The APS board of education is about to embark on another standards writing adventure.
The last one began six years ago when School Board Member David Peercy began his overhaul of policies and procedures. He is not yet done.
Among the policy revisions he is yet to broach in his policy committee, because they are too busy reconsidering every other policy first; whether the leadership of the APS should reinstate a role modeling clause in their standards of conduct. The role modeling clause was removed nearly a decade ago. It once read;
One of the aspects the board will review will be their code of ethics. They will reaffirm the existing code, link, amend it, or write another.
Every time they meet to discuss their new code of ethics, it will cost taxpayers around $600. Every meeting for every policy, regulation, rule or procedure they reconsider will cost taxpayers about $600.
It begs a fair question;
Frankly, yes it would. One could reasonably argue;If they could come up with a better code of ethics, would it be worth $600?
the higher the standards of conduct and competence,
the more likely is the success whatever endeavor.
But only if the board and senior administration are actually, honestly accountable to those ethics. Accountable by a due process over which they have no undue influence and powerful enough to hold them accountable even against their will.
By their own free admission, the board's current code of ethics is completely unenforceable. There is no venue where a stake or interest holder can file a complaint against a board member or the board, and where that complaint will see due process.
They will argue;
you can sue us; the due process you seek can be found in the legal system.Those who seek due process through litigation find out pretty quickly that there is no justice to be found in litigation. The board and whomever they decide to defend, have an unlimited budget for litigation even against the public interests. They spend without real oversight - subordinate oversight is not oversight. It is an oxymoron.
Witness my complaint against the board and former school board president Marty Esquivel.
All of the evidence and credible testimony substantiate the complaint; he violated my civil rights when he banned me (effectively, for life) from participating in public forums at APS school board meetings.
Rather than admit Esquivel's and their mistake, the board has spent nearly $750,000 in a non-viable defense his ego. They are prepared to spend $250,000 more; steadfastly refusing to settle the complaint.
Esquivel and the board are looking for admissions of no guilt.
They litigate without regard for cost in order to obtain settlement agreements in which they are allowed admit no guilt; no matter how guilty, no matter of what. Taxpayers pay millions and millions of dollars to buy admissions of no guilt for politicians and public servants enabling them to escape the legal consequences of their misconduct.
Need more proof that the leadership of the APS isn't routinely accountable even to the law? Consider the Caswell Report on felony public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.
Robert Caswell Investigations produced a report on their investigation of senior APS administrative involvement in state and felony criminal misconduct. Their report names the names of those whose felony criminal misconduct was covered up, and implicates former and current administrators in the consequent cover up of that cover up.
The Caswell Report is being secreted from public knowledge by means of litigation and legal weaselry. APS and their lawyers have written argument after argument on how the law allows them to hide the records. They have yet to write even one sentence about why they need to hide their record. There is only one reason to hide the truth; to avoid the consequences of the truth being known.
The standards of conduct that the board establishes and the superintendent enforces upon students require students to consistently expect from themselves more than the law requires and less than the law allows. In hiding these public records, the senior most role models of student standards of conduct are doing less than law requires by exploiting every loophole, technicality and weakness the law contains. And they spend millions and millions of "operational dollars" hiding records and avoiding deserved criminal convictions. Operational dollars are those that should, could and would be spent in classrooms were they not being squandered in courtrooms.
High standards and actual, honest accountability are part and parcel. One without the other is meaningless; actual accountability to too low standards is of no effect. Yet, even the highest standards mean nothing if there is not actually, honestly accountable to them. There isn't one whit of difference between the highest standards and the low, if the high standards are unenforceable.
APS' administrative and executive standards of conduct are unenforceable. Which is not to say they are never enforced, but rather that they are not reliably or even routinely enforced. Should they decide to violate a standard, even a statute, they have the wherewithal to forestall accountability for as long as they choose to continue to litigate.
The APS School Board has a code of ethics, link. It is hard to imagine a more important set of standards than one's own code of ethics. It is, by their own free admission, absolutely and utterly unenforceable. No matter how egregious the ethical violation, there is no process by which school board members can be held to account.
The leadership of the APS do not have a record of honest to God accountability. If they did, they would show it to you.
What is the point in writing and rewriting standards to which they have no intention to be held actually accountable? Except to create or maintain a beliefs or impressions that is not true? conduct expressly and specifically prohibited for students.
Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz has decided that his reporters will not investigate and report upon the standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS; even to report that there is not one.
He refuses to report that the leadership of the APS is not really accountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct; the standards that every "higher standard" is higher than.
Walz and his ilk at the NM Broadcasters Association affiliates will not investigate and report on the trust and treasure that have been squandered on litigation and legal weaselry in order to buy admissions of no guilt for board members and senior administrators who have violated the law.
Before the board considers revision of another standard, policy, procedure, regulation or rule, show us the beef! Show us when, where and how you will be held actually and honestly accountable by due process, impartial and powerful enough that you will be held accountable even against your will.
Else, don't waste our time or our money.
photos Mark Bralley