Saturday, August 21, 2010

An outrageous conflict of interest at Southwestern College

     Our old friend “100 Miles Down the Road” (aka “Miles”) sent us an article about Southwestern College administrators and trustees. It’s a real hair-raiser.
     You’ll recall that, last Spring, Southwestern College President Raj Chopra placed several faculty on leave, banning them from campus, after they participated in a student rally voicing objections to the board and administration’s massive cuts in course offerings. After considerable media attention and criticism, Raj and his Bullies essentially backed down. The faculty are back to work.
     But these thugs are still in power. And they’re still rotten.
     Now, some of these people are engaging in (or benefiting from or defending) outrageous campaign activities that feature a flashing neon sign that says, “conflict of interest.”
     And they aren’t in the slightest bit apologetic about it.

College VP raised money from contractors he oversees (San
Diego Union Tribune)

     The vice president of Southwestern College hosted a political wine-and-cheese fundraiser at his home, at which many of the invited guests represented companies that do business with the college under contracts he oversees.
. . .
     The fundraiser was to support two incumbents on the college district board who are facing a robust challenge from union-supported candidates displeased with the current administration.
     Nicholas Alioto, the vice president for business and financial affairs, said he invited a broad range of contacts to the May 20 fundraiser for trustees Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid in an effort to get them re-elected.
. . .
     “I think it’s highly unethical for Vice President Alioto to host a fundraiser for contractors who are doing business with the college,” said trustee Nick Aguilar, who has clashed with the other board members and is supporting one of the union-backed challengers.
     “The incumbents have either approved or are going to approve contracts.”
     Donors included Seville Construction Service, which has been awarded $2.7 million in construction management services for a $55 million Southwestern bond project. Seville contributed $2,500 to each candidate.
     Christopher Rowe, who owns Echo Pacific Construction and attended the Chula Vista fundraiser, donated $1,000 each to Salcido and Valladolid. A month later, the two joined a unanimous board vote to approve a $4 million contract with his firm.
     Both trustees raised the same amount from Jan. 1 through June 30: $17,550. All of the contributions landed on May 20, May 21 and June 2 and included the same donors. Of 24 donors, at least seven have or had contracts with Southwestern College, according to a review of campaign forms and district documents by The Watchdog.
. . .
     Alioto and his boss, college president Raj Chopra, said they see nothing wrong with the fundraiser. Alioto said it was important because there is so much at stake in the upcoming election, in which union-friendly candidates are trying to unseat those who support Chopra and Alito.
     “If they take over the board, they will fire Chopra and me,” Alioto said. “I did something on my time on my dime to support candidates that I feel are good for the college.
. . .
     Alioto said he did not see a conflict with the fact that he oversees the business contracts donors have with the college because the board has the final say on those contracts.
. . .
     Anyone bidding on construction jobs funded by the bond proposition must go through a competitive bid process and must be vetted and interviewed, Valladolid said. Then Alioto and Chopra make a recommendation to the board for final consideration.
     Both Valladolid and Salcido said they did not base their votes on who contributed to their campaigns.
. . .
     Calls to contributors at Seville and Echo were not returned.
     Both Salcido and Alioto said they are more concerned with an incident on campus Monday, when teacher’s union members promoted their slate of candidates before a mandatory back-to-school event on a day they were paid to work.
     Andy MacNeil, president of the Southwestern College Education Association, said union members handed out T-shirts and other items promoting candidates Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez, but that it was before the official work day started so they were not interfering with college business.
     MacNeil said it was inappropriate for Alioto to host the fundraiser.
     “When the person who is vetting all of the bids and the vendors here on campus is throwing a fundraiser and inviting them to support the candidates who will be voting on those bids, I find it a huge conflict of interest.”
. . .
     “I think any time you deal in government, you have to be concerned about the appearance of impropriety,” said Jeffrey Joseph, associate dean and general counsel for Thomas Jefferson School of Law. “It might appear to some people as pay-to-play. Even if your actions are innocent, they are susceptible of being misinterpreted.”
     Joseph previously ran the San Diego legal office for Caltrans, where he advised officials who work on millions of dollars of transportation contracts every day. He said inviting contractors to a political fundraiser could suggest a future payback.
     “The appearance is that if they contributed that perhaps they will be granted a favor that perhaps someone who didn’t contribute would not,” he said.
     Robert Fellmeth, a professor of public interest law at University of San Diego School of Law, said Alioto’s situation is a symptom of pervasive problem.
     “It’s a regrettable offshoot of our campaign finance system,” Fellmeth said. “I’ve been lobbying in Sacramento for 35 years. We don’t get in to see the members. The campaign contributors do. The agenda is being set by access, and access is determined by campaign contributions.”….

Southwestern College board policies, including "conflict of interest."

Friday, August 20, 2010

ABC News stings U of Phoenix


     Above is a segment of Good Morning America in which ABC reporters do their own sting on a U of Phoenix recruiter.
     I zipped over to the Saddleback College Lariat website, where I found this:


     Vanguard might not be a "for-profit," since it is affiliated with a church. Months ago, when I checked the Lariat website, I found several ads for notorious for-profits. I couldn't find those ads today.

UPDATE: 

     We received the following comment:

I'm David Wescott and I'm working with University of Phoenix. Given that you shared the video, I hope you're willing to let me share this link to get the University of Phoenix response to it. Let people see all the facts and then come to their own conclusions, yes?

      Here's the link that Wescott provides:

University of Phoenix Responds to Recent Media Criticism

     The above U of P response does not address the concern that the rate of student loan default is considerable higher at the U of P than it is at the average public college or university — and yet the "for-profits," including the U of P, get a disproportionate share of federally guaranteed loans. The  response is full of the sort of distortion and flummery (it repeatedly refers to being "fully accredited"— there is no such thing; it implies that an accredited institution ipso facto produces graduates qualified for desired employment; clearly, that is not so) that one might expect from a business that is focused on, well, profit, not education.
     In the U of P’s response, the following remark holds a place of prominence:

However, we’re disappointed that these media reports ignore the thousands of success stories from University of Phoenix students and alumni, the overwhelming majority of whom are successful in their career and proud to be a Phoenix.

     This is mere deflection. Instead of dealing with the disturbing actions of, and facts about, the U of P (keep in mind that the U of P was ordered to pay $277 million dollars in a recent legal decision that concerned recruitment practices), this writer changes the subject: "yeah, but what about the good things that happen at the U of P!"
     I wonder if the U of P offers logic courses.
     One might suppose that an institution of higher learning would offer a defense that rises above gross fallacies and specious rhetoric. But consider this paragraph:

     Our degree programs are fully accredited and prepare students to thrive in today’s job market. For example, since 2004 we have graduated more than 25,000 teachers and 15,000 nurses. Our teaching program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Each state has its own state teacher credentialing examination and standards and graduates of our teaching program must pass the necessary state examinations and student teaching requirements in order to become credentialed to teach in their state of residence.

     Having read this, a reader might suppose that U of P graduates are credentialed, but that’s not quite what this writer says, though he may seem to. In response to the complaint that graduates are often NOT prepared to compete in the marketplace (for teaching jobs, etc.), the above writer notes that “Each state has its own … credentialing examination … and graduates of our … program must pass the necessary examinations … in order to become credentialed to teach in their state of residence.”
     In other words, earning a U of P degree does NOT guarantee that its graduates will become credentialed and employed, for they must still past the state's examinations.
     So how again is this a response to the complaint? No how.
     Further, as the ABC segment revealed, even U of P graduates who do pass the tests in Texas and New York are not ipso facto qualified to teach in those states.

