Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Journal refuses to cover APS School Board challenge.

An effort was made to interest the Journal in;
the APS school board’s refusal to hold an open and honest public meeting about revisiting both an old school board resolution and their decision to remove from their own standards of conduct a role modeling clause which had read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult be lower than the standards for students.

I have been contacted by Journal reporter Shelby Perea who wrote;
“Hello,
I am not planning on writing about this.
Thank you”

To which I responded;
Ms Perea,
thank you for responding.
Shall I report this decision as your own or you following orders? If so, whose orders?

And later
I really don't want to be a pest, but you understand deadlines. I am about to report that the Journal has refused to cover this story. Upon whose desk should the buck stop? In the absence of an alternative, that would be yours.
And later still
May I have then, the name of the person to whom you report, in order that I might follow up?  If you will not identify your boss, will you at least forward this email to him or her?


I have yet to receive a response.

APS Board Character and Courage Scorecard

The Albuquerque Public School Board of Education has been asked to put on the table for open and honest public discussion;

  1. reconsideration of the 1994 resolution that created higher standards of conduct for students and promised them the adult role models they would need in reaching them.
  2. reconsideration of the board's removal from their own standards of conduct a role modeling clause reading; in no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult be lower than the standards for students.

When it comes to stepping up as role model, any answer except yes means no.


Dist. 1    Yolanda Montoya-Cordova       yet to respond or no?


Dist. 2     Peggy Muller-Arag√≥n              yet to respond  or no?



Dist. 3     Lorenzo L. Garcia                    yet to respond  or no?



Dist. 4     Barbara Petersen                      yet to respond  or no?



Dist. 5     Candelaria Patterson                yet to respond  or no?



Dist. 6     Elizabeth Armijo                      yet to respond  or no?


Dist. 7     Dr. David E. Peercy                  NO


Response from School Board President David Peercy


Mr MacQuigg,

As we have discussed at length in the past, the existing personnel policies/procedural directives on ethical conduct already do require all employees to be a role model for students.

And, there is considerable additional information and examples of what being a role model means in terms of actions. Being a role model indeed means that employees, including board members, are in fact held to a higher standard of conduct than those persons (eg students) who would benefit from the role model. That is the requirement for all APS employees.

I reference you to the policies and procedural directives in the APS website under the Personnel category. https://www.aps.edu/about-us/policies-and-procedural-directives/policies/g.-personnel/gb2-staff-standards-of-conduct

Sincerely,
Dr David E Peercy
President, APS Board of Education

I take issue with Peercy’s contention; that he is accountable … to a higher standard of conduct than those persons (eg students) who would benefit from the role model.

Peercy has made this claim before. As before, he does not name any particular standards of conduct. His reference to APS standards of conduct reflects that. Nor does he appreciate apparently, the difference between being "required" to be a role model and being "accountable" as a role model.

Following is the reference he cites with problems in parentheses.

“District personnel shall maintain the highest standard of conduct (saying “highest” standard of conduct is not articulating an actual standard) and act in a mature and responsible manner at all times. District personnel shall not engage in activities which violate federal, state or local statues (the law represents the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings not “higher standards” of conduct) and regulations or which, in any way, diminish the integrity, efficiency or discipline of the district. Employees shall be required to comply with administratively established standards of conduct.

Albuquerque Public Schools staff shall maintain appropriate professional behavior while working with students and refrain from harassment, malicious or prejudicial treatment, or abridgement of student rights.

Employees of the Albuquerque Public Schools shall serve as positive role models (a positive role model is by no means, a model of honest to God accountable to the same ethical standards of conduct that the board created and has enforced upon students) for students and set good examples in conduct, manners, dress and grooming. Employees shall be suitably attired and groomed during working hours and while attending district-sponsored events.”

Peercy’s response does not justify his refusal to allow the board to revisit the 1994 resolution in order to rescind, amend or re-endorse it. Nor does it explain why if he really believes he and the board are already accountable as role models, that they would refuse to discuss replacing in their own standards of conduct, their role modeling clause; in no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult be lower than the standards of conduct for students.

Peercy needs to stop claiming accountability to even higher standards than student standards; there are none.

There are no higher standard of conduct than APS student standards of conduct (per the Student Handbook) which require students to model and promote honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!; a nationally, recognized and respected code of “ethical conduct”. There is no process by which Peercy or any other board member or senior administrator can be held accountable to ethical standards of conduct.

Under Peercy’s rule, the board has spent literally millions of dollars on cost-is-no-object legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators. They are arguably unaccountable even to the law.

I call bullshit on Peercy’s response.

Gauntlet thrown down before APS School Board


I believe, because I have delivered an email to an appropriate email address for the board and asked that it be distributed to every school board member, and because I have the utmost faith in my contact for the board, that I have thrown a gauntlet down before each and every member of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education.(update - received notice this morning that the email had been forwarded)

Good morning Ms. Yager, 

I am wondering if you would be kind enough to forward this note to each individual school board member. I would be most grateful.

Dear School Board Member,
I write to you this morning fact check your individual positions on a particular issue.
I am reporting, http://ched-macquigg.blogspot.com/2009/04/coward-david-percy.html and others,

that David Peercy is blocking an open and honest public discussion of both the 1994 Resolution school board resolution (which created higher standards of conduct for students and promised that those students would have adult role models) and of reinstating the role modeling clause to your own standards of conduct.

I am prepared to report that there is apparently not one single board member who is willing to stand up to Peercy and express their open willingness to discuss these issues in an open and honest public meeting, and in particular a meeting with a public forum.

If you have a contradictory position I would like very much to report it. I am happy to faithfully report any response either way.

Are you willing to discuss these issues openly and honestly?

As the fundamental issue is role modeling; an overt response seems necessary. Student standards of conduct (according to school board policy via the Student Handbook) require candor, forthrightness and honesty in response to a legitimate question.

My editorial position is that any answer except yes, means no.

I am most grateful for your time and attention.

On my honor, I will dutifully report any response from any school board member.

With respect to their own honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service, and
With respect to “ethics, standards and accountability” in general in the leadership of the APS;
if the leadership of the APS; the school board, the superintendent and all their lawyers, had anything at all to be proud of, they would flaunt it.

That they will not because they cannot is outrageous.

So where is the outrage?

Monday, November 18, 2019

APS Superintendent Search Community Meeting number one

After opening remarks, participants were asked a number of questions about what they thought was important in the next superintendent.  Careful notes were taken and the characteristics were listed on flip charts.  The same for problems facing the next superintendent.

Participants were given sticky dots to stick next to the problems that they thought were most important.

Dots were counted and a handful of problems emerged as crowd favorites.  Likely they will vary from meeting to meeting.  There will be 11 more meetings including one each for employees and business and government officials.

That the board will then connect the dots and hire a superintendent accordingly seems unlikely.

Frankly, they have bigger fish to fry.

They need a superintendent who will help them keep the lid on the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

They need a superintendent who can slip in without having to comment on his or her service as a role model and their honest to God accountability to the same standards of conduct as they will enforce upon students.

It tried to gather some support for role modeling and honest to God accountability to meaningful standards of conduct, but the only dots I gathered were my own.

I managed at least to get them written down and that much harder to complete this whole process without the issue coming up.

School Board President David Peercy was there.  The meeting was being held in his school board district.   Every time I noticed him, he was on his phone.  School Board Members Barbara Peterson and Elizabeth Armijo attended as well.

I pointed out to the crowd and on the record, that Peercy is alone responsible for keeping the role modeling clause and the 1994 School Board Resolution on Character Counts! off the table and out of open and honest public discussion, for as long as he has been on the board.

Can't guarantee that he was paying any attention.
Like I said, he was getting a lot done on his phone.

How can you be a role model if the words themselves stick in your throat?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a role model as “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.” The notion of “inconspicuous role modeling” is oxymoronic. By definition role models must stand out.

There is not a single member of the leadership of the APS standing out as a role model for students. There is not one who will speak the words “role model” in the context of their obligations as the senior most role models in the entire school district.

They have in fact abdicated; abandoned their obligations as role models. The school board voted unanimously to remove the role modeling requirements from their own standards of conduct which used to read;

“in no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards for students”.
The school board has begun a public survey in order to find out what characteristics are important to stake and interest holders. You can participate online at https://www.aps.edu/, link

The board offers you a list of two dozen characteristics that they think are most important in superintendent candidates. “Click” on the five you think are most important.

You cannot click on “Willing to serve as a role model for students, of honest accountability to the same standards of conduct that s/he will enforce upon students”.

School board policy as enforced by the superintendent, requires students to model and promote honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; higher standards of conduct.

