Monday, November 23, 2015

Harrumphitude & peevitude

"I am at a loss for what to do about it."
     Be sure to read the Board Meeting Highlights for the November 16, 2015 meeting.
     These days, the BOT meetings tend to be uneventful and even boring, but minor fireworks do occur. I’m told that, at last Monday’s meeting, which I did not attend, some trustees got pissed off that the Chancellor failed to provide them a copy of the Student Equity Plan Reports.
     Here’s the item:
6.1 Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College: Student Equity Plan Report Approve 2015-2016 Student Equity Plans for Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College. There may also be a presentation included with this item.
     Student Equity. You know what that’s about. Some groups are underrepresented in taking courses, achieving degrees and such, and the district has been told to address the problem.
     Which groups are underrepresented? Well, mostly, they're the usual suspects:
The poor (i.e., the “economically disadvantaged”)
Veterans
Foster youth
Hispanic (Latino) students
African-American students
Some age groups (e.g., 35 and older)
     Predictably, a few of the folks who present about this initiative—especially administrators—enjoy eschewing sensible English in favor of such verbal monstrosities as “disproportionally impacted.” Some groups ("Hispanics"*) are said to be “severely disproportionally impacted.” That’s any group that is below a .7 in the “proportionality index.” Hispanics are at .649. [I should clarify. Underrepresentation means different things in different cases. E.g., the African-American demographic is underrepresented in Writing courses, not necessarily in Math or whatever. A group might be underrepresented in achieving certificates or transferring to four-year institutions, etc. while otherwise being well represented, e.g., as a portion of the student population.]
We actually read this stuff
     I watched the relevant "streaming video." Here’s what happened during the presentation and the subsequent Q&A: Some trustees (Lang, maybe others) seemed to have philosophical misgivings about this sort of equity-seeking initiative (Lang didn’t clarify, but ever since he became Fuentes’ soul mate [circa 2005], he occasionally pops up with right-wing bugaboos, so maybe he’s bothered by “reverse discrimination”? Dunno.). Some worried that the data is hinky because of instances of small sample size. (This was one instance among several of unwarranted presumptions of incompetence.) The groups that did the work re this initiative (at IVC and SC) submitted a detailed report, but, somehow, the penny-pinching Chancellor, et al., decided against providing the 100+ page reports to trustees, who were forced to pass around two copies during the meeting. No doubt the worker bees re the initiative were pissed too, dealing with blowback that derived entirely from Poertner’s penurious ways.
     The IVC crew noted that they had hired a “mental wellness counselor,” and that seemed to raise some trustee eyebrows. The veterans are suicide prone, said the worker bees. So there you go.
     Where’s all the money for this folderal coming from? asked trustees. Answer: grants, etc.
     Prendergast seemed especially peeved that the trustees were being asked to approve a report that they had not had the chance to read! "We’re not like Congress," complained Jemal; we actually read this stuff. “For future reference,” Jemal and Prendergast intoned, we’ll expect you to provide the actual reports! Harrumph!
Poertner, class of '61
     Some of the worker bees pointed out that these reports are just an update of last year's reports, and so it’s not like trustees've never seen this stuff before! For Chrissake, it’s the 2nd year of a three-year grant!
     Such remarks did not seem to diminish the boardular harrumphitude, peevitude, and 'tude generally.
     Well, in the end, despite all of the expressions of boardular discomfort, the board approved the colleges' reports unanimously.
     If you’re interested in seeing all this in glorious Myopiascope, video is readily available, I think. Just go here, the page for streaming video (for the Nov. 16 meeting), and use the menu that appears immediately below the video to jump to items.
     Item 6.1 comes up at 1:21:18. The Q&A—that’s the fun part—comes up at 1:40:58.

*The term "Hispanic" is a Nixonian innovation.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I were them I'd be frustrated too, being fed this social justice notion. Hispanics make up 43% of the students. How is that disproportionate?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe "Hispanics" make up 43% of IVC students. Not even Saddleback's. If that's what we are talking about.

Anonymous said...

The Hispanic student population at Saddleback is only 10 percent, Mr. Trump.

Anonymous said...

Well, they make up 43% of the prison population.

Roy Bauer said...

Please do not feed the troll