* * *
    Cat lovers will enjoy the following video (no doubt I’m the only Fan o’ Felines in the world who hasn’t already seen it a thousand times):

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Family war stories

     I had a chance to speak with my father about Opa—his father, my grandfather—and Opa's association with Hanns Klemm, an important aircraft innovator and entrepreneur who, in 1943, was arrested by the Gestapo for the crime of resigning from the Nazi Party. (In May of '43, he wrote them, "I consider my membership of the NSDAP to be no longer compatible with my belonging to the Christian community." Six years earlier, owing to his constant objections to party meddling in his business—including removal of valued Jewish employees—the Nazis had declared him to be "unreliable.")
     As I’ve explained previously, Opa, who had been a communist, was a noisy denouncer of Hitler and the Nazis and, in 1943, was rushed, by friends, into the Wehrmacht (army) to keep him out of the reach of the Gestapo. Today, I asked my dad if there was any connection between Klemm’s famous "death sentence" resignation and Opa’s sudden military recruitment at the age of 36.
     He wasn’t sure. Indeed, he had never thought about the matter before. In 1943, he was eleven years old and so he does not have a clear memory of chronology or even an understanding of major events at the time. Most families, of course, need only refer to other family members for clarifying information, but our family lacks that resource. My grandparents are now long dead, my dad’s sister died a year ago, and no other knowledgeable family member lives in this country. There are some relatives in Germany, even some who are elderly, but only my dad knows them, and he is disinclined to pepper them with such questions. I’m trying to arrange an email, in German, to family there in hopes of getting more information.
     “Now that you raise the question,” says dad, “it does seem very likely that the two events were connected.” He was pleased that I was pursuing the matter, and he was very happy to receive the results of my initial research into the career and fate of the legendary (for him) Hanns Klemm. He had thought that the memory of Klemm, an important figure in his hometown up through the war, had fallen into obscurity, as so much has done.
     But such is not the case. As it turns out, Klemm is remembered and honored, both for his contributions to aviation and related technologies and, to a far lesser extent, his stunning resignation letter, which he would have known would have lethal consequences. (As it turns out, the allies invaded Germany just in time to save Klemm, who was in prison.)
     My father reminded me that, in about 1932, Klemm had asked Opa to manage a new factory, but Opa turned down the job, which infuriated my grandmother.
     "Really? Opa would have been twenty-five years old at the time. Klemm [who would have been 47] asked such a young man to run a factory?"
     "Well, yes he did."
     Dad explains that Opa was a supreme technician and a master of the kind of work he did, which generally involved the making of models as part of the design and fabrication process. His official title was "model maker."
     But Opa didn't want the responsibility of running a factory. "He was strictly a Number 2 man," says my father. "He didn't want to run the show."
     My father grew up in the shadow of this peculiar act of unambitousness, the resulting bitterness of which permeated Opa's marriage and indeed his family. I knew Oma, and I can well imagine the ferocious hectoring she would have unleashed on her husband. I knew Opa, too. He was remarkably stubborn. There is no stubbornness like German stubbornness, which is far deeper and more inveterate than any species known anywhere in the New World.
     Despite Opa’s decision to remain a mere R&D man at Klemm, he and his boss evidently remained friends and maintainted a close working relationship. My father recalls serving as a messenger boy for his father in his town of Böblingen (and its sister town Sindelfingen), and he is sure that he often encountered Klemm; this experience left him with the impression that Opa and Klemm were friends and routinely worked together.
     According to dad, Opa used to tell the story of how the Gestapo would come to Klemm’s place of business, demanding the aircraft maker's attention. Opa would go to the door, open the little view window, and shout “state secrets!” He’d then slam it shut and return to the business at hand. Evidently, Klemm was always pleased by such antics. “So, what did you tell them this time, Otto?”
     (During the war years, it was understood that the open expression of “state secrets” was punishable by death, and so there were many jokes and stories focusing on that phrase.)
     The information I have about my family's war and pre-war history (both sides) is largely provided by two people who were just kids when the war ended—my parents. Naturally, their accounts of events do not always square perfectly with the facts available in history books. But, in my experience, their stories always ultimately check out as essentially accurate. Talking with my parents is indeed a hellish or absurd thing, a cross between dinner with the Costanzas and conversation with Gracie Allen. They’re pretty zany.
     But they’re no liars.


     I recalled that my mother’s father (who was actually her stepfather and uncle) was often described as a “Marxist.” So I asked my mother about that today. Despite the “Gracie Allen” factor, I did learn a few things. He was a well-educated man from Berlin, and, along with most of his college friends, he was a Marxist. He often talked politics, and his politics were decidedly left-wing.
     So did this cause problems for him during the Nazi years?
     He died of tuberculosis in about 1941. He was indeed outspoken in his hatred for Hitler and the party until the end. But he was liked and respected in the little town of Bärwalde. Friends and other town leaders did routinely implore him to keep his views to himself, for they feared that Nazi authorities would not tolerate his defiance forever. But he ignored such entreaties. In the last few years of his life, he was clearly ill and then dying, and so, evidently, the authorities left him alone.
     “Were these friends and others Marxists?”
     “Oh no, not all of them” says mom. “Some of them were even Nazis!”
     I should mention that not all Nazi-era family members shared my two grandfathers’ hatred for the Nazis. My mother tells stories of her older sister’s haughtiness and contempt for the Polish prisoners, who  performed various jobs in towns and in businesses, including in the family lumber business. (The engineer of the train my mother ultimately took to flee the Russian invasion was a Polish prisoner.) On one occasion, Ilsa was in town and demanded of a Polish man that he step aside to make way for her on the sidewalk. That got back to her mother (by then widowed), and, well, there was hell to pay.
     “Our family does not do such things," she declared. Nazi notions of superiority and inferiority were strictly verboten among the Schultzes.
     Neither of my parents strike me as rebellious in any way. They voted for Bush.
     Maybe it skips a generation.

From the archives







Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From the archives: photos and the case of Dr. Hanns Klemm

I'm still working on that archive project. It never ends!
This is a picture of a snowy Böblingen road, circa 1948, taken by my father with his Retina.
(Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Back in 1997 or so, my brother Ron and I took a trip up 395 and then west across the Sierra Nevada. This is a photo of Bodie, California, a very cool ghost town near the Nevada border, not far from Bridgeport.

My late grandfather, Otto, was a friend of an aircraft designer and manufacturer named Hanns Klemm. Opa, a wood worker, was with the R&D unit (Klemm was a great believer in wood construction and made significant contributions to wood construction and glue). Like my grandfather, who was a communist, Herr Klemm badmouthed the Nazis, and that finally got him into trouble. I do believe he was arrested toward the end of the war. I seem to recall coming across an article about Herr Klemm's fate. I'll try to dig it up. (See below.)
According to my father, Klemm asked Opa to run a factory for him, and Opa decided not to take the job, a decision which created problems for his marriage.
This photograph seems to be from about 1928.
I'm guessing that the plane is the L20. It's predecessor, the L15, was powered by a Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine! (Klemm's first plane, conceived when he worked for Daimler, had an Indian engine.) After the war, Germany was not allowed to develop aircraft with motors, and it was reasoned that the addition of a little 12 hp motorcycle engine wouldn't count.

Grandpa is the guy on the far right. Yeah, this is an L20 all right. Probably an L20b1. The L20 was first flown in 1923 and was in production until 1928.

Yep, that's me, circa late '57 or early '58.

My Aunt Ruth, in Germany, c. 1955

Crossing the Sierra Nevada, Nikon in hand

The view from Mono Lake


Opa, late 30s?

Re Opa's friend and employer Hanns Klemm, I found the following brief biography:

Hanns Klemm: the man who resigned from the Nazi Party and lived to tell about it 

     …[T]he Klemm company [which developed out of Hanns Klemm's association with Daimler, in Böblingen, in the mid-twenties] earned the reputation of being very innovative and commercially very successful.
     Hanns Klemm's vision was to build aeroplanes which, like cars, would allow a much wider circle of people to buy and run a plane.
     That meant a plane which was easy to manufacture and cheap to maintain, and ideally also fit in a garage. All development had to be subordinated to this primary goal.
     For this reason Klemm aircraft were not spectacular as far as horsepower and speed are concerned, but they were spectacularly economical and practical. Almost every flyer in Germany in the 20's and 30's learned to fly in a Klemm.
     In 1932 production reached 25 planes per month! Subsidiaries were formed abroad, among other places in the USA, Great Britain, and Sweden.
     In 1933 the National Socialists came to power in Germany and Hanns Klemm too, enthused by the spirit of national resurgence, joined the Nazi party in 1933.
     In 1934 the influence of the Nazis over the economy was growing. As an entrepreneur, Hanns Klemm was no longer free to determine his company's fortunes, and the Air Ministry set a starkly reduced monthly salary.
     A new factory was built in Halle on the Saale in 1934/1935 under pressure from the Air Ministry, and Director Klemm had to transfer to it a number of employees and the design of a two-engined machine, the FH 104. It then, after Hanns Klemm transferred this factory in 1937 to his one-time friend and company representatitve Friedrich W. Siebel, again under pressure from the Air Ministry, became the Siebel Flugzeugwerke.
     The Nazis interfered more and more in the running of the company and in the appointment of top positions, valued Jewish employees had to be dismissed, and piecework for other companies, for example the fuselage of the Messerschmidt Me 163 jet [sic; it was a rocket plane], had to be built at Klemm. Hanns Klemm refused the directives from Berlin, was subjected to an investigation for sabotage, and had to resign as head of the company -- Hanns Klemm was no longer boss of his own company.
     Hanns Klemm was a practising Christian and regular church-goer, and his growing distaste at the goings-on immmediately around him and in Germany made his membership of the Nazi party appear increasingly perverse. Also his inability to keep quiet about incidents which came to his notice meant that in 1937 he was considered politically unreliable, and declared to be "unfit to occupy a party position".
     In june 1943 Hanns Klemm dared the unimaginable, he resigned from the NSDAP [the Nazi Party]. The reason he gave on 26th May 1943 was: "I consider my membership of the NSDAP to be no longer compatible with my belonging to the Christian community". [Note: this was about the time that my grandfather was secreted to the Wehrmacht, keeping him out of the reach of the authorities.]
     The reaction to this resignation from the NSDAP was not long in coming.
     Hanns Klemm, to save his fortune, had to transfer his company to his wife. The Böblingen Tax Office, assessing Gift Tax at 330%, demanded 50,000 RM.
     Hanns Klemm was arrested by the Gestapo and after a fierce interrogation was delivered to the Bürgerhospital lunatic asylum in Stuttgart. The doctors, however, didn't consider him mad and so let him go home.
     On the 12th of June 1944 his company was requisitioned and a commissar appointed.
     In March 1945 he was arrested again by the Gestapo, interrogated, beaten-up, and his case handed over to a summary court. Only the arrival of the French army on 28.4.1945 saved Hanns Klemm's life.

Klemm next to a KL26

Charles Lindberg, flight testing a Klemm L20 in New York, 1928

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two factoids re the SOCCCD trustees race

     #1. Orange Juice’s Allen Wilson reports endorsements made by the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee last night in races for “Mayor, City Council and School Boards.”
     Guess what? Among those endorsed: Kevin Muldoon, a Republican candidate for trustee, Area 2 of the South Orange County Community College District. It was already pretty clear that he was the GOP's Anointed One. (See Another right-winger?)
     That’s Don Wagner’s trustee seat, which he is abandoning in order to run for Assembly in the 70th.
     No surprise, I suppose. Also endorsed were Anna Bryson and Larry Christensen, two clueless and incompetent incumbents at the Capistrano Unified School District. Both have been supported by Tustin’s Education Alliance, on whose board (as far as we know) sits our own Don Wagner.
     (Bryson is also an assistant to OC Treasurer and fraudster  and pal o' Fuentes Chriss Street.)
    
     #1.2. I checked the OC Registrar of Voters site for the Assembly race (70th), and there is no longer a link to Don's candidate's statement: see.

     #2. I looked again at Muldoon's "candidate's statement" on the OC Registrar's website, and I noticed a web address at the bottom of the page.
     So I went there.
     Guess what? It's a Go Daddy ad page, advertising a cluster of legal firms specializing in bankruptcy!
     Muldoon is a bankruptcy attorney. Oddly, none of the ten links on the page directs us to Muldoon's firm.

Board President Don Wagner harassed by bumble bee


     If you’ve been following our reports of board meetings throughout the summer, you know that the administration/trustees of the SOCCCD are in a weird place right now. There’s open hostility between Board Prez Don Wagner and his camp (Padberg, Milchiker, Jay, Roquemore, et al.) and Tom Fuentes and his gang (Lang, Williams, bees, roaches).
     That’s the bad news, I suppose. The good news is that today’s “Chancellor’s opening session” was the best such session to be seen in many years.
     It really helped that Fuentes and Williams were absent. No sulfur stink. No milk mustache.
     Lang, pretending not to be the kind of guy who will sell out his friends for career opportunities, gave an "invocation" that seemed to be entirely unreligious. So it really wasn't an invocation, if you ask me. Is that good? Not sure.
     Wagner was on hand, of course, looking pretty strong for a guy who’s been through hell. He even managed to be funny (albeit still a bit dark; he provided the only rays of darkness during the 90-minute event; he can't help being just a tad menacing).


     Marcia Milchiker, Dave Lang, and Wagner were the only trustees to show, which is a first. It’s been a while since Williams has missed one of these things. He’s seriously into milk and cookies, I guess.
     Here’s a quick rundown of what happened today. I missed the first minute or so. Don’t know what happened then. Like I said, Lang gave an invocation that didn’t seem to invoke anybody, but it was nice, if bland. (To the extent that it was an invocation, it was non-nice.)
     Mr. Bob Bramucci did his usual whizbangery in what he called a “Tech Check.” We’ve been upgraded to Blackboard 9.1, he said, and it is packed with fabulous prizes. If you’ve got an iPad, you can connect to all sorts of things of importance, district/college-wise, said Bob.


     He showed us some “IVC aps” for the iPhone that seemed pretty cool. You can look up anybody and get their contact info. You can search the schedule of courses; you can get directions—complete with GPS that tracks you like some kinda perp.
     There’s something called PUSH BI, which seemed pretty good, if you’re into WSCH and that sort of thing. Evidently, our district, along with the usual suspects (Ivy League colleges, UCI) were honored for being really good at something. Tech stuff I guess. Not sure. Big applause.
     Bramucci did his usual thing with funny pics from off the web: cats, dogs, drunk people. It was all in good fun. No Elvis sightings.
     Then he strapped on his eeelectric guitar and did his schtick, which is pretty schticky, if you ask me, but still pretty dang entertaining. He managed to find excuses to play riffs from “Seven Nation Army,” “Day Tripper,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Walk This Way,” “Purple Haze,” “More Than a Feeling,” and so on. He was like one of those old K-Tell commercials. A cavalcade of super-hot riffulosity!
     He must be a seriously hammy guy. The audience gobbled it up. The jokes were corny and the audience loved that too.

     Prez Burnett and Prez Roquemore took turns introducing new faculty. All in all, about twenty-five of ‘em got up there to take their bows and get their grin 'n' grips. They didn't drag it out, which is good. Nice pacing.
     Next came Vice Chancellor of Business-Whatever David Bugay—seems like a great guy—and another one of his eccentric-yet-homespun but highly entertaining showlettes. He called it, “Going to the top: a living mosaic.” That didn’t sound good.
     But I think it was good. In his odd way, he is a bold fellow.
     He started with images concerning the issues of our day, our worry and uncertainty, etc. He moved on to issues in the district: What’s with ATEP? Facilities funding. The Chancellor search.
     But then he offered a series of “encounters” with clusters of students, faculty, classified, administrators, et al., as a janitor swept in the background and the screen displayed big letters and goofy images.
     Bugay is good at this sort of thing. He puts on a good show.
     The running gag was his asking students, as they walked away, “Where you goin’?”, and the kid always says, “Why, I’m going to the top!” Then said kid walked over to some stairs to nowhere on the right side of the stage.
     “It’s about students going to the top," chirped the Vice Chancellor, repeatedly. That sounded uncomfortably close to one of Mathur’s mantras. But the series of charmingly fake encounters (including one with his own son, who asked for twenty bucks) seemed to work very well anyway.
     Wagner then came up to speak, and he was a little menacing (it’s a subtle thing), as he always is, but he was funny, too. (You don't need to be menacing, Don.) He started off with a dig at Raghu Mathur: “Remember when the Chancellor’s opening session was all about Elvis? What do you think of this?”
     Don and Co. pulled it off, I think. It was indeed a new kind of opening session. A friendly one. A “great step up from Elvis,” as Wagner put it. And it was.

     Wagner was keenly aware that this was his last opening session (what with his big Assembly race and likely victory in November). He made a point of thanking everybody. He said it was an “honor and a priviledge” to be involved in a “small way” in what the district does. I think he meant it.
     That’s when David Bugay kept gesturing at Wagner, annoying him (you know Don). I almost ran over to do a body block, but, finally, it became clear that the Wag-Man was being investigated by a persistent bumble bee, who had lit on his shoulder. The bee soon took flight, but then commenced buzzing around Don’s head. He/she seemed especially interested in Don’s hair. The dang thing seemed intent on buzzing the fellow--just like those old planes surrounding the Empire State Building in "King Kong." It was way cool.
     But Don rolled with the punches. “It didn’t happen in rehearsal!” he joked, good naturedly. The bee finally went off to bug somebody else.
     Next, we were entertained by a fake live conversation with Acting Chancellor Dixie Bullock, vacationing in St. Petersburg, Russia. She filled the screen, standing on the banks of a river. It looked like Russia all right. Pretty dreary. We could hear traffic noise. Dead Russians floated by.
     Naturally, the whole thing was taped, but Wagner (and Bullock) did a pretty good job seeming to have a live conversation, just like on CNN. “Yes,” said Dixie to Don’s first question, “I started as a faculty member.” But he hadn’t asked a yes/no question. Pretty funny.
     What are your plans?, asked Don.
     Stability and civility in the district, said Dixie.