So unimportant it is, in the minds of the leadership of the APS, that in the time it took to think of two dozen “important” characteristics of great superintendents, role modeling never occurred to them.

Or, it did, and they have other, more sinister reasons for leaving it off.

They do not want to talk about role modeling.

More importantly, they don’t want to talk about the standards of conduct to which they are supposed to model actual, honest to God accountability.

You will have to “write in” your opinion on their silly little survey.

Please do. Seriously, do.

Else, your silence gives your consent.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

APS School Board Reneging on Solemn Promises


Following please find a resolution, read promises, made by the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education in 1994.

Though their resolution is a quarter of a century old, it is still binding.
Promises don’t have a shelf life.

The resolution has been neither amended nor rescinded. A motion to have the board reconsider the resolution in an open an honest public meeting has been tabled; forever.

A decade after resolving to be held honestly accountable as role models, one of several promises in the resolution, the board voted unanimously to strike the role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct. It had read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.

A motion to replace the role modeling clause in the school board standards of conduct has been tabled without public discussion and forever by School Board President David Peercy. link

Their resolution reads;
Resolution

To endorse and Implement Character Counts! Program in the Albuquerque Public Schools

Whereas, Albuquerque Public Schools reaffirms the need to join with other community groups to actively engage in the development and demonstration of ethical behavior among youth, adults, and

Whereas, the mission of Albuquerque Public Schools is to provide learners of all ages the skills and knowledge needed to become successful and productive members of a dynamic society , and

Whereas, the Albuquerque Public Schools recognizes that students in our schools are more likely now than in the past to experience family disintegration, homicide, drug use, teen age pregnancy, dishonesty, suicide, and strong messages from media and society that undermine home teaching of ethical values, and

Whereas, the Albuquerque Public Schools recognizes that no single community institution can instill ethical behavior in youth and adults if it is acting without the support of other institutions and groups, and

Whereas, the Albuquerque Public Schools recognizes the important role played by teachers and other adults in school settings in modeling good character for young people


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED;

1. That the Albuquerque Public Schools endorses the Aspen Declaration on Character Education as well as the Character Counts! Program as ways to develop character based on six core ethical values; trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship;

2. That the Albuquerque Public Schools will enter into community-wide discussions with other institutions and groups to reach agreements about the role of each in promoting ethical behavior among young people, and adults in various aspects of life;

3. That the Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to creating models of ethical behavior among all adults who serve students and schools;

4. That the core curriculum should continue to give explicit attention to character development as an ongoing art of school instruction;

5. That materials, teaching methods, partnerships, and services to support school programs shall be selected, in part, for their capacity to support the development of character

6. That all schools examine school curriculum and practices to identify and extend opportunities for developing character, especially through the utilization of violence-prevention programs, mediation training, community service programs, fair rules which are fairly enforced, democratic practices in classrooms and organizations, and extracurricular activities which help students learn and model caring and ethical behavior.

DATED this 2nd day of March, 1994

The resolution amounts to six solemn promises.

They won't even talk about them in a public meeting.

They cannot or will not be candid, forthright and honest with stake and interest holders, even though they tell students that their character depends on their candor, forthrightness and honesty.

The next superintendent of the APS must be willing to serve as a role model of honest accountability to the same standards of conduct s/he will enforce upon students.

Even if the board won’t.

Especially if the board won’t.

APS classrooms and schools are out of control

Or are they?

Chronically disruptive students are interfering with the education of other students.

Or are they?
It should be disturbing that there is no data to examine. More disturbing still; that that data is not being collected in the first place. Audit findings indicated that school principals routinely under report criminal activity on their campuses in the interests of maintaining a public image.

Ayn Rand argued that to fear to face an issue is to believe that the worst is true.

The out of control in APS schools and classrooms represents an executive and administrative failure. The board has failed to create policies that address the out of control. The administration has failed to enforce consistently, the policies that the board has written.

Or, everything is just fine.

The Journal could assign a report to investigate and report upon discipline in APS classrooms and schools. They have not. Ever.

If it could be argued; classrooms and schools are not out of control; chronically disruptive students are not interfering in the education of other students, then that would be good news.

The Journal cannot be accused of under reporting the good news about APS.
The Journal can be accused of under reporting the bad news; the news that reflects poorly on the most powerful people in the APS.

