[*See correction/clarification below.] Ever hear of Orange County’s John Crean? He was well known—in some circles, not mine—for two reasons. First, his was a classic rags to riches story: starting in the early 50s with nothing, he built a nice RV business, Fleetwood Enterprises. Eventually, it became a vast tin-can-on-wheels empire. When Crean retired in 1998, Fleetwood was a $3 billion-a-year Fortune 500 company.
Second, he was a generous philanthropist. According to the Reg, he and his wife Donna gave to many organizations, including “Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, the Orange County Philharmonic Society, Opera Pacific, the YWCA Hotel for Women, the Crystal Cathedral, the Santa Ana Zoo, the Balboa Theater, the Children's Bureau of Southern California, and the Orange County Republican Party.”
At the time of his death at 81—that was less than three years ago—he lived in Santa Ana Heights.
For many, he was an icon of old-fashioned American can-do-itude. So, in 2000, he wrote his autobiography, called The Wheel and I – John Crean: Driving Fleetwood Enterprises to the Top.
Oddly, he wrote the book with Jim Washburn, the journalist (LA Times, OC Weekly, etc.). I kinda know Jim Washburn, cuz I knew this gal (she was my next door neighbor c. 1990) who occasionally sang with his rock band. Washburn writes about music, guitars, his penis, and even politics. He’s not the kind you’d expect to find partnering with a Christian conservative—albeit an interesting Christian conservative—like John Crean!
Crean and Tom Fuentes:
Stan Freberg (?!) and the other by our own trustee Tom Fuentes, who, evidently, was an old pal and associate.
Sadly, in 2008, about two years after Crean’s death, Fleetwood Enterprises filed for bankruptcy protection. At the time, the Press-Enterprise told the sad tale of hubris and decline:
Crean retired in early 1998, and forced the company to buy out most of his stake – 5.2 million shares of stock worth $176 million. He remained on the board for a year until he was ousted in a struggle for board control.But, again, the Creans got out long before things went south.
The same year, Fleetwood started buying up retail sales centers to catch up with their competitors who had been on a spending spree for dealerships to boost profits…Fleetwood took on a mountain of debt and eventually bought 245 retail stores to sell their homes, sometimes competing with their independent dealers that carried Fleetwood products.
Tom Fuentes, the retired chairman of the Orange County Republican Party, was a Fleetwood board member and a longtime Crean confidante. Fuentes said the company's leaders ignored two of Crean's biggest principles. They expanded from manufacturing to retailing, and borrowed money to do it.
Crean abhorred debt and had wanted to reinvest profits into the company and its manufacturing processes. Owning retail sites brought Fleetwood more issues than its leadership could deal with, Fuentes said. It meant buying real estate and hiring sales personnel.
"John's idea was to allow dealers, whose livelihood depends on it, to sell the product," Fuentes said. "Management getting into retail was a completely different story."….
Fuentes, who was voted off Fleetwood's board after Crean and his son, Andrew, were ousted, said he has seen a similar pattern in other businesses. An entrepreneur starts a business and spends 40 years making it successful. But the next generation's leaders believe they can go one better and are willing to break the original mold to do it….
Crean Lutheran South High School (CLS):
Well, one of the Creans’ special projects was the establishment of the [Crean] Lutheran South High School (CLS) in Irvine—the belated twin of Orange Lutheran high school, in Orange. (Oddly enough, the northern school is located just yards from my childhood home.) The Creans provided $350K in seed money in 2003 and pledged another $10 million in 2007, when the school opened.
Naturally, the school, with about 300 kids, is unmistakably religious. And why not? As the school’s website often reminds us, CLS is “decidedly Christian, distinctively excellent.” The school, says CLS’s website,
teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God's Word and Sacraments...The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.Yep, sounds Lutheran all right. That stuff never did make any sense to me. I sported a quizzical look during my teenage years, you know. This's why.
And these Lutherans are pretty conservative, too. The CLS website sports videos, including a presentation by well-known conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt and his conversation with a CLS official on his program.
Check out these videos. Hewitt’s historical notions are, um, pretty special. As a Christian, he says, you’ve gotta know about history. That means you've got to know about the Jews, who gave us Jesus. Then you’ve gotta know about the Romans, who spread Christianity. Then, he says, you’ve gotta know about “the English.”
The English? I think he's skipping a few chapters.
Well, again, this is all well and good. If the Crean Lutherans wanna hang out with the likes of Hugh Hewitt and teach goofy history, then more power to ‘em, I say.
Irvine Valley College: contract ed at CLS
But now get this. This morning, it came to my attention that Irvine Valley College offers some of its credit courses at CLS! [CORRECTION (SEE BELOW): It does, but, contrary to the impression left by IVC's schedule of classes, these are not regular offerings but special "contract ed" courses open only to a specific population, namely, students of CLS.]
I already knew about our “early college” program [see note below], which has our instructors teaching college classes to allegedly prepared kids at Tustin, Irvine, and Lake Forest high schools. Some faculty feel that such instruction—i.e., facing a room full of young and unruly and unprepared high school kids—will inevitably experience powerful pressures to lower standards—perhaps to a place south of "college." Teachers know how that can happen—how hard it is to just hand out Ds and Fs, if that's what's called for.
But I didn’t know we were teaching at this Lutheran school too! [CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: I have been informed by a reliable source that the IVC courses taught at Crean are in no sense part of the "early college" program--though, of course, I never said they were. They are "contract ed" courses, and they do not get their funding from the state. This means, I gather, that they need not be open to the public but may be designed for some specific population, such as, say, the employees of the local AT&T office. Hence, there is no issue of whether we should be using parochial schools as off-campus sites for "IVC courses." They are not ordinary IVC courses. My issue then is that these courses appear on the schedule of classes with no indication that enrollment is restricted in any way, suggesting, of course, that they are ordinary IVC courses. They are not.]
1:15 p.m. Lemme try this again. Here's one way to look at this whole episode: a fuss was created by a simple error, namely, the college including these Crean Lutheran courses in the Schedule of Courses, thereby (a) clearly implying that a religious school is among our off-campus instructional sites, and (b) potentially thwarting non-CLS students who attempt to enroll in these courses only to find that they may not do so. Now, in fact, the implication--(a)--is false, for these courses are not regular IVC offerings; rather, they are courses that we offer to CLS students as our part of a contract with CLS in which they pay for instruction.
Contract ed is a common way for a college to make money. It works like this: Some entity (e.g., a local business) needs to educate a group of employees (e.g., in expository writing); we educate them; the entity pays for it. Please note that, if the state were to pay for the instruction, it would be necessary to make enrollment open to the public--for we are a "community" college funded by taxpayer dollars. Contract ed courses do not need to be open. When I wrote the original post, I proceeded on the assumption (caused by (a) above) that our CLS courses were the regular, state-funded kind.
I suppose that one might argue that community colleges should not engage in "contract ed," though it is not obvious to me what that argument would be. Assuming that there is no objection to the concept of contract ed, one might argue that some sort of line (that should not be crossed) is crossed when the entity with whom the college contracts is religious. Again, it is not obvious to me what that line is and why it should not be crossed.
If I were a student, say, of the Muslim faith and wore a hijab, I'd want to know if the off-campus course I signed up for was being taught in a religious institution. I'm sure this off-campus site is clearly identified as a Lutheran school site, yes? Students are informed of this, are they not?
7:55 PM, December 17, 2009
Curiouser and curiouser.
Can they do that?
Wow, that's special! Who pays? Its website touts that our college courses are "free" for Crean students - so who pays? ¶ And I notice that the instructional dates are different from our calendar - the fall classes start later are still being taught into late Jaunary! What's up with that?
There seems to be a pattern here...
Why can't they just build a decent multi-purpose classroom building at IVC (like they have at all the other colleges) so we can teach more classes on campus?
I'd want to know *who is teaching* the courses. If it's faculty of the religious institution, I'd be more than worried. If it is IVC faculty, I'd be less worried. Is it just being used as a physical site? The different instruction dates would indicate not.... ¶ Hmmm--yep, I'd be concerned, big-time.
Qualified IVC faculty are teaching the courses. --RB
To Anonymous at 11:37: thrift lad, tis because of thrift. Think Hamlet--something is indeed amiss.
--Anonymous at 12:20 or so.
Chunk, Your clarification just made an odd fact even stranger - I don't get the situation at all now. The classes are listed in our schedule as IVC classes taught off-campus.... ¶ What IS contract ed anyway? How deos the curriculum differ? ¶ Whose great idea was this?
Face it: they don't tell us ANYTHING and never will. Plus, they're SLOPPY.
12:29, please see my added comments after the red paragraph. --RB
That us: IVC, the In 'n Out Burger of higher ed.
But, are these courses (and Contract Ed courses in general) transferable? Do they articulate?
Yes, as far as I know, they transfer. They are taught by our (qualified) instructors and carry the usual credits/units. Sometimes, I believe, contract ed provides non-transferable courses, but, in this case, the courses are transferable (i.e., they have recognized units/credits). IVC has a "community ed" division that provides non-transferable courses, such as the "Emeritus" courses that we offer at Laguna Hills Village to a very particular population. Faculty tend to view these courses with, um, suspicion, in part because, typically, they are not taught by our faculty--standards for Emeritus are, well, different. It is a bit surprising to find these transferable courses, taught by our own faculty, managed by the "community ed" people. --RB
How can I sign up to teach THERE rather than at IVC? Can it be part of my load? who do I talk to?
B. von Traven said...
4:43, I would talk to my dean. My guess is that CLS wants more kinds of courses that will give their students a leg up when they apply for college. Right now, only three or so departments offer any courses there: history, economics, political science. It is likely, however, that any decision to add other disciplines will involve academic chairs and other faculty in those disciplines.
I expect that some of us would be more acceptable to the Crean HS people than others...but DO talk to your dean.
Non @ 6:47:
It doesn't matter if our instructors are "acceptable" or not to Crean - WE do all the hiring per board approved processes and our contract! The Crean HS people should have no say at all.