     There was a big technical snafu. Don ad libbed: “No, Dixie, go on, really!”
     Fortuitously, the signal was then restored, more or less. She talked a bit about the value of civility, a theme touched on earlier by Bugay. She said we oughta so hello when we pass people on campus. “A pleasant verbal greeting will make our day going right!” she chirped. (She sounded exactly like Sue-Ann Nivens.)
     Just then, the technical glitch returned, and, for a brief second or two, she sounded just like a freakin' chipmunk. She’s already a very popular gal, but, owing to this chipmunk episode, her popularity will no doubt reach new heights.
     Don smiled a winning smile.
     We can be Number 1. We’re not far from it now!, said Dixie.
     Well, then came the “issuing of pins,” an absurd ritual the premise of which is: the longer you maintain your job in the district, the more impressive you are. I don't get it. Some people seem actually to enjoy this exercise, including the recipients, who often beamed with pride.
     And that was it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don's statement

     Today, the generally wacky and colorful OJ Blog posted about the curious unavailability of Don Wagner’s “candidate’s statement” on the OC Registrar of Voters' website. (Don Wagner’s Amazing Invisible Candidate Statement.)
     Don is running for the 70th Assembly seat. He's hit the big time.
     Those Juicers seem to suggest that Don might be hiding his views or something (the real Don is, as we know, way right-wing). Evidently, they called the Registrar, and those people say all statements are posted online. In fact, Don's isn't (clicking on the link produces weirdiosis). But it seems more likely that the people down at the Registrar’s Office have simply failed to push the right button on their old PCs. Last week, we noted that candidates’ statements (in the SOCCCD trustees race, Area 2) failed to appear despite evidence that they were duly submitted. Then, suddenly, the statements appeared.
     So there you go. SEE UPDATE BELOW.
     Hope to see some of you at tomorrow’s “Chancellor’s Opening Session” down at Saddleback College.

UPDATE: Sheesh. Part of the OJ post concerning Don Wagner didn't appear on my screen when I looked at it a few hours ago (I hate when that happens). Now I can see all of it. Here's what it says:
So one of our operatives actually paid a visit to the Orange County Registrar of Voters this morning and asked to see Don Wagner’s candidate statement. After a round of frustration (“Well sir, you can look that up on our website”) it turned out that Don Wagner had never filed a candidate statement for the general election.

Which leads us to some questions for Mr. Neal Kelly. Why does it look like Don Wagner filed a candidate statement when he didn’t? Who put that broken link up there, and who instructed them to do that? Why is it still up there?

And then there are some questions for Don Wagner. Does he really have such contempt for the voters in the district that he only needs to communicate with Republican primary voters? Does he think that getting 32% of the Republican primary vote, only 5.4% of all the registered voters in the district, is all he has to do? Is he that arrogant? Is he too broke to spend another $4,000 filing a candidate statement to communicate with all voters after lending himself $100,000 for the primary? Just incompetent ? Or did his contract with his consultant only go through the primary?
Hey, yeah!

     UNRELATED: for some reason, a local Lutheran (I don't think I know her) sent me the following poster for Concordia University's upcoming "German Day":

"Unscrupulous colleges," watered-down legislation, clueless voters

     Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that
DeVry Inc., which owns a variety of for-profit colleges, said Friday that its earnings had grown 93 percent in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, thanks to increasing enrollment and soaring revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company's profit in the three months ending June 30 totaled $71.6-million, or 99 cents a share, compared with $37-million for the same quarter a year earlier. The company's revenue climbed 28 percent, to $506.7-million. The company said enrollment was up throughout its colleges.
     CHE also reports that the Dept. of Ed, which has belatedly taken an interest in “unscrupulous colleges” (um, like DeVry’s?) “that collect federal student-aid dollars but provide little useful education in return,” is developing a way to determine whether these colleges are following existing laws.
     They announced this “day late and dollar short” measure in a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin, who recently held noisy and dramatic hearings on for-profit colleges. He even showed home movies of GAO stings.
     It was ugly.
     It was wonderful!
     According to the Chronicle, the department today released “data showing the effects that its proposed ‘gainful employment’ rule would have on institutions of higher education.” The rule requires that colleges that receive federally guaranteed loans achieve some degree of employment success among their graduates. As the Chronicle explains,
The proposed rule would cut off federal aid to programs whose students have the highest debt burdens and lowest loan-repayment rates, and could limit enrollment growth at hundreds of other programs. ¶ …[T]he Institute for College Access and Success did analyze the data and found that 54 percent of borrowers who attended public colleges and 56 percent who attended private, nonprofit institutions were paying down the principal on their loans, compared with only 36 percent of those who attended for-profit colleges.
The upshot: students who attend for-profits—and, oddly, more and more students are flocking to them—are a particularly serious drain on federal coffers. As the Chronicle explains, for the U of Phoenix alone, the figure of student loan debt that “isn’t being paid down” is $2.8 billion (according to an expert they quote).
     Legislators keep tinkering with the gainful employment rule. I fear that, by the time they’re done, the legislation will be pretty feeble. That's 'cause the public fails to pay attention. But highly-organized interest groups (in this case, the for-profits) pay careful attention. And they do what they've gotta do to preserve their gravy trains. Meanwhile, the public sleeps.
     They're sleeping right now.
     Today's Inside Higher Ed has a fine article reviewing the apparent Sturm und Drang caused by Sen. Harkin’s hearings and the recent GAO stings. You’d swear these people really had something to worry about!
That sound you heard Friday at 5:15 p.m.? That was the collective thud of the heads of for-profit college executives hitting their desks in dismay when they got a first look at the sort of loan repayment data the U.S. Education Department expects to use in its proposed new regulatory scheme, aimed at ensuring that vocational programs prepare their graduates for "gainful employment." ¶ The numbers were lower than many observers (supporters and critics of the for-profit college sector alike) expected, and while officials of the companies immediately disputed the legitimacy of the department's data and again challenged the government's underlying regulatory approach, they also seemed to recognize that the statistics presented yet another threat.
     The article is lengthy and quite good. Check it out.
     I do wish that, for once, we do the sensible thing.
     Little hope of that.
     Go back to sleep.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"I never have to go to school. It's great!"

     Yep, things change.
     Though I have never taught an online course, I have for years added online elements to my courses—such as homework assignments that students submit online (on Blackboard). My experiences with that tell me that online instruction will tend to be especially hard on flaky and undisciplined students who tend to turn things in late or not at all. When you set up an assignment online and give students a window to turn it in, they either do that or they don’t. There’s no middle ground. Students deal with a computer, not a person, and the computer is unforgiving.
     I like it. Most of our students need encouragement to be less, um, flaky. On the other hand, those students who persist in their flakiness fail. So, in some respects, our new era has more of an unforgiving "sink or swim" quality for many. Many will simply sink. That's not good.
     We’ve been hearing about textbook rental for years, and programs have started at our own campuses, though it is nice to hear that some newer programs (mentioned in the article below) allow students to write in their rented textbooks. It has always seemed to me that prohibiting such writing can thwart many students' studies. Students need all the help they can get!
     At many colleges, student government acquires much of its funding through a stiff tax on textbooks, and our own trustees here at the SOCCCD (especially Wagner and Fuentes) have rightly questioned that practice. I do hope that student government at our colleges will go even further than it has in reducing the extra cost placed on student textbooks. I fear, however, that they won't budge unless trustees pressure them again.
     When I was an undergraduate (at UCI in the 70s), I always kept my textbooks. They formed the basis of my personal library, and though I only occasionally consulted them, they served as a constant reminder of what I had learned and a basis for further inquiry. It's nice to see that some students still feel that way about their texts. But the rising cost of books and the rise of such measures as book renting will make this phenomenon virtually disappear. Too bad.
     Of course, when I was an undergraduate, textbooks cost about $20 a pop and tuition was about $250 per quarter. It simply amazes me what textbooks cost now. (I provide "free" materials for my students on Blackboard — mostly my own notes, rewritten as text.)