They can be accused of under reporting on discipline in the APS and of under reporting the underlying ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS that is causing it.

They are so accused.

Friday, November 15, 2019

APS students standing alone


In the mid-1990s, then US Senator Pete Domenici delivered a $30K federal grant to the leadership of the APS. The money was to be used to begin training in earnest to help students establish and maintain their good character.

The APS school board had passed a resolution in support of the effort. Their resolution is still binding albeit it; ignored.

When some students finished training, they were given a t-shirt. On its front and back, the shirt read;

Stand up for what you believe in,
Even if you are standing alone.

At the time, we were encouraging them to "believe" that their good character was important and that it rides on their honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

Then the board changed its mind. They voted unanimously to remove a role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct. It had read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.

A child standing up for what they believe in should not be standing alone.

There should be an adult behind them offering encouragement and an adult beside them sharing the effort and an adult in front of them, leading by their example.

The board voted, knowingly, deliberately, unanimously, to leave students standing alone.

Every generation expects the next generation to be the first generation to hold itself honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct.  ...based on assurances that it is important and not on personal examples.

If we want children to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone is going to have to show them what those look like. Someone has to encourage them, support them and lead them.

The APS board of education is about to hire another in a long line of superintendents willing to leave students standing alone in their effort to build and maintain their good character.

Stand up, speak up. Demand a superintendent who can show students what honest to God accountability to higher standards of conduct looks like.

Take APS’ online survey. link Demand a role model. You will have to write in your demand; they offer no box to check.

Show up at their superintendent search community meetings link.

Your silence gives consent. Plato

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The leadership of the APS is not transparent.


It follows then that, they are accountable for neither their conduct nor their competence within their public service.

The leadership of the APS claims to be transparent.

If contradicted, they will point to their “award winning” website and their communications dept.

The truth about transparency is that it isn’t about the information politicians and public servants are willing to share. It isn’t about the number of public records that they willing to produce.

Transparency has everything to do with the records they produce, and are records that they would really rather hide.

For example; the leadership of the APS, their lawyers, and the private investigators the lawyers hired in order that evidence of criminal misconduct can they gather can remain hidden from public knowledge, are in possession of public records that prove that there was felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.

And that that criminal activity was covered up by the leadership of the APS, their publicly funded private police force, their lawyers and an unlimited budget to underwrite cost-is-no-object “legal” defenses; all the litigation and legal weaselry they needed to avoid accountability.

Needless to say, those are among public records that the board would really rather hide.

And have hidden. And have spent perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars beating back public records requests for their production.

One more example; an easily tested allegation.

Imagine you are a parent wanting to buy a house in a neighborhood feeding “safe” schools. You don’t want to send your child to a school where there are a lot of bullies, a lot of larceny, a lot of chronically disruptive students, a lot of fist fights and other violence.

The data on those signs of trouble represent information that the leadership of the APS wants to hide.

Now the transparency test.  Have they resisted their interest in hiding the data?  Have they published it anyway?

Go to APS’ award winning website; try to find that data at any APS school. Even at APS’ least safe school; no matter how dangerous that school might be. Try to find any data that reflects badly on the leadership of the APS. It’s not there. (I haven’t read their entire website word for word. I will bow of course, to controverting fact.)

Try to get that information from APS’ $121K a year Executive Director of Communications.

If you have a lot of time and money to burn, try to get it from their lawyers.

The leadership of the APS is not transparent.

Ergo, there cannot be transparent accountability and,
consequently; there is no real honest to God accountability at all.

There is not accountability to any higher standards of conduct and arguably, there is not even accountability to the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Search Survey


The APS Board of Education is looking for a new superintendent.

They would like the community to believe they are participating meaningfully in that process. Accordingly, stake and interest holders can participate in an online survey, link

The Board has identified two dozen “most important characteristics for the next Superintendent.” Should one not find on that list, characteristics that they believe are more important than the choices the board has offered, they may write in only one of those.

Conspicuous in its absence from important characteristics; “is a good role model.”

The omission is not accidental.

More than a decade ago, the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education abandoned their responsibilities as role models. They voted unanimously to remove from their own code of conduct, language memorializing their obligations. They struck language reading; in no case shall standards of conduct for an adult be lower than the standards of conduct for students.

Since then, there have been double standards of conduct in the APS; higher standards for students than for their senior most role models. Board members and senior administrators, spending untold millions of dollars on cost-is-no-object legal defenses rendering them arguably unaccountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.

