Saturday, August 27, 2011

We (yes "we") are committed to expanding the Early College Program

Lillian Gish
     Relative to strategic planning, just how committed are we (in the South Orange County Community College District) to such programs as “early college”?
     Well, goal #6 of the draft of district-wide goals (part of the three-year plan to be presented to trustees on Monday—as a matter of information) is this:

But, of course, the district plan is now explicit about granting a degree of autonomy to the colleges, which have their own goals. In part, it is the job of the district to further those goals.
     So let's turn to the colleges.

     #5 of IVC’s collegewide goals is the following:
To provide programs and activities that promote economic development and partnerships with the community.
     That’s a goal, so I guess it is supposed to be vague, and it is.
     As you know, among people with degrees in Education, one's “objectives” are supposed to achieve one's "goals," and that's the thinking of IVC's planners. IVC’s 2010-11 Strategic Planning Objectives include VI and XIII:
VI. Increase enrollment in courses in Lifelong Learning, contract and workforce development courses.
VIII. Expand the Early College Program.
Not Lillian Gish
     Well, that last one—that’s pretty explicit. Judging by our stated "objectives," then, we are explicitly committed to "expanding" the EC Program.
     Here’s what else we learn about objective VIII:
(Linked to IVC Goals: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7; and District Goal 1)
Rationale: The K-12 schools in the effective service area are typically ranked in the top 10% in the state based on California’s Academic Performance Index. Students graduating from high schools in the effective service area typically have 4-year university acceptance rates that are much higher than the statewide average. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Partnerships among IVC, K-12, and 4-year institutions seeking to work within this service area, will be a necessity in order to increase enrollments. [My emphasis.]
Strategy A: Implement the Early College Program at another local high school. (Lead Persons: Craig Justice, Elizabeth Cipres)
Strategy B: Explore the establishment of an Early College Program in the Irvine Unified School District. (Lead Persons: Craig Justice, Elizabeth Cipres)
Outcomes: The continued expansion of the Early College Program within the Tustin Unified School District; the establishment of an Early College Program with the Irvine Unified School District and El Toro High School.
     Saddlebackians seem to do these things differently. I found a draft of Saddleback College's 2011 EDUCATION MASTER PLAN, which offers a set of reasonable-sounding “values” and several plausible-sounding “Strategic Directions,” none of which clearly demand the pursuit of something like Early College.
* * *
     On occasion, members of IVC's Academic Senate Rep Council break into discussion about strategic planning and such, and, when that happens, the atmosphere is tense and uncomfortable. Senators (and not only I) have suggested that the existing strategic planning (etc.) process is overly-complex and difficult to understand. It doesn't help that it is shot through with the odd (and largely preposterous) vocabulary of the educationists, what with their "instructional delivery," "action steps," and "goals vs. objectives." I do believe that some have suggested that, for those reasons among others, faculty find participation in the planning process, um, unattractive.
     Well, whatever the reason, the committees that have produced many of the goals and objectives in our district are dominated by administrators. And, at IVC, it works like this: administrators are given their marching orders by Craig.
     Wait. Aren't IVC administrators pretty autonomous? —Well, no. Not so much.
     Voila.

For those who missed it: Glenn drops from an airplane @ 13,000 ft.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our "strategic plan": a creature of the inane educationist playbook?

     The agenda (available here) for Monday’s meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees (BOT) includes an “information item” (7.3: development of district-wide strategic plan [2011-2014]), which includes a draft of that document. (It’s a three-year plan.)
     Check it out. Arguably, this document is important. Very important.
* * *
     I've begun to read it. I want to say: nothing will ever be right in education until we banish educationists and their idiotic jargon.
     (And I want to say this as well: “poor writing—the only kind found among educationists—is poor thinking.”)
     Here’s the logic of the development of this document—taken right off the page. It’s a marvel of delusion and self-mystification:
First step:
   Identifying CHALLENGES (of next decade). (This is a “DIALOGUE” using “RESOURCES”)

Second step:
   Developing district-wide GOALS [“or institutional goals”(?)] … that articulate … INTENTIONS and AMBITIONS … related to … meeting CHALLENGES

   GOALS are achieved through OBJECTIVES identified in the District Strategic Plan – and the colleges’ Strategic Plans

   In future, district-wide goals will be a CATALYST for, and REINFORCEMENT of, the colleges’ planning [I imagine that this is conceived as a major step in the right direction. I don't mean to question that.]

