Sunday, June 26, 2016

Report: Hundreds of thousands in Orange County are struggling financially (OC Reg)
     …[B]efore we boast about our quality of life, consider the grim statistics in the county’s annual Community Indicators Report, released last week.
• Nearly 1 in 4 residents lives in poverty.
• Nearly two-thirds of local jobs don’t pay enough for a worker to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
• Orange County’s cost of living is 85 percent above the national average, but its median income is only 42 percent higher than the nation’s median.
     The stark reality is that hundreds of thousands among our 3.2 million residents struggle against immense odds....
Accreditor on Life Support (Inside Higher Ed)
     The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools got closer to being terminated Thursday after the federal panel that oversees accrediting agencies voted to de-recognize the council, the largest national accreditor that oversees many for-profit colleges….

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

For-Profit-College Fiasco: Why a Watchdog Needs a Watchdog (NYT)
     Last year, the for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain collapsed under the weight of government investigations and allegations of fraud. Its demise left tens of thousands of Corinthian students with loans that will ultimately cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to forgive.
     This week, the private accrediting group that allowed Corinthian to stay open for business will face its own existential threat, when federal regulators decide whether to shut it down. That decision will go a long way toward determining whether education companies will continue to have free rein to profit from government financial aid programs.
. . .
     Considering the scale of what went wrong for many students enrolled in ACICS-accredited colleges, it’s hard to see how to fix things without government action. If the government’s committee does intervene, it will need to establish standards for what constitutes “bad enough” in college accreditation — and, thus, in colleges themselves.
     Many accreditors and colleges would probably prefer this didn’t happen. But given the severity of the problem, the committee may have no choice.
Scorecard for Accreditors (IHE)
The Education Department has created new data reports on the performance of accrediting agencies, using measures such as graduation and loan repayment rates at colleges the agencies oversee.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The SOCCCD saga: an update

     Perhaps you're aware that DtB offers an account of our district's history called the "SOCCCD saga." It's an interesting history.
     You can find it HERE. (It is among our "pages," some of which are indicated on the "tabs" above.)
     Recently, I appended an UPDATE, covering events of the last two or so years. Check it out.
     Feel free to critique it. I would be happy to add others' verbiage and ideas, subtract my bad verbiage and ideas. Anything to improve it.
     The update is, of course, at the end of the POST. Way down there. It's dated June 17, 2016.

I'm not a big fan of the bombastic and unsubtle Mr. Maher, but this rant is pretty funny.

Love this guy. He's a sort of contemporary Texas bluesman. His real name is Alejandro Rose-Garcia.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ten years ago...

Teapeople: that would be in the past, in 2006. OK?
In a possible world (Dissent; June 9, 2006)

Protecting life as we know it (Dissent; 6/13/06)

O HERE'S MY POINT. I am continually amazed by the short memory of SOCCCD denizens. Some battle will be fought--over, say, how to respond to violations of faculty rights, or, say, how best to approach the upcoming trustee election--and then, a few years later, the battle will be fought again, but with zero recognition that we’ve been through this before and that costly & important truths were then revealed.

That's when the Twilight Zone theme starts playing. Or maybe the Groundhog Day theme.

Let’s remember just what happened a decade ago. A small group of greedy and unprincipled and secretive faculty sought control of the Board by any means necessary, including support of right winged wackos, such as the Holocaust Denying Steve Frogue, the sleazy John Williams, and, a bit later, the acutely anti-faculty and anti-union Don Wagner, Nancy Padberg, and Tom Fuentes. (Maybe Padberg's improved since then.)

I recall a meeting—9 ½ years ago—in which the Faculty Association president was asked to explain the organization’s unprincipled tactics. We asked: How can you defend using a deceptive and homophobic flier? (See The homophobic flier.) How can you defend supporting a Holocaust Denier? How can you defend installing a slate of conservative anti-union Republicans?

We did all that--especially resort to the flier--she said, to protect “life as we know it." She repeated those words as if they were magic. "Life as we know it." Shazzam!

Some of us were upset by this answer. Some of us were not upset! That's pretty upsetting.

