Tuesday, December 16, 2014

APS' Mission Statement

Every once in a while, mission statements should be revisited. One could argue; the overall goal, the primary objective, should be continuously examined and reviewed.

APS' mission statement has been revised at least six times; the last time more than seven years ago.
The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education in collaboration with the superintendent and staff will work together and in partnership with families and the community in a systematic way to ensure that all students succeed.
Revised: January 17, 1990
Revised: May 3, 1995
Revised: February 20, 1996
Revised: April, 2001
Revised: September 20, 2006
Revised: August 15, 2007

Seven years is a long time to go between glances at a mission statement.

Teaching isn't difficult because the mission is difficult.  Teaching is difficult because of mission creep. It used to be about students learning; now it's about students learning in unison.

The mission results educators are expected to deliver reflect their success in standardizing the individual performance of dozens of students with little more in common than their age and the neighborhood in which the happen to live.

It's called cemetery seating; five rows of six desks;
students learning in unison, each on the same page,
in same book, on the same day, for twelve years.

Except for the days when they put down their books
and take tests in unison.

Even if we could do it; even if we could herd cats,
why would we want to?

It isn't because anyone actually believes cemetery seating is the best way for any child to learn. It's because its a good way to sell textbooks and standardized tests; a multibillion dollar a year industry. 

I propose another glance at the mission of the Albuquerque Public Schools.  More than a glance, I propose a full blown open and honest public discussion and review.

That discussion needs to take place before we hire the next superintendent.

That discussion needs to take place before we elect the school board members who will hire the next superintendent.

Submitted for stake and interest holder approval, a new mission;
To create independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity. 
And, while we're about their creation,
doing whatever we can to encourage the nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters in the APS, to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor.
Adults who will serve as role models of honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

Adults who see doing more than the law requires and less than the law allows as a sacrifice they are willing to make, in defense of their good character.

Always and forever, every generation
expects the next generation
to be the first generation
to hold itself honestly accountable
higher standards of conduct.

Always and forever, do as I say, not as I do
didn't work.  It never has; it never will.

Ched MacQuigg; real accountability
to meaningful standards of conduct
and competence in public service
in the leadership of the APS
For two hundred years we've been reduced to propagating a tall tale, link, about a child, a hatchet and a cherry tree in an effort to show children what character looks like.

We wouldn't have to make up stuff to illustrate character and courage and honor, if when we needed an example of someone holding them self honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct,

if when we needed a role model for children to emulate,

all we had to do is point and say;
  • like your teacher does, 
  • like your principal does, 
  • like the superintendent does, and
  • like school board members do.

photo Mark Bralley

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