Third step:
   Developing district-wide OBJECTIVES to identify the INITIATIVES to achieve district-wide GOALS. (Objectives require COLLABORATION and COORDINATION [among various parties])

Fourth step:
   Developing ACTION STEPS to describe ACTIONS to be taken to achieve district-wide OBJECTIVES
     The English language allows its speakers to communicate wonderfully. It is a magnificent thing. Obviously, in some settings, technical terms must be coined and used. Hence, the “mass” of the physicist and the "point" of the geometer.
     But some fields—the notoriously unimpressive field of education is a standout in this regard—seem to generate technical terms unnecessarily, promiscuously, absurdly.
     Educationists will actually stare at you in disbelief if you reveal ignorance of the alleged distinction between, say, “goals” and “objectives.”
     They are clueless. In my experience, they don’t even seem to know that they’ve adopted technical terms. So they impose this idiotic usage on everyone they meet. They manage to be both bullies and dolts.
     Now, suppose that one is reasonably well educated. If so, one will likely be struck by the educationist’s insistence on “the distinction between goals and objectives.”
     Luckily, we have dictionaries. Among other things, dictionaries tell us what we mean by the words we use. An “objective,” according to my dictionary, is “a thing aimed at or sought; a goal." —No surprise there.
     A “goal,” on the other hand (according to my dictionary), is “the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Yup.
     Let’s compare these meanings, shall we?
(objective:) a thing aimed at or sought; a goal VS.
(goal:) the object [i.e., the “thing”] of a person's ambition or effort [i.e., what one seeks]
     These words are usually pretty close in meaning. Obviously.
     Now, I did a little looking, and I came across the website for San Diego State University College of Education. SDSUCE’s Department of Educational Technology (EDTEC) provides a glossary of terms.
     Here’s the alleged “Difference between goals and objectives:
Goals are broad objectives are narrow.
Goals are general intentions[?]; objectives are precise.
Goals are intangible; objectives are tangible.
Goals are abstract; objectives are concrete.
Goals can't be validated as is; objectives can be validated.
     Obviously, this is not “the difference between goals and objectives.” It is, rather, the difference between these things when one adopts educationist jargon.

* * *

     Well, OK. If this odd way of thinking and speaking helps, then fine.
     But I’ve never known it to help.
     And here’s a case in point. Read the “strategic plan.” Ask yourself (for instance): how are the participants in this process aided by structuring their thinking in terms of the technical distinction between:
The narrow, precise, tangible, concrete, and “validatable” (“objectives”) VERSES
The broad, general, intangible, abstract, and “unvalidatable” (goals).
—Conceived as the first (the “objectives”) achieving the second (the “goals”)?
     This is so confused, I don’t even know where to begin.
     I’ll leave that for another occasion. (No doubt some of you are way ahead of me.) Let me just say that I long for the day when I can arrive at a meeting in this district in which people just think and speak in plain English:
What is our task? (This ain’t rocket science.)
Will our task change, include more, include less?
Do we anticipate that circumstances will make our task more difficult?
What are our greatest failings and our greatest strengths in pursuing our task?
Etc.
     Now, I know that many who are involved in this strategic plan “development” (many are administrators) are bright and sincere people. My guess is that at least some of them are not (entirely) bedazzled and bedeviled by the above abysmal educationist architectonic.
     But I’m here to tell you: if these people have succeeded at all—and maybe they have—it is despite the nonsense with which this project is saddled from beginning to end.
     And don’t forget: everything in the colleges and the district will be done in terms of this document.
     Isn’t our job hard enough? Must we be forever thwarted by the poor thinking of embarrassing pseudo-experts?

Well, here they are. Presented as "info" Monday night.
FURTHER READING:

• Educating Researchers (pdf), Arthur Levine (2007). An excerpt below:

     This study asked a single question: Do current preparation programs have the capacity to educate researchers with the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out research required to improve education policy, strengthen education practice, or advance our understanding of how human beings develop and learn?
     The answer is that a minority of programs do, but most do not.
     There are three major obstacles to creating and sustaining strong programs:
1. The field of education is amorphous, lacking agreed-upon methodologies for advancing knowledge, common standards of quality and shared mechanisms for quality control;
2. Education doctoral programs have conflicting purposes and award inconsistent degrees; and
3. Research preparation programs are under-resourced, with inadequate funding and insufficient faculty expertise.
     The result is a body of research of very mixed quality, more weak than strong, with low readership by practitioners and policymakers and low citation rates by scholars.
     As a nation, the price we pay for inadequately prepared researchers and inadequate research is an endless carousel of untested and unproven school reform efforts, dominated by the fad du jour. Ideology trumps evidence in formulating educational policy. And our children are denied the quality of education they need and deserve. (P. 71)

• The Awful Reputation of Education Research (pdf) Carl F. Kaestle (1993)

IVC's Parkinggate: we look forward to the cover-up

From a reader:

When I arrived at 10:08 am Monday and began looking for a parking space prior to my 11:00 am class, I noted that there were students using the faculty lot — and that none of them were being ticketed. I eventually drove over to what turned out to be the Goodwill Lot (a section of our public campus that has been given wholly over to some private group for some reason), which was the only obvious place to park; parked; and walked back over to the faculty lot where I still saw no sign of previous or ongoing police enforcement.

When I later returned to my vehicle that afternoon and found it ticketed, I again checked the faculty lot to see if any cars lacking permits had been ticketed: I saw that none had.

When I mentioned to our Parking Enforcement Diva, or whatever his name actually is (I only know what people call him) over in his parking enforcement cubicle, that this uneven ticketing pattern seemed to constitute what my attorney calls "selective enforcement," he haughtily (haughtily, it were) informed me that the police officers were not selectively enforcing the rules, but were simply doing other duties -- opening doors for instructors, directing traffic, helping students find classes, etc., etc.. Hmmmmm. Helping students find classes. I guess he forgot to mention rescuing small children from wells, interdicting narcotics flow, aiding Libyan revolutionaries and solving the DB Cooper mystery.

I also pointed out that the lack of enforcement in the faculty lot was what led to I (or is it "me"?) and other instructors parking in the wretched Goodwill Lot with its highly not-so-highly-visible "no parking" signs -- the only place on campus, apparently, where the rules were actually being enforced.

SO — get this: apparently Parking Enforcement Diva (again, I don't think that really is his name, just a rude derogation people use to describe him because they don't actually know his name or care to find out) did NOT have the actual police log book in front of him when he described officer activities that morning.

(HINT: DB descended
into a lake and drowned)
On Wednesday, two students informed me in my class that they had observed two officers sitting in their cars near the faculty lot, just before the (highly significant) hour of 11:00 am on Monday.

"Are you handing out tickets today?" one of them asked the officers.

"Well," the officer responded with a loud chortle, "We're supposed to!" They then went back to talking.

Both students parked in the faculty lot Monday with no consequence.

*

Readers tell us that Tuesday and Thursday morning are the worst. On Thursday morning an official of some type was seen waving people into the dirt lot adjacent to the Goodwill shortly after 10:00. One driver, nervous after receiving a ticket earlier in the week, asked the official if he was sure it was legal parking only to be yelled at: Why do you think I am telling you to park here? Soon, that lot filled and the overflow went where it could: the Goodwill lot where all received tickets.
Team Hunky-Dory

According to the Accred Draft, at IVC, we're all singin' Kumbaya. Really?

