Saturday, March 13, 2010

The last of the White Stripes




Seven or eight years ago I got to know this cute--and smart--girl who was the part-time secretary for another school. Her office was just down the hall. She had ambitions. And ambivalence.

One day we were talking about music and, the next day, she handed me a CD she had burned, something called "Elephant." "You'll love this," she said.

Well, she was right. Blew me away.

Jack and Meg don't seem to be together anymore. I think their little band--somehow that seems like the wrong word--is no more. But already it seems clear that Jack needs to play with Meg, needs that simple drumming, her peculiar presence, and her shy charms.

Was some kinda muse, I think. With her, he seemed always hungry, desperate, bizarre. Now, he's just a musician. Well, maybe he's more. But that old magic can be no more, I think. Strikes once, if you're lucky. Then no more. May as well go home and watch TV.

Stupid Texans rewriting history for schoolchildren everywhere

Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change (New York Times)
After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.
. . .
The board, whose members are elected, has influence beyond Texas because the state is one of the largest buyers of textbooks….
. . .
Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a panel of teachers.

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”
. . .
Efforts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models for the state’s large Hispanic population were consistently defeated, prompting one member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out of a meeting late Thursday night, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

… There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.
. . .
“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”
. . .
Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.
. . .
…Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

It was defeated on a party-line vote.
. . .
Even the course on world history did not escape the board’s scalpel.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
. . .
“The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based,” Ms. Dunbar said.
U. of California Must Refund $38-Million in Fees to Students, Judge Rules (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
The University of California must pay a total of $38-million to thousands of former students who say the university illegally raised their fees after it had promised not to do so, a judge ruled on Wednesday…. (continued)
Comments:

Anonymous said... ~ Oh, how I hate this. —ES ~ 12:54 PM, March 13, 2010

B. von Traven said... ~ I think that, when the likes of Texans and Rush Limbaugh threaten to separate from the rest of the country, we should immediately take 'em up on it.
I know some great people from Texas. Gotta remember that, I guess. ~ 4:53 PM

Anonymous said... ~ I lived in Texas for a while. Even had a boyfriend with a gun rack in his truck. He was not a redneck – the family was wealthy and had a big ranch we used to go hunting and stuff on...anyway, trivia. Still have cousins in Texas. They are pretty conservative, so I have no idea what they would think of this. 2/3 of my Face Book friends are Texans; I should post a link to the article and see what comments come up... ~ 5:54 PM

Anonymous said... ~ Ok, I put up the link on FB – now to see what the Texans say. I bet they like it. – ES ~ 5:57 PM

Anonymous said... ~ One thumbs-up already, but that was from a Californian...
– ES ~ 6:12 PM

Anonymous said... ~ This is pretty much what I expected (and now my brain hurts): –Lisa Jordan
Texas Conservatives Win Vote on Textbook Standards - NYTimes.com
www.nytimes.com
Because Texas is a large buyer of textbooks, the changes approved by the school board will have a broad influence.
31 minutes ago · Comment ·

Jamie Rudolph likes this.

Lisa Jordan
I'm not sure this is all good...
15 minutes ago ·

Jamie Rudolph
"stressing the superiority of American capitalism and questioning the Founding Fathers... See More’ commitment to a purely secular government" as the article says they want to do is good. Capitalism is the most prosperous economic model, America has been superior in freedom and prosperity and after just finishing "The 500 Year Leap" a history of the founding of our country, I can tell you that the majority of our founding fathers believed that America had to keep a focus on God and Godly principles in governing. ~ 6:31 PM

B. von Traven said... ~ Academia's grip on the culture is weakening. No longer respected, often hated, the professorate can yammer all they want, but the mob is making its move to grab the steering wheel. It thinks it has a destination. Silly me. Like I could ever do a thing about it. I'm beginning to wonder if I would if I could. ~ 7:22 PM

Friday, March 12, 2010

Quisling boy pulls papers

Well, the always mediocre Matthew Cunningham of Red County/OC reports that Dave Lang has pulled those dang papers afterall:

OC Treasurer Candidate Field Keeps Growing
Today, South Coast [sic] Community College District Trustee David Lang pulled candidate papers [for OC Treasurer]. A source had told me Lang, who withstood a faculty union challenger to his 2008 re-election, had ambitions for the OC Treasurer-Tax Collector seat, and the source was correct. Lang is closely allied with fellow SOCCCD Trustee and former OC GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes. That should prove immensely helpful to the relatively unknown Lang, since Tom Fuentes' has a wide and deep network he's built over the course of 40 years.
About five years ago, after consistently opposing Raghu Mathur (since 1996), Lang suddenly did an about face, becoming a staunch Mathur supporter. His closest faculty friends confronted him, asking him what he was up to. He never seemed to have an answer. He smiled his insipid smile.

Soon thereafter, the word was out that Lang had hooked up with Fuentes, who, of course, had embraced Mathur from the very beginning--in 2000, if not earlier. So Lang would support Mathur, and Fuentes would further Lang's political ambitions, which (according to the story) included securing the OC Treasurer/Tax Collector gig.

Nevertheless, for the election of 2006, Fuentes worked to get Chriss Street elected as OC Treasurer; no doubt Fuentes purred into Lang's ear: "not yet, my son." Street was elected, but, right away, his Fruehauf  Trucking troubles surfaced, and he commenced spending extravagant bucks on his County digs.

It soon became clear that he was a typical pal-o'-Fuentes: corrupt, unprincipled, self-serving.

So now Street's out. Will Tom finally come through for Lang?

Trustees decide to hire a consultant for the Chancellor search

Consultant to find Chancellor Raghu Mathur replacement (OC Reg)
South Orange County Community College District trustees voted in a special meeting Thursday night to hire a consultant to aid in the search for a new chancellor.

Chancellor Raghu Mathur will leave the district June 30, after nearly eight years at the helm of both Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges. Mathur's departure was announced in late January after Mathur and trustees reached an agreement to terminate his contract early.

Consultants will be interviewed at the March 25 board meeting, SOCCCD spokeswoman Tracy Daly said.

Mathur has alleged his early departure is the result of being forced out by board president Don Wagner over the creation of a new dean position at Irvine Valley College.

The IVC Tortoises

Here’s an update on the effort to change IVC’s mascot, the Laser.

I communicated with a reliable source who informs me that the process continues but has taken longer than expected for a variety of reasons. My source assures me that the people involved in this process are doing everything they can to avoid the “lame,” the “racist,” and the “illegal.” (My source is funny.)

It is better to do things right, deep throat says, than to do things quickly.

Students—including student government—are the chief players in the process. So, there you go.

Apparently, the team’s goal is to put the matter to a vote right after Spring Break, if possible. Students will be presented with many nominations.

Bobcats, anyone? Aphids?

Rinos!

Street of no return?

Supervisors: Strip Chriss Street’s investment powers (OC Reg)

(*The article has been updated: "Orange County Treasurer Chriss Street will not seek reelection and has recommended that supervisors “temporarily suspend” his investment authority while he weighs his legal options." Among other things, this means that the deadline for pulling papers to run for Treasurer has now moved to the 17th [Wednesday].)

Orange County supervisors are moving forward with a plan to suspend embattled Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street’s authority to invest county funds, Supervisor Bill Campbell said late Thursday.

The move comes a week after a federal judge ruled that Street breached his fiduciary duty when he attempted to build an empire instead of protecting the assets of a trust he was hired to liquidate. He was ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages to the End of the Road Trust.

Campbell and board Chairwoman Janet Nguyen are sponsoring an emergency agenda item that calls for transferring Street’s investment authority to county Chief Financial Officer Bob Franz.

We just don’t believe it’s proper to have someone found guilty in court of breaching his fiduciary duty to be responsible for managing the county’s investment funds,” Campbell said. “It’s our obligation to protect the assets and reputation of the county’s investment pool.”

