Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The APS School Board Declares A District-Splitting Snow Day...Again

Looking out my South Valley window it's hard not to again consider Burqueans the biggest snow wimps outside of Miami, Florida. The ground is sporadically covered by last night's freaky 30 minute horizontal snowstorm to a depth of one centimeter.

And Albuquerque Public Schools has gone from a two-hour delay to taking the day off.

Yes, I understand that amounts might be higher elsewhere, and that the roads are icy this morning. Really, there's nothing necessarily wrong with being the biggest snow wimps outside of Miami.

And given that Spring Semester for public school students is pretty much one long stretch of anti-academic standardized testing, Spring Break and staring out classroom windows as we await Summer, what difference does it make that school is called off for the day?

Meanwhile, a story by Andrea Schoellkopf in this morning's Journal relates the news that the APS Board nixed member Dolores Griego's idea of splitting APS into separate districts. Last nights inaction was the 834,431st time an attempt to make the system smaller has been repulsed.

And each time, all 834, 431 times, a "good" excuse has been offered for why a split isn't a good idea. Last night's "good" excuse was expressed by Westside Board member Robert Lucero:

"Now is not the time," school board member Robert Lucero, who supports a West Side split. The motion is premature because APS now has an interim superintendent and a potential legislative study on the issue.

It is worth noting that Lucero is not quoted as saying "the motion is premature because APS now has an interim superintendent", but let's give Schoellkopf the benefit of the doubt and assume that is Lucero's position.

And that is one very stupid position.

So is Lucero saying that:

  1. It is better to hire a new "permanent" superintendent, and then split the district thus totally changing the framework of both district and superintendent job AFTER hiring this person?
  2. That it wouldn't make more sense to do this while we have an "interim" (more about this in a second) superintendent, thus allowing a more empowered school board to step in and create a new district framework that would entice better candidates for the superintendent position?
  3. He doesn't realize that given the average tenure length of an APS superintendent the District will always be either hiring or about to lose its superintendent?
  4. That using the argument "now is not the time" because of fluidity with the superintendent's position could be inanely employed forever?
  5. That by using this argument Lucero pretty much admits that the APS Board has all the political acumen and power of your average Soviet Politburo under Joseph Stalin?
  6. And on the other matter, that he, Lucero, would rather wait on a "legislative study" as political cover for his own APS splitting plans instead of actually showing any leadership and getting the thing done?
I ask these questions without a complete conviction on the District splitting question myself. I'm 99% in favor of some sort of split, but another nagging question has me at just less than 100%:

If this is the best crew we can find to run ONE District, exactly how bad will it be when we dilute our leadership pool and try to run FOUR Districts?

The "Interim" Question

Lastly, I can report that, while I don't talk to that many people, every single person I've spoken with about the Schoellkopf Journal story of a few days back on Interim Superintendent Linda Sink's old stomping grounds, Albuquerque High, considers the piece a beyond thinly-veiled marketing campaign to have Sink hired on as "Permanent" Superintendent. As someone who teaches in a middle school which "feeds" Albuquerque High I can't say that I share the same level of academic ecstasy about AHS. From all I hear it's better than it was, but hasn't experienced quite the renaissance described in the story.

But in a media world in which 99.9% of public schools stories are horror-filled, a glowing front-pager like Schoellkopf's will play very nicely toward Sink's hiring made "permanent". If I were a betting man...oh wait, I am a betting man...if I were a betting man who set betting lines and took bets on non-sporting events like "will Linda Sink be hired as "permanent" Superintendent?" I'd say the line has moved from a 5-2 chance to almost even money.

It's also just about even money that whoever is hired "permanent" Super will be gone in three years, thus allowing the APS Board and Board member Robert Lucero another chance to put off enacting any meaningful or substantive initiatives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another thinly veiled endorsement for Sink. I guess Paula Maes has Blond Envy.