     So, things are hunky-dory between governance groups at IVC, are they? Remember this?
Crean Lutheran again ~ Monday, November 22, 2010 
     Remember the time that Crean [Lutheran high school] officials asked Irvine Valley College instructors to fill out forms indicating their level of agreement with Christian and Lutheran doctrine? Sheesh! Yeah, and those zany Crean people even unilaterally monkeyed with staffing so that IVC instructors were actually teaching credit courses that they weren't qualified to teach! Gee willikers, it took a lot of doing to untangle that fur ball.
     IVC officials did a boffo job keeping our attention off of those monumental f*ck-ups, didn't they? You've got to hand it to 'em. 
From Crean Lutheran High School’s website: 
Early College Course Program
Crean Lutheran has a relationship with nearby Irvine Valley College in which college professors come on to CLS campus and teach courses for high school AND college credits.  In our first year of offering this program, 23% of our student body took at least one college level course. 
From Crean’s Vision Statement: 
By the grace of God, …Lutheran South [Crean] High School is committed to providing Christian teachers and educational leaders who are empowered by the Holy Spirit and dedicated to establishing an exceptional educational framework that is innovative, future-oriented and responsive to the changing demands and needs of high school students in an increasingly complex and technologically advancing world…. 
     Golly, many faculty at IVC have expressed grave concerns about the college's relationship with Crean/Lutheran South. (Naturally, the program was created without soliciting faculty input.)  But, as usual, top administration have blown us off. Gosh thanks. How's that working out for you?....
     In fact, the whole business of faculty being sent to teach at a Lutheran high school flew under the Academic Senate’s radar. —Until it blew up in administrators’ faces. —And, even then, the only reason people knew about it was because it was reported in DtB. (Boy were they pissed.)

See also
• Irvine Valley College: contract ed at a Lutheran high school ~ Dec. 17, 2009 
• The chihuahua asks, “Why not bite?” ~ Dec. 19, 2009
Things sure are swell

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One smiling dog trumps nearly everything

Assessing the draft: re IVC’s “college recommendation 6”

Evelyn Nesbit
The "draft" says that things are just hunky
dory among groups at IVC. Is that true?

     In January, Irvine Valley College received seven recommendations—six “district” recommendations plus one “college” recommendation—from the accrediting agency (ACCJC). Let's focus on the "college" recommendation (CR6):
Although the college and its constituent groups have achieved a collegial working relationship with the current president to address issues with a new optimism, the college does not have this same type of relationship with the district leadership and the Board of Trustees. While some progress has been made and policies have been developed, the team feels that Recommendations 7 and 8 ... of the 2004 visiting team Accreditation Team have not been fully met. (See recs 7 and 8 here.)
     Observe that the first sentence assumes that “[IVC's] constituent groups have achieved a collegial working relationship with the current president.” The "working relationship" problem, according to ACCJC's CR6, isn’t within the college but between the college and “district leadership and the Board of Trustees.”
     The draft (of the follow-up)—about which input is due tomorrow—exploits that assumption, asserting that
At the college level the [Accred] team validated a solid working relationship among the administration, faculty, and classified staff [within the college]. Furthermore, various college climate surveys provide evidence regarding this assertion. The team went so far as to commend the college for the positive change in campus climate since the last accreditation visit.
     Note that the draft does not address relationships within the college. It addresses only the relationship between the college and the district.
     Ah, yes, but things change, and that makes the glacial Accred review process vulnerable to failing to take important changes into account. The draft explicitly acknowledges this phenomenon:
Dialog at the campus level after receipt of the Evaluation Report indicated a disappointment that the snapshot in time was not taken a month or two later. With changes in Board membership, Board Leadership, and the seating of a new chancellor the relationship between the college and the district leadership and Board of Trustees had already improved markedly by that time.
Glenn, Gwen, Craig
     But if this "things change" phenomenon can happen relative to the district/college level, it can happen relative to the college level too.
     Until about two years ago at IVC, faculty and administration (and other groups) had a common enemy, namely, the Chancellor (the odious Raghu Mathur) and the board (dominated by the Fuentes/Wagner block).
     That enemy is essentially gone. Meanwhile, in the last two or so years, it has seemed clear to at least some of us—our carping has been much in evidence on this blog—that the relationship between faculty (and other groups) with administration “at the campus level” has grown increasingly unhealthy.
     I believe that one can get a good sense of the problem by reviewing the history of IVC's “Early College” Program. It was originally foisted upon faculty several years ago (during the Dennis White era), despite expressed faculty concerns. Soon after its launch, severe difficulties of the sort predicted seemed to surface, and that led to a survey of participating instructors conducted by the Academic Senate. The survey indicated that there were indeed serious problems with the EC program. The Academic Senate continues to have serious concerns about it. It is pursuing further investigation.
     IVC administration has responded to all this with a degree of reassuring blather at Senate meetings—and, apparently, a total commitment to proceed with the EC Program. Indeed, just a month or two after the dismal findings of the survey were discussed on the senate floor, Pres. Roquemore, standing before the board of trustees, celebrated the alleged success and virtues of the EC Program as though it were the Crown Jewel of the college.
     It was as though the senate and its concerns did not exist at all.
     In my view the problem “at the campus level” more fundamentally concerns these facts (that I allege):
• The VPI, an intelligent but ruthless and crafty individual, actually runs the college, instilling fear and causing low morale. He does not take others' opinions seriously.
• The President, an obtuse fellow, seems oblivious to this circumstance; he has never “connected” with the campus community and seems forever unaware of its denizens' concerns. (He responds to crises of confidence by arranging to drop out of military aircraft and then showing video.)
     That's my opinion. What do you think? Let us know.
     And don't forget to pass along your input re the draft. Due tomorrow.

So says the draft

What the accrediting agency recommended to our colleges

     AS YOU KNOW, at each college, drafts of follow-up reports—to recently issued Accreditation recommendations—are being circulated. Obviously, in these reports, the colleges seek to satisfy the ACCJC (the accrediting body) that they have responded adequately to their recommendations.
     Both colleges have been given a "warning," so this is serious, accred-wise.
     Oddly, at least at Irvine Valley College, members of the college community seem to have been given only three days to provide feedback. (LDA sent out the draft on the 22nd of August. She wrote: "Please send all comments to myself and Dean Werle ... by Friday 8-25-11.")
     I offer the following as a reminder of the recommendations. Both Irvine Valley and Saddleback Colleges received six “district” recommendations. I list them below. (IVC also received a single college recommendation, listed at the end)*:
District Recommendation 1: The teams recommend that the chancellor develop and implement both a strategic short-term and long-term plan that is inclusive of the planning at the colleges and that this planning structure drive the allocation of district resources for the colleges, …ATEP, and the district….

District Recommendation 2: The teams recommend that the district and the colleges develop and implement a resource allocation model driven by planning that includes all district funds and is open, transparent, inclusive, and that is widely disseminated and reviewed/evaluated periodically for effectiveness….

District Recommendation 3: The teams recommend that the college, district administrators, faculty and staff develop a communications process among the entities on key issues of district-wide concern including academic calendar, planning, ATEP …, technology and building priorities….

District Recommendation 4: The teams recommend that the Board of Trustees widely communicate the results of its self evaluation process annually and use this as the basis for improvement….

District Recommendation 5: The teams recommend that the Board of Trustees develop a clearly defined policy for a code of ethics which must include dealing with violations of the Board‘s code of ethics….

District Recommendation 6: The teams recommend that the district provide a clear delineation of its functional responsibilities, the district level process for decision making and the role of the district in college planning and decision making. The district should perform a regular review of district committees, conduct an assessment of the overall effectiveness of services to the colleges and communicate the results of those reviews….
For Irvine Valley College, this recommendation was added:
College Recommendation 6: Although the college and its constituent groups have achieved a collegial working relationship with the current president to address issues with a new optimism, the college does not have this same type of relationship with the district leadership and the Board of Trustees. While some progress has been made and policies have been developed, the team feels that Recommendations 7 and 8 … of the 2004 visiting team Accreditation Team have not been fully met.
Babs
2004 IVC Evaluation Report Recommendations  7 & 8:
7. [DEFINING ROLES] Consistent with the recommendations of the 1998 team, the 2004 team recommends that the Board of Trustees, District leadership and College leadership define, publish, adhere to, regularly evaluate, and continuously improve the respective leadership roles and scopes of authority of college and district constituent groups and governance committees in meaningful, collegial decision-making processes….

8. [REDUCE HOSTILITY & DESPAIR] Consistent with the recommendations of the 1998 team, the 2004 team recommends that the Board of Trustees, chancellor, presidents, administrators, managers, faculty senates and unions, classified senates and unions, and students come together and take measures to reduce the hostility, cynicism, despair, and fear that continue to plague the college….
• See IVC’s Accreditation documents here.

• See Saddleback College’s Accreditation documents here.

*Source: recently distributed draft of IVC follow-up report

The consequences of high textbook cost

• 7 in 10 Students Have Skipped Buying a Textbook Because of Its Cost, Survey Finds (Chronicle of Higher Education)
…"Students recognize that textbooks are essential to their education but have been pushed to the breaking point by skyrocketing costs," said Rich Williams, a higher-education advocate with the group, known as U.S. PIRG….

Meanwhile, the New York Times is holding one of its “debates”:

• Do We Spend Too Much on Education?
Americans are spending more and more on education, but the resulting credentials — a high-school diploma and college degrees — seem to be losing value in the labor market…. See the debate

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Welcome Week!

Lots of balloons. No parking.
Rebel Girl
WELL, here we are, Day #2 of Fall 2011 and one can feel the crisis in California's higher education right here at the little college of the orange groves. Limited class offerings here meet greater demand because of fewer classes elsewhere. Crunch, crunch, crunch. So hard to turn so many away. Today's LA Times reports:
"As it is, the state's 112 community colleges will offer 5% fewer classes this fall, Chancellor Jack Scott said. Based on projected annual demand, an estimated 670,000 students who otherwise would enroll in at least one class will not be served, he added."
Unfair advantage
It seems as if IVC has more than its share of those 670,000 disappointed students. Many of them seemed to show up just in case, wanting to put their names on any wait list anywhere.

These same students also want parking spots. Their presence has been especially noticeable in the morning hours where cars circle and cruise looking for a spot, any spot. Yes, parking during the first week of classes has always been challenging but one could usually find a spot. Not so this week for many.

This week also marks a change in policy for parking enforcement. No longer is there a grace period. Signs were posted everywhere announcing the change in police as were uniforms enforcing it through vigorous writing of tickets.

Case in point.

Artist's reconstruction
Day One. One instructor arrived at 10:00 AM, an hour before class on Monday only to spend 30 minutes looking for a spot, any spot, staff or otherwise, to no avail. All the staff spots were full, full, full—though she wondered if they were full with staff cars. From the looks of it, no. She did get a little excited when she pulled into the lot near BSTIC (the Business Sciences and Technology Innovation Center) and spotted what appeared to be an open STAFF parking space—but the space was partially occupied by a shiny pick-up truck parked deliberately so that the vehicle would take up two spaces instead of one. Grrr.

"That's mine!"
Finally, the instructor followed others into the dirt lot near the Goodwill truck on Jeffrey. Two lots were marked out—or so it seemed. Both sported signs that read "No parking"—but people parked anyway. The instructor was feeling the pressure of impending class and followed suit. What's a girl to do?

So she parked, wishing she had her usual donation bag for Goodwill, ran across campus, taught one class, then another—ran back, worried about a ticket—found none, moved the car to a now open staff spot (the big shiny pick-up was still occupying two spots and had not received a ticket either) and ran back to teach another class.

Day Two. The same scenario. Arrive early, circle, circle, circle — to no avail. Drive by the shiny pick-up, still taking up two spaces, give up, park next to the Goodwill truck. Run across campus, teach two back-back classes, one in a non-air–conditioned classroom (Note that in the first class students joke about parking in the strip mall and the not-so-nearby church lot "They won't towthey're Christians!"), finally return to lot to find—ouch. A $38.00 parking ticket.

From several years ago
Drive to the police station to pick up form to contest ticket. Drive by shiny pick-up and note it has no ticket. Stop by faculty office to receive comfort from colleagues and tell them about the shiny pick-up that takes up two places. Listen as they say: Oh that pick-up? He always does that. He never gets a ticket. People have complained for a long time but he's somebody's friend. They like him.

Drive home. Strategize about the next couple days. Should she follow the suggestions and arrive two or three hours earlier? But that would mean arrive at 8 a.m. on Thursday and teaching through until 10 at night. Should she park at the church? Bring a bag of donations and park by the Goodwill truck and place the receipt in the window? Buy a big shiny pick-up and become one of the guys? Park her tiny hybrid in back of the big shiny pick-up and see who gets ticketed first? —RG


• Removed coach Patton insists he did nothing wrong (OCVarsity.com)

State chancellors get blunt & sober; "Education" a "culture of low standards"

Thanks, Don
CSU, community colleges try to cope with cutbacks (San Francisco Chronicle)

     California is witnessing a slow and steady decline of its prized systems of higher education specifically because legislative Republicans have blocked efforts to raise taxes to pay for them, the community college and state university chancellors said Monday in a blunt and sobering back-to-school message.
     Both systems together lost $1.3 billion in state funding this year after Republican lawmakers invoked a pledge not to raise taxes, and the Legislature passed a budget with deep cuts.
     As a result, community colleges are offering 5 percent fewer courses across all 112 campuses this year, with an unprecedented 670,000 students turned away for lack of space, Chancellor Jack Scott said.
     Across CSU's 23 campuses, students will find fewer instructors and more crowded classrooms this year, while library shelves will be left unfilled and roofs allowed to leak, Chancellor Charles Reed said....

"I always got a A."
OTHER NEWS:
Study Critiques Disproportionately High Grades for Education Students (Inside Higher Ed)

     Students in education courses are given consistently higher grades than are students in other college disciplines, according to a study published by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Monday. The study, by Cory Koedel, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Missouri at Columbia, cites that and other evidence to make the case that teachers are trained in "a larger culture of low standards for educators," in line with "the low evaluation standards by which teachers are judged in K-12 schools."

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Jesus glasses" teacher prevails—but so does legal nebulosity

Note: a typically unfettered gabfest and foodfight has broken out among commenters over at the OC Weekly. Check it out for laughs.

5 Looks at the Appellate Victory for Capo Valley High Teacher James Corbett Through Jesus Glasses (OC Weekly/Navel Gazing)
[Here are] Five reactions to the ruling—which essentially states Corbett could not have known whether he was overstepping his bounds because no markers were set in previous rulings….
Analysis: Court evades central question in anti-Christian lawsuit (OC Reg)
The First Amendment court case brought against Mission Viejo high school history teacher James Corbett is likely to die at the 9th Circuit, experts say. 
     ...When the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena tossed out former Capistrano Valley High School student Chad Farnan's case on Friday, the three-member panel of judges did so without ruling whether Corbett's tape-recorded statements were impermissible under the First Amendment's establishment clause. The clause has been interpreted by U.S. courts to prohibit government workers from displaying religious hostility….
James Corbett said...
     [C]had’s lawyers argued that questioning “Creation Science” violated the First Amendment, but American law gives no special place to any religion. One person’s religion is another person’s superstition. To Jews, Muslims, Hindus and dozens of other religions, the New Testament is “Christian Superstition,” just as their views are superstition to Christians. When I referred to a religious belief as “superstition,” I sought to show respect for all by favoring none. My classes have Jews, Hindus, Bahai, Muslims, Buddhists, and others. Chad would demand a special place for his views, but in America, all beliefs should be treated equally by government.

     Finally, here are two stanzas from Robert Service Poem (Reagan's favorite poet) that have been with me for 50 years--since my father read it to me when I was a teenager. At the time, he was fighting the blacklisters (and lost).

Carry On"

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.

Carry on! Carry on!

Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.

Carry on! Carry on!

Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry!
Jim Corbett, still hokey after all these years. Born with nothin and still got most of it.

11:13 AM, August 23, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The faculty contract issue, 1997-8

 
     Re the “faculty contract” issue:
     As you know, Old Guard critics of the recently proposed faculty contract objected to adjustments that benefited all but the highest paid faculty. They seemed to view that as unfair. (See What's their beef?)
     I found a computer file of old newspaper articles (etc.) and came across several from 1997-8 that concerned the faculty contract. They reveal that, at the time, critics of the Old Guard's then-proposed contract emphasized that contract's concentration of benefit on senior full-time faculty to the detriment of junior faculty:

• South O.C. College District Salaries Are State's Highest Los Angeles Times, September 15, 1997
     According to figures published in June by the Sacramento-based Community College Assn., the South Orange County district is truly No. 1. As one professor put it, "We're the Nebraska Cornhuskers of community college salaries.". . .
     Kate Clark, a professor of English at Irvine Valley College, lists her salary at more than $70,000 a year, which she finds "embarrassing." More and more, Clark said, district salaries are also a story of have-nots helping to sustain the haves.
     "It's not a healthy circumstance when you have people on the upper end making disproportionately high salaries, compared to those on the lower end, who in my view are increasingly underpaid," she said.
     For those on the high end, [Wendy] Phillips said, district salaries are comparable even to those at UC Irvine, which as part of the elite UC system pays the best of any Orange County college.. . .
     In terms of salaries as a whole, [Bill] Hewitt said the highest go to professors with 30 or more years experience, constituting, in his opinion, about a quarter of the faculty or even less.. . .
     Phillips said the board is enthusiastically supported by the district's faculty labor union, which bankrolled the past campaigns of the current board majority—Frogue, Williams, Teddi Lorch and Dorothy Fortune.
     In return, the board has consistently voted pay raises that account for the district's No. 1 ranking.
     "Our union is incredibly strong," said Phillips, who makes $65,000 a year, "and they've consistently negotiated one of the best salary and benefit packages in the state. But it's come through buying board members, and now they're in each other's pockets."
     Irvine Valley philosophy professor Roy Bauer, who makes about $50,000 a year, said the union and the board share "a quid pro quo" relationship.
     "The union gives them the money to get reelected and they vote pay raises in return," Bauer said. "In recent years, the board has cut things to the bone and now talks of more cuts to come, but have they touched faculty salaries? Of course not, and they won't."
     While those in the top quarter are making $80,000 to $100,000 a year, those on the lower end are being paid much less, Bauer said, resulting in what he called an average salary districtwide that falls somewhere between $60,000 and $65,000 a year.
     Figures released late Friday by the district support Bauer's claim. Taking all salaries as a whole, the average for the 1996-97 school year was $60,969 at Irvine Valley and $69,097 at Saddleback. But average salaries for "academic administrators" who also teach were considerably higher: $91,966 at Irvine Valley and $91,664 at Saddleback.
     High salaries among the top one-quarter of the faculty have necessitated the hiring of hundreds of part-timers, with that group now making up about half the district payroll, according to Bauer and various faculty senate members on both campuses.
     "It's the union's strategy of rewarding those on the high end that's led to the wave of part-timers," Phillips said….
• Los Angeles Times Letters to the Times
March 8, 1998

Dorothy Fortune's Bankrupt Views [Times' title]
     I am a mathematics professor at Irvine Valley College who is very concerned about the proposed faculty contract.
     In a district full of faculty members who earn at the top end of the pay scale, administrative positions have recently been cut under the guise of financial necessity.
     In what smacks of payback, we are offering even more to certain faculty whose base salary is easily in excess of $80,000. Beyond that, more salary is earned for choosing to teach the two sections of summer school.
     The base salary is for 10 months of teaching 15 hours of class per week and attending one committee hour per week. Many of these faculty then choose to teach large lecture classes in excess of 45 students and also overload (beyond 15 hours per week) to greatly augment their salaries to be well in excess of $100,000 per 10 months—in some cases, in excess of $120,000. It is my contention that this faculty greed is at the expense of the students.
     A look at the new contract proposal shows the balance of the increased pay at the top end of the salary scale. The benefits to new hires have been reduced.
     Newly hired faculty members will be able to transfer in only five years of teaching experience, not the current 11 years. How do we attract the best and the brightest if we don't allow their experience to count? This new contract is irresponsible on many levels and certainly greedy. 
NANCY EVANS
Irvine
• Orange County Register
April 1, 1998

College teachers OK new contract
EDUCATION: Some say the raises put South Orange County Community College District in jeopardy.

By KIMBERLY KINDY
     …Under the new contract, pay raises will not begin until July 1. They will include an annual $2,500 stipend for 75 professors who have doctorates.
     It also would allow additional raises for 23 longtime professors who are reaching the top of the salary schedule, and commit the district to dividing all the money it receives for professors' annual cost-of-living increases as long as the district has 3 percent of its budget in reserve. That is 2 percent lower than the state chancellor's office requires for the district to be removed from the watch list.
     It also would allow professors who are teaching more than 15 hours a week to bank their time over 2 1/2 years and then take a paid sabbatical in lieu of overtime pay. About 66 percent of the faculty would qualify….
* * *
     Please note that I have provided a link to the entire Times article. No link to the Reg article is available (as far as I know).
     As always, do feel free to provide enlightening comments re context, etc.



Cause I need something to forget,
What got me in this mess
Feeling less and less
My judgment is not clear
I do things that I fear,
I would never do

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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

Goals and Values and Twaddle

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

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

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

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

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

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary