Thursday, August 14, 2008

Slowly, Inadequately Getting To Know the New Boss, APS Superintendent Winston Brooks

Illustrating that "bad test scores" and outrageously poor media coverage of "bad test scores" aren't unique to Albuquerque, here are two fascinatingly un-in-depth stories on 2008 scores for the Wichita, Kansas schools. That's the 'ol stomping grounds of new APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. I don't relay these stories to make Super Brooks look bad or anything, just a reminder that things are tough all over, especially when it comes to any meaningful press "analysis" of this crap.

By the way, if you want to get horribly, horribly depressed this morning (and who doesn't?), read the six pages of comments to the Wichita Eagle story. Kansas certainly seems to have its share of racist, bitter, tight-wad losers, but relying on internet "comments" to make sweeping sociological speculations about a state or region of the country might be unfair. Relying on internet comments to be anything other than generally insipid and scarily angry is bad form, most probably.

And, of course, I am not referring to commenters to this largely unread blog. You guys did a great job yesterday, for instance, listing additional examples of "wasted days' in teaching/learning. Keep up the good work. While on the subject, we learned yesterday that my school will have a totally surprise, unexpected fire drill every week for the first month of school before going to the "damn, we forgot to have a fire drill this month and it's already the 29th, so we better have one sixth period" model that is the traditional norm.

And speaking of Winston Brooks, I see he's quoted in an ABQ Journal story this morning about ABQ students kicking ass (relatively) on the ACT this past year, and will be part of the panel on this week's KNME "In Focus" show. Outside of reading pathetically under-researched stories and scary internet comments from Wichita we don't know much about Super Brooks here, and it will be good to see him in action. Frankly, the first official email communication from him to teachers was a bit of a downer, not the rah-rah, "let's go win one for the kids" kinda icebreaker you'd expect. I think I have it around my Gmail somewhere....

It begins:

Dear APS employees,

I am writing to inform you that the APS Board of Education this evening
approved an average 6.9 percent increase in the cost of benefits for
Albuquerque Public School employees.

Most employees will be paying an additional 7 percent for medical insurance
and 7 percent more for dental insurance. Vision care coverage is not
expected to increase in cost this year.

If that's not an inspiring start to a new school year, I don't know what is.

But it's early in the reign of Winston Brooks (even if the average job stint of a modern urban superintendent is only 2.5 years), let's see how he warms up to the job this year both in terms of media/outreach and at 6400 Uptown.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

What? Didn't you receive your copy of "APS Perspectives"? That was the first "real" introduction/communication from Mr. Brooks.
I happened upon it by mistake. You know, the usual plodding through the website and accidently clicking on something 'cause I didn't know what the f I was doing... (Actually, I did, but this seems so much more dramatic.)

What do you think of his new District Goals?

Now there's a post for ya...

(Ha! Homework for the teacher. neener.