Colleges embrace online education (Daily Breeze)
     Alissa Dimock gazes into her laptop and studies a litigation lesson from a Los Angeles community college — all in the comfort of her South Pasadena bedroom.
     Dimock has never met her professor. She's also never sat in his class or set eyes on her fellow paralegal students at Los Angeles Mission College.
     Instead, her studies rely on a virtual pedagogic exchange, tapped out every day on a keyboard 25 miles from the Sylmar campus.
     "It's terrific," said Dimock, 44, seated next to a stack of law books. "I never have to go to school. It's great."
     Her class, Law 11-Civil Litigation, is among the steadily growing number of online courses being taught at community colleges throughout Los Angeles and California. In fact, community colleges are leading the way in online education, with annual online enrollments growing about 20 percent nationally over the past few years.
     The two-year colleges are following the successes of private universities like the University of Phoenix and National University that have conferred online degrees for years. They're also setting an example for four-year universities that are now kicking their online studies programs into high gear.
     The growth in online learning is a response to the demands of a busy public, desperate to acquire new skills in a fast-changing jobs market that will make most Americans take on multiple careers throughout their lifetimes. And in Los Angeles, it's a reaction to traffic gridlock.
. . .
     "You can see the trend - steep," said Gary Columbo, vice chancellor of institutional effectiveness for the nation's largest community college district. "It's all changed. Harvard and MIT (now) offer courses online. "It's a whole new world."
     Across the state, a growing number of the 112 community colleges have notified accreditors that more than half their lower division courses could be taught online.
     A report by community colleges Chancellor Jack Scott last year reported nearly 18 percent growth in distance education enrollment in 2008, to nearly 500,000 students.
     Proponents of online instruction tout many benefits, including more overall class participation and singular attention by professors.
. . .
     While virtual instruction can potentially save the community college district in classroom costs, administrators say it costs upward of $500,000 a year in licenses to use online learning software.
     Another downside, some say, is that computer classes require too much discipline from students, especially those prone to procrastinate or drop courses when they study online.
     Then there is the general criticism that computer course work simply cannot recreate the unique dynamic of a traditional classroom or campus life. Some online students have complained they feel isolated and virtually on their own.
     Online students, on average, also don't do as well as their face-to-face classroom counterparts, according to the LACCD. An average 58 percent of purely online distance learners earned a C or better last year, compared with 68 percent of regular class students. The dually enrolled students did slightly worse. In addition, up to 10 percent more students who study online fail to complete their classes.
. . .
     The University of California has also jumped on the online bandwagon. Last month, its regents agreed to develop an Internet-based undergraduate degree program that will save money and expand access to tuition-paying students.
. . .
     Nothing tells the story of how popular the courses have become better than the numbers. More than 4.6 million students across the U.S. studied online in the fall of 2008, a 17 percent jump over the previous year, according to a Sloan Survey of Online Learning….
Rent-a-book concept arrives at UC Berkeley (Oakland Tribune)
     UC Berkeley students may have a tough time finding a room to rent before classes start Aug. 26, but they won't have any trouble renting another back-to-school staple: textbooks.
     The Cal Student Store now allows students to rent select course texts for the semester, a less-expensive option that can save students nearly half the cost of new books and offers a significant savings over even used books. Most students spend about $1,000 a year on textbooks, according to campus figures.
     "I'm renting this textbook because it's cheaper," said second-year student Natalie Fakhreddine, who plans to major in business. "It's easy to do."
     For her and other economics students, the rental program means "Free to Choose" by the late Milton Friedman is $6.75 to rent, compared with $15 if purchased new or $11.25 used.
. . .
     A 600-page text on social psychology, for example, costs nearly $140 new and $104 used; it rents for $62. A 1,200-page introduction to astrophysics is $172 new, $129 used, and $77 to rent.
     Students can treat the rented texts just as they would books they buy: they can write notes in the margins and use highlighter markers on them, said Jeff Deutsch, director of the Cal Student Store.
     "Normal wear and tear is fine," he said, "which is a great feature for those using the books."
. . .
     The bookstore has about 3,750 different books in stock, and more than 30 percent of these titles can be rented. "The percentage is going up as we add titles," Deutsch said.
     Cal's Rent-a-Text program is being offered in cooperation with Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Ill., which manages more than 850 bookstores in the United States and Canada. Other Bay Area campuses that rent books include Saint Mary's College in Moraga, the University of San Francisco, Cal State East Bay and Stanford University.
     In a test program at 27 schools, including one Sacramento, students saved close to $6 million over two terms, according to information from Follett. The company projects the program could help students at more than 700 schools save more than $130 million in the 2010-2011 school year, and it expects to rent more than 3 million books nationwide.
     "In the pilot program, just less than half of students with the rental option do it," said Elio Distaola, director of campus relations for Follett. "That is more than 40 percent choosing to rent rather than buy."
. . .
     "It's reached a point where it's become a barrier for some students to buy them," Distaola said.
. . .
     Some students say the decision to rent or buy depends on the subject matter. "I'll rent a book if it's not in my major, like for an anthropology class," said Aerial Chen, an architecture student who just started working at the bookstore.
     "It really depends on the course," said Serena Quiroga, a fourth-year student from Colombia. "I'll probably rent a book, if it isn't for my major but is for a required class."Other foreign students, though, say they prefer to buy certain textbooks at lower prices overseas and have their family members ship the texts to them. This way, they can keep the textbooks and pay less than they would in the United States.
     Not all students looking to save money have such an option. Many, though, can order digital books online. Digital or electronic books are generally cheaper than new and used textbooks.
     "I hope that e-books are a fad," said Anthony Rodriguez, a third-year student majoring in intellectual history. "I like to read books and to keep them."
. . .
     "[Book rental is] an interesting concept, sort of like being back in high school," he said. "You get the book at the beginning of the term and then have to return it. But I probably wouldn't rent one except for math or a class I didn't like. (The rental) option doesn't let you build up your library, and that's what I want to do while I'm in school."….
From UC, Cal State fee hikes add to student debt (OC Register)
By the numbers

     In the past decade, UC’s undergraduate student fee has tripled, from $3,429 in 2000-01 to $10,302 this year.
     In the past decade, Cal State’s undergraduate student fee has nearly tripled, from $1,428 in 2000-01 to$4,230.
     In the past year, UC’s undergraduate student fee has risen by $2,514, a 32 percent increase.
     In the past year, Cal State’s undergraduate student fee has risen by $204, a 5 percent increase.
     The average annual cost for an undergraduate living on campus to attend a UC school is estimated to be$26,985 in 2009-10.
     The average annual cost for an undergraduate living on campus to attend a Cal State school is estimated to be $17,983 to $23,476 in 2010-11.
     The average annual cost to attend a four-year public college in the United States was $13,424 in 2007-08, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The average annual cost for a four-year private college was$30,393 nationally.
     The average loan amount for a full-time undergraduate was $8,000 annually in 2007-08, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly 53 percent of all full-time undergraduates took out a student loan in that year.

Pictures of IVC's past

     It's been a long day. Just sat down to check out the program for "professional development" week at the college, which starts on Monday and plods all the way to Friday.
     Classes start three days later, I guess. Sheesh, it's always a drag when my summer break from teaching comes to an end. But it's been a great summer.


     I see that, for once, the "Chancellor's Opening Session" (on Tuesday) is streamlined. All the schedule shows is Acting Chancellor Dixie  Bullock's address on “Stability and Civility.” 
     In the past, Chancellor Mathur tended to enlist right-wing politicos, like Pacific Research Institute's Lance Izumi, for "keynote" addresses. PRI obviously wants to eliminate public education entirely. Well, that's OK, I guess, but I do wish they'd just come right out and say it instead of showing up at community colleges, making reasonable-sounding speeches.
     There are cool pictures from IVC's past strewn throughout the schedule. I guess that's 'cause IVC is celebrating its 25th Anniversary as an autonomous college (it existed as Saddleback College, North Campus, from 1979-1985).

     This appears to be Bill Hewitt, accompanied by Harry What's-His-Name. (I've forgotten it. I think he was a rabbi.) 

     I think this is IVC's PE complex under construction. In the old days, the college was determined to avoid competitive sports in favor of fitness programs and the like. That all went by the wayside about the time Raghu Mathur, the corrupt union leadership, and the original right-wing "Board Majority" took over the district in 1996-7.


