06 August 2009


In a report issued Wednesday by the NM State Department of Education, the Albuquerque Public School District logged a 46% graduation rate for 9th graders who entered the system.

Let me repeat that number.......FORTY SIX PERCENT.
Once more.........FORTY SIX PERCENT.

Now....why should I give a shit?
My kids are long gone from that sinkhole called Public School Education in New Mexico.
Mrs. 505 and I did our jobs as dutiful parents and fought the noble fight and made sure they got out of there in one piece.
I'm just gonna say that it wasn't very easy.
Especially when you are not only fighting the societal speed bumps that confront teenagers in the 21st Century, but it ain't right when elected leaders and the calcified layers of tenured education system bureaucrats throw up even higher and tougher speed bumps.

Which brings me to the dead horse.
Many years ago....2001, shortly after 9/11....the Albuquerque City Council initiated a program that is now common in most cities in America.
The Party Patrol.
In short, Federal Funds were secured (initially about 80K) to pay (overtime) for off-duty APD cops to DRIVE AROUND TOWN, looking for teenage parties where alcohol was present and issue the kids Minor In Possession Citations. The equivalent of a Traffic Ticket. With a standard sentencing/penalty of alcohol abuse training.
Doesn't sound bad, right? (if you can overlook the Constitutional Issues of search and destroy tactics by our gendarmes).
But the punishment did not stop there.
Each week, Albuquerque Public Schools (henceforth APS) received a list of all the weekend's roundups, and as per APS Policy, the accused (but not convicted) kids were immediately kicked off of any extra curricular activities/teams for the remainder of the year.
See where I am going here?
Ask any counsellor of teens and they will all tell you....The best thing for kids "rehab" is to KEEP THEM INVOLVED....don't give them a chance to dawdle.

Now here's what REALLY made me sick to my stomach about this Yossarian nightmare.
The President of the City Council in 2001 (and still today) was a gentleman by the name of Brad Winter. The Party Patrol was his idea, his program, he did all the work, he secured the funds, he wrote the bill and got it passed.
Brad Winter, at the time, had a day job as the Vice Principal of the Largest High School in Albuquerque.

Two years later I attended a City Council Meeting where one of the topics being debated and voted on was the renewal of the Party Patrol Budget (up to about 120K) .
I listened to all the Council Members wax poetic about the success of the program, heard the Police Officers Association express their satisfaction with the program (why not? lots of easy overtime) and heard about all kinds stats and numbers about how many citations were issued on average per week, per month, by age etc.
I took advantage to address the crowd (SRO--but for a different reason) and the Council.
I grabbed the microphone and looked at Brad Winter and asked him "Brad, those are impressive stats....over 3900 MIP citations issued last year....with that in mind SIR....can you tell me how many kids graduated from the High School where you work full time as a Vice Principal last year? And how many graduated overall from APS?"
No response.
"I didn't think so", I said.
I then asked each Council Member if THEY could answer that question about the High Schools in their district.
Same blank stares, not a single audible utterance from these "community leaders".
I followed up with a finger wagging admonishment directed at Mr. Winter and his cronies that went like "Shame on you, shame on you, shame on all of you....You can miraculously find funds to criminalize our kids, in order to give yourselves doorflyer data for your reelections, while our gymnasiums are dark, our fields are locked up, our kids musical instruments are being seized and the MIP numbers go up, while our graduation rates go down. YOU PEOPLE DISGUST ME".

I received a standing ovation from the overflowing crowd.

The bill to continue the Party Patrol was passed unaminously.

And in 2009, Brad Winter is no longer a Vice Principal (Still the City Council President...he has done much "good" and has the numbers to prove it)
He has moved up the inexorable bureacratic Public School trough and is now APS Director Of Operations. And more gyms are dark....more fields are locked....aside from Varsity Sports there are few extracurricular activities available for kids.

And our MIP numbers keep going up....and the cops are still happy....and Brad Winter keeps getting re-elected... and 46% of our 9th graders from 4 years ago just graduated High School.

I know of very few teenagers in Albuquerque who escape from this place without some kind of Criminal Record (I believe the going rate is 2 MIP's per teenager by the age of 18..and I know WAY TOO MANY who fail to graduate).

Someone.....please.....stop the madness.

(Final note to this long story longer....there was ONE year since 2001 when the funding for the Party Patrol was curtailed....shortly after Brad Winter's son---visiting over Christmas from Brad's estranged wife's home in Virginia---was cited by APD for a MIP and ARRESTED for criminal trespass for hosting a kegger in an empty apartment).

How....why.....do we elect people like this?
Are our School Systems littered with educators? Or self-serving wardens?

And as always.....it's just my opinion

1 comment:

  1. dont worry about the 46pc thing 505 the British never even had a 46pc literacy rate while they established their grand empire and probably no more than 5pc ever went to school///and dont blame it on the school system///the great unwashed are just not interested in education///a small elite always makes the world go forward