Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thursