Monday, December 15, 2014

APS Quality of Education Survey results replace "data" in APS decision making.

APS conducts surveys annually.  One such, link.  The results will guide decision making in lieu of actual data.  In cannot help but lead to poor decision making.  For example, the survey results showing a majority of parents think their kids are safe at school, justifies their lack of adequate attention, link, to school discipline and violence.

An important part, perhaps the most important part of any decision making process is the consideration of data.  By which I mean, consideration of actual measurements or statistics as the basis for discussion and reasoning.

One could argue the considerations of real data is essential to sound decision making.  One should argue as well, meaningful participation by interest and stakeholders is equally essential to sound decision making.

The leadership of the APS is compelled at times to make important decisions.  They need to decide right now for example, what it is they intend to do about student discipline.  In particular, they need to decide what to do with chronically disruptive students.

When they make that decision, it will be based on survey results which indicate that a majority of survey respondents think their kids are safe at school.  The truth is, they have no idea how safe their kid is at school.  They have no idea how many fights there are at their school, or the number of bullies, or the number of other kids caught with drugs.  It's all a big secret.

A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found that administrators routinely covered up crime statistics at their schools as part of the public relations effort.  I once was told by an APS Deputy Superintendent, Tom Savage, that, while a principal at Albuquerque High, he couldn't tell the truth about what was going on at his school because "the realtors in my neighborhood would have my neck".

The APS School Board openly advocates "administrative discretion" over whether a student who breaks the law, will suffer the consequences of breaking the law, link.  Two officers standing side by side witnessing the same criminal act.  Both including their own professional discretion as to whether an arrest is appropriate under the circumstances.

One, the APD officer, would arrest the kid and allow the legal system to decide the consequences.  The other, the APS officer, is ordered to turn the kid over to an administrator to decide whether the kid should have a record of his or her criminal misconduct.

Imagine, if APS officers are not even allowed to arrest student criminals at their own discretion, what are they ordered to do when a senior administrator or school board member breaks the law?

Statistics on criminal activity and chronically disruptive students are not compiled because they don't look good.  Why, if statistics substantiated the belief that the leadership of the APS is trying to create;

  • that children are safe at school and,
  • that their classes are not being routinely disrupted by chronically disruptive students
do they conflate those statistics other unrelated statistics, or not gather them at all?

If there is a failure to keep campuses safe and orderly, it is an administrative failure.  Period.

The easiest way to cover up failure is to not document it.  Nobody ever loses their job over not keeping the records of their incompetence and or corruption.

Ched MacQuigg
That could change with the next school board election.

There could be ethics, standards and accountability in public service in the APS

Or not,

depending on whether the Journal completes its investigation and report upon ethics, standards and accountability in the APS before the election, after the election, or not at all.

photo Mark Bralley

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