Friday, August 4, 2006

So-called "conservative" SOCCCD trustees

1. Greed is Good, just not tonight

You'll recall that Chancellor Raghu Mathur got spanked at the last board meeting for recommending that he receive a hefty raise, some of it retroactive. So annoyed was the board by this self-serving "recommendation" that it quietly deleted the item from the agenda.

Raghu responded by stewing and putrefying. It was ghastly.

Insiders now tell me that, what made matters worse, as it turns out, was Raghu's timing. Faculty senate leadership chose last meeting to make a strong and public (i.e., televised) plea for increased reassigned time for the senates. Evidently, compared to officers in other districts, our academic senate leaders are poorly supported in their endeavors, a situation made worse by increased inclusion of the senates in district governance in recent years (some of it compelled by legal decisions going against the district).

More importantly, as everyone knows who hangs with senate presidents, those people spend 40+ hours a week doing senate business, but they're paid for a mere fraction of that time. They work like dogs, and they've gotta teach their load and run their private lives to boot.

Well, just in case somebody didn't know--for instance, those Seizure World geezers who watch the BOT on Friday cable mighta been outa the loop--the two senate presidents spelled it out in gruesome detail, using charts and stuff.

Uh-oh. "Thank God we didn't throw more money at Raghu!" thought some trustees, I guess. "It woulda looked bad, real bad!"

I've got a question for you guys. How come you don't believe in PAYING PEOPLE (or, anyway, people who happen to be faculty senate officers) FOR THEIR WORK? You don't mind paying a worthless sycophantic load like Mathur a quarter million dollars. But faculty senate officers? Well, let's just scr** those guys!

You call yourselves "conservatives." Do conservatives favor making people work too much--so much that it cuts way into their family lives--and without compensation? --Um, nope.


(I've been told that reassigned time HAS now been increased for the senates, but not by much. Not by nearly enough. How are these people supposed to have family lives?)

2. Old news, but still:

I ran across an old Community College Week article that many of us missed. It reports the Academic Senates' big win over the district--in the Court of Appeals--concerning the district's illegal unilateral imposition of a faculty hiring policy: Academic Senates Get Big Win in California Appeals Court.

An excerpt:

[T]he Court of Appeal...[noted] that the legislature gave specific responsibilities to academic senates. For example, the legislature directed that hiring criteria, policies and procedures for new faculty members “shall be developed and agreed upon jointly” by the trustees and academic senate.

“The faculty has an inherent professional responsibility in the development and implementation of policies and procedures governing the hiring process,” Justice Eileen Moore wrote for the court.

The court rejected the district’s assertion that allowing the senates a “veto” would enable them to frustrate and obstruct the process of revising hiring policies, and it found no evidence that the two senates were acting maliciously or intended to obstruct the process.

Chancellor Mathur is quoted as saying, "...we are keeping our options open in terms of appeals.”

That went nowhere, of course. The district lost the case simpliciter and finito.

I've been told by informed attorneys that our victory will have (perhaps already has had) significant ramifications throughout the system. It's a huge step toward finally satisfying the intent of the late 80s AB1725 legislation.

So I've got another question for you trustees. How come you don't care about OBEYING THE LAW? Tell me that! And I'm not even counting your earlier incarnation's "persistent and defiant" violation of the Brown Act!

What kinda conservative thinks he gets to cheat and and spin and wriggle his way out of obeying THE GODDAM LAW?


Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The return of a nice bedtime story

The New York Times reports this morning that the see-saw battle between anti-science and pro-science forces on the Kansas State Board of Education has again tilted toward science. (Evolution Opponents Lose Kansas Board Majority.) Ralph Blumenthal reports:
Kansas voters on Tuesday handed power back to moderates on the State Board of Education, setting the stage for a return of science teaching that broadly accepts the theory of evolution, according to preliminary election results.

With just 6 districts of 1,990 yet to report as of 8 a.m. Central time today, two conservatives — including incumbent Connie Morris, a former west Kansas teacher and author who had described evolution as “a nice bedtime story” — appear to have been defeated decisively by two moderates in the Republican primary elections. One moderate incumbent, Janet Waugh from the Kansas City area, held on to her seat in the Democratic primary… If her fellow moderates prevailed, Ms. Waugh said last week, “we need to revisit the minutes and every decision that was 6-4, re-vote.”
The results seem likely to give the moderates a 6-4 edge on the 10-member board when it takes over in January…Both moderate Republican winners face Democratic opponents in November, but the Democrats are moderates as well, favoring a return to the traditional science standards that prevailed before a conservative majority elected in 2004 passed new rules for teaching science. Those rules, enacted last November, called for classroom critiques of Darwin’s theory….The changes in the science standards, favored by advocates of intelligent design who believe life is too complex to be have been created by natural events, put Kansas at the vanguard of efforts by religious advocates critical explanations of the origin of life that do not include a creator …The curriculum changes, coming after years of see-sawing power struggles between moderates and conservatives, drew widespread ridicule and, critics complained, threatened Kansas’s high standing in national education circles….

What, you may ask, has any of this to do with the South Orange County Community College District?

Well, dear reader, at least one, and perhaps some, trustees on the SOCCCD board seem to be sitting out there on the benighted anti-science end of the see-saw.

The clearest case, perhaps, is Mr. Tom Fuentes, who has numerous ties to radical anti-science Christian leaders, a group that includes his pal Howard Ahmanson, the chief funder of the anti-evolution movement (see Discovery Institute). (See archives.)

Well, Fuentes has a finger in lots of wacky Neanderthal pies. Here's one of my favorites: the fellow is a director of Eagle Publishing, which publishes "Regnery" books.

If one goes to the Regnery website (Regnery Publishing), one will find the publisher's catalog. (Catalog.) As we explained ten months ago, anti-evolution books can be found listed there, including:

Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?, … "Jonathan Wells has news for you. Everything you were taught about evolution is wrong. Icons of Evolution will light the fires of controversy and provide a brutally honest report of who what we've truly discovered about evolution in recent years"

As we noted back in November, other books in Regnery's catalog are also kinda special. Here are some typical Regnery titles:

God, Guns & Rock and Roll, … "Rock and Roll legend, Ted Nugent, contends that a lot of what is wrong with this country could be remedied by a simple, but controversial concept, gun ownership….

The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos, Michael S. Hyatt…“Hyatt explains the depth or the millennium crisis in layman’s terms, and discusses how the upcoming situation will affect all of us—and what you can do to protect yourself”

Inventing the AIDS Virus, Peter Duesberg, 1996, “Peter Duesberg, M.D., an eminent scientist anda pioneer in the discovery of retroviruses (such as HIV), challenges the widely accepted belief that HIV is the cause of AIDS”

The Bible Is History, Ian Wilson, … "Ian Wilson looks at the latest findings of eminent Biblical archeologists and scholars in order to provide physical and scientific evidence of some of the greatest stories in the Bible"

The Myth of Heterosexual Aids, Michael Fumento, ... “Fumento exposes one of the disease’s most damaging rumors: that AIDS is no longer anchored to the high risk groups of homosexual men and intravenous drug abusers but is spreading from heterosexual to heterosexual through intercourse at epidemic speeds”

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, Tom Bethell, 2005,... "Part of the runaway bestselling series, this guide takes on the controversies of science, spanning evolution, cloning, AIDS, abortion, stem cell research, global warming, and more." [Bethell attempts to disprove global warming, evolution, etc.]

--Pretty scientific, eh?

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Brown Act kickoff at Capo

In the latest chapter in the ongoing Capistrano Unified School District story, a citizen has, according to one paper, “sued” the district over its alleged Brown Act violations.

As a former petitioner in two Brown Act lawsuits, I have some familiarity with these cases. Normally, one who detects a Brown Act violation begins by, not suing, but rather issuing a “demand of cure and correct.” Accordingly, the CUSD board would be asked to fix its error by holding open sessions, redoing what it did (and should not have done) in closed session. If they fail to do that, or if they fail to do it adequately, a lawsuit comes next.

Evidently, Martin Wisckol of the Register has made the same point, but he now assures us that the petitioner in this case (represented by attorney Jim Lacy) has indeed filed a lawsuit. (See Total Buzz: lawsuit against CUSD.)

According to this morning’s LA Times (Capistrano Unified is Sued for Alleged Violation of Open-Meetings Law):

An outspoken retired teacher sued the Capistrano Unified School District on Monday, accusing its trustees and superintendent of conspiring to curtail his ability to speak at public school board meetings.

Ron Lackey… attends every board meeting and regularly speaks on agenda items related to district spending.

In the suit, filed in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Lackey alleges that the district violated the state's open-meetings law by discussing inappropriate matters — including how to silence him — during a closed-session meeting. He is seeking a declaration that the trustees violated the Brown Act, wants an order requiring the board to videotape future closed meetings, and wants to be reimbursed for his attorney's fees.
The state's Brown Act allows elected officials to meet in closed-session in strictly limited circumstances, such as employee evaluations and labor negotiations.

A July 30, 2005, meeting was held to discuss Fleming's performance evaluation. But a document summarizing the meeting lists topics such as the school-year calendar, parental fundraising and advertising on school buses.

The first item on the minutes, labeled "School Board Meeting Conduct Protocol," notes "In general board members want to start to limit Ron Lackey and the amount of items he can address. Suggest that the board go back to only allowing members of the public to address two items as stated in board policy."

Fleming said the items listed were potential topics of his plan for the upcoming school year, and as such are allowed to be discussed in closed session because they could form the basis for his next evaluation.

Trustee Duane E. Stiff said he had never witnessed any Brown Act violations. "I have no idea what [Lackey] is talking about," Stiff said….

• Stiff’s “no idea” guff is pretty darned familiar. We got similar guff from John Williams and his pals during our successful Brown Act lawsuits against the SOCCCD back in 1997-98. When we asked them to "cure and correct," they totally blew us off.
• I do believe that our own (SOCCCD) board of trustees was the first to be required by a court to “tape” its closed sessions, owing to trustees’ “persistent and defiant” misconduct, as the judge put it. The taping order was a result of the second of our Brown Act lawsuits. (Those cases concerned, among other things, the appointment of Raghu Mathur as interim, then permanent, Irvine Valley College President.)
• Guess what? Our board (which, by then, included attorney Don "sue us!" Wagner) defied the order! Our side chose not to pursue the matter.
• Evidently, the CUSD’s attorney is none other than Dave Larsen. He was the high-priced lawyer (of the firm Rutan and Tucker) who defended the SOCCCD during my successful 1st Amendment lawsuit against Chancellor Sampson. (Sampson and the district had illegally sought to silence a "vigorous critic,” namely, Dissent’s Chunk Wheeler.)

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary