counts! and are now nowhere to be found?

Where is former mayor
Marty Chavez? local
Character Counts!
founding father?

It will disappoint, but should not surprise you to know;
it is actually impossible to find names and contact information for members of the APS Character Counts! Leadership Council.

I asked for that information nearly a decade ago when it became apparent that the leadership of the APS was going to abandon their obligations as role models of accountability to the same standards as students.  I was in hope of finding someone to step up and lead again.

Where is Terri Cole and the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce?  The Chamber used to be a big supporter; isn't there one Chamber Member left who gives a rat's ass whether the Pillars of Character Counts! don't apply to school board members and senior administrators.





In sworn testimony, former APS Supt Winston Brooks revealed that he didn't even know that the Pillars of Character Counts! are called Pillars.









In her sworn testimony, APS Executive Director of Communications and former inner circle club member Monica Armenta described, link, Character Counts! as "Domenici's long past program".

The leadership of the APS once voted unanimously, to strike language from their own code of conduct, their role modeling clause.  It used to read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults be lower than the standards of conduct for students
They struck the language in order that they could lower their own standards of conduct.

Is that really alright with everybody?

It is alright with the establishment's media;
nobody else knows about it.

Where are Character Counts! champions?

Where are honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct's champions?

Who in the entire city of Albuquerque, will stand up somewhere
and talk about honest accountability to meaningful standards of
conduct and competence, no matter who then loses their jobs or
their opportunities to remain at liberty and at large.

Why aren't more good people demanding that school board members and senior administrators be held accountable as role models of students standards of conduct?

Why aren't more people arguing that the Pillars of Character Counts! (or any other higher standards of conduct than the law) are in fact; worthy standards of conduct for students and for their adult role models?


Monica Armenta and Paula Maes
ham it up for Bralley's camera.
Wait a minute, Armenta swears
Bralley's camera intimidates her.
I'm not saying the leadership of the APS is evil because they haven't the character and the courage to hold themselves honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

But when Edmund Burke wrote;
All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world is for good men to do nothing.
the wholesale abdication of role models of student standards of conduct, is the kind of evil that concerned him and yours is the concern he meant to incite.

People who wait for perfect circumstances to step up for what they believe in, find only the perfect excuse to never step up at all.

If you believe
explicit attention to character development should be
an ongoing part of school instruction
there is an opportunity for you to stand up for what you believe in.  It may not be a perfect opportunity, but it is the best one you will ever have.

The time, the day and the
place is the speakers podium
of the public forum of the
next board meeting.

Stand up and demand
that students be given
the training they need
to become the kind of
people who insist upon
honest accountability for chopping down cherry trees.

People, who in defense of their good character, will willingly do more than the law requires, and less than the law allows.




photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Think of learning experiences as stepping stones ...

Think of public school education as stepping stones
in a body of water students must cross
in order to graduate with meaningful certifications.

There are more stepping stones than any one student could step on if they had GPS, Google Map and stayed in school forever.  More stepping stones are added every moment.

Our current approach is to gather up to 30 or more kids with nothing more in common than their age and the neighborhood they live in, and then make them on step on the same stones, all at the same time, for 12 or more years.

Even if you could make kittens jump
from stone to stone in unison, (think Fantasia)
why would you want to?
What purpose does it serve?
except to waste time and annoy the pig, link.

Where are we going to draw the line on student self selection of learning experiences?  Do they have to step on the same stones we did; and the ones our parents stepped on?  Or, can they pick their own stones as long as they're moving in the right direction at an appropriate overall speed?

All that matters is adequate progress toward a worthy goal.

The responsibility of educators is to provide as many kinds of stepping stones as there are kinds of learners and numbers of questions;  It is their responsibility to teach learners how to tell the sound from the unsound stones.

And then, make sure they don't slip off one
because no one's paying attention.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Will the Journal cover the APS School Board election?

I submit; if you search Journal archives, you will find a profound lack of coverage of APS School Board elections.  In particular, there is a profound lack of coverage of the issues of ethics, standards and accountability for senior administrators and school board members.

I have run for the board twice. Part of the reason I run, is an effort to get the truth on the table for open and honest public discussion.  I expect that a bonafide candidate should be able to count on the press, the Journal, to get out an absolutely legitimate message.

The messages is; there is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

By which I mean; the standards of conduct and competence that apply to senior administrators and school board members are either or both of inadequate and practically unenforceable.

That allegation is founded or it is not.
It makes a difference whether it is founded.

If it is founded, there is public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.
It makes a difference if there is.

There is no better foundation for this allegation than the public record.  The public record includes meaningful standards of conduct and competence, or it does not.  The record demonstrates honest and actual accountability to those standards, or it does not.

The public record of the leadership of the APS includes involvement in felony criminal misconduct and cover up.  The senior administration and school board are hiding the public records of public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of their publicly funded private police force.

Tax dollars ostensibly destined to educate nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters, are being used instead to underwrite cost is no object "legal" efforts to hide those and others from public knowledge.


As an example; there are findings of investigations of allegations of criminal and civil misconduct involving senior administrators and school board members.  A few such, are the investigations conducted subsequent to the 2006-7 scandal in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force, link.  Investigations like the Caswell Reports I and II.

Those findings are public records of the spending of public resources and the wielding of public power.  Yet they are being hidden.  The "how" of the hiding involves spending without any real oversight on legal weaselry in an effort to hide the records in the personal best interests of the members of the leadership of the APS.  The "why do you need to hide the ethically redacted truth" never gets answered.


Proof;

APS police report to Brad Winter
ask APS Interim Supt Brad Winter, why the district will not produce the ethically redacted findings of all investigations into allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving the leadership of the APS police force and other senior administrators.

Not "how" they are able to hide them, but rather
"why" to they need to.

This where the Journal is supposed to come in.  You have to wonder, why not?

The democracy needs to know the truth about the spending of public resources and power.  The press is obliged to inform it.  The press enjoys Constitutional protection of their efforts to inform it, because it is so important that they do inform it.

The Journal is obliged to inform it.
KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV are obliged to inform it.

Through two school board elections and a number of mill levy and bond issue elections, the Journal has steadfastly refused to tell interest and stakeholders the truth about the corruption in the leadership of the APS Police force, senior administration, and school board.

The APS School Board is right now, spending untold hundreds of thousands of dollars in non-viable litigation in order to not produce ethically redacted public records of their public service.

This not just the problems in the leadership of their police force.
It is every finding of every investigation and audit they could ever hide.

According to the school board's own code of ethics, link. a code they frankly admit is absolutely unenforceable; the board is required to;
1.  Make the education and well-being of students 
the basis for all decision making.
On what basis are the education and well-being of students served by hiding the truth about senior administrative and executive misconduct?

Why are they hiding the ethically redacted truth about the public interests and their public service?

Why won't the APS credentialed media ask Brad Winter "why?"  Why won't they ask school board enforcer Mary Esquivel, why?

Except that they are all in cahoots, they are all complicit.




photo Mark Bralley