Monday, August 11, 2008

A New School Year and a Slightly Different Blog

I know I make far too many grandiose declarations, and keep far too few. For instance, in case you're wondering, no, the novel is not yet finished. It is true that I worked on it quite a bit over the summer. But no, it's not finished, and I wonder if it ever will be.

So take the next sentence or so with a grain of salty disbelief.

I think I'd like to take this here blog into more of a K-12 public school teacher education-centered direction. Even more so than before. This is for two main reasons: 1. Perhaps there is a worthwhile purpose in providing a more thorough examination of daily issues in education from an actual teacher/practitioner perspective; 2. I'm really sick of talking or even thinking about politics.

Having thought about things (a rare occurrence, I can assure you) over the last few days, I've come up with the following: I have a deep, wonky interest in public policy, but only a casual, spectator sport interest in "politics". The upcoming election, for instance, seems simply another variation on the Brett Favre soap opera or the National League Wildcard race.

Decisions about health care reform are very important. Whether Obama wears a flag pin or McCain forgot to pay his mortgage on his 8th house....not so important. Yes, I realize politics begets public policy, but there are tons of far more profound and prolific blogs/websites devoted to day-to-day politics. This seems true even at the local level these days, which is both encouraging and vital. Marty needs watching, as does the ABQ City Council, etc., and there are places doing that watching and performing it increasingly well.

So I'm gonna stick with big, steaming piles of education for the duration of this school year, focusing on the wonky side of things. And yes, that's a declaration, and yes, like politicians, you can't really trust declarations.

I'll start tomorrow with a return to the whole testing mess, bouncing off a recent comment here regarding how few tests we had "back in the day" compared with 2008. Exciting, I know. I can see the Burque Babble Nielsen ratings plummeting even as I type. Even below the already solidly meager figures.

Still, you know you can't get enough discussions of "lower bound confidence intervals" and "FAY ELL AYP". You just can't. Times that by roughly 180 (the number of days in a New Mexico school year) and let's see what we come up with by next Memorial Day. Maybe we'll have figured out K-12 education policy, utterly changed public school practices forever for the better and ushered in a bright, shining era of post-NCLB wonderfulness. Or maybe it will just be Memorial Day, 2009.

And, again having done a rare bit of thinking, those last two sentences kinda capture the thought process of every teacher going into every school year. On August 11th we're just like baseball teams as Spring Training ends and the season begins...we're in first place and anything is possible.


ched macquigg said...

I look forward to your new focus.

I am curious whether or not one question in particular will fall under your focus.

Should the leadership of the APS be held honestly accountable as role models of the student standards of conduct and competence; for at least the 6.5 hours a day that they hold students accountable to those standards?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm actually looking forward to the new school year now. Your take is so humorous and right on target I will look forward to your blog~

jscotkey said...

Anon: Thanks, and feel free to chime in with teacher comments if you happen by again.

Ched: Your questions through the months/year have had a tendency to make me cringe for two reasons: 1. I often can't understand them; 2. the answers tend to be terribly obvious.

And oh yeah, #3: they leave much to interpretation. I'm sure if you posited your question above to the Board and APS Admin. they would answer "yes" and they would believe their answer. If energized, they might even present an example or two "proving" their "accountability". At the same time, you and many others might not believe them, and find their examples insufficient.

Sorry to not answer your question and nit-pick the whole "question thing", but it's been on my mind regarding your manner of inquiry for a while now and now just seems to be the time....

ched macquigg said...

The answer to the question IS obvious.

The point is that I have asked them the question and they are stonewalling the answer.

They will not explain, defend, or even acknowledge that they have abdicated as role models.

They removed from their own standards of conduct the phrase;

in no case shall the standard of conduct for adults be lower than the standard of conduct for students; per the student handbook.

According to the handbook, students are expected to model and promote an nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics.

The new code of "ethics" that the school board passed for itself, does not mention the concept of ethical standards except in the title. Their code, by their own admission is absolutely unenforceable.

If you, as a teacher, want to file a complaint against an administrator, your complaint will be heard by another administrator.

You have no guarantee of a principled resolution of your complaint (impartial and consistent with agreed upon principles).

Every single previous impartial audit of the various divisions of the APS has revealed significant administrative failure.

Never have they allowed an audit of the entire leadership at once.

Paula Maes said, there will never be an audit that will individually identify corrupt and/or incompetent administrators.

There is little that is up to "interpretation". They are not willing to tell the truth about their record, hence their refusal to begin an impartial audit.

You may no realize it, but it has an negative effect on the educational environment in which you try to teach.