     I think this (at left) is the opening of IVC's Child Development Center. Not sure. I do believe that Trustees Harriet Walther, John Williams, and Buckner Coe, a retired Saddleback College professor, are cutting the ribbon. (Later, Coe was the "Reverend" Coe and a leader in the Frogue recall effort.) 
     Who's the lady next to Terry Burgess? (Joan Hueter?)

     I'm not sure what this is. Shirley Gellatly seems to be wielding enormous scissors with the help of Pam Deegan (but I don't think her name was Deegan back then). I think that's Richard Sneed to her left (no?) and original IVC President Ed Hart fourth from the left. But isn't that President Ron Kong next to Shirley? He wasn't hired until 1987, so I dunno.
     In 1985, the board comprised John Connolly, Gellatly, Eugene McKnight, Robert Moore, Robert Price, Walther, and William Watts. (I think that Marcia Milchiker entered the scene in November of 1985.)

     I guess this is the communal garden. I doubt that such a thing exists nowadays on campus.

     Some familiar faces, circa 1986.
     I think that's Jan Rainbird third from left. I do believe that he was hired (as an adjunct film instructor) by Peter Morrison during a poker game.
     Ah, the old days.


11/12/15: You might want to check out IVC's Pinterest page: IVC then and now. Lots of cool old pics.

Not so fast! Rethinking fall opening

Today's report  — up again USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes LA Times  ...

Invited to IVC—this time a notorious admitted HOMOPHOBE

—Conservative radio host, Michael Reagan


Here at IVC, natch, we have an Accounting Department. It happens to support something called the Guaranteed Accounting Program: GAP4+1.

According to the department website,

This unique pathway program — a partnership between Irvine Valley College (IVC) and Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) — will enable you to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years and a master’s degree with one more additional year (thus GAP4+1).

Among the Master's degrees available through the program, we're told, are "Accountancy and Finance; Taxation; or Accountancy."


We're also told that "The number of students accepted into this program in any one year is limited so be sure to apply early."


Great. The early bird gets the worm.


Evidently, the good people of the GAP4+1 program have recently seen fit to invite someone to speak at Irvine Valley College (in late April): Michael Reagan.




The Republican Party of OC just loves IVC (from their website)

That's right. They've invited Reagan family embarrassment Michael, a man of, let's face it, little or no distinction.


He was expelled from his High School and he washed-out of college. Eventually, he went into clothing sales.


In those early years, he made some curious friends:

In 1965, the FBI warned Ronald Reagan that in the course of an organized crime investigation it had discovered his son Michael was associating with the son of crime boss Joseph Bonanno, which would have become a campaign issue had it been publicly known. Reagan thanked the FBI and said he would phone his son to discreetly discontinue the association. (From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

[“F.B.I. agents in Phoenix made an unexpected discovery: According to records, ‘the son of Ronald Reagan was associating with the son of Joe Bonnano [sic].’ That is, Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and Ms. Wyman, was consorting with Bonanno’s son, Joseph Jr. The teenagers had bonded over their shared love of fast cars and acting tough.” ... "Joseph Jr. was not involved in organized crime, but he was spending time at his father’s home... [I]n October 1964, he had been arrested in connection with the beating of a Scottsdale, Ariz., coffee shop manager. ... Following routine procedure, F.B.I. agents in Phoenix asked agents in Los Angeles to interview Ronald Reagan for any information he might have gleaned from his son. The investigation, after all, was a top priority. But Hoover blocked them from questioning Reagan, thus sparing him potentially unfavorable publicity. Declaring it 'unlikely that Ronald Reagan would have any information of significance,' Hoover instead ordered agents to warn him about his son’s worrisome friendship." - New York Times]

Later, there were legal problems:

In 1981 Reagan was accused, but later cleared of felony violations of California securities laws in court documents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney alleged that Reagan had baited investors into unlawful stock arrangements, and selling stocks despite the fact that he was not legally permitted to do so. The D.A.'s office investigated allegations that Reagan improperly spent money invested by others in a company, Agricultural Energy Resources, he operated out of his house in a venture to develop the potential of gasohol, a combination of alcohol and gasoline. Investigators said they were also checking whether he had spent up to $17,500 of investors' money for his living expenses. The district attorney's office cleared Reagan of both charges later that year. [“The investigators said they became interested in Michael Reagan after being informed that he had steered customers to Mr. Carey {Richard Francis Carey, who "was selling worthless stock,"} had accepted a $4,000 check from one investor, and that, in at least one meeting of potential investors, his relationship to Ronald Reagan had apparently been exploited as a promotional tool for the stock.” - New York Times]
On September 20, 2012, Reagan and two associates were sued by Elias Chavando, a fellow partner, for allegedly withholding Chavando's interest in an e-mail business built around the Reagan.com domain name. In 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Reagan liable for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty. Reagan and his business partners were ordered to pay $662,500 in damages.
(From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

Michael tended to smash things (cars, etc.) in his youth. Well into his 40s, he tells us, he was full of "rage" (owing, he explains, to having been molested) and he treated his family badly.


Then, natch, he found the Lord.


Plus, owing to his relationship to his pop, President Ronald Reagan, Michael grabbed the brass ring and became a talk-show host on one or two right-wing radio networks. Blah, blah, blah, he said.


In his latter-day career as mediocre right-wing bloviater and Pious Christian, Michael Reagan has said some unfortunate things:

In April 2013, in a syndicated column, Reagan accused American churches of not fighting hard enough to block same-sex marriage. He wrote that, in regards to arguments supporting gay marriage, similar arguments could be used to support polygamy, bestiality, and murder.

. . . In June 2008, conspiracy theorist Mark Dice launched a campaign urging people to send letters and DVDs to troops stationed in Iraq which support the theory that the September 11 attacks were an "inside job". "Operation Inform the Soldiers", as Dice has called it, prompted Reagan to comment that Dice should be executed for treason. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a liberal/progressive media criticism organization, asked Radio America at the time to explain whether it permits "its hosts to call for murder on the air".

. . . He spoke out in support of profiling in October 2014. In a piece called Profile or Die, he wrote that it would be left to citizens to defend themselves if there were an attack against them by terrorists such as the Islamic State. (Wikipedia)

Golly. It's pretty clear that Michael Reagan is just another "former total fuck-up, now reborn and pious."


Intellectually, he's a low-rent Limbaugh, and that's pretty low.


I mean, when he gets here, just what is he gonna say? That liberals are evil? That his dad was a saint? That freedom and democracy are good? That you oughta put your life in the hands of the Lord? That you don't need to go to college? That homosexuality is a sin?


Only in Bizarro World would Michael Reagan be judged a good speaker to invite to a college.


* * *

Meanwhile, IVC's Guaranteed Accounting Program folks have only wonderful things to say about the fellow:


Michael Reagan

The eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan and one of the most dynamic and sought-after public speakers, Michael Reagan’s commitments to public service and the conservative vision his father championed are second to none, making him the natural heir to the Reagan conservative legacy. Michael serves as chairman and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which seeks to advance the causes President Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency. Michael’s career includes hosting a national conservative radio talk show syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, championing his father’s values and principles in the public policy forum, commentating and appearing on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Good Day LA, CNN, and Fox News, and contributing to Newsmax Television. Also an accomplished author, Michael has many successful books including On the Outside Looking In, Twice Adopted, and his latest book, Lessons My Father Taught Me.

Well, sure. But he's also the worst kind of insubstantial, opportunistic "celebrity." And he's not an intellectual; he's a propagandist. He's a minor player in our sad era of noisy and loutish conservative anti-intellectualism and demagoguery.


—And he's a homophobe, among other things. Or so he says.


WAY TO GO, GLENN


IVC Prez Roquemore shares Reagan's enthusiasm for the Pussy-grabber-in-chief.

Recent columns by Michael Reagan


ALL IS FAIR IN THE WAR ON TRUMP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, December 13, 2018

…Hillary continues to skate free, unbothered by the FBI or any federal agency for the dirty things she and the Obama administration’s injustice department did during the 2016 election to try to defeat Donald Trump.

But not General Flynn.

His life was ruined by the FBI bosses who set out to nail him – and did….

TRUMP VS THE CRAZIES (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, January 11, 2019

…Some of the country’s most desperate liberals in the media actually argued that the president’s televised pitch to the country for congressional funding for a stronger border fence should not be carried live by the networks.

Why? Because they said the president lies too much and they wanted to be able to fact-check his speech beforehand….

TRUMP SAYS ‘ADIOS’ TO BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, November 1, 2018

…Ending birthright citizenship, better known as dropping the anchor baby, is the most significant illegal immigration reform the President Trump has announced. With a single executive order, he unplugs a beacon that attracts scammers from the world over. He also attacks a visible manifestation of the “foreigners first” mindset that has infected the State Department, and the rest of the federal bureaucracy, since the 1960s….

THE PARTY OF EVIL (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, October 11, 2018

…Now, thanks to the Democrats’ ugly smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh, Republican senators like Susan Collins and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders need security guards 24/7.

It’s not the new Supreme Court Justice who’s evil.

It’s the Democrat Party and the nasty “progressives” who’ve taken it over and are willing to say or do anything or destroy anyone to bring down President Trump.

Maybe this is not something new. Maybe the Democrats have always been this evil….

About Michael Reagan:


A separate peace* (LA Times, August 31, 2004) – by Anne-Marie O'Connor

For years, Michael Reagan, the older son of Ronald Reagan, felt unloved and unwanted. His parents divorced when he was 3. Two years later he was packed off to a boarding school where, he says, he was so lonely he cried himself to sleep. Sexually abused at age 7, he felt shame and self-loathing, compounded by Bible passages that convinced him he would never go to heaven.

He grew up so angry he smashed a childhood bicycle and later took a sledgehammer to his new car. Well into his 40s, his "rage came to a full boil," and he often yelled at his wife and young son.

Then, he says, he found salvation through the love of his family and his "adoption" by God. He embraced conservative values and became a syndicated talk-radio host who today tells listeners: "I am homophobic."….

Roquemore and U of Phoenix

From Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy DtB, 8-26-14

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."

Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.

As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.

The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.

The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.

Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.

No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.

Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature"

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature" May 21, 2013

Delivering factoids for

Turkish anti-feminists

Here’s a curious factoid. I came across the following press release, evidently dating back to April of 2008. It was posted by the “Pacifica Institute,” which has a dozen or so offices, including one in Orange County (Irvine):


Glenn R. Roquemore-Irvine Valley College President Speaks at PI - Orange County

Today Pacifica Institute hosted Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore. Before this luncheon forum in Irvine , New Zealand Consul General Rob Taylor and Irvine Mayor Beth Krom were the keynote speakers. Consul General Rob Taylor spoke about Welcoming Diversity as a Path to Peace and Mayor Beth Krom’s topic was How to Create a Balanced Community. Dr Glenn Roquemore’s topic is the Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education.

Dr. Glenn Roquemore is President of Irvine Valley College….

Dr Roquemore gave very important statistics of the Community Colleges in California….

You’ll recall that, in the past, we’ve kidded Roquemore over his tendency to approach speaking always as an occasion to dispense the merest of statistics as though they were astonishing jewels. "Two percent of our students," he'll say, "sport a vestigial tail." Huh?

What’s the matter with ‘im? Dunno.

But just who are these “Pacifica Institute” people?

According to PI’s website,

Pacifica Institute was established in 2003 as a non-profit organization by a group of Turkish-Americans. Pacifica Institute designs and executes projects covering social welfare, education, poverty, and conflict resolution issues in collaboration with scholars, activists, artists, politicians, and religious leaders-communities….

. . .

The Institute seeks to …[engage] in a variety of civic activities and [seeks to invite] others to generate and share insights, thereby removing barriers to confidence-building and trust….

Gosh, it sounds as though that illiterate pseudo-educator, Raghu Mathur, may have had a hand in writing this stuff.

Elsewhere, PI presents “Frequently Asked Questions about Pacifica Institute and Fethullah Gülen.”

One naturally assumes, then, that Mr. Fethullah Gülen and his ideas are important to PI. Sure enough, in the Q&A, Gülen and his movement are central:

Fethullah Gülen

Q: How is the Pacifica Institute involved with the Gülen movement?

A: Some of the founders and donors of Pacifica Institute are participants of the so-called Gülen, or Hizmet movement. Pacifica Institute was inspired by the movement’s philosophy and goals….

. . .

The Gülen/Hizmet movement is a values-driven social movement and following a philosophy that advances interfaith dialog, education and community service as tools to build a better and more harmonious society. The movement was inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish scholar, author and advocate….

. . .

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen?

A: Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish scholar, preacher, thinker, author, opinion leader, education activist, and peace advocate who is considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential religious thinkers. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide civil society movement, the Gülen Movement, which is committed to education, dialogue, peace, social justice, and social harmony….

Well, I’ve done a little looking, and this Gülen fella is mighty controversial, in some circles at least.

I skimmed a couple of sites, which suggested that Gulen is, among other things, a conservative and a vocal opponent of feminism (although I ask that readers judge for themselves based on his writings--and the writings of his mouthpieces).

So I went to the Fethullah Gülen website. There, I searched the term “feminism” and that brought me to a page with links to various relevant essays, evidently by Mr. Gülen, including The Gülen Movement: Gender and Practice.

I clicked on that. That essay includes this passage:

Although he promotes equality between the sexes, Fethullah Gülen's views on gender can indeed be described as complementary. He sees women and men as having equal value but inheriting different roles and characteristics due to physical and psychological differences. He classifies men as "physically stronger and apt to bear hardship" and women as "more compassionate, more delicate, more self sacrificing" (Gülen 2006: 1). Although he does state that women can be involved in any field of work he idealizes the mother as the pure educator (Gülen 2006: 2) implicitly implying that the man should be the family provider. This may open up for critique on behalf of Western feminists or scholars of religion and gender. According to this relatively new academic discipline[,] gender is a social construction. Human beings are born with different sexes, but social roles and expectations of fulfillment of these are constructed and emphasized by the norms that prevail in society.

Another link takes one to an essay entitled Women Confined and Mistreated. Here are some excerpts:

As a reaction to all the injustice done to women … a movement to claim women's rights emerged, particularly in the West. Even though this movement is considered an awakening of women, it occurred as a reaction and was doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements and ended up in extremism. Although the starting point was to defend women, in time it deviated from the original aim to the degree of being full of hatred towards men and to feeling a grudge against them. The movement named feminism, which was born from the idea of protecting women and providing them with rights equal to those of men, has only left behind longing, sorrow, and wreckage as a movement of discontentment….

. . .

According to Islam, women's role in this world is not only restricted to doing the housework and raising children. In fact, as long as it does not conflict with her primordial nature or with observing religious requirements, she is responsible for carrying out the duties that befall her in every area of society and making up for shortcomings where men fall short in social life. However, this reality was ignored in time, even among Muslims; rough understandings and crude thinking upset this system based on women and men's mutual assistance. After this upset, both family life and the social order were also upset. Different peoples' perception of their own historical heritage as a part of Islam, their seeing and reflecting their folklore and traditions as essentials of religion, and making judgments pertaining to this issue at certain periods all resulted in the usurpation of women's rights; they were pushed into a more restricted area day by day, and in some places they were totally isolated from life without consideration of where this issue leads. However, the source of mistaken thoughts and deviations in this matter is not Islam whatsoever. The mistakes belong to those who misinterpret and misapply the religion. Such mistakes in practice must definitely be corrected.

On the other hand, while correcting these mistakes, approaching the issue from a feminist standpoint will upset the balance again and an opposite extremism will replace the former. For instance, just as it is very ugly to see women as merely child-bearing objects and is insolence towards them, it is equally unbecoming and unnatural to build a society where women are unable to bear and bring up the children they wish for, or for a woman to feel a need to rebel against marrying and to avoid bearing children in order to show that she is not a machine. As a woman is not a dirty dish, her place at home is not confined to the kitchen with the dirty dishes. However, a woman who claims to have no household responsibilities and thereby turns her home to a quarters for eating and sleeping is far from being a good mother, a good teacher, and a good spiritual guide to her children.

Besides all this, it is another form of oppression to make women work under difficult conditions, such as mining and road-building. It contradicts human nature to push women into heavy tasks like agricultural manual labor, or military field operations, and other harsh pursuits, just for the sake of proving their equality with men; it is nothing but cruel torture. It shows ignorance of women's qualities and conflicts with their primordial nature. Therefore, just as an understanding which imprisons women at home and takes them completely away from social life is absolutely incorrect according to Islam, likewise, depriving women of financial support, preventing them from bearing and raising children in security, and forcing women into the labor force to do uncongenial work is also oppressive. A woman, like a man, can have a certain job as far as her (and his) physiology and psychology are taken into consideration; but both women and men should know that a good life consists of sharing and division of labor. Each should assist the other by doing tasks in compliance with their nature.

