Monday, May 21, 2007

APS Teaches Us The Meaning of W.B. Yeats

To use the overused, yet still great, words of Yeats, we in the educational business are definitely "slouching toward Bethlehem" at this point. And yes, those words from Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" were used, again, in last night's Sopranos episode.

I won't get all Literature teacher with analogies between the poem and how it can be applied to APS in particular and K-12 education Burque style in general. I'll just say the school year is almost over. Thankfully.

That being said, the academic year might be ending, but the litigation and investigations continue. Now APS Board Member Marty Esquivel is calling for an independent look into the grade changing fiasco at Rio Grande HS. As I mentioned last week, "GradeGate" has received more than its share of press coverage, but it's still good to see: 1. An APS Board member doing something about anything; 2. Somebody calling for an investigation into how APS' administration operates ; 3. That newspapers have the same trouble with spelling I have, namely Esquivel's name is spelled "Esquibel" about half the time in the Journal story, at least the online version.

Last week, Johnny Mango over at Duke City Fix went so far as to call for Dr. Beth Everitt's resignation as APS Superintendent. Mango's post is well-written, compelling and almost makes you wonder if something really might happen in this regard. Maybe "GradeGate" + Inanely Implemented Principal Switcheroo (IIPS) = New Superintendent.

I don't know, but on this final week of the 2006-2007 school year it's hard to feel very celebratory. Instead it's easier to feel distrustful, bitter and unclean. Or as Yeats writes:

...and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

You don't want to go into a summer vacation quoting Yeats about the moral end of the world. Not even us Literature teachers want that. But that's where we are at this point. Slouching, definitely slouching.

6 comments:

Ched MacQuigg said...

I wonder why my blog is the elephant in the room.

I've never lied; I've never misrepresented any fact. Nothing in 858 posts has been refuted or rebutted by anyone. They are crystal ball accurate.

I have never demanded anything more than honest accountability to a meaningful standard of conduct. I have never demanded any thing more than a principled resolution of my complaints.

I have done nothing inconsistent with my advocacy for Character Counts.

? ??

as always, grateful for your time and attention.

Secret Rapture said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
history said...

There is no substitute for wisdom. When you set schools up to "look good on paper" the first thing we lose is our ability to do what is right. It looks good to have a high graduation rate, but at the cost of good preparation and high standards? Why not cheat? Why not change grades? and Why not social promotion? Accountability is a joke when no one is holding the students accountable--the future for teachers is not looking good right now. I think slouching toward Bethelehem might need to be replaced by getting on our knees.

skyhawk05 said...

Don't know where to turn on this issue of grade change and the entire mess with APS...? Any suggestions would be appreciated...

I have a daughter who did not graduate from Cibola... partly her fault and partly the people who are in charge at Cibola and APS.

First let me say that my wife and I are very proactive in our childrens education and up bringing. Unfortuanately we are currently in a transistional move to Arizona so I have been away from Albq. for the past 6 months with exception of a couple quick visits.

So the story goes like this... my daughter flunked a class first semester; took a night class for that procrastination (and partly the teacher, but I won't get into that) so she had told my wife and the counselor that she could not do the work and had a problem with the teacher. Counselor talks my wife into not letting her change classes as it is the easy way out for her (and we don't want to let our future take any easy way out as life is not easy).

So the second semster begins and she pulls a "D". She has to work her rear off and is given all the assignments and my wife checks on May 8th that everything has been turned in and accounted for... looks like she will make it.

May 11th comes and we are told that she is not going to graduate...

I call on the 14th for a grade review and am told that grades are in and not reviewable and grades cannot be changed.

May 14th at 5p.m on the local news my wife calls me and tells me that the Rio Grande case has just aired...

I'm furious not only for the way this kid got the grade changed but why he got it changed...

I called APS on the 15th and inquired how this could happen...? No reason given and it is of private nature is what I am told, but that they can now look at my daughters grades...

Quickly they come back and say "sorry she failed and the grades are in and nothing can be changed"

I again call and am told that she was missing two of the required projects (which the teacher had informed my wife that everything was turned in) she scored a 52 on her final (not good by a long shot and not acceptable to us) and that she had 10 unexcused absences...

I'm furiuos that the teacher has recanted what he had told my wife; but am more furious that we were never notified about the unexcused absences...

I looked up the attendance policy and saw that we should have been called or mailed something after 5 unexcused absences and my daughter should have been kicked out of the class after 10 unexecused absences. My wife and I were never notified of the "danger of failing" or that my daughter had any Unexcused absences...then Ms. Brown of Cibola goes on to tell me further that over the entire course of a year my daughter had over 50 unexcused absences for the entire year and not once were we ever contacted of this unacceptable behavior.

I have pointed all this out and have recieved nothing in return...they APS and Cibola refuse to acknowledge anything from me anymore...

Don't know where to turn and don't know of any lawyers if that is the route I choose.

My daughter is being held accoutable and is going to go to summer school so that is taken care of but someone in the system failed and failed terribly.

Please get a hold of me if you have any suggestions...

Steve L. Harris
505-514-5458 personal cell
928-763-6604 work phone
skyhawk05@comcast.net

frannyzoo said...

Steve:

Sorry about your less than fulfilling interaction with APS regarding your daughter. I'll still thinking your situation over while I finish up this school year. If I come up with anything even remotely semi-coherent in response I'll email you. The chances for coherence will go up a bit after today..a little bit.

skyhawk05 said...

Thank you any thing you might be able to suggest would be greatly appreciated.

Steve