Face it: our current plight is, without doubt, a residue of that disastrous Old Guard victory of 1996. Protecting “life as we know it” by any means necessary has given us a board that hates faculty, a board that can't be got rid of for as long as Mr. Connected is around. (Maybe.)

So when you run into Mike or Sherry or Sharon or Raghu or Patrick or Curt or any of the rest, be sure to express your appreciation of history. Say: THANKS FOR THE MASSIVE & INVETERATE DISTRICTULAR SHITULOSITY.

And when somebody like me or Reb or Red comes along and insists on reminding you of events of the past decade, please don’t complain that that’s “old news” or that we’re just “complaining again” and “being negative.” No, that’s not it at all.

You know the Santayana quotation.

OK then.

(For a brief account of SOCCCD history in the last decade, go to Dissent's Very Short History of the District's Troubles.)

Shiny nuts and bolts (Dissent; 6/14/06)

Time passes slowly up here in the mountains,
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains,
Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream,
Time passes slowly when you're lost in a dream.

--Bob Dylan

Wow, what a great looking day! Took some pics this morning around my house. Check ‘em out!

On this fine day, only slightly diminished by news of Karl Rove’s good fortune, I drove to IVC to interview a prospective part-timer. He turned out to be just what we were lookin’ for, plus he’s a jazz musician, having tickled them ivories with the likes of Poncho Sanchez. Very cool.

I showed the Piano Man around, explaining about the general atmosphere of shitulosity. “Oh, I’m used to that,” he said. “I teach at Santa Ana.”


A few minutes later, I ran into a colleague who was bitchin’ and moanin’ about room A203, which is sort of attached to the Humanities and Languages Office. “Good Lord,” said the colleague, “sometimes I go in there on Monday and it’s up to here in trash!”

“Here” was his chest. I think he was exaggerating. But I’d heard this complaint about 203 before, from various others. Even the chest part.

He explained how often he had complained and how it didn’t seem to matter. “How hard is it to clean this room on some kinda schedule?” he roared. “Just how hard is that?! Why do I gotta keep callin’? Jeez!”

I got my camera and went in there. Though there wasn’t much trash, except some spillage from the trash container, the room did look generally crapulistic. Urinary even. The floor was Scuff City, the white boards were bird-shit grey, and the phrase “don’t give a shit” wafted lazily across the room.

Rebel Girl had called me a week or so ago to report that “they” were tearing down those shitty old temporaries that we’ve been carpin’ about on these pages over the last few months. Carp carp carp.

I told her I wasn’t about to drive way out to Irvine just to take a picture of that.

So, today, I checked it out. Sure enough, where the notorious “Shithouse” once stood, now there’s a big ugly empty lot, mostly dirt.

With trash. And chunks of asphalt. And big shiny nuts and bolts.

Oddly, I found a friend there, loitering peevishly. I walked up to her. She snickered and grumbled. Then she announced: “I think this is a hazard. They should rope this off.” She pointed to the nuts and bolts.

They didn’t look so bad to me, but what do I know?

“How come there are nuts and bolts?” she asked. She nudged a nut with her toe as though she were checking for signs of life.


I left. The sun was shining. There was a fine breeze. It was good.

People keep asking me, “So what’s happening?” But I dunno. Nobody who knows stuff tells me anything. Plus, I don’t wanna bother ‘em during summer.

One thing’s for sure, though. It’s during the summer when they try to get away with stuff.

Don’t be surprised if, when you come back, you find that they tore the college down and hauled everything away.

Except for those shiny nuts and bolts.

Finger paint fiasco (Dissent; 6/15/06)

An area of lawn at Irvine Valley College was supposed to evoke 
IVC students' “patriotism and piety.”

By Bud Towne

June 15, 2006

OK everybody, stick your hand in the paint and then smear it onto the paper!

That was the idea, anyway. Officials at Irvine Valley College sought to get a large crowd of students together yesterday in a bid to create the “world's largest finger painting.” The project is a part of a month-long campaign to draw attention to the campus by celebrating what some IVC administrators are calling “IVC’s awesome patriotism and piety.”