The board is planning ten community meetings. link

It is their intention that “role modeling” not come up in those meetings. It is their intention that “honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence” not come up in those meetings.

It is the responsibility then, of everyone who believes that role modeling and accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence are important characteristics of the next superintendent, to make sure that those characteristics are discussed, candidly, forthrightly and honestly, in those meetings.

At the very least, take the online survey and write them in.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

APS Superintendent Search Forum Nov 18

(So reads the title of a report in this morning's Journal and to which there is no link.)

The APS School Board is beginning its search for a new superintendent. The first public forum is planned for Monday, Nov 18, 6-7:30 pm, Sandia High School.

According to Journal reporter Shelby Perea, this will be an opportunity for “weigh in” on Supt. Raquel Reedy’s replacement.

Apparently Perea has never been to an APS superintendent search forum. Participants don’t get to “weigh in” in any meaningful way in APS fora.

For example, anyone who thinks they are going to stand up and ask direct questions will be sorely disappointed. Participants will be invited to submit questions in writing which will then be “filtered” to eliminate any “awkward” questions.

One will not be permitted to ask, for example;
will the next superintendent be expected to serve in the capacity of senior most administrative role model in the district? Will s/he be expected to hold themselves honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct that s/he enforces upon students? Will students finally see a senior administrator model and promote honest to God accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law?

They are reasonable questions to ask of any superintendent candidate.

They have not been asked in the last three superintendent search forums.

They will not be asked in the next, or the next, or the next.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

APS Mill Levy and Bond Issue election results disappointing.

On one hand, the leadership of the APS is not entirely incapable building and maintaining buildings. By in large, the nearly third of a billion dollars will be “spent in the interests of students.”

On the other hand, the APS School Board Code of Ethics will remain utterly unenforceable.

The board’s accountability to the NM School Boards Association Code of Ethics will remain a figment of APS School Board President David Peercy’s imagination. His imagination includes honest to God accountability to “the highest standards” of conduct; standards he is yet to specifically identify.

APS’ publicly funded private police force will continue to investigate the criminal misconduct of school board members and administrators and then turn their report and evidence over to the school board, senior administration and to their lawyers.

Stake and interest holders will continue to be told that they are not allowed to ask questions at public forums at school board meetings.

There will continue to be double standards of conduct in the APS. Students are expected to model and promote honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct. Their senior most role models are arguably unaccountable even to the law.

The role modeling clause will not be restored to the school board’s standards of conduct. In fact, its restoration will never be discussed in a public meeting. There will be no candor, no forthrightness and, no honesty.

Complainants will continue to be denied due process in complaints filed against board members and administrators.

The leadership of the APS will continue to meet in secret, in meetings they refuse to record, and over which there is no oversight, to spend other tax dollars on cost-is-no-object legal defenses for each other.

The leadership of the APS will continue to squander the public trust and treasure on all the litigation and legal weaselry they can buy to escape accountability to the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.

But what the hell,
at least most of it is being spent in the interests of students.



Tuesday, November 05, 2019

"A look at the Journal's 2019 election coverage"

This morning, the Albuquerque Journal covered its coverage of today's election, link.  They left out the part where they once again left out the part about corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

The Journal's coverage of APS school board member, bond issue and mill levy elections has set a new record.

There will have been now, seven school board elections and likely at least as many bond issue and mill levy elections since the Journal reported felony criminal misconduct involving the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded private police force.

The Journal has never reported that the whole thing was covered up by APS lawyers. No one ever went to jail; no one was ever prosecuted; no evidence of APS’ own self-investigation was ever turned over to the DA for her consideration.

"To fear to face an issue is to believe that the worst is true." Ayn Rand

Through more than a dozen elections around the APS, the Journal has managed to “not report” on ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

Not even to report that APS board members and senior administrators are actually, honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

That the Journal relentlessly refuses to inform voters about the truth about standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS through more than a dozen elections is inexcusable.

More importantly, it is inexplicable, except that the Journal is part of a conspiracy to cover up a scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Teachers are leaving. Why?


The reason people are not entering teaching is because they understand why people are leaving teaching.

The reason does not even begin to be addressed by; "...along with lack of respect for teachers..."

Saying that is one of the reasons teachers leave teaching is like saying heat is part of the reason for fire.

