Saturday, January 31, 2015

Despite what they say, there really are "students who can't learn"

There are those who are fond of saying "every student can learn". It is roughly equivalent to arguing “it doesn't rain on parades.” Sometimes it does. Some students can't learn.

Among them; students who are not present. Whether by their chronic truancy or by their momentary inattention, students who are not present are “students who can't learn”. Similarly, those who don’t want to learn for any reason whatsoever, are “students who can't learn”.

When people talk about no child being unable to learn, I suppose that they are thinking longitudinally; over the long term. Over the long term they believe, a child can be neither so profoundly damaged nor so deeply disadvantaged, that they cannot learn. I don't believe that, but it’s beside the point. We need to be looking at learning, not in toto, but as an accumulation of momentary opportunities.

A child, who is able to learn, can learn only for the length of time that they are both present and wanting to learn. Even children who are routinely present and for the most, wanting to learn, spend a certain amount of the day every day, daydreaming, distracted or rebelling for some reason or another.

"A certain amount of the day" varies from student to student, classroom to classroom, and school to school. All of the “certain amounts of the day” add up to an astonishingly large part of the day.

Anyone who has not tried to teach a class

of thirty children with little more in common than their approximate age and socioeconomic status; sitting in five rows of six desks, each of them on the same page in the same book (that they can't read all that well), studying for the same test they will all take together on the same day,
has no idea how much of the day is wasted by students who are unengaged in their learning.

Education is not something one does “to” a learner. And, certainly not without their cooperation. The finest teacher imaginable, cannot make a horse “want” to drink.

Making education palatable to immature minds would be a huge step forward. Making education desirable gets us to the finish line. In order to do that, we are going to have to individualize their learning paths; in direction and speed.

It is time to stop trying to standardize the individual academic performances of thousands of learners. It is time to stop trying to standardize the performances of even two.

By creating independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity, by taking advantage of children's intrinsic motivation to learn, we will increase the likelihood creating large numbers of students who will be productively engaged in learning of some kind. They won’t be disrupting classrooms because they can't keep up.

We will create students who only occasionally actually need the attention of a "teacher", and when they do, that teacher will have the time to give that student individual attention because s/he will not be otherwise engaged in trying to keep 29 children all in step in a "learning line-dance".

We have made a deliberate choice to
  • standardize the individual educational growth of children with nothing more in common than their approximate age,
at the cost of
  • providing learning that is fun and interesting enough to maintain and reinforce the intrinsic motivation children bring to learning.
Based on that truth, we should be doing everything we can do, within reason of course, to make learning fun and interesting. Fun and interesting, the diametric opposite of standardized learning, standardized tests, and standardized testing.

It should be a fundamental tenet of education and learning; In the interests of rapid growth; if ever there are two or more ways to legitimately learn something, allow the student to choose between them, even if they pick on the basis of which is going to be the most "fun".

For those who think "suffering" should be part of learning and earning a diploma just like "it was in their day"; simply require graduates, in exchange for their diploma, to walk five miles uphill in snow and bare footed to retrieve it.




Thursday, January 29, 2015

APS School Board's enforcement of Code of Ethics on Korte's conduct; selective at best

In the Journal this morning, coverage of the latest APS School Board spat, link.

They report;

The Albuquerque Public Schools board executive committee has sent a letter to board member Kathy Korte saying she violated APS’ code of ethics when she reprimanded spokeswoman Monica Armenta in recent emails.
The Journal reports
The executive committee’s letter told Korte her emails violated APS’ code of ethics, which states board members should “delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent and establish a process for accountability of administrators.”
The words,
“delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent and establish a process for accountability of administrators.”  
are a cut and paste from the School Board Code of Ethics, link.
For the Executive Committee to call it "APS' Code of Ethics" is misleading.

Heretofore, the board's code of ethics was utterly unenforceable.  There was no venue where a complaint could be filed against them for violations of the code.  There was no place where a complainant would find due process; a principled resolution based on impartial adjudication and fully free of appearances of impropriety and conflicts of interests, and fear of retaliation.

Now we find that their code is enforceable after all.
All they have to do is to convene an in secret meeting of three board members (one short of a quorum) and decide to take action.
The letter... was signed by the three members of the board’s executive committee – President Analee Maestas, Vice President Don Duran and Secretary Steven Michael Quezada.
Their code of conduct can be enforced,
albeit selectively and only upon each other.

Korte is guilty of violating the School Board's Code of Ethics.
“I do hate meddling in APS employee affairs,” Korte said.
Good for her.  At least she "hates"it when circumstances make it "necessary" for her to violate their Code of ethics.

and;
Their letter to Korte said that if she chose not to alter her behavior, “the executive committee’s concerns will be brought to the full board for consideration of formal action by the Board of Education regarding your refusal or inability to adhere to these standards.”  emphasis added

Their legitimate course of action in the first place; before the letter of reprimand is written and delivered.
 
Outgoing School Board Member
Marty Esquivel offered;
"It is important that other board members respond in a “swift and firm” manner so other employees can be assured a similar thing won’t happen to them."
Noteworthy; in the eight years
Esquivel has been on the board,
his resistance to school board
members being actually, honestly
accountable for their conduct
has cost the operational fund
nearly a million dollars.

School Board Member Lorenzo
Garcia stood in support of a
discussion in a meeting, saying
“We need to talk about it.”
Board member David Peercy's contribution;
“It’s not a big deal, and that’s the point,” Peercy said. “You’ve got to realize just because we have things we need to discuss – it’s OK.”
Peercy misses the point entirely.

Or, he would rather we miss the point entirely.

It isn't a big deal that you
"have things to discuss",
it is your relentless insistence
on discussing public interests
in meetings in secret that is a
"big deal".

Anything a politician or public servant does in unnecessary secret from the people they serve, is a "big deal".


“I have no idea what board
member Korte was specifically
upset about,” Armenta said
in an interview Friday.
For her part, "victim" and APS
Exec Director of Communications
Monica Armenta can't imagine
what all the fuss is about.

She would have us believe;

she never asked Marilyn Beck
any untoward questions, ever.




photos Mark Bralley

------------------------------------------------------------------

I took the liberty of posting a comment directly on the Journal report.  It read;
The Executive Committee, Maestas, Duran and Quesada, have the authority ONLY to put Korte's chastisement on the agenda of a meeting that complies with the NM OMA. The gang of three, not even a quorum under the law, have no more legitimate authority to chastise Korte, than Korte has to chastise Beck.

All of this illuminates the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the senior-most leadership of the APS. And, points to the need for an independent examination and review of executive and administrative standards and accountability.

It should be done and made public before they hire the next superintendent.

The scandal requires investigation and report by the Journal. It's what they're supposed to do. It's the reason why they enjoy Constitutional protection of their human right to be the press, in order that they can tell the people how their power and their resources are being spent. That so voters can hold politicians and public servants accountable for their conduct and competence in their public service.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Truancy; before and after

Truancy interferes with any model for educating children and requiring them to be in a certain place at a certain time doing the same thing everybody else is doing.

In public schools; schools where standardizing learning is the priority; students must be seated in one of thirty desks in five rows of six; cemetery seating.  There to be educated in unison with twenty nine other kids of approximately the same age and nothing much else in common.  There is no change in sight.

We can address truancy before it happens or after.
The one so much preferable to the other.

Truants are truant in general, for one of two reasons;

  1. reasons beyond their control, and
  2. because school sucks.
For too many students, school is hard and not much fun.
Except for opportunity to goof around with friends, largely
without regard for the learning of other students,
they see nothing for them at school.

To some extent, there is little to be done about that;
sometimes life is neither fun nor interesting and immature souls will rebel.  They will not work hard; they will not even attend; no matter what you do after they are truant.

On the other hand, we could agree that as long as reasonable standards are met, public school education should be as fun and interesting and individualized as it can be made.

Why not?

Primarily because standardization of individual educational performance is the top priority and more important than creating independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.

The most disturbing aspect of truancy in the APS is that "they" are going to talk about every possible solution except abandoning cemetery seating, standardized tests and standardized testing; likely the single best solution they could ever consider.

There is a necessary and perhaps inevitable choice to be made between individualization and standardization in public school education.

Consequently there is a need for open and honest discussion about the mission of the APS.  Should we continue to focus our energy and resources on the effort to standardize learning, or can we consider instead, individualizing learning; creating independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity?

The switch from standardization to individualization of necessity entails delegating power and resources.  School Boards and superintendents and assistant superintendents will not surrender willingly, the power they hold.  It's not the way they roll; it isn't in human nature.

They will resist however and wherever they can.

Primarily by stonewalling; pretending they don't know that there's a question before them.

Expect considerable foot dragging as well, from the people who sell standardized tests and standardized testing services worth millions and millions of dollars every year.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

APS School Board Member chairs really did cost taxpayers a bundle

In 2007, the "leadership" of the APS was about building for themselves, a fancy new board room in the bowels of their castle keep at 6400 Uptown Blvd.


Though there were real needs elsewhere for the capital funds they spent at 6400 Uptown, they built an utterly unjustifiable board room and went over budget.

I was informed that they paid more than $800 dollars a piece for the leather chairs behind the dais.  I have been trying ever since, to find out if the report was true.

I even asked APS Supt Winston Brooks during a press conference, if the report was true.

He became very upset at the question but promised me the truth "by noon".

I'm still waiting.

When APS hosted the candidate forum in the John Milne Community Board Room, I found myself randomly and ironically, sitting in Marty Esquivel's seat. I was able to obtain a model number from the bottom of a chair.

I contacted the manufacturer/dealer to inquire about the cost of the chair and was told;
The 5252 part number belongs to the Leader Upholstered chair. Unfortunately this chair has been discontinued but I can recommend the Leader Knit chair or the ReAlign chair as a replacement.
Those two fabric chairs before taxes run $950 to $1,212 for the Leader Knit, and $657 for the ReAlign, link.

APS Interim Supt Brad Winter will not tell us how much he paid for the chairs board members sit in twice a month for two hours.  At this point, $800 looks low.  Winter may have personally authorized a thousand dollars a piece for those chairs when at the same time, students at Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary School were attending classes in worn out portables with leaking roofs.

Winter steadfastly refuses to produce a candid, forthright an honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown.

Millions of dollars were spent sprucing up the twins.  They were spent at a time when auditors found in the APS Financial Department;
  1. inadequate standards
  2. inadequate accountability to such standards as there were, and
  3. inadequate record keeping
the trifecta of public corruption, embezzlement and fraud.

The Journal steadfastly refuses to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

Even in the face of a school board election and the hiring of Winter's replacement.

To their everlasting shame.




photos Mark Bralley

Journal endorsement baseless?

This is not about whom the editors endorsed (or didn't) link.

It is about the basis of their endorsement.

I aver and allege, their entire endorsement is based on the responses candidates wrote to six questions asked by the Journal.  Candidates were given 50 words; the equivalent of 20 seconds, to answer.

The editors did not actually interview a single candidate.

They chose to not cover stories that would influence voters, including but not limited to;

  • The ethics, standards and accountability crisis and scandal in the leadership of the APS, or
  • the possibility of community member seats on school board committees.

The endorsed candidates whom they may well never have even met.

They endorsed a candidate who on page one they write, link;
they must sue in District Court in order to compel to tell the simple truth about her stewardship of the people's trust and treasure.


I will bow of course, as usual, to controverting evidence.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Push back on the IPRA; time to fight?

In the Journal, link,

"New Mexico State University plans to propose extensive changes to restrict the reach of the state’s public records law – amendments that transparency advocates call “troubling” and vow to fight."
The people's power and resources will be spent in an effort to further insulate the people whose power and resources they are, from the ethically redacted truth about how they are being wielded and spent.

The power and resources belong to the people.  The whole truth about how they are being spent, belongs to the people.  Some parts of the truth enjoy ethical redaction.  The rest are subject to rather immediate production.
"NMSU President and former Gov. Garrey Carruthers said the effort stems from the university’s recent experience hiring a new athletics director.

... several qualified candidates pulled out of the running when they knew their names could be made public."
The government in the person of Garry Carruthers describes as still "qualified"; candidates whose basic dishonesty is evident to the eye.

How candid, forthright and honest are those "qualified" wo/men being with their current stake and interest holders?

What about the trust those people have placed in men and women who are hiding the truth
about their intention to stay where they are?

If the people created open meetings and public records laws from scratch, this is not what they would have come up with.  We got here because we failed to notice how bad it was getting and for how long; the people aren't feeling the heat.

In so far as sunshine is a disinfectant,
darkness is a disease; a most infectious disease.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of the servants.


This is a boiling frog, wikilink, moment in government in New Mexico.  This the place where the people are supposed to stand up and say no.

We cannot sit back and do nothing while control over our power and resources slips further and further from our grasp.

It only begins with hiding the truth.  There is a tipping point.
At some point it really will be too late to act.
If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?”― John E. Lewis


Friday, January 23, 2015

"... as we approach an off-the-radar, Feb. 3 school board election ...",

wrote, outgoing APS
School Board Member
Marty Esquivel in the
Journal in December,
in his I'm outta here
op-ed farewell, link.

