Friday, December 19, 2014

Why do you want to be a board member for Albuquerque Public Schools?

So begins the Albuquerque Public Schools 2015 Questionnaire for Board of Education Candidates, link.

Candidates are cautioned;

Answers should be brief and concise
Unclear whose instruction that is; why they think responses need limiting by anyone except the respondent, or from where comes the authority to expect that they do.

It is eerily similar to APS public forums where speakers are now expected to collect and present their thoughts, on even the most complex of issues, in 60 seconds or less.

I expect the Journal will do the same; give us your thoughts in 25 words or less, 50, if its a slow news day and there's room among the ads.


Why do you want to be a board member for Albuquerque Public Schools?

I want to be a board member in order to change from the inside, the communication dynamic between the leadership of the APS and the community. I will propose;
  • open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve around important issues and decisions.
  • that these discussions be facilitated by expert and independent meeting facilitators whose goal is to enable meaningful participation by stake and interest holders, in decision making that affects their interests.  It is preposterous in my opinion, that despite their shared nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience, teachers have no seat at the table where decisions are made. And that it is equally preposterous that the people whose children attend the APS and whose taxes underwrite APS efforts, have no seat at the table where decisions are made.
  • that transparency in public records and public meetings will be limited only by ethical interpretation of the law.
Each of these points represent a current problems created by an ongoing and intransigent reluctance on the part of the board and their superintendent to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly in response to legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service.

I want to be a school board member in order to draw attentions to and rectify the problem that allows board members and superintendents to refuse to answer inconvenient questions;
  • School board members and administrators are not actually, honestly accountable to any set of standards that require them to tell the truth to be candid, forthright and honest with stakeholders. 
  • Student standards, annually re-established and enforced by the board via their superintendent, are higher standards and require truth telling.  
  • The standards to which the board and supt are actually accountable, the law, are the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings, and does not require candor, forthrightness and honesty, even in relationships of trust.

    The board and supt hold themselves accountable only to the standards that all higher standards are higher than.  And that only after spending unlimited amounts of money with no real oversight in efforts to litigate for themselves, exception even to the law, and admissions of no guilt even in settlements they lose.
I want to be a school board member in order to restore the role modeling clause they struck from executive and administrative codes of conduct.
  • In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult (in particular school board members and administrators) be lower than the standards of conduct for students
I want to be a school board member to create honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct for school board members as role models for staff and students, because
  • if we really want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, who willing accept honest accountability to higher standards of conduct, someone is going to have to show them what it looks like;
    1. the board will be expected to show the Supt what it looks like, and then
    2. the Supt and administrators will be expected to show teachers what it looks like, and then
    3. teachers will show students what it looks like.
"The proper time to influence the character of a child is about a hundred years before he’s born", according to William R. Inge, American playwright (1913-1973)
Having missed that deadline by about a hundred years, we must attend to the next;
The right time, to do the right thing, is always right now. unk
Character development should be part of the core curriculum.
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)
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.
again - William J. Bennett

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