There should be a rule; you don't get to write about what teaching is like, unless you do a little teaching.

It is a remarkably easy for a good and qualified person to become a substitute teacher.

"Teach" in a regular classroom with a bunch of run of the mill kids who don't particularly want to be there.

A few of them want to learn and are as cooperative as they can possibly be. Most are capable of inadvertent misbehavior but respond to correction. A few do not respond to correction. A few of them do not respond to correction all day long.

The failure to prevent in particular, "chronically disruptive", students from interfering with the education of other students is an executive and administrative failure.

The school board will not write policies that prevent disruption of educationally efficient environments. The administration will not enforce such policies as they have.
 
If you really want to call a spade a spade; neither will politicians take a stand in favor of under control classrooms and schools.

Therefore, we will not talk about (or investigate and report upon) out of control classrooms and schools, and about why people are really leaving teaching.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

New NM Ed Sec Desiginate headed in the same direction

In the Journal this morning, an op-ed by NM's new education secretary designate Ryan Stewart, link.  To which I responded in comment and here.

It is the model that no longer works. It has not worked for a long, long time.

It turns out that you can no longer take two or three dozen kids who have nothing more in common than their age and zip code, and educate them in unison.

You cannot standardize the most individual traits of human beings; their capacity to and interest in, learning. Normal healthy children do not learn in unison. They cannot be made to learn in unison.

Untold amounts of time and energy are being consumed in classrooms by teachers trying to keep everyone learning the same thing at the same time at the same speed. Wasted is a better word.

Even if you could get kids to learn in unison; why would you want to? The relentless effort to kids to think together is pointless. For what are they practicing? Whenever else in their life will they be expected to think in unison with total strangers?

How can standardizing learning provide students with opportunities to pursue personal interests; one of the single greatest motivators in learning? There is no such thing as a disengaged learner. Engaging the learner is the first and most important priority. There is nothing about learning in unison that is in the least bit motivating to young learners.

Public education needs a new mission; to create independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.

That interest is opposed by those who make money or enjoy power under the current system. It is also opposed by those who fear a really well and widely educated populace.

If "cemetery seating"; five rows of six desks, upon which lie the same book, opened to the same page and more often than not, with a bored student sitting in it, staring at blankly at the book and teacher is such a great idea, why is nobody defending it?

Saturday, November 02, 2019

APS graduates lack good character


Not all of them of course. But all of them compared to where they could be if the leadership of the APS were willing to "lead" in the development of student good character; qualities that make them distinct from other people; the kind of person they are.

By deliberate decision, the “leadership” of the APS and the district have abandoned any effort to help to develop good character in students in APS schools.

If we want APS graduates to enter their communities embracing good character and courage and honor, someone is going to have to show them what those look like.

There is not one single school board member or senior administrator willing to show students what those look like.

Students need role models in order to develop character because
“Example has more followers than reason.” Bovee

APS students, without direction or support, and according to school board policy, are “expected” to “model and promote” honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; to higher standards of conduct than the law.

When the leadership of the APS was challenged to step up to real accountability as the senior most role models in the district, they voted instead to remove the language from their own standards of conduct that was being used to compel them to set that example whether or not they wanted to; whether or not they were able to summon the personal character and courage to.

They voted unanimously to strike their role modeling clause. It had read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult be
lower than the standards of conduct for students.

Students are being deprived of adult role models of accountability to the same standards of conduct to which they are expected to hold themselves accountable, or forfeit their good character.

Double standards of conduct now reign in the APS.

Worse, school board members and senior administrators are arguably unaccountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.

Character education has been dropped from the curriculum because there is no one in the “leadership” of the APS, no one, not one, willing to stand up before students and say; this is what honest to God accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence looks like.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

The APS board is under the effect of another unanimous resolution they made. Though it was made in 1994, it has only aged. It has not been amended or rescinded. Unless the board is prepared to argue that “their word” has a shelf life, the resolution is still binding.

In their resolution they reaffirmed the need to;

• actively engage in the development and demonstration of ethical behavior among youth, adults, and
• provide learners the skills and knowledge needed to become successful and productive members of a dynamic society , and
• recognize that students in our schools are more likely now than in the past to experience family disintegration, homicide, drug use, teen age pregnancy, dishonesty, suicide, and strong messages from media and society that undermine home teaching of ethical values, and the important role played by teachers and other adults in school settings in modeling good character for young people

They further resolved;

• To endorse the Aspen Declaration on Character Education as well as the Character Counts! Program as ways to develop character based on six core ethical values; trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship;
• That the Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to creating models of ethical behavior among all adults who serve students and schools (emphasis added)

• the core curriculum should continue to give explicit attention to character development as an ongoing art of school instruction
• materials, teaching methods shall be selected, in part, for their capacity to support the development of character
• all schools examine school curriculum and practices to identify and extend opportunities for developing character, and help students learn and model caring and ethical behavior.

And now, as far as students and a handful of educators are concerned, it’s every man for himself.

When APS was still about developing good character in kids, and students were still being offered formal instruction, some student graduates were given t-shirts that on their front and back read;
Stand up for what you believe in,
even if you are standing alone.
Students standing up for what they believe in, trying to develop and maintain their good character shouldn’t be standing alone.

There should be an adult behind them offering encouragement,
an adult beside them sharing the burden, and
an adult in front of them, leading by their personal example.

Starting with school board members and senior administrators.


Friday, November 01, 2019

APS’ next superintendent

When the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education goes looking for a new superintendent, they have in mind a superintendent who knows so much more than everybody else, that they and their vision can fix that which is wrong with the APS.

They search for a chimera; “a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.”

There is no one of us who is smarter than all of us; or more experienced, or better trained or educated.

It varies, but at any given time there amounts to tens of thousands of years of current and ongoing teaching experience represented by APS teachers.

There is no candidate who can come close to knowing what they know. It is an illusion; an impossibility.

APS needs a superintendent who is able to create a synergy; an interaction and cooperation among those who work in schools and classrooms that will produce a combined effect that is greater than the sum of their individual efforts.

There is no more important quality in the next superintendent.

Equally important; APS needs a superintendent who is willing to deal with the executive and administrative ethics, standards and accountability crisis head on.

There either are or are not; high enough standards of conduct and competence that apply to school board members and senior administrators.

There either is or is not, honest to God accountability to those standards. There are or there are not, due processes for holding school board members and senior administrators accountable for conduct and competence within their public service.

The next superintendent must talk candidly, forthrightly and honestly with stake and interest holders about ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

Either APS’ next superintendent will continue the cover up of the issue of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership, or s/he will not.

Will the board hire a superintendent who will listen to educators and address senior accountability issues?

A quick check of the Magic 8-Ball; shake, shake, shake...

"Outlook not so good”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

That which is wrong with the leadership of the APS


… is a historical failure to hold powerful people accountable for their corruption and or incompetence. In this context, the persistent permission of incompetence is corrupt.

From its very beginning, the leadership of the APS has been a good ol’ boys club. An audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found; administrative evaluations are subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement.

John Dalberg-Acton argued; “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

With all due respect Lord Acton, it is not power that corrupts. It is the opportunity to abuse power without consequence that corrupts, absolutely.

There a few consequences, if any, for APS school board members and senior administrators. They hide behind denial of due process for complaints filed against them. Internally, conflicts of interest dominate complaint processes.

Externally, they hide behind an eloquence of lawyers, litigation and legal weaselry. The District, read; taxpayers, are paying increased insurance premiums to its insurer as the direct result of the amount of money they are funneling from the operational fund to the coffers of local law firms.

They are underwriting cost-is-no-object legal defenses.
They are buying “admissions of no guilt” despite their actual guilt.

Their record cannot stand investigation.

Fortunately for them, the Journal will not investigate them.

The opportunity for powerful people to abuse power without consequence stems in no small part from their community. Powerful people at the Journal will protect powerful people in the leadership of the APS. That’s what powerful people do for each other.

This is not to say that the Journal approves per se of these specific abuses of power by the leadership of the APS;

1. the failure to establish high enough standards of conduct and competence,

2. the failure to hold themselves honestly accountable to those, or even to the law, and

3. their fundamental failure to protect from their abuse, the power and resources that the people have entrusted to their stewardship. The first responsible use of power being; to ensure that their power cannot be abused without consequence.

The Journal is not defending the abuses of power by the leadership of the APS. You don’t see editorials defending the lack of due process for complaints filed against board members and senior administrators.

Rather, the Journal is acting in defense of the arrangement; the good ol’ boy system; powerful people having each other’s back in the fight to avoid exposure of systems that allow powerful people to continue abuse power without consequence.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The leadership of the APS knows.

