APS superintendencies of late, have begun with a "fact finding tour" of the district; usually in a bus the stops at the gems and speeds by the chunks of coal.
Superintendents, senior administrators and school board members have jumped aboard buses and toured the district in an effort to learn what they didn't already know. (There would be little point in spending operational dollars on tours to relearn what they already know.)
I have for some time, challenged the bus riders to identify exactly; what it was that they learned on their long ride (and that they should not already have known*.)
*It is reasonable to expect someone who steps into a superintendency (and a third of a million dollar a year compensation package) to know pretty much everything they need to know to do their job well upon hiring.
There should be no need for school board members and senior administrators to "catch up" on important aspects.
What makes their fact gathering sham so insulting in particular, is that their tours never lead them to large groups of teachers in surroundings free of fear of retaliation, and where input can be provided by teachers and others who work every day at the educational interface; in classrooms and in schools.
If superintendents or school board members really want to gather useful information, they would ask teachers. There are more than 6,000 teachers in the APS. Between them, they share tens of thousands of years of recent and ongoing teaching experience. They share a wealth of knowledge and experience and have no seat at any table where decisions are made.
Yet no superintendent ever asked teachers (by means of full survey) what they think the problems are, and what they think needs to be done to address them. Never, not once, link.
They are afraid of what teachers might say if given the opportunity to speak the truth about administrative incompetence and corruption . They are afraid that teachers might point to the administrative failure to maintain order in schools.
They have been asked over and over and over again to simply point to a time, a day and a place where they engage in two way communication between them and the communities and community members they serve.
They have been asked over and over, to respond to legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service.
Their response has always meant and will always mean, no. No, they will not respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to legitimate questions about the public interests or about their public service.
Just so you know about what we're talking; a sampling of legitimate questions to which they will not respond;
Q. Why will you not produce ethically redacted public records of investigations into felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators and the leadership of the APS Police force? Why are you spending operational dollars on lawyers and litigation to avoid surrendering ethically redacted public records.
A. no response
Q. Why will you not restore the role modeling clause to your own standards of conduct?
In no case, shall the standards of conduct for an adult,A. no response
be lower than the standards of conduct for a student.
Q. Why are there double standards of conduct in the APS; higher standards of conduct for students, and the lowest standards of conduct for adults? (Students are accountable to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics; adults are not. The board, by their own free admission, is utterly unaccountable even to the code of ethics they wrote for themselves.)
A. no response
Q. How is it, that school board members and senior administrators can spend operational dollars on cost-is-no-object legal defenses; spending without limit and without oversight on litigation and legal weaselry in efforts to admit no guilt no matter how glaring and incontrovertible, is their guilt?
A. no response
Q. Is there anywhere, where a complaint filed against an administrator or school board member and where that complaint will see due process?
A. no response
I could go on, and on, and on, but what's the point?What the "leadership" of the APS will not do ever, is to sit down in any venue where legitimate questions can be asked of them, and in which a good faith response to those questions is expected.
When the question is,
will you respond to questions about the public interests in the public schools, including questions about your public service by answering candidly, forthrightly and honestly?any answer except yes, means no.
Yet they will continue to tour the district pretending that they're looking for the truth and, ignoring the sea of truth in which they are awash. The board and senior administration are trying to balance themselves on a bobbing cork; they want people to believe that they are accessible while remaining as inaccessible as the law will allow.
Until now, they have enjoyed cover provided by the Journal.
With regard to the Reedy superintendency, the Journal and Editor in Chief Kent Walz have been about habilitating the reputation of the heir apparent to the APS superintendency.
Their want and practice will manifest itself in a report on how successful the tour has become. The report will rely heavily on impressions penned already, by Reedy herself, link.
There is a glimmer of hope; Journal editorials have become more stinging lately. Maybe the tide is changing on Journal coverage; maybe stake and interest holders and the democracy will finally see more coverage of the truth and less of the spin.
photos Mark Bralley