Monday, March 10, 2008

Lessons in Media Mastery 101: Your Classy APS School Board

I'm gonna take a wild, crazy guess and speculate that APS School Board Member Robert Lucero never orders the most expensive thing on the menu when he goes out to eat. He is most probably one of those guys who scan prices before the actual entrees, sees the second least expensive one hoping it isn't liver or snails, and orders away.

Of course I'm making this guess based on Lucero's comments regarding his preference for Linda Sink as "permanent" superintendent instead of the the Board's choice, Winston Brooks. I can't find a quote online, but the TV stations last night replayed portions of some weird non-public TV-only press conference in which Lucero mentioned that Sink was willing to take the job for $200,000, and he wasn't prepared to order anything more expensive than that on the menu.

Both Lucero and Marty Esquivel voted for Sink instead of Brooks, stating that they and the public preferred a local candidate over an out-of-towner. But for Lucero the fact the Board could get Sink at discount pricing compared to the $273,000 Brooks package was important enough for him to start blabbing away about Sink's offer in "public", while other Board members tried to shut him up for disclosing "confidential personnel" matters.

As a fellow overly frugal person, I have to step in and show some support for brother cheapskate Lucero. I, too, tend to order the second least expensive thing on the menu. I, too, think $273,000 is a big chunk of change to pay a superintendent. At the same time, I'd rather have a higher quality superintendent at a higher price than Linda Sink for a 30% discount. As mentioned previously, I'd rather not have Linda Sink at all.

Personally, I'd rather have a superintendent that can actually speak in public, thus eliminating the need for Monica Armenta's $110,000 salary as APS Spin Mistress. If Brooks showed anything during the dog and pony shows of the last few days, it is that he isn't shy about cameras or making comments. So ordering the more expensive entree, Brooks, and cutting out the Armenta appetizer would still save us a bit of money, brother-in-frugality Lucero!

Speaking of "public", what the APS School Board showed more than anything last night is that it has absolutely ZERO understanding of public relations, marketing, or news dissemination. Zero. To wit:
  • School Board holds strange press conference (Lucero frugality ranting included) on Sunday night. NOBODY holds a press conference on Sunday night, unless they are trying to publicly stuff a dead body into a car trunk. Perhaps APS was trying to do exactly that, and it showed.
  • Instead of a spokesperson (Board President Maes, for instance), the strange video event has all the Board Members seated and arguing, Lucero's cheapskate rant included. You stay classy, APS School Board.
  • Instead of presenting a united front to start the healing process, Board Members freely talk to media individually about how "disappointed" they are in hiring Brooks. As the media always likes controversy, naturally the clips show these "disappointed" members, while showing nobody explaining why the other five members DID vote for the guy. Why did they vote for this guy?
All in all, another stellar APS media performance. Maybe Monica Armenta can earn some of that $110K today and "explain" what all the board members meant to say last night when nobody was paying attention because it was Sunday night.

Meanwhile, overwhelming favorite Linda Sink is rebuffed. Dark minor chords play as she heads to Kansas to talk transition with Winston Brooks. While not preferring Sink as "permanent" superintendent, I find myself a wee bit sad contemplating the image of her on that airplane to Wichita. It seems nobody ends up looking good with public relations this bad.


Anonymous said...


Esquivel and Lucero were at opposite ends of the spectrum in wanting an insider/outsider candidate. When did Esquivel flip-flop and sit on the same side as Lucero of all people. Has Esquivel crossed over to the DARK SIDE?
PS. Saw the clip of thing he is an expert on is pouting. Rarely see such expressions outside of a middle school girl's room.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone in Lucero's district would run against him and win. Do they really appreciate him in their district?
I'm surprised Marty wanted Sink.

ched macquigg said...

I am particularly disappointed that Mr. Esquivel was willing to support anyone who will not hold themselves accountable as a role model.

He still supported Sink even after she refused to answer the question on role modeling, 3 times.

I can believe what I am seeing.

history said...

Didn't flatlander Winston Brooks say he wanted to make sure that the curriculum was "aligned" throughout the district? He implied that he could not stomach the mountainous variety of instruction going on within grade levels as he toured some of the APS schools. Imagine different environments, students and teachers going in divergent directions--here comes the messiah making the rough places plain as foretold (by prophet NCLB).
Teachers, prepare for prescripted education as it lands in Albuquerque by way of Wichita, KS.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the Wizard of Oz theme jokes to start. Hmmmm.... There's no place like home; or, We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto; or, I'll get you my pretty, and your individualized curriculum, too!

ched macquigg said...

By far the scariest thought expressed by any of the candidates was the thought that students district wide should be, or even could be, on the same page in the same book on the same day in every classroom in the district.

Anonymous said...

>>>Didn't flatlander Winston Brooks say he wanted to make sure that the curriculum was "aligned" throughout the district?<<<

As a parent, I welcome this idea. Parents are putting in for transfers, trying to find a school that makes sense. I know families that move across town & their kids change schools ... They tell me it is either "way better" or "so much worse" - How can it be this way? There is no consistency or stability. If you go to the district to help make sense of it all, they can't help, because they don't know what each individual school does - nor do they feel the need to investigate and change it.
I'm all for it! Come on in Mr. Brooks - stir the soup. Something has got to give!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is the transcript from KOB of what he said from the "members only" bench:


she would take this position for 200,000 thousand dollars the - the natio----excuse me robert- you know what i take a vote i"m going to explain my vote - we did not in audible---- confidentiality statement


i was never in support of 260,000 dollars and we are going higher than that what we have told this community here we go again telling this community its going to be 260 thousand dollars and we are going above that.

Cheers, Mi3ke

Natalie said...

Well... who says Brooks is actually going to get paid? If he actually gets a paycheck, it might be signed by Michael Vigil or made out to Beth Everitt or, *gasp* it might even bounce... considering the state of the finance/hr department.

I liked the idea of a district-wide curriculum for all of the same reasons Renee listed.

However, I did not particularly like Brooks' seemingly homophobic, bible-belt, man-huggin' joke.

He ain't half the man I used to be... considering he's coming from roughly half the size and half the population of APS.

Someone needs to tell him that "size" does matter...

That might send him packin' to SC.


God help us all!

By the way, when's the next school board election? (ha!)

ched macquigg said...

If I may, on the subject of district wide curriculum.

The curriculum basics are state law. Site based schools have more latitude in how the curriculum is delivered, but not really in "what" is delivered.

The more constrained the curriculum, the more constrained are teachers, who are then not able to teach from their strengths.

As a shop teacher, I had a strength in stained glass work. I wasn't allowed to teach it because it didn't fit the mold.

I can't help but think an actively engaged learner in any subject, is better than a bored learner in a "valuable" subject.

Teaching really is like herding kittens. It is a whole lot better to let them follow their noses, while you keep them out of trouble,

than it is to arrange them in five lines of six, and then get them to travel in the same direction, and at the same speed.

just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Uh, you don't say!! We have a state and a city curriculum? Of course we do. What I suspect Brooksie-boy is interested in is one "core" curriculum district wide. Site based schools--what a concept. These days, this only partially exists at schools that have made AYP.

If you work at or know teachers from R2 schools, everything is mandated. The "core curriculum," aka the overpriced packaged teachers' editions and students texts with the mandated pacing guides, rule the day. Teacher are told to focus only on math and reading. If the kids don't get the concept in math and it's time to move on to "STAY ON THE SAME PAGE" of the pacing guide, the justification for not teaching the student then is "don't worry, the curriculum sprirals--they'll get it next time". Let's see, the logic in that is that in a spiraling curriculum, you need the foundation to build on next time. Yes, the concepts are revisited but not specifically re-taught.

There is not room for teaching as an art anymore in an R2 school or with a core curriculum being required. It's all scripted. And, God forbid you should deviate from the core--GASP! You have been unfaithful and committed infidelity to the curriculum.

The big question--would Brooksie send his kid to a school that only focuses on math and reading? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

You know, when I was in APS we all used the same book and worked on the same things. If it was the planets this week, all the grade level teachers were doing it. Each teacher had their class do it a certain way.

These days, the teachers get together and set a rubric (sp?) for all the grade levels and they all do the same project. (which is what I hear is the reason for all these inservices - to collaborate)-

We have already lost that special teaching that each individual teacher brings to the table. The spiral concept, mentioned above, is the worst. This math has been an issue all over. Way before we introduced it. Search Math Wars online.

I'm ready to give Brooks a chance. The comment he made about not hugging the guys - I took that as hugging the two guys who voted against him - not what everyone has made it out to be.

I might be wrong- but I think he had more class than that. WTH is the reason for hugging your new employer anyway? I don't recall ever saying, "Wow, thanks for the job. Can I hug you all?"
I guess if I wanted it bad enough I would hug them. But NO, I wouldn't want to hug the guys/girls who didn't want me.

Anonymous said...

I just hope Dr. Brooks doesn't get corrupted before he returns after spending a week with Ms. Sink in Kansas...who knows what she'll tell him about APS

Anonymous said...

As a teacher in APS, I think we need a more standardized, across-the-board curriculum for every grade level and every subject and every level within every subject. Right now, there is just too much difference between classes supposedly at the same level and on the same subject even within the same school.

My second level Spanish students this year knew nothing. The teacher they had last year for level 1 taught them nothing. She didn't use the textbook. She didn't teach them grammar. She didn't even teach them the alphabet. Apparently, all she did last year was read them stories in Spanish and teach them songs in Spanish. That's nice and entertaining but not very useful. None of the students from her class could speak Spanish. They couldn't spell anything. They couldn't deal with even the simplest grammar issue.

This is an example of the kind of inconsistent instructional efforts seen throughout APS. It manages to keep everyone, students and teachers, at the same level of mediocrity that APS has been at for years.

In addition to standardized curricula with specific skill standards that should be learned at each level, I think there needs to be a passing exam at the end of each grade level and subject level. If a student passes it, she goes on. If not, she repeats the grade level or the course.

Oh, and by the way, I am so glad that Linda Sink didn't get the job. She was not the best candidate.