Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Burnt Fort family's homecoming at the family cemtery; my aunts are 96 and 84.

School Board Institutional Memory Flimflam

“Institutional memory” ranks one of those gaseous terms that marginally educated people seize upon. They don’t know what it means but think it makes them sound intelligent to use it.

So on May 13th, when we heard Ms. Edgecombe and Ms. Elia invoke “institutional memory” as if it clinched their right to continue the school system’s malignant hiring patterns, they thought they sounded erudite and irrefutable.


They showed that they didn’t grasp the simple meaning behind the bloated mouthful that has taken a malignant hold on their minds.

All “institutional memory” means is the history of an institution: its policies and practices since its beginning.

Board member Griffin, in criticizing transportation hiring practices, said the school board should change its job culture of “anybody who messes up, moves up.” Culture, of course, is part of the institutional memory or history of the schools.

When Griffin suggested changing bad hiring practices, Edgecombe and Elia jumped in with their mantra of institutional memory.

In effect, Edgecombe and Elia chorused, “Let’s go on with institutional memory. We like institutional memory’s bad hiring practices because so far the public hasn’t caught on to them. The clincher is that institutional memory has served to keep us in power. Hoorah for institutional memory.”

Boiled down, here stand institutional memory’s salient hiring features:

Ø Hire from within;

Ø Hire dumb if loyal;

Ø Hire incompetent;

Ø Cite “institutional memory” to justify the dumb-loyal-incompetent hires;

Ø When they fail, demote the dumb, incompetent denizens who caused the meltdown to their next level of Peter-principle incompetence to give them a chance mess up there too;

Ø Download a ton of taxpayer money as salary on these incompetents wherever they are;

Ø Rock on, racking up institutional memory until another meltdown occurs;

Ø Never learn by failure;

Ø Repeat the process until the last syllable of recorded time.

Griffin stands on the right side of history. Yet not one other board member joined her in voting against the corrupt culture of institutional memory.

Sooner or later, the public will catch on to board-ROSSAC official flimflam of institutional memory in hiring.

If enough people squawk, the abuses that make up the school system’s bad hiring patterns will give way to better practices. Out will go bad inside hiring; in will come good outside-competition hiring.

School board members will pull back from the malignant hiring policies that constitute the schools’ institutional-employment memory and sponsor better ones to maintain their incumbency.

Keeping their jobs is the Number One feature of board members’ institutional memory.

According to La Gaceta, board member Griffin stepped up in the transportation meltdown. I would love to know if it were she who insisted on an outside hire for the top job from which Elia reluctantly evicted the resident incompetent.

Elia claimed credit for the outside hire, of course, just as she claims credit for everything she thinks will give her good press. But I bet she fought it since Mr. Outsider wasn’t inside the system, so La Elia couldn’t be sure of his loyalty to her and institutional memory.

After all, inside hiring and ignoring outside talent defines how Elia got her own job.

Left to her own devices and guided by institutional memory’s malignant role, Elia would have replaced the incompetent top transportation minion with another of Elia’s incompetent, dumb inside sycophants or buddies. She might also have called in somebody from the school-wide snitch system that reports any whiff of opposition to ROSSAC institutio0nal-memory hegemony.

These unfortunates go to the Professional Standards Abu Ghraib for savaging and even firing.

Anyone who produces even a murmur against the holy ghost of ROSSAC stands in danger of firing according to the administrative dismissal liturgy of institutional memory.

After Elia’s rewarding a sycophant, a buddy, or a snitch with the top transportation job, institutional memory would roll on until the inevitable next mess up.

That is the way institutional-memory hiring functions in the school system: hire from within, never tap into outside talent, move the incompetent down a notch when he or she fails, and give nobody outside the school bubble a chance to apply for the job. Initiate a new round of bloated salaries at the taxpayers’ expense and sit back and ride the slo-mo train of institutional memory until the next breakdown. Then repeat the routine.

What is the cure for institutional–memory board addicts?

The voting booth, of course. Kick the institutional-memory bums off the board and bring in new people not addicted to the failed protocol of institutional-memory hiring that cheats taxpayers, students, and teachers of competent administrators. Elections can produce board members dedicated to the taxpayers’ wellbeing, not to that of Ms. Elia and her hangers-on.

Any Lamb or Valdes opponent in the next election cycle who explains to voters the Valdes-Lamb support of the institutional-memory hiring scam will be new board member.