Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Let's Swap Some Fishing Stories From APS Lake

Maybe this happens to you in your profession as well. Lots of crazy things go on, so many bizarre events that when a news story comes out about one specific crazy thing, you wonder why the media isolated its energy on that one crazy thing when it couldn't throw a journalistic dead cat without hitting fifteen others just as crazy, illogical and downright bizarre goings-on in your workplace every week.

That's my reaction to the story of grade changing for Seniors at Rio Grande HS.

Yes, the story does have things going for it that your run-of-the-mill "what the Hell is going on at APS?" story doesn't have. You got your former APS Board Member & current Bernalillo County Commissioner involved. You have a school principal being overruled by a "cluster principal" (and yes, the use of the word "cluster" just so perfectly fits here with the more common usages of that term, if you know what I mean, i.e. clusterbombs, etc.). Not only do you have the principal getting overruled, but you have these quotes of almost unprecedented APS honesty from said Rio Grande HS principal Al Sanchez (the closing of a fascinating story by Susie Gran in the Trib):

This is the second time this year Sanchez has not had the backing of his superiors.

In December, he was criticized for violating district policy by taking a student off campus to a barbershop without parent permission. Acosta was among Sanchez's critics at that time.

"I'm already in trouble over this because the district came in," Sanchez said of the grade change. "And my teachers are very upset. Everybody's upset."

Sanchez said he wasn't about to overrule a teacher on a grade, regardless of the consequences.

"At least I'll go down helping teachers," he said.

This could be his last stand, he said.

"I'm dead, man," he said in an interview late Monday. "This sucked the last juice right out of me."

Okay, now not every bizarro event at APS results in quotes like that from a high school principal. I'll grant ya that. Still, if the typical Burquean with no ties to APS was being informed about other equally significant crazy doings in The District to the level of this grade changing story (my count so far: two Journal pieces and the Trib story), both ABQ newspapers would be printing double editions every day and the typical Burquean's head would explode from insanity overload.

And maybe those two potential results are reason enough to just throw all journalistic energy and public outrage into this grade changing story. It's all just too overwhelming otherwise.

I'll jump on the simplification bandwagon, and close with mention of just one of the hundreds of juicy details in the Rio Grande HS story. It seems that the son of former APS Board Member Miguel Acosta and Bernalillo County Commissioner Teresa Cordova had missed 17 days of his English class this year. 17 days. The stories I've read have been quick to point out that the young man had good reason to miss those days, but 17? I could go on and on about the need for students & parents (but most importantly students) to email teachers frequently when they have questions about missed work, but 17 days? And they're bitching about the grade? And the fact the kid could just go to summer school for barely longer than 17 days and make up for the lost time?

Okay, I'll stop head is already starting to explode. But let me tell you about this other bizarro APS thing....ah, why bother, it'd just drive you crazy anyway.


Anonymous said...

Maes said. "Every parent has the right to get in the faces of teachers, of counselors— especially at middle school and high school— to know what is going on with their kids because your kids are not always going to be forthcoming with you."

This is how the president of the APS board responds to the changing of a grade?
Get in the faces of teachers? Like it is our fault you didn't raise your child with any accountablity? Too little too late, just blame a teacher!

Natalie said...

It does drive me crazy... and I blogged about the same thing. 17 days and the kid and his parents don't know what's going on? C'mon. They supposedly knew what was going on when he was failing math and took care of that situation. How could they not know about the English deal?
It's so hard to be a political rockstar... and still get your kid to graduate from HS.
I read your column in the Trib.
Great article. Love the baseball analogy.