Begging a question;

why is the February school board election
admittedly "off-the-radar"*?
*forgotten; ignored

Followed by; How can that be?
Skipping ahead through; who is keeping it off the radar?
to What and or who is the radar?

The "radar" are the pages in the Journal and segments of broadcast TV.

The school board election, more importantly the issues in the school board election are being kept "off the pages" of the newspaper and "off the broadcasts" of TV news.

They are kept off by the likes of the Journal and Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz, and  by the NM Broadcasters Association affiliate stations; KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV and their news directors and or owners.
The "radar" in this context doesn't include the small fry of the press, or even newspaper and TV reporters.   None of them swing a big enough bat to keep anything off the radar.

Truth be known, none of them swing a big enough bat to put something on the radar against the will of the establishment's press.

Walz and the like, whose nearly sacred obligation it is to inform the democracy; to keep elections on-the-radar haven chosen otherwise.

Those whose duty it is to spend their barrels of ink and hours of broadcasting reporting candidly, forthrightly and honestly on the spending of the peoples resources and the wielding of the power by school board members and superintendents have chosen otherwise.

Esquivel went on to wonder;
"... why the governance of our most important
public institution gets so little voter attention 
when there is so much at stake."
in the Albuquerque Journal; a newspaper that hasn't
really promoted a school board election ever;
whose surreptitious self interests are served apparently,
by little voter attention in School Board elections.

Are they complicit in the cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal?  Are they complacent?  Are they waiting for the scandal to ripen*?

*Not reporting a disaster,
so they can report on a bigger disaster.
Not reporting a small fire
so they can report on a bigger fire.




photo Mark Bralley

One of my opponents enjoys the support of some powerful politicians

The have invested some political capital in my opponent's interests in the election.

I am wondering if any one of them would like to invest some political capital in support of something that would serve everyone's interests; participatory decision making at the committee level in the leadership of the APS.

Seats for communities and community members
on APS School Board Committees.
Gut check time.

"Community members seats" surprisingly hard to sell

I have been trying for awhile to explain to groups of people who feel left out of decision making, that they can have seats at APS school board committee meetings; that the seats are there for the taking.

It doesn't seem to resonate.

Part of the problem is the jump from endorsing the possibility of community member seats to the possibilities of failure; what if, what if, what if.  We lose sight of the forest for the trees.

The question is not;
can participatory decision making at the committee level be made to work?

The question is;

Do we want participatory decision making at the committee level to work? 
Do school board members and superintendents really want to sit at roundtables with representatives of communities and community members and engage in open and honest two-way communication with the communities and community members they serve?
If school board members really want to establish more seats at the table, you could ask them;
do you support community member seats
on APS school board committees?
they would answer "yes". I do.

Any answer except yes,
including not answering the question at all,
means no.

There is no time, no day, no place where communities and community members have the close attention of the leadership of the APS.  No venue where they can expect to engage in any open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the people they serve.

There is no place where the leadership of the APS are expected to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service.

There are two seats on the Audit Committee; already, in school board policy.

It was pointed out in the recognition ceremony for the newest community member on the Audit Committee, that she had gotten the seat by "raising her hand".

A perfectly reasonable prerequisite of taking one's seat
at the table where one's interests are at stake.

Clear choice in school board election

Candidates who want to govern
with good intention. They promise to wield our
power and spend our resources with our interests
first. But they still intend to govern.
or
Candidates who stand in support of returning control 
over power and resources to those whose 
power and resources they are.
Candidates who would hold close, the control over
our power and resources to spend according to their
"good intention".
or
Candidates who would delegate resources and decision
making power to the lowest practical level.
Those who have voiced no objection to
decision making in meetings in secret
from interest and stakeholders.
or
Those would create community member seats on
all school board committees.
Those whose silence gives consent to the ethics, standards and
accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
or
Those who insist upon an immediate independent
 examination and review of executive and administrative
ethics standards and accountability in the APS.
Those who would then consider the findings of the review
in meetings in secret redacting as much of the truth
as the law and legal weaselry will allow.
or
Those would would consider the findings in open and
honest public discussion; redacting only what
the spirit of the law absolutely requires.
Those who hold the truth as if it were their own,
producing only what the law absolutely requires.
or
Those who advocate for transparency limited only
by reading the law ethically.
Those would rather have their own hand on the tiller,
piloting the district according to their "good intention".
or

Those who would change the
direction of the APS by
changing the decision making
model to participatory decision
making; government of, by,
and for the people.

Can you handle the truth? 
Can you help steer the boat?

Act in support of community member seats on school board committees.

Act like you care.




photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rules mean little to would be senior-most role models of student standards of conduct.

In the Journal District 4 profiles, link; please find evidence that the rules don't apply to everybody.

However onerous are the rules; they are nevertheless the rules.

One of the greatest obstacles for teachers and learning is the enforcement of rules that protect primarily, the rights of learners.

One of the greatest obstacles to the enforcement of rules is the permission of prohibited behavior.

When some are allowed to ignore the rules, then, in immature minds and reasoning; everyone is allowed to ignore the rules.  If not ignore, then "move" the line between the acceptable and the unacceptable.  The grayer the line, the harder it is to defend.

The rules of the Journal questionnaire and the process in general are onerous.  That positions on complicated issues can be explained in two minutes or fifty words, is self evident nonsense.  Fifty words, by the way, is the same as being given 20 seconds to respond to the question.

I protested the arbitrary and unreasonable constraint, and then I complied with it.

Not every other candidate did.

Those that did not, now owe students an explanation.
In words that every student can understand;

why are they expected to abide by the rules,
while you are not.
Why they are "expected to model and promote actual honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!" a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, and you are not?

School board members and superintendents establish and enforce standards of conduct on students.

Do we, or not,
expect school board members and superintendents;
to show students and staff what that looks like
to hold oneself honest and actually accountable
to the same standards of conduct
they establish and enforce on students and staff?

There is not one single school board member or senior administrator who will stand up as role model of accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!.  Not one who will stand up and swear;
I am ready and willing and able to show students what it looks like to hold oneself honestly accountability to standards of conduct including courage and character and honor.
If we really want children to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, some one is going to show them what they look like.

Who is going to show students what willing accountability looks like?  All day every day, children are witness to begrudging accountability.  They grow increasingly and only begrudgingly accountable.  Is that want we want?

Somebody needs to do something and
that "somebody" cannot continue to be
somebody else.

Unk first observed;
What is everybody's job is nobody's job;
a short story about four people named 
Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. 
There was an important job to be done and 
Everybody was asked to do it. 
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. 
Anybody could have done it, 
but Nobody did it.
Who is finally responsible for giving students the opportunity to make informed choices about the standards of conduct they will embrace as adults?

The very most basic question is;
Whether there are going to be honest to God role models for students and staff in the Albuquerque public schools.  Are we going to expect school board members and superintendents to model and promote honest actual accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!*?
*or any other higher standards of conduct than the law; the standards of conduct that all "higher standards of conduct" are higher than.

This is only about Character Counts! because according to past and current school board policy, those happen to be the actual standards of conduct for students in the APS.
This isn't really about  CC! per se.  This is about actual accountability to any standards of conduct at all that require their candor, forthrightness and honesty with stake and interest holders.

They, the school board and Journal et al,
are not going to bring up ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

Therefore, you must.

Insist upon an independent examination and review of ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

Insist that the findings be produced to public knowledge
before the next superintendent is hired.

Journal coverage; District 4

In the Journal this morning, link, a report on the contest in District 4.

About me was written;

A key part of candidate Charles “Ched” MacQuigg’s appeals to voters is that he wants to make the board more responsive to community and teacher input.

MacQuigg, 64, a former APS teacher, said he would like the district to hire an outside entity to conduct an ethics review of APS administration and its practices.

MacQuigg sued the district because the school board told him he could not attend board meetings, saying his behavior was disruptive. He vehemently denies his behavior was disruptive. A District Court judge granted a temporary injunction allowing him to return to board meetings.
To which I would add;
Not only do I vehemently deny that I ever disrupted school board meetings or did any of the other things they allege, but there is not one shred of actual evidence to support any of their allegations that I did.

And that the Chief Judge of the Federal District Court who reviewed the evidence found;
  • "... that it was what Plaintiff said rather than any non-verbal conduct that offended the Board and led to his expulsion."
  • "There is no serious question here that the speech that Plaintiff typically engages in at Board meetings constitutes protected speech."
  • "... that although Plaintiff’s remarks were addressed to individual Board members and APS administrators, his remarks could not reasonably have been understood as personal attacks on the persons to whom they were addressed."
  • ... the justifications offered by the Board are pretexts masking viewpoint discrimination.
The Journal chose to not report that taxpayers have spent nearly three-quarters of a million dollars on a non-viable defense in search of yet more admissions of no guilt.

Korte Armenta brouhaha - tip of an iceberg

The now public spat between School Board Member and candidate Kathy Korte and the $110K a year Executive Director Monica Armenta, link, is quite literally the tip of an iceberg;

Below the surface; yet to see the light of day in any Journal investigation and report;

  • Winter and the good ol' boys and girls' oligarchical structure doesn't include a venue where an Executive Director can question the performance of a subordinate without incurring the personal wrath of a school board member.  Or they could point to it.
  • Winter and the good ol' boys oligarchy doesn't provide a venue where an Executive Director can question the performance of a subordinate without incurring the personal wrath of a school board member. Or they could point to it.
    This though School Board members are often reminded specifically and explicitly; they are not to be throwing their weight around any where any time except during legitimate meetings of the school board.
  • There is no place in the entire APS where an employee can file a complaint, and where that complaint is guaranteed due process.  Or they could point to it.
  • The leadership of the APS spends millions of operational dollars every year, litigating their way out of accountability even to the law by means of expensive admissions of no guilt settlement with complaints who trade cash for personal vindication.   Or they would deny it.
  • There is no place where an employee can file a complaint against an administrator or school board member and where that is free of the appearances of conflicts of interests and impropriety.  Or they could point to it.
  • That there is a culture of fear of retaliation against complainants and whistleblowers.  Or they would deny it.
  • That there is an ongoing and deeply rooted culture that enables public corruption and incompetence by failing to provide actual honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence in politics and public service in the APS. Or they could point to those standards and to their actual and honest accountability to them.
  • That Korte and the school board to this day relentlessly refuse to talk openly and honestly about the standards of conduct that bind them and their actual honest accountability to them, points to their lack of courage and or competence.  Or they would discuss openly and honestly; their standards and their accountability to them.
  • It ended up in the newspaper; ergo Interim Superintendent Brad Winter and the good ol' boys aren't doing as wonderful a job as the Journal editors would have you believe, link.
If school board member Kathy Korte or any other school board member thought employees needed protection from administrators, she and they should have provided it for all employees long ago, and not just now and not just for her and their political allies.




photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How often do you get a chance to stand up for what you believe in?

When will you again?

I will read a petition of sorts,
at public forum tonight.

I will read it in the form of a motion.

It is your Constitutionally
protected human right to stand up in support of that motion. And by that I mean literally stand up to be counted.

Know that if you do stand up in support of the petition, you will be standing up in violation of School Board Rules of Decorum for school board meetings.

The consequences could include being removed from the meeting upon the order of the board and by their publicly funded private police force.

It takes a preliminary injunction from a federal district court judge to stop their
Praetorian Guard from ejecting peaceful poster holders from open meetings.
Though this is about the message and not about the messenger, the two cannot be separated further than my assurance that standing up in support of the motion implies support of nothing else, and not of me.

That said, the motion and me, because I will stand up at public forum to read it, should be part of the discourse around the election of new school board members and the hiring of the next superintendent.

Your real "risk and sacrifice" should you decide to stand up are; you can't really take back standing up, and you will have to get yourself to the John Milne Community Board Room in time for public forum.  The meeting starts at 5; the public forum usually follows within a half hour or so.
 
People have taken greater risks and sacrificed more profoundly surely, in support of your Constitutionally protected human rights to freely assemble, speak freely, and petition your government.

What better way to protect your rights than to exercise them freely?  What better way to say thank you to those whose sacrifices enable you, than by exercising them often?

A motion in support of community member seats on the APS District and Community Relations Committee.
  • Whereas the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Code of Ethics calls for the establishment of open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the communities and community members they serve, and
  • Whereas there is no regular venue where communities and community members can engage in open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and those communities and community members, and
  • Whereas participatory decision making including constructive study, discussion, and active participation by citizens is in the best interests of students and the best program of education in the community.
Be it therefore resolved;
There will be created on the District and Community Relations Committee, seats for communities and community members in order that they may participate as equals in the consideration of the disposition of their interests in the public schools*.

*The framework of which will decided during their very first meetings.
However it is organized, there will be stumbling blocks, not the least of which is;
One of the primary risks in any participative decision-making or power-sharing process is that the desire on the part the school board and superintendent for more inclusive participation is not genuine.
Because it is easy to mislead people into thinking they are making decisions when in truth the decision and the decision makers are already decided.
"There is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power needed to affect the outcome of the process". Arnstein
Participation without redistribution of power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless. It allows the power holders to claim that all sides were considered, but makes it possible for only some of those sides to benefit.
I hope we will agree and decide that;
  • The basic concept is a power-sharing arrangement in which decision making influence is shared among individuals who are otherwise hierarchically unequal.
  • Each committee member has an opportunity to share their perspectives, voice their ideas and tap their skills to improve team effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Participatory decision-making will ensure a completeness of decision-making and increase community and community member commitment to final decisions.
  • Participative decision-making will encourage communities and community members to participate meaningfully in organizational decision-making. It will create a sense of belonging to the organization. It will increase morale.
  • The conversation will be impartially facilitated in order to synthesize all the available information into the best possible decision.
I submit that school board members, in particular those who are running for election, owe their constituents a candid, forthright and honest response to the question;
Will you support a motion to create communities and community members seats at a roundtable discussions with the leadership of the APS as a part of District and Community Relations Committee meetings?
Any answer except yes, means no.




photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Journal coverage of APS School Board election begins - finally

This morning, Journal Staff Writer Jon Swedien began Journal coverage on the election, link.

The Journal reporter handed in the report late without notice or apology;

Early voting already has begun in the election ...
 He wrote about the stakes on the table;
 ... voters will decide who ultimately hires ... the superintendent and (will set) policy for the district, which has about 90,000 students, some 14,000 employees and a $690 million operating budget. emphasis added
And then, apropos of nothing in particular, (Kent Walz et al dba staff write Swedien) gave Interim Supt Brad Winter's public image a little boost;
Acting Superintendent Brad Winter has taken steps to improve that relationship (with the NM PED)...
Good for Brad! Go Brad!

The editors; Kent Walz et al, relentlessly choose to not point out that;
  • Brad Winter has negligently allowed or knowingly permitted public resources to be used to cover up a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators*.  
  • And or that
  • Brad Winter has not taken steps to produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd*.
*All anyone has to do to refute either or both of these allegations to produce the truth;
  • The ethically redacted findings of investigations of allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators, and or 
  • a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.
If they won't tell you the ethically redacted truth about what they did yesterday;
if they won't tell you the truth what they are doing today;
why in the world would you believe they will tell you the truth any thing the do in the future?

Whatever else this Journal coverage is;
it is not candid, forthright and honest.
It does not sustain the democracy.
It thwarts it.
It is a betrayal of trust.

It is at the very least, journalistic malpractice.

Monday, January 19, 2015

More "rules" for APS forum; now "no campaigning".

Candidates intending to participate in the APS School Board Election Candidate Forum received the following letter from the Board's Executive Director Brenda Yager; here quoted in significant part;

We received a question about campaigning on school property. There is information about this on the aps.edu website. Below are two important highlights. You can read the entire procedural directive at: link ...

Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, “campaign” means posting, distributing and displaying promotional literature; soliciting contributions; and meeting, greeting and conversing with individuals with the specific intent of endorsing one position and/or one candidate over another or persuading individuals to vote in any particular way.

Found at link

Campaigning on District Property

Elected officials, candidates for elective office and/or their representatives shall not post or distribute campaign materials and/or greet employees and students on district property unless it is Election Day as provided by state statute.

Persons shall not solicit contributions for any political campaign or receive, collect, handle, or disburse contributions or other funds for any political campaign within or on any district property.

Found at link.
Basically they're holding a candidate forum at which candidates are not allowed to persuade anyone to vote for them.

Seriously?

UPDATE; an update was mailed to candidates this morning;

I hope that you don’t mind that I’m sending this to all of the candidates. You asked an important question, and all candidates should receive information.

The rules do not apply to the forum tonight. All candidates are invited to bring brochures and fliers to tonight’s forum. After the voting site in the building closes for the day at 5 PM, we will have a table at the entrance of John Milne where the forum is being held tonight where all the brochures and fliers can be displayed. We can’t have any campaign materials present prior to the voting site closing though.

Signs within the room are discouraged since they are disruptive to people trying to see the candidates and for the cameras recording for the streaming and recording.

Thanks for asking for the clarification.

We’ll see you all tonight.
See how easily their silly old rules can be suspended at their will?
What's the point in having them in the first place?

A window closed today, on school board election coverage

There are a relatively few people in River City who care enough about government to actually do anything about it.

Tomorrow, their attention will be redirected from the school board election and the hiring of another superintendent to whatever shenanigans the state legislature has in store for us.  Whatever coverage the election could or should have had, was not delivered.

I am going to point to Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz, though he isn't the only member of "the press" who have deliberately left the democracy mis and uninformed about APS' spending of its power and resources.

When the founding fathers chose to offer Constitutional protection for the free exercise of the human right to be the press, it must have been because they knew how important the press is, in a functioning democracy.

Kent Walz demanded, and received I suppose, responses from school board candidates to their candidate questionnaire by 5 pm Monday last; a full week ago. 

All he had to do was cut and paste the responses and he chose to wait.  All he had to do was report to the democracy that there is a very important election coming up and they need to pay more than 3.7% of their attention.

What is he waiting for?  The questions is rhetorical. 
He is waiting for his routine day after the election
editorial harrumph over voters lack of interest in the election.

The wheels are coming off their train.  Their cover up of the cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators is about to be exposed. 

Kent Walz and the Journal's relentless refusal to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, is about to be exposed.

There is a public meeting tomorrow.  It will be held in the John Milne Community Board Room, link.

I refer to it as the Susie Rayos Marmon Board Room.  The board built the room instead of fixing leading roofs on portable classrooms at Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary School.

When the board bought the building, they promised to rent out half of it;
it was going to be a money maker for taxpayers. It became instead,
a money pit; millions and millions of dollars were spent "sprucing it up".












The board room construction was very expensive and over budget.  The construction was unjustified at the time and remains unjustified.  The actual number of dollars that were spent in its construction remain a mystery.

Winter here seen with Steve Tellez.
Winter was the "oversight" over APS'
publicly funded private police force. 
His failure to oversee competently was
the proximate cause of the corruption
in its leadership
APS Interim about to be interim for another year  Supt Brad Winter has been asked a number of times to produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of the money they spent there.

He steadfastly refuses to comply.

There is really only one reason to not tell the truth, and that is to avoid the consequences of the truth being known.

Brad Winter does not want you to know how much money they spent there and on what.  He doesn't want you review the record of his stewardship of hundreds and hundreds of millions of capital dollars.

More importantly, Kent Walz does not want you to know about APS' stewardship of more than a billion tax dollars a year.  Former APS heavy hitter Paula Maes' and her cronies at the NM Broadcasters Assoc affiliate stations don't want you to know.

It is up to you to spread the word.

As far as I know, the candidate forum tomorrow evening and the public forum of the regular school board meeting Wednesday evening, represent your two of your last opportunities to actually stand up to be counted somewhere in defense of your interests in the Albuquerque public schools.


It is up to you to attend and stand up to be counted.

There is no equivalent gesture,
there well may not be another opportunity.




photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Participative decision-making in the leadership of the APS - a grand experiment?

When I began research for this essay, I intended to write in support of my belief that school board meetings should be facilitated.  Just because someone is a committee chair, doesn't mean they know how to run a meeting efficiently and effectively and fairly.

My search ended in the Wikipedia.  I found an excellent chapter on participative decision making, link. I recommend it to your time and attention.

The article is lengthy.  My own feelings are simple;
what ever else shared decision making is, it is the right thing to do.  And now is the right time to begin it.

The about to be recognized community seats on the APS Board of Education District and Community Relations Committee represent a grand experiment;

Can the finest minds in the leadership of the APS and community design and establish a venue in which there can be open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve?
Do our finest "leaders" have what it takes to lead?

----------------------------------------------------

I would like to share some thoughts I found in the Wikipedia.
By way of attribution, the points below rely heavily on cuts and pastes from the Wikipedia.  My rephrasing and rewording would compel a confusion of quotation marks so I won't.

  • The basic concept is a power-sharing arrangement in which decision making influence is shared among individuals who are otherwise hierarchically unequal.
  • Each committee member has an opportunity to share their perspectives, voice their ideas and tap their skills to improve team effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Participatory decision-making in the leadership of the APS can ensure the completeness of decision-making and likely will increase community and community member commitment to final decisions.
  • Participative decision-making  allows and encourages communities and community members to participate meaningfully in organizational decision-making. It creates a sense of belonging to the organization.
  • Participation without redistribution of power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless. It allows the power holders to claim that all sides were considered, but makes it possible for only some of those sides to benefit.
  • One of the primary risks in any participative decision-making or power-sharing process is that the desire on the part the school board and superintendent for more inclusive participation is not genuine.
    "There is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power needed to affect the outcome of the process. Arnstein
  • Participative leadership will increase morale.
  • "Democratic decision making" involves facilitating the conversation, encouraging people to share their ideas, and then synthesizing all the available information into the best possible decision. 
  • "Consensus decision-making", gives the responsibility of the decision to the members of the committee. Everyone must agree and come to the same decision. This might take a while, but the decisions are among the best since it involves the ideas and skills of many other people. Team work is important in this style and brings members closer together while trust and communication increase.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Act like you care

Your interests are at stake in the school board election.
Your interests include a seat at the table.

You have no seat at any table around which the leadership of the APS; electeds and public servants, will sit.  Nowhere do you have their close attention.

There is an opportunity to claim "community member" seats on the Albuquerque Public Schools District and Community Relations Committee.  All you have to do is care enough to claim it.

Though one can act without caring, 
one cannot care without acting. unk derived
If you care about seats for everybody, know that
the seats aren't going to come free.  There will be a fight.
Freedom is not free.  Liberty is not free.
The free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights does not come free.

Do nothing and struggle forever in the futile attempt to assemble coalitions powerful enough to expect the school board's close attention.

Or; step up and claim rightful seats. 

When Edmund Burke wrote;
All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world
is for good wo/men to do nothing. Edmund Burke
these were the circumstances he was writing about,
and you are the people he was writing to.

If you want your seat at the table, you are going to have to seize it.  You are going to have to stand up for what you believe in.

The Journal is never going to write about community member seats on the District and Community Relations Committee,  There isn't going to be an editorial endorsing them or explaining the good and ethical reasons they are not.

The editors going to pretend it never came up.
As far as I know, the Journal hasn't been to a single candidate forum.  Voting has begun and the Journal hasn't even published the candidate questionnaires, much less investigated and reported on any of the real issues.

Your next and perhaps only opportunity to go somewhere, do something and be counted, will come at the Candidate Forum next Tuesday.

You can put the question of community members seats on a school board committee on the table.  You can insist that candidates respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly regarding their intention to honor your seats.
Do you support adding community member seats to the membership of the District and Community Relations Committee for the purpose of beginning open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the communities and community members they serve? 
Why, or why not?

Act.
Act now.
Act like you care.

Community member seats at the table where decisions are made that affect their interests.  An idea whose time has come.
"The right time to do the right thing, 
is always right now". unk

What might the first Roundtable look like?

It would be nice if we could come up with a table that was actually round; even if that meant folding card tables arranged in a circle.

The meeting would be facilitated.  Every effort will be made to maximize the meaningful participation of stake and interest holder communities and community members.*

*At this point the discussion is want to dissolve into defining terms.  Now is not the time to define terms.  The "terms" will be defined during the first Roundtable meetings.
However it is we figure out how to fold in stake and interest holders, we will fold in as many of them as we can.  We will become the top of the list when someone searches the  Googler for; "'best practice' in open and honest two-way communication between politicians and public servants and the community members they serve".
"The most important decision any group can make,
is when they decide how they will decide.
It should also be their first."
unk

The people sitting around the table will be in agreement on the subject to be discussed.  They might have for example, agreed to talk about a motion to change school board policy in order to accommodate a particular community or community member's interests.

Their collaborative effort will be to compile as complete an understanding of the issues as can be produced by open and honest two-way discussion characterized by candor, forthrightness and honesty*.
*Candor, forthrightness and honesty in communication is a tenet of APS student standards of conduct.  They are not (yet) part of school board and senior administrative standards of conduct.
At the conclusion, there will be public record of the discussion and any decision the group might decide to make.  The committee's decision is subject to only school board "consent" at the next "regular" meeting.

Don't debate right now, how this might or might not work.
It doesn't make a whit of difference whether it can or can't if we don't even try.

All you have to do is insist.

The terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people; not of their politicians and public servants.

All you have to do is insist!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Open letter to Albuquerque Tea Party Members

I am disappointed that I will not be able to attend your General Meeting.  Regrettably the timing conflicts with the School Board Candidate Forum being held in APS' central office.

I've been invited to write to you, so I will.

Whatever is your interest in the Albuquerque Public Schools, it is one of a number of interests who also want and deserve the close attention of the school board and superintendent; politicians and public servants.

Each of you has the inalienable right to sit at the table when your interests are being decided.

I propose those rights be honored by creating community member seats on the APS District and Community Relations Committee.

  • The board has a code of ethics.  The fourth requires them to establish open and honest two-way communication with the communities and community members they serve.
  • There is precedent.  The APS Audit Committee has community seats and they participate as full members of the committee. 
They honor that ethic currently, by providing to the people;
  • two minutes every two weeks and 
  • you are not allowed to ask questions
Seriously?

The terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people, not of politicians and public servants.  We tell them what to do, not the other way around.

The ironically but soon aptly named District and Community Relations Committee will become the venue for open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

If elected I will carry a motion that will create community member seats on the committee, to be shared according to their will.

Stake and interest holders will participate meaningfully; they will vote with board members in the committee meeting.  Only elected school board members will vote in a "regular" board meeting, adopting or not, the decision made by the sub-committee.

It is important to realize that there will be a seat for nobody until there is a seat for everybody.

No group or coalition of groups is ever going to be powerful enough to make the school board pay close attention if they don't want to.

You have to fight as hard for seats everybody, as you are willing to fight for your own seat.

Once we have a seat, we can;
  • clean out a rats nest, or
  • or assure ourselves by impartial independent examination and review, that a rats nest doesn't exist; that there is in fact, honest actual accountability to standards of conduct and competence that are high enough to protect the peoples interests in their public schools.
Based upon the findings on executive and administrative ethics, standards and accountability, we must create
transparent accountability to meaningful standards 
of conduct and competence 
for school board members, superintendents and senior administrators.

Before we can expect students to embrace honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct, someone is going to have to show them what it looks like.  Leadership begins at the very top and by personal example.

Ending the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS must be the first priority.  The incoming superintendent must be hired with the purpose of ending the crisis and not with covering it up. 

What ever is your agenda, I insist;
  • there is not a single legitimate agenda that doesn't move forward on the day that stake and interest holders take their seat at the table in the leadership of the APS. and there is open and honest public discussion of important issues. And
  • there is no legitimate agenda that does not move forward on the day politicians and public servants find themselves honestly and actually accountable to the people and to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.
If you want a seat at the table where your interests are being decided, all you have to do is take it.  Make your board honor your seat.

I'm willing to kick down the door*, but I can't be the only one charging through.  It just makes me look stupid or crazy.

*note to Marty Esquivel and APS's  many lawyers; I am not really threatening to kick down a door. I am writing metaphorically.  I never have, am not now kicking, and I never, ever intend to actually kick down any door any where.

As much as we need the one who goes first into the breach, we need more; the second and the third and the fourth.

People, I don't want you money.
I don't want you to make phone calls or
knock on strangers' doors.

All I want you to do, is to make an issue of;
  1. Your right to a seat at APS Community Roundtables at District and Community Relations Committee meetings. and of
  2. an independent examination and review of the Ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
Don't let them move an inch on hiring a superintendent until the findings of that review are solidly in your hands.




photo Mark Bralley


People who wait for the perfect circumstances to act,
find only a reason to not act ever.

Everybody says someone should do something
when what they really mean is somebody else
should do something.

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.
How committed are you to taking your seat at the table?
How committed are you to honest accountability to higher standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants in the leadership of the APS?

I'm wondering if you should adjourn your meeting, or a contingent therefrom, to attend and participate meaningfully in the most politically important forum there likely will be in the school board election.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Do you really think you are picking the next superintendent?

Do you really believe that the top ten attributes you "input" moves the needle* one iota? *"Makes a significant difference. This would be referring to the needle of a measurement instrument; moving the needle would be really showing up on the measurement scale"

Do you honestly believe your hand is on the tiller?

In the Journal yesterday, link, we read about the spanner being tossed into the works.

The board would like stand on the brakes.  Suddenly, they'd like to add another year to the process.

After all of their "help select the next superintendent" public relations effort before the election, afterward, the urgency will simply disappear.

Marty Esquivel, the only
one of them who cannot
be held accountable in
February, was the one to
float their intention in our
punch bowl.

He/they would like to give Brad Winter another year to “stabilize” the district.

Between you and me, Winter hasn’t figured out yet, a way to completely cover up felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators. And, their cover up of that cover up.

Apparently, they are having trouble finding anyone willing to take over a cover up whose wheels are falling off and is on fire.

Compare and contrast that with your ten most favorite attributes for the next superintendent do the math.

“I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get him to stay a little longer and push this out a little bit,” Esquivel said.
The difference between the perpetrator and the victim is,
every day the perpetrator doesn’t lose; they win.
Every day the victim doesn’t win, they lose.
Delay always works to the perpetrators advantage. Always

Justice delayed is justice denied.William Gladstone 1842 Always

Esquivel’s and their need to postpone the inevitable is being enabled by their squandering of our trust and treasure, and by the ongoing complicity of “the press”.

Can anyone explain or defend the establishment media's lack of interest in the lack of interest in the school board election?

Forget for the moment their sacred obligation to engender interest by reporting the truth.  How is the lack of interest itself, not newsworthy?




photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

APS Candidate Forum rules

The APS School Board welcomes candidates to the APS Candidate Forum it will host next Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

It will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. 
The forum will be broadcast live on KANW 89.1 FM and 
also streamed live on KANW.com and APS.edu.

(The)... event will give students, parents, families, staff and community members an opportunity to hear your ideas and thoughts on issues. Here are some details about the forum:
  1. Attendees from the community will provide the questions by writing them on cards and submitting them to the League of Women Voters volunteers.
  2. Similar questions from attendees will be combined by the League of Women Voters.
  3. There will be approximately ten questions asked over the course of the evening.
  4. Depending on the complexity of the question, each candidate will have one minute or less to answer each question. The moderator from the League will tell you how much time you have for each question.
  5. All candidates will be asked the same ten questions.
  6. Each candidate will have one minute to give an opening statement.
  7. Candidates within each district will draw lots prior to the forum to determine the order of response.
  8. Candidates who arrive after 5:30 p.m. will not be allowed to participate in the forum.
Most people will arrive at the meeting believing that they are going to get to ask questions.  A careful reading of rules 1 and 2 reveals that is not the case.  Your question will be filtered through their standardization process.

Candidates are not going to be asked;
If elected, will you support community Roundtables at District and Community Relations committee meetings?
Unless a whole bunch of people get together to ask the very same question;
If elected, will you support community Roundtables at District and Community Relations committee meetings?
Make sure that when the League of Women Voters "combine" your questions into one, it reads;
If elected, will you support community Roundtables at District and Community Relations committee meetings?


APS district and Community Communication Roundtables.

If roundtables, link, are a bad idea, someone ought to be able to explain why they are a bad idea.

Why are community roundtable discussions not "in the best interests of students"? And constituent communities and community members?

Let's make a list* of all of the good and ethical reasons that the District and Community Relations committee meetings should not include roundtable discussions.

*Not for the list; any issues that will be settled in the first meetings; meetings where decisions will made with regard to how decisions will be made.  For example; the actual number of seats; the role of the facilitator, and the impact of the decisions that the committee will be making.


Let the listing begin;


1.

Comment on "About last night"

Someone has left an anonymous comment on my post About last night.

S/he expects me apparently, post a largely ad hominem attack.  I have neither an obligation nor any intention to post it in its entirety.  I will defend my position on a couple of points hidden in the attack.

S/he claims I don't understand FUE; that;

FUE is a group of people who are not interested in power.
The argument is self-evident nonsense.  How can someone who suffers because they haven't enough power to successfully defend their interests, have no interest in power?

It would be like a football team with no interest in having the ball.  It doesn't make sense.
"FUE has tirelessly fought for a seat at the table in a professional and constructive manner and our success can be measured by the APS K.01 Family and Community Engagement Policy."
However tirelessly they have fought, APS K.01 Family and Community Engagement Policy, link, does not actually provide any seat, at any table, any where.
Albuquerque Public Schools affirms that the involvement of family and community partners is critical to student success. To better engage our families and community partners, Albuquerque Public Schools shall strive to utilize the histories and cultures of our families, community and students as the foundation of an educational program that ensures every student is eager to be a world-class citizen. Collaborative decision-making processes shall be incorporated in appropriate district actions to improve student outcomes.

Albuquerque Public Schools shall strive to actively build partnerships with families and the community by:

Fostering safe and welcoming environments
Strengthening relationships and capacity with families, teachers, school and district administrators and community partners
Expanding communication between families, community partners and schools
Cultivating equitable and effective systems
Point to the place where it creates an honest to God seat at any table any where.  Claiming, "Collaborative decision-making process shall be incorporated in appropriate district actions" did not create an actual venue.  If it had, FUE and other marginalized stake and interest holders would not still feel left out of the decision making process.  It would not still be an issue in the election.

The revised policy that the commenter claims she helped write and which "improved" the situation, actual struck down more powerful language than it provided.  The policy used to read;
The Board of Education recognizes that constructive study, discussion, and active participation by citizens is necessary to promote the best program of education in the community. To encourage this participation, the Board enacts the following policies.
Citizens Advisory Councils will exist to provide for greater community involvement in the educational planning process.The parents/citizens selected as members of committees should collectively be representative of the entire community and its varying viewpoints.
Tell me anonymous, when and where those Advisory Councils met and played host to open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

Other than raising two points; anonymous had nothing to contribute to the civil discussion of this important issue.

Not to mention; the board recently passed a new policy on public participation in "their" meetings. The policy, link, and the Procedural Directive it promulgated, link, subject any objective reading, further restrict participant's free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights to free speech and to petition their government.

I suspect the anonymous commenter is actually a school board member with a history of unfiltered commenting in social media.  A member who if asked, will not stand in support of roundtable discussions as an integral part of District and Community Relations committee meetings.

She's not alone.  Not one of them will.

Do have a date on your calendar, on which you plan to sit down and begin open and honest public
discussion of your important issues, with the leadership of the APS?  Could you set one?

If you don't, if you can't, and unless you have no issues at all with the leadership of the APS,
you have no seat at the table.

If you have to ask permission to sit at the table
you have no seat at the table.

When the question is,
do you and yours have seats at the  table?

Any answer except yes, means no.

Other candidates have choices;
  1. they can endorse monthly roundtable communication between the leadership of the APS and the communities and community members they serve. or
  2. they can explain why regular, open and honest two-way communication is not in the best interests of students, or
  3. they can chose to not respond, or
  4. they can not respond for some other reason that I cannot imagine and has yet to be articulated.
It's their choice, whether to engage in two-way communication with the communities and community members they serve, or not.

You need to make them declare their intention.
Don't vote for them if they won't.

They pick a side,
when they don't pick a side.

About last night ...

I am frustrated.  I see before me more than a hundred people with essentially one thing in mind; the want and want for power.

They believe, I think, that power will get them what they really need, but may not really want; a seat at the table where their interests are being decided upon.  The appearance is that they would rather have power than seats.

If power is what earns you a seat at the table,
then power is what wins at the table;
might makes right.  Be careful what you wish for.

Might makes right, wikilink, is a decision making model
as indefensible as it is unjust and disrespectful.

There are other decision making models; better ones.
I don't know of a better one than a "roundtable".

Imagine a round table, literally.
Surrounding it;
  • a workable number* of indistinguishable seats.  *the number and the decisions regarding how decisions will be made, will be the subject of the first meeting.
  • a seat for a facilitator and scribe whose responsibility it will be to keep discussions efficient and just.
  • the leadership, of for example the Albuquerque Public Schools; the school board and senior administration.  In any case, people who are powerful enough to say yes.
  • stake and interest holders in number up to the workable limit.
  • those there agree on a specific topic to discuss and debate. 
  • Each seat holder is given equal right to participate
If you want to have an APS Community Round Table,
all you have to do is establish one.

All you have to do to establish one is to insist that the APS Board of Education make roundtables part of the agenda at District and Community Relations Committee meetings every month.

All you have to do make your servants on the board pass a motion to create roundtables, is to overcome the resistance of board members who do not want to sit at roundtables.  There are more than you would think.  No sitting board member is fighting for public participation in school board meetings.  Quite the opposite; to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of operational dollars.


You have an opportunity to elect a school board member dedicated to a seat for you at the table.
You have an opportunity to elect a school board member with a decades long record of walking the talk about stakeholder rights.

If you elect me, I will fight relentlessly for your seat at the table.  You have my word.

Who else will?

Not one candidate as far as I know, has endorsed the idea of roundtable discussions of important issues.  Not one of them is really willing to let you put your hands on the steering wheel.

Powerful people tend to avoid situations where their power does not protect them.  They use their power to avoid having to answer awkward questions about the public interests and their public service.

When the question is;
Will you provide for us, a seat at the table 
where our interests are being decided?
Any answer except yes means no.

Stonewalling means no.

Pretending they didn't hear the question
means no.

If you have to have permission to sit;
you don't have a seat; not really.

Do you really want a seat?

What are you going to do about it?
Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.
What are you willing to do, really, for your part
in the fight for your seat at the table?




photo Mark Bralley