The leadership of the APS knows that they have been accused of inadequate accountability to inadequate standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

They know. Which begs a at least two questions;

1. If they could, why would they not simply publish their high enough standards of conduct and competence?

2. If they could, why would they not point to the due process(es) by which they can be held accountable to those standards?

Obviously, they cannot; they have neither high enough standards nor are they actually accountable to them.

The school board’s own Code of Ethics is by their own admission, utterly unenforceable. So much for their “higher standards” of conduct.


The fact that they spend millions of dollars on cost-is-no-object legal defenses in pursuit of admissions of no guilt, questions their accountability even to the law, the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.


Why would voters trust people with inadequate standards of conduct and competence and, who are arguably unaccountable to even such standards as they have, with stewardship over the better part of a third of a billion dollars?


Except that thanks to the Journal, they remain ignorant of the truth.

APS’ Praetorian Guard – The Journal doesn’t want you to know


Journal editors censored my letter to the editor this morning.  The letter was about the amount of money the leadership of the APS is spending on their own office spaces instead of in classrooms and schools.

One of the things on which they choose to spend operational dollars (dollars otherwise destined for classrooms and schools), is a publicly funded private police force; a modern Praetorian Guard. link

It is important to note; individually, APS police officers are decent men and women. They’re just following orders; with few notable exceptions. link

They carry commissions (read badge and guns) from the Bernalillo County Sheriff.  The MOU between the Sheriff’s Office and the APS prohibits them (or used to) from self-investigation of felonies.  That was made necessary by their police force’s self-investigation of state and federal felonies committed by senior administrators in the APS Police force.link

No evidence was ever turned over to the DA for her consideration for prosecution or not.

The language the editors struck had to do with the fact that the board’s Praetorian Guard is a police “force” not “department”.  A major distinction between the two being their loyalty; one to the law, the other to board members and (senior) administrators.

Isn’t that the kind of allegation that a decent newspaper would look into as opposed to erasing out of hand?   

What are they trying to hide?  

 Is there even a such thing as a Praetorian newspaper?

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Journal's endorsement of APS Bond Issue


The Albuquerque Journal (10/23/19) endorses the passage of APS’ mill levy and bond issue.  

In their endorsement the editors wrote; “The proposal will not increase taxes. … is a reasonable package… improving needed infrastructure and putting local contractors to work”.

Their position prompts one objection and one observation.  The objection is; the phrase “The proposal will not increase taxes” lacks candor, forthrightness and honesty.  Voters will pay higher taxes if they vote FOR a tax than if they vote AGAINST that tax.

The observation; this editorial is the first time that APS and the Journal have admitted that school bond issues are about “putting local contractors to work”. 

What they mean by “local contractors” is a very small group of APS favorites who (reportedly – but not in the Journal of course) benefit from a bidding system rigged in their favor and, who share between them around two hundred million dollars a year, in a district that is hemorrhaging students because they’re not educating students any better in fancy new schools than in aging, but well maintained, older schools.

Nobody has ever asked taxpayers before; are they are happy with half of every dollar they spend on education going to enrich a handful of local contractors and architects by keeping them busy? 

More importantly, as far as the Journal is concerned, no one has ever told them that that’s what’s going on in the first place.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hiding the truth speaks of a need to keep the truth hidden


Is the Albuquerque Journal censoring comments?

I posted a comment on the Journal editors APS school board member candidate endorsements.

In addition posting it on the Journal's website, to which I own a subscription of course, I posted it Facebook and on this blog.

Sometime yesterday it disappeared. A comment posted this morning on their endorsement of APS' bond/mill levy is missing already.

just sayin'

On one hand, it could be argued that decision makers at the Journal are under no obligation to report criticism of their work.

On the other hand, the nature of their work. Does their work include informing the democracy? I assume they claim to be a source of reliable information for voters.

If they won't acknowledge the existence of a standards and accountability crisis in critical comments, they must at least acknowledge the existence in some way. That, or they're just covering it up.

In the face of school board member elections and bond issues and mill levy worth nearly a third of a billion dollars, the Journal needs to attach to their endorsement of school board member candidates and bond/mill levies, their solemn assurance that APS school board members and senior administrators are actually, honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

If they can't do that, what are they really endorsing; who are they really endorsing and why?

Hiding the truth speaks of a need to keep the truth hidden.