Yikes.

I’m in no position to judge this “take” on feminism relative to the various Muslim communities (e.g., in Turkey) and the possibility of discourse within them. But it’s pretty plain that Gülen’s philosophy, as expressed here, is antithetical to some of the core tenets of Western feminism, broadly understood. It seems clear that Gülen is not likely to gain many adherents or followers among contemporary Westerners, with their commitment to the ideal of equality, as they understand it at least, between the sexes.

The Wikipedia article on Gülen is alarming—if, that is, it can be trusted. It asserts that

...Gülen's views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, Gülen has argued:

"the man is used to more demanding jobs . . . but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother . . . the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied." [35]

Berna Turam, Northeastern

Wikipedia is quoting Berna Turam, a serious academic at Northeastern U. She herself seems to cite a work from 1996 entitled Fethullah Gulen Hocaefendi ile ufuk turu (Aktuel kitaplar dizisi). It is written in Turkish.

One should be careful to note that the superiority that Gülen is discussing is physical, not moral, or at least that's how I read it. Even so, his remarks are mighty offensive, at least to these Western ears.


Gosh Glenn, you really oughta be more careful who you hang out with. Philosophically, these Gülenites are a problem, at least relative to most of our community on these shores.

I'll see if I can shed more light on the Pacifica Institute and what it means for the likes of Glenn Roquemore and Beth Krom (a Democrat) to be hanging out with 'em.

Votes of "no confidence" - 1999

from the Dissenter's Dictionary, Dec. 3, 1999


MATHUR, RAGHU P.



In April of 1997, in an action later judged a violation of the Open Meetings law, the Board Majority appointed chemistry teacher and campus joke Raghu P. Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. At the time, Mathur had no experience as a full-time administrator. Five months later, through a process that violated board policy, and amid strong faculty opposition, the BM appointed Mathur permanent president. That action, too, was later voided owing to violations of the Brown Act. Two years later, despite his miserable record, which included a vote of no confidence and the palpable contempt of nearly all IVC faculty and staff, the board majority renewed Mathur's contract, giving him a raise and a $200 a month "security stipend."

Mathur was hired as an instructor in 1979, and he quickly established a reputation as a schemer and liar who would stoop to anything in order to secure an administrative position. Owing to his manifest unsavoriness, however, that ambition was consistently thwarted both inside and outside the district.

His intrigues soon gained him the hatred of Ed Hart, IVC's first president. In 1986, Hart retired, and the college adopted a "faculty chair" model, partly for fiscal reasons. Soon, Mathur "ruled" the tiny school of Physical Sciences as its chair. During the "chair" era, he was, without doubt, the chief abuser of that office, engaging in endless machinations while arranging a lucrative schedule that netted him a salary far in excess of the college president's ($124,000 in 1996-7).

During this period, Mathur continued to seek administrative positions. When he was passed over, he played the race card, charging everyone in sight with "discrimination," apparently on the sole grounds that he had not been selected.

Mathur's habit, as chair, of circumventing the governance process eventually yielded an official censure of him by IVC's "Instructional Council' in April of 1994. Earlier, the IC membership had all agreed not to go outside the process--particularly with regard to the selection of the IVC presidential search committee chair. During an IC meeting in March (of 94), Mathur was asked whether, despite the agreement, he had presented a petition, urging the selection of a particular faculty member, to the chancellor. He answered that he had "not forwarded" a petition to the chancellor or anyone. In fact, he had and, apparently on that basis, the chancellor did appoint the faculty member as (co)chair.

When this came to light in April, Mathur was censured. According to the minutes of the April 5 meeting, "Instructional Council had agreed that no one will work outside of the IVC governance structure and agreed-upon processes. They felt that Raghu had lied to the Council...[One member] made a motion to censur Raghu Mathur for lying to the Instructional Council regarding the petition and the presidential search process and for misrepresenting not only Instructional Council, but also the faculty...Raghu Mathur stated that he did not lie to the Instructional Council. He said that he was asked if he had forwarded the petition to the Chancellor and he said he had not. He did admit, however, that he had shown the petition to Chancellor Lombardi...Raghu felt that the members of Instructional Council were making too big of a deal out of the situation...The question was called and the motion passed with 8 ayes, 3 noes, and 4 abstentions."

Classified employees, too, have at times found it necessary to complain about of Mathur's conduct. For instance, in August of 1995, IVC administration received a letter from Leann Cribb, Executive Secretary (and formerly secretary for the School of Physical Sciences), in which she wrote: "Mr. Mathur routinely revises facts and manufactures innuendo to suit his objectives." During the January '98 Board meeting, classified employee Julie Ben-Yeoshua explained that Mathur was the reason she was seeking employment elsewhere: "Since you first appointed Raghu Mathur as the interim president, the atmosphere at IVC has changed drastically; morale is in the gutter...[Mathur's] inability to tell the truth is so natural that I have come to gauge everything he says and writes by believing the complete opposite...."

By the mid-90s, Mathur had come to regard Terry Burgess, then-VP of Instruction, as his nemesis, and, in 1996, he tried to discredit Burgess with the board. In the spring of '96, a student sought to enroll in a chemistry course without enrolling in the concurrent lab, and the matter came before the chair--Mathur. Though the student provided documentation proving that she had done the equivalent work at UCI, Mathur denied the request, whereupon the student asked for a review of the decision by the Office of Instruction. Mathur agreed to go along with the Office's decision.

Later, however, he accused Burgess of signing the student's admittance card despite non-approval by the instructor. Mathur convinced his school to send a resolution of complaint to the board (and also to the senate and the union), appending the student's transcripts, without her permission, an action that violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and district policies. When then-IVC president Dan Larios learned of this, he requested an opinion from the district's attorneys regarding the legality of Mathur's action. The opinion, dated March 18, 1996, indicates that Mathur acted improperly, violating FERPA and board policy 5619. Larios was fed up.

Realizing that Larios now planned to deny approval of him as chair of his school, Mathur, as per usual, scrambled to lobby board members for support. On March 29, Larios met with Mathur; he explained that he had lost confidence in Mathur and that Mathur had better "change." In the end, Larios wrote a memo (May 14) expressing his serious reservations about Mathur's leadership, owing to his repeated circumventing of established processes and his violations of board policy, and placed him on probation. If there were any further violations of process, wrote Larios, Mathur would be removed as chair.

In the meantime, Mathur asked the senate to censure Burgess. It declined to do so, citing Mathur's misdescription of crucial facts. Larios, troubled by Mathur's misrepresentations, sent out a memo explaining that Burgess had in no sense acted improperly.

In December of '96, the Board Majority era began, and Larios sensed that it was time to move on. Normally, the VP of Instruction—Terry Burgess--would serve as interim president, but the BM blocked his selection, and, in March, Lombardi was chosen as a sort of compromise. But in April, Frogue presented another one of Mathur's petitions--this time, an “anonymous” petition urging Mathur's selection as president. On that basis, Mathur became IVC president.

Mathur's outrages while president are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that in the early months of 1998, the IVC academic senate instituted a Special Inquiry into “abuses of power.” By April, it became necessary to abandon the investigation, owing to the number and the complexity of the charges against Mathur. Said the committee’s chair: “It’s like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup…Every time we put an allegation to bed, another one jumps up” (Voice, 5/7/98). Soon thereafter, Mathur received a 74% vote of no confidence by his faculty.

Mathur has sought to rule through intimidation, punishing his critics in every way available to him. In early November of 1999, the IVC academic senate released the results of a survey of full-time faculty (78% participated). 90% disagreed with the statement, "I can express my opinion about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation." The 90% figure will likely go up soon, for Mathur intends to fire an untenured instructor--a critic--for his involvement in the act of naming the plot of dirt next to the Life Sciences greenhouse. It was named the "Terry Burgess garden."


Huge Vote Against College Chief (LA Times, May 18, 2004 | Jeff Gottlieb)

Faculty in the South Orange County Community College District overwhelmingly voted no confidence Monday in Chancellor Raghu Mathur.
Of the full-time professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges who cast ballots, 93.5% voted in favor of no confidence, and 6% were against the union-sponsored measure. One person abstained.
Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 -- 77% -- voted, according to the district faculty association….

Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy - August 26, 2014

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

○ Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."
Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

○ IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

○ Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

○ You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

○ Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.
As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.
The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.
The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.
Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.
No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.
Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix