Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The future of decision making in the APS

Now that Gov Susana Martinez
and her Secretary of Education
Hanna Skandera have a seat
at the table; expect that the
school board will accept their
testing mandates a little less noisily.

And now that the teachers union has a seat at the table; expect union members' agenda to advance with less opposition as well.

Clearly power has shifted.  The formerly less powerful won seats at the table. The decisions will have a different flavor but there will be no change in the decision making model;

Board members and their interests will struggle over enough power to make the needle move in decision making.
The needle will move according to the will of the most powerful.
Still; might will make right.
Human beings when given power tend to abuse it.
It's the part of human nature of which Socrates wrote when arguing that power corrupts.

One of the manifestations of the corruption of power is the unwillingness to share the power; not even with the communities and community members to whom the power fundamentally belongs.

Neither new school board member has said a word about participatory decision making in the leadership of the public schools.  Nothing about community members seats on school board subcommittees.  Nothing about delegating power and resources down to where they are needed.

Nowhere in their plan, is a change in the decision making model.

Speaking of which; the school board intends to meet in secret tonight, link.
IX. Consideration for Approval to Convene in Executive Session Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act NMSA 1978 (§ 10-15-1 (H)(7)) for the Purpose of Discussing Matters Subject to the Attorney-Client Privilege Pertaining to Pending Litigation; Albuquerque Journal, et al. v. Board of Education of Albuquerque Public Schools, et al. and Threatened Litigation Related to Former Superintendent Brooks (Action)
The above represents their effort to be "reasonably specific".
Under the law; the NM Open Meetings Act, the board is required to be "reasonably specific" when they tell us what they intend to decide in secret from us. 

Reasonably specific can mean at least two things.
To the leadership of the APS, if it suits their interests,
it means sharing as little truth as the law absolutely demands.

The polar opposite approach, sharing as much truth as the law will allow better serves the interests of the people whose power and resources are being spent.

They could have been more specific about what they intend to do tonight and still not run afoul of the intention of the law.  The law allows them to be more candid, more forthright and more honest.

They could, without breaking the law have announced;
  • We intend to meet in secret tonight to decide how much money we are going to spend in litigation to prevent the exposure of public records that we want to hide.  
  • The money will come from operational funds; money that could, would, and should be spent in classrooms instead of on; cost is no object litigation against the public interests.
  • The amount of money we can spend is unlimited and is keep largely secret as well.
  • We will make our decision without oversight*.
  • We will not record our decision making.  There will be no record made that might be asked for by a judge at some later date.
*Neither self oversight nor subordinate oversight are oversight;
they are oxymora.

An aspect of governance of the APS that will not change is the enabling of the lack of real transparency by the establishment's press; the Journal and the NMBA affiliates.

Despite overwhelming evidence and credible testimony, they relentless refusal to investigate and report on the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Not that it makes any difference with regard to his responsibility to inform the democracy, but Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz is twixt a rock and a hard place.

Before he can report credibly on the ongoing standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, he has first to report credibly on his failure to report credibly on the crisis heretofore.

He's known about the cover up of felony criminal misconduct since February 2007, link. He's been complicit in or complacent about the cover up of the cover up ever since.  Any ignorance he might claim,can only be willful and deliberate.

He has willfully permitted or negligently allowed the leadership of the APS to cover up an ethics and accountability scandal for eight years.

All Walz and the Journal have to do, is to ask the leadership of the APS two simple questions and then report on the response.
  1. To what standards are you accountable? and
  2. by what due process are you accountable?
Tell the truth about APS?
All Walz has to do is ask the
questions and report on the

It's "newsworthy" either way,
though way too late to play
in the elections.

Walz and the Journal don't
have to do a damn thing except
ask, read, and report.

Before we hire a new superintendent, s/he and we need to know
1.  if the standards of conduct and competence are high enough, clear and unequivocal enough, to protect the public interests in the public schools.
And s/he and we need to know
2.  if there is due process* for complaints filed against school board members and administrators.
*Will there be a principled resolution of any complaint filed against powerful politicians and public servants?  Will there be a process free of their undue influence, and powerful enough to hold them actually, honestly accountable even against their will?
Is the new superintendent going to clean house
or continue sweeping the dirt under the rug?

Another fair question the Journal won't be asking.

photos Mark Bralley

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