“Our students are way more patriotic and pious than students at other colleges,” chirped a high-ranking administrator. “So we decided to fingerpaint, since IVC is a school, sort of, and finger painting happens at school.”

“We had high hopes,” added a second administrator.

“Just think of it! We’d be in the Guinness Book of World Records! It would be the crowning glory of a long series of achievements at this fine college!”

But then, yesterday, no students showed up.

"It would have been great," said the first administrator, shaking his head. "I believe that world record holders get a free trip to the brewery."

"Eventually," said the other administrator, "we scraped up a few young scholars who were sleeping in the library.”

“But those guys had really small hands,” said the first administrator.

In the end, maintenance personnel were instructed to spray paint a large blue hand on the 100-yard wide piece of canvas on the lawn in front of the Student Services Center. But since it was the only image on the canvas, and it was smack dab in the middle, it looked tiny.

“It’s better than nothing,” said the first administrator.

“Yeah,” said the second.

For a related story, go to Smile...for the "World's Biggest Camera"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Still shitty after all these years; —PLUS: Roquemore of ages

Mr. Goo/Mr. GOP
     As you know, nowadays, former SOCCCD Chancellor (and inveterate rat bastard) Raghu Mathur is an adjunct chem instructor at the North Orange County Community College District (Cypress & Fullerton Colleges). It's his retirement gig, I guess.

     MR. GOP.
     You’ll recall that Mathur has always presented himself as “Mr. staunch Republican,” and he can always be counted on to join the chorus of “fiscally conservative” politicos and educators, denouncing taxation in any form. For instance, he routinely joined the old SOCCCD board—dominated by Mr. Fuentes and Mr. Wagner—in its distaste for school bond measures and any other measures that amounted to increasing taxes.
     (That's pretty ironic. That the SOCCCD enjoys and has long enjoyed the liberality of the “basic aid” boondoggle—an arrangement always popular among our GOP trustees—means, of course, that South County taxpayers spend far beyond the state average per student. More money spent = more tax money spent.)
     Now get this. Back in 2014, the NOCCCD pursued a bond measure for campus improvements, Measure J (see OC Reg). Despite being "the second-largest school bond in Orange County history," it achieved the necessary 55% voter support. It did so with 15 votes to spare! Whew!
     And who was there, at a meeting of the NOCCCD Board of Trustees one year later, thanking the board for its support of this bond measure and advocating construction of a new science building? Well, it was none other than the taxpayers' friend, Raghu P. Mathur, rat bastard extraordinaire. According to an NOCCCD newsletter,
Ron Armale, Cypress College Physical Science Department Chair; Adel Rajab, Biology Department Coordinator; and Raghu Mathur, Chemistry Adjunct Professor; and Jolena Grande, Mortuary Science Instructor, all thanked the Board for supporting Measure J, and spoke in support of a new Science, Engineering, and Math building, rather than renovating the existing facility. [My emphasis.]
     Mathur's hypocrisy will surprise noone who is familiar with the fellow's history in the district.
     About the vote: according to the OC Reg (Dec., 2014), Ned Doffoney, NOCCCD Chancellor (and former Saddleback College President), stated that “We’re humbled and grateful for the tremendous support of voters who participated in this historically low-turnout election.”
     I don't know why he was pleased about the latter. Ned can be inscrutable.

* * *
     Upon Googling "Raghu Mathur," one finds the fellow's name popping up even more recently, this time as a supporter of the candidacy of Old Guard Republican Ken Williams for OC Board of Ed. In the “endorsements” section of Williams’ campaign website, Mathur is listed as an “educational leader”:
Raghu Mathur, Ed.D., Chancellor, South Orange Conuty [sic] Community College District (Ret.); Professor, School of Education, Argosy University (Ret.).”
     Natch, Williams is no supporter of school bonds. In the “issues” section of his website, he declares that
I strongly support Proposition 13, and I oppose new taxes or bonds that deepen the fiscal crisis of our state and local governments. I oppose new taxes….
* * *

     On an even more dismal note, I wanted to remind you all that, starting July 1, Glenn Roquemore will be starting his fifteenth year as President of Irvine Valley College. (Glenn became IVC Prez on July 1, 2002.)