Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Valentino talks collapse - "protocol"

For awhile, there was reason to believe that APS Supt. Valentino and I were going to sit down and engage in open and honest two-way communication regarding the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Following an effort to actually schedule the meeting, I have been informed;

it is protocol that the superintendent does not meet with anyone when there is a lawsuit pending or in process.
I have to admit, there is a lawsuit "in process".  The district is a million dollars into a non-viable defense of a former school board member's ego.

The protocol,
like every other protocol that prevents superintendents and school board members from finding themselves in situations where they can be expected to respond in good faith to legitimate questions,
is their own creation. No one more powerful than they, ordered them to refuse to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to legitimate questions about the public interests and or about their public service.  They wrote it and they will enforce it when it suits their interests.

That there is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS is evident to anyone who knows their record.  Any examination, however cursory or in depth, of their record shows it is one of a lack of accountability even to the law.

Ethics, in this context, are any standards of conduct higher than the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.  There is a (higher) standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.  Senior administrators involved in state and federal felony criminal misconduct have escaped accountability to the criminal justice system, and continue to spend operational funds to prolong their escape.

The crisis become a scandal when operational dollars, dollars that should be, would be, and could be spent in classrooms instead, are spent on litigation and legal weaselry in order to hide public records from public knowledge.
Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars into litigation, and they have yet to articulate even one good and ethical reason that the records they want to hide, the Caswell report and others, actually need to be hidden from public knowledge.  The only interests served are those who committed felonies and those who have been covering up their crimes ever since.
The big rub comes, in my opinion, when you consider both;
  • student standards of conduct and 
  • their individual and collective obligations as role models of honest accountability to those standards.
Student standards of conduct, link, are clear and unequivocal on the subject of accountability.
You hold yourself honestly, actually accountable to ethical standards of conduct, or you forfeit your good character.
There are those who would argue that telling children an old fable about a young boy, a shiny hatchet and a cherry tree, will inspire them to character and courage.

If we really want children to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone is going to have to show them what it looks like.

Every generation expects the next generation to be the first generation to hold itself honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct.

It's one thing to claim to be accountable to standards of conduct.  It's a whole different thing to be able to point to the due process by which even the most powerful can be held accountable, even against their will.  The leadership of the APS cannot point to due process for complainants.  Their record is diametrically opposite.

How then, can people who are manifestly unaccountable even to the law, serve as "role models" of accountability to ethical standards of conduct?  By their own admission, their own code of ethics is utterly unenforceable; much less a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

The crisis became a scandal when when the media picked the side of their friends in leadership of the APS over any effort to hold them honestly accountable for conduct and competence in their public service.

The Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV have a record.  Their record does not include an investigation and report on ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.  This though they have known about the crisis for years.  They know because I told them; over and over and over.

There are two reasons as far as I can see, that the local media would legitimately choose to not investigate and report upon the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS;
  1. there is no ethics, standards and accountability crisis, or
  2. an ethics, standards and accountability crisis is not newsworthy.
With respect to the second; if there is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, of any order of magnitude, it self-evidently newsworthy.

With respect to the first; every few years the district goes to voters for approval of hundreds of millions of dollars in mill levies and bond issues.  If there really are high enough standards to protect the public interests in the public schools, and if there is actual, honest accountability to them, how is that not information of interest to voters?

And even if Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz can't see why actual accountability to meaningful standards within public service is not newsworthy, surely someone in APS' million dollar a year public relations department would find it worthy of publication; hell, it would be on electronic billboards all over town.

The leadership of the APS, Kent Walz and the Journal editors, and Paula Maes' friends among news directors and owners of the NM Broadcasters Assoc. affiliate stations, have made a deliberate decision; they are aiding and abetting a cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of an organization that burns through more than a billion tax dollars a year.

All any of the has to do to refute the allegation of a lack of accountability is to
  • point to any evidence at all that there is actual, honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct for administrators and school board members.
All any of them has to do to refute the allegation that their lack of attention is not due to complicity or even complacency, is to explain how the crisis is "not newsworthy".
"You pick a side when you don't pick a side."
All that is necessary for the leadership of the APS to continue to cover up their crisis, is for Journal readers and TV news viewers to do nothing."
Edmund Burke derived
Put what pressure you can on the media, to investigate and report on ethics, standards and accountability in the APS

Do it now - lest you forget.
Journal, link
KRQE, link
KOAT, link
KOB, link

No comments: