Friday, March 8, 2013


This morning in the canyons: crack of thunder then hail, serious hail.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Judge: Chriss Street must pay $7 million judgment (OC Reg)

     U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson rejected the first appeal, which argued that Neiter wrongly applied the law, in May 2011. Street filed a second appeal in November 2011, arguing that he had been hobbled at trial by incompetent counsel, Newport Beach attorney Phillip Greer.
     Greer is a politically prominent attorney. At the time of the Street trial he also represented four of the five Orange County supervisors.
     Long-time SOCCCD observers will remember that, during the Fuentes years, Street dropped by board meetings now and again to give us the low down on County tax revenue. These visits were entirely unnecessary, of course. But they served Tom's purposes and bolstered Street's career.
     Tom was also a political guru of some kind to Don Wagner, John Williams, Dave Lang, and Raghu Mathur, among other familiar names. Owing, no doubt, to Fuentes' demands, the district paid Phil Greer $25K to help Raghu negotiate a lucrative exit from the district. Greer also represented John Williams during his last, ignominious days at the County.
     That Tom sure had an eye for rat bastards.
A College Degree Sorts Job Applicants, but Employers Wish It Meant More (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Sine Nomine Associates, Mr. Boyes's firm, works with high-tech companies like Cisco and IBM. However, it's fundamental abilities that he says recent graduates lack, like how to analyze large amounts of data or construct a cogent argument. "It's not a matter of technical skill," he says, "but of knowing how to think."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why are we inviting the enemy to set up tables on our campus?

     Today, I briefly visited the IVC website, the opening page of which sports a section called “IVC Happenings”:

     Note the fourth item: “DeVry University table visit.” I’m not sure, but I think this refers to DeVry’s manning recruitment tables on campus (Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to noon, and then from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., in the SSC Quad).
     DeVry is a “for-profit” college with a history of deceptive practices. As a for-profit, it is among the institutions that have received scrutiny, and severe criticism, from the feds in recent years. It awards shitty degrees, puts vulnerable students into deep debt, and bilks the taxpayer.
     (Those who need to get up to speed on the for-profits issue, and the history of DeVry in particular, might want to click on the links below.)
     So, I ask: why is our college inviting the enemy onto campus to set up its recruitment tables?

• Senate Report Paints a Damning Portrait of For-Profit Higher Education (Chronicle of Higher Education)
• Cracking down on for-profit colleges (The Week): Schools like DeVry and Kaplan are booming, but critics say they are putting students into debt, not jobs
• For-profit education: 2010 Pell Grant fraud controversy (Wikipedia)
• DeVry University Hit With Lawsuit Alleging Officials Would 'Bribe' Students, Violate Federal Regulations (HuffPost)

The Glib Sociopath

Monday, March 4, 2013

Like making sausages

You don't wanna know
     RECOMMENDATION TO NONREELECT? Last Monday night, at about 7:55, there were a few tense moments, for me at least, after board Clerk Marcia Milchiker read out the board’s closed session actions at the start of the open session. Something about the way the announcement—about the board’s decision regarding the tenure of IVC instructors Grimm and Boettger—was worded really threw me. I couldn't tell what she said, and that almost never happens.
     So I ran back to the lobby area behind the Ronald Reagan Meeting Room, where (IVC Ac. Senate Prez and union grievance officer) Kathy Schmeidler, Amy Grimm, Susan Boettger, and two or three others huddled. Kathy seemed to be explaining her understanding of the announcement, which produced yelps of glee. I interrupted, asking her what exactly she thought the announcement was.
     Thumbs up.
     Still uncertain, I walked over to Bob C, Saddleback’s Ac. Senate President, who was standing in the doorway only ten feet away, and I asked him what he had heard.
     The same.
     Just now, I listened to the streaming video of the February meeting, and I determined what Milchiker actually read out:
     “On a six to one vote, with trustee Jay casting the negative vote, the board voted to affirm the district’s recommendation to nonreelect two faculty members at Saddleback College and to reject the recommendation to nonreelect two faculty members at Irvine Valley College.”
     Is it just me, or do others find this “nonreelect” language odd?
     Well, none of that matters now.

Sausages can be fun
     ROCKY SAUSAGES. Today, I spoke with an old friend who is a member of that new college “work group” that’s supposed to figure out where IVC can lower costs and increase revenue. (I’ve already forgotten the name of the dang thing.) I’ve heard several less-than-rosy reports about the group’s progress from another member, who seemed to say that getting information from administration regarding where all the money goes hasn’t been easy. Sometimes, they don't seem to know, he said.
     So, today, I asked my friend what she thought. Is it that Rocky & His Friends don’t keep track of where all the money is spent, is that it?
     “Well, that’s being charitable,” she said.
     That sounded too nefarious, I guess. So she then softened the point a bit, explaining that budget people often screw around with amounts and figures, making things look tidy, keeping something squirrelled away for a rainy day, that sort of thing.
     Otto von Bismark once said that laws are like sausages, that it's better not to see them being made. (Just imagine what gets scraped up off the floor!)
     It's getting clearer and clearer that the point seems to apply to Roquemore and Co’s handling of money, too.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

And we thought our students were knuckleheads! Red Emma grades Congressman Campbell’s letter

From Navel Gazing:

In Which A Teacher Writes Back to His Congressman, Gently Correcting His Writing and Thinking Errors
     "In my humble opinion, the real problem here is that there is something societal going on. ... [S]ocietal norms which in the past would have restrained such an extreme level of reactive behavior seem to no longer exist." 
–Rep. John Campbell
A reader detected yet another typo on the IVC webpage; see the last word
UPDATE: Today (3/4), I noticed that the typo was fixed.

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