All four county supervisors would have to approve the emergency action, which would remove Street’s authority 15 days after they vote.

Meanwhile, Street has not responded to calls for his resignation. Supervisor John Moorlach, his predecessor as Orange County treasurer who endorsed his election bid in 2006 but who later became one of his most vocal critics, reiterated earlier calls for his resignation the day U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Richard M. Neiter handed down his decision last week.

Campbell said he met with Street Monday and asked for his resignation. On Tuesday, Street’s lawyer Phil Greer* called Campbell to say that Street would propose suspending his investment authority instead. Campbell was expecting a memo from Street memorializing that position, but still hadn’t seen it late Thursday.
. . .
It’s still unclear whether Street will run for reelection. The filing deadline is today, and while he paid his $1,730.98 filing fee the same day Neiter handed down his judgement in the civil case, Street still hasn’t completed the paperwork required to run. The political blog Red County published an unattributed report this week that Street doesn’t intend to stay in the race, but so far he’s been silent on the issue.

It’s also unclear whether Street will appeal the ruling. On Thursday, Greer said they were “looking at the options” and would likely have an announcement today or Monday….
*Recently, Greer has represented Trustee John Williams and Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saddleback College Gauchos moving to South America?

The OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano reports:

Saddleback College Students Seek to De-Mexicanize their School's Gaucho Mascot
…[S]omething good is being attempted by students by Saddleback College's Diversity Student Council (DSC). They are trying to have the school modify its Gauchos mascot, which currently looks more like a Mexican greaser than a cowboy of the pampas.

The group wrote a resolution, recently passed by the Associated Student Government's senate, that calls for what I wrote in the last sentence. "Whereas, Saddleback College, an educational establishment, reiterates institutional racism through caricatures of a minority that misrepresent it, and Whereas, the inaccurate depiction of the Gaucho suggests a climate of tolerance towards stereotype," the resolution states before asking for the "halt of Saddleback College merchandise and school publications with the image of the current Gaucho."….(continued)
(As Gustavo has acknowledged, we wrote about the "Gaucho" problem back in 2006: The Lariat “Gaucho”, Feb. 8, 2006)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Matt hears something

Red County’s always-mediocre (and often dull) Matthew Cunningham just posted something about Tom Fuentes’ good pal Chriss Street, who, as you know, recently walked out of a courtroom with something new and special to add to his CV. (It Looks Like Chriss Street Won't Seek Re-Election)

Matt reports that he’s “hearing that OC Treasurer Chriss Street will announce today that he's decided against seeking re-election….”

As if that weren’t riveting enough, Matt opines: “Street exiting the race makes Huntington Beach City Treasurer Shari Freidenrich the heavy favorite – not only because she has Sup. John Moorlach's backing but primarily because she has the magic word 'treasurer' in her ballot title.”

I’m still hoping that Dave Lang’s name will pop up here. He's got the magic word "quisling" in his title, or at least in his reputation.

Wouldn’t it be great if he were to throw his beans into the ring? But there’s no sign of it. Dang!

"If indit ironic"

Our readers have been reacting to some of the special comments that were solicited in IVC’s now famous “student satisfaction survey.”

The chronically clever Bohrstein has offered some interpretive advice. Some student remarks, he seems to say, are baffling or abstruse. These students, he writes, seem to be leaving out crucial context--elements without which no real sense can be made of their stunning verbiage.

Being the generous fellow that he is, he offers some plausible complements:
"It would be nice if more classes were offered in the summer," should have the following appended, "because I failed all of my classes this semester."

"I feel that the assessment test does not accurately evaluate.” [Addition:] “It said I was stupid.”
Why, yes, that does make things clear.

Bohrstein identifies his favorite comment, which, as it happens, is mine too:
Yes! I WAS VERY OFFENDED BY HEARING ABOUT THE VIEWING MATERIAL FOR HUMANITIES 73. THE TEAHCER SAID THAT PART OF THE STUDY WAS GONNA BE ON RAUNCHY RATED R DIRTY COMEDY FILMS, WHICH I FIND TO BE SEXUALY HARASSING ESPECIALLY IN A PUBLIC CLASS ROOM. SO I DECIDED NOT TO PETITION THAT CLASS. I HOPE THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR WILL BE RULED OUT OF ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I ALSO BELEIVE THAT ITS WRONG TO CHARGE A STUDENT FOR NAPKINS, PLASTIC UTENSILS, AND CONDIMENTS JUST BECAUSE THE STUDENT DOESN'T BY LUNCH ON THAT GIVEN DAY. I TRIED TO TAKE A PLASTIC FORK AND SOME KETCHUP AND THE CASHIER WANTED TO CHARGE ME FIFTY SENSE. AND SHE SAID THAT THE UTENSILS AND NAPKINS WERE FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY. I FELT UPSET BECAUSE I JUST BOUGHT $10.00 WORTH OF FOOD AT THE CAFETERIA EARLIER THAT WEEK. UNTIL THEY CHANGE I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THE CAFETERIA AGAIN. I WOULD APPRECIATE A RESPONSE FROM THIS. THANK YOU.
Bohrstein’s eagle eye spots something particularly good in this fine rant:
"Really? Fifty sense? That's like [a] super sixth sense, right?"
In this instance, BS casts no light, not for me. Nope. Whatever this woman was referring to, it was something that one can “charge.” One cannot really charge a sense—such as, say, vision or ESP or anal probe sensitivity.

I suspect that this woman’s (?) instructor (Hum 73 is “Film genre studies”) did not actually say that she would be showing “raunchy rated-R dirty comedy films.” On the other hand—hey, maybe I should sign up for this course. It sounds really good.

The woman was plainly incensed by being charged for that plastic fork and ketchup she took from the cafeteria on a day when she bought no food there (but where, days earlier, she had spent ten whole bucks).

She is a woman of action. She has already commenced boycotting the cafeteria. But that is not all. She demands an official response to her bitter complaint.

I wonder what it is like to be this woman? I have no idea. It’s a little like wondering what it’s like to be a bat.

Another among my favorites is this: “If indit ironic that IVC….”

The rest of the sentence is disappointingly conventional. (He/she actually goes on to make a good point.) It’s that stunningly original introductory phrase that caught my eye. Now, if I were to start that sentence, I might write something mundane, such as:

Isn’t it ironic that…

What kind of being are we dealing with here? What manner of creature could arrive at something as wonderful and prodigious as “If indit ironic”?

Good Lord! I’m still reeling!

There are, in fact, many good points made by students in the survey. We will no doubt note them and then assemble and launch the necessary "work groups" and "action teams."

But, in time, all of that will be forgotten. I do not think, however, that I will ever forget "If indit ironic."

Mr. Spock v. Mr. Wagner

Tom Fuentes’ pals are at it again. In this morning’s Red County blog, contributor OC Spock pulls a Joe McCarthy on Don Wagner, suggesting that Wagner is now supporting the faculty union. (Don Wagner—Orange County’s Anthony Adams?)

The evidence? Well, Wagner decided to “advocate” a new administrative position and support “the district’s Academic Senate President (read - facility [sic] union president).”

The only person I know who regularly conflates the senate with the union is--Tom Fuentes. He's incorrigible.

Mr. Spock doesn’t even mention Wagner’s recent piece in the OC Register in which he responds to the notion that his allegiances have shifted. (See Reader Rebuttal)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

IVC's Student Satisfaction Survey

Overall satisfaction

I finally had a chance to skim through the recently completed report on the Irvine Valley College Student Satisfaction Survey, taken from April 16 to May 19, 2009.

The report briefly explains the survey’s “Methodology”:
Administered during the spring semester from April 16 to May 19, using an on‐line survey methodology, the 2009 Student Satisfaction Survey was sent to all non‐emeritus students via an e‐mail invitation. In addition, a link to the survey was placed on the college’s website. Students were provided an incentive to participate with the possibility of receiving a $150 gift certificate to the college bookstore. By the end of the field date, 1,073 IVC students participated in the survey. On average, the survey took a little over 17 minutes to complete.
I didn’t have the time to read the report carefully, but I did get the impression that students were satisfied with the college. On this post, I’ve included just a few of the report’s factoids (in graphic form).

To read the report, go to the IVC website; click on “information for faculty and staff.” Then click on the “intranet (help)” link. (You will likely be asked for your password.) Then choose the link for “research and planning.” The link for the report will appear at the bottom of the page (it is a pdf file).

As always, the written comments (in this case, by students) are most interesting. To see them--all of them!--click on the link below:

IVC Student Satisfaction Survey (open-ended question)

Be prepared. Most of the writing is appallingly bad. And many of these students have no reservations about naming names—of liked or disliked instructors (and other employees).

Campus environment


Sense of community

The "visa fraud" story is getting out there







Looks like the “visa fraud/student imposter” story has been picked up here and there. Local TV (see above) was all over it yesterday and it became an AP story. It was mentioned today in the Washington Post (Tuesday news: CA college student for hire) and it was even mentioned on NPR.

Sheesh.

Sad news

Saddleback College art teacher dies in fire (OC Reg)
A longtime Saddleback College professor died Monday morning in a house fire in Belmont Heights. ¶ Alan Lugena, 73, who taught 11 different art classes – many of them watercolor and drawing – for the college's Community Education Department, died around 2:30 a.m.

Josh Johnson, spokesman for the Long Beach Fire Department, told the Long Beach Press Telegram that the home had "pack-rat conditions" with pathways through the clutter. ¶ It took firefighters about 20 minutes to put out the fire that had engulfed the home on the corner of East Fifth Street and Grand Avenue.

A neighbor told the Press Telegram that Lugena and his roommate Patricia Babbitt, who also died in the fire, would build fires on cold nights, though an official cause has not yet been determined. ¶ Jennie McCue, spokeswoman for the college, remembered Lugena for being "very beloved by his students who took his classes."

"He was known as a very kind person who loved teaching his craft," she said.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A remarkable visa fraud scheme—that touches on our two colleges, among others

THERE'S BEEN QUITE A BUZZ on campus this afternoon over an OC Register article about a visa fraud scheme involving a 46-year-old Laguna Niguel man who, for eight years, provided a service: taking exams at local colleges, including Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, for students from Middle Eastern countries.

Evidently, Eamon Daniel Higgins provided this service for 119 students. He got between $1,000 and $1,500 per exam.

Check it out:

Feds allege student visa fraud ring
. . .
According to prosecutors, the scheme began in January 2002 and ended in December when agents served a search warrant to Higgins' home. Agents said they seized 60 California driver's licenses featuring the names of foreign students and photographs of Higgins or his associates who prosecutors said were hired to take the exams.
. . .
Immigration officials said Higgins was a legitimate tutor at one point. They say what likely motivated him to get in the visa fraud business was money.

"Apparently his services were pretty well-known in these student circles," [Debra] Parker [acting deputy special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations in Los Angeles] said….

On Monday, agents arrested [six] men on suspicion of obtaining a visa through knowingly fraudulent means….
. . .
All were enrolled at Irvine Valley College, according to a federal complaint filed in federal court against the suspects.
. . .
Immigration officials said the defendant and others he recruited posed as foreign students, gaining access to testing centers at colleges and universities throughout Southern California such as Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges, prosecutors alleged in court documents.

They gained access with fraudulent California driver's licenses, officials said. In return, Higgins charged at least $1,000 each for English placement exams, math and English tests. The price went up if he or the others attended classes on behalf of a student.
. . .
For the last eight years, prosecutors said Higgins aided students by taking or directing his associates to take math and English proficiency exams to sociology and marketing classes.
. . .
In Orange County, prosecutors said Higgins took a sociology class at Irvine Valley College on behalf of a United Arab Emirates national who had entered the country on a student visa.

In another case, Parker said, Higgins hired a blond woman who they said posed as a Middle Eastern man to take an exam.

Higgins' suspected associates had not been arrested as of Monday afternoon.

Parker said that other than getting to stay in the country, it's unclear whether the students had more nefarious reasons.
. . .
A foreign student temporarily granted admission to the U.S. on a student F-1 visa is allowed to stay in the country as long as he or she is enrolled as a full-time student in an educational program, attending classes at least 18 hours a week. Any failure to comply could lead the student to lose his visa, according to immigration law….
Matt Coker’s on the case as well: Eamon Daniel Higgins Charged in Alleged Foreign Student Visa Fraud

See also this afternoon’s LA Times: Man charged in sweeping student visa fraud case:
Though immigration agents said they don’t believe that any of the students had links to terrorism, Parker said Monday the agency was still investigating. “It definitely highlights some of the vulnerability, the way these people were able to go and compromise the integrity of the immigration system,” Parker said.
Red Emma passed this along: a flier
I see they've used Jason's wonderful photo

An "exciting leadership opportunity"

Check out the district’s website. It displays a special announcement:
Leadership Opportunity

The Board of Trustees recently announced the search for its next chancellor. Please check the district website soon for the application procedures and selection process of this exciting leadership opportunity at one of the largest multi-college districts in the State of California.
As you know, during the SOCCCD board’s February meeting (two weeks ago), the board was divided over whether the district should commence recruitment and hiring of a new Chancellor, given that the current Chancellor, Raghu P. Mathur, has agreed to leave, and for good, in June. On the surface, the conflict was about, on the one hand, waiting on the hire until Chancellor Season (i.e., when the best candidates are available), and, on the other, acting quickly for the sake of stability and continuity.

In truth, some tell me, the real issue was whether Fuentes (and Lang and Williams) could delay the hire long enough for Wagner to resign from the board (upon winning his Assembly race in June), thereby creating the possibility of a replacement trustee more agreeable to Fuentes and Co’s devotion to Goo.

It sounds mighty wacky to me. All I’m really sure about is that our board is as polarized as it has ever been, and that’s saying something, man. When these people get together, it gets seriously ugly. (90% of the ugly is Fuentes' face.)

You should come and see. Bring popcorn.

The upshot of February’s Clash of the Trustees was that the Wagner Four got their way and the Fuentes Three got skunked.

Accordingly, the board found it advisable to meet ASAP to discuss just what kind of Chancellor they’re looking for (a preliminary to recruitment in earnest).

SPECIAL BOARD MEETING THURSDAY:

Hanging on the wall in the A100 building (at IVC) today was an announcement for a special board meeting on Thursday, the 11th, for that very discussion. It’s set for 7:00 p.m. at the Ronnie Reagan Board of Trustees Meeting Room and Mindless and Excessive Patriotic Flag Display.

You can come make public comments. Don’t forget the popcorn.

Nico (Christa Päffgen), 1938 – 1988  ~  RIP

Free—and clueless

Bias incidents roil University of California (AP)
Swastikas, nooses, a KKK hood, graffiti, epithets and jeers. ¶ An ugly spate of bias incidents has crossed several University of California campuses over the past month, causing consternation, outcry and fear that bigotry is alive among the young and educated. ¶ Students have protested and administrators have condemned, but the question remains of what lies behind the sudden parade of prejudice - a growing climate of insensitivity on campuses or a bunch of immature kids yearning for peer acceptance and attention…. (continued)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wagner rebuts the Reg

In this morning’s OC Register:

Reader Rebuttal: College district
By Donald P. Wagner
The Register can relax: The union fix is not in. Your Feb. 4 editorial concerning the resignation of the South Orange County Community College District chancellor ["Shifting alliances"] questions whether I have "shifted allegiances" and am now leading a more CTA union-friendly board. There is nothing to the editorial's speculation which used the recent board leadership elections as evidence for this so-called shift. You just got the basic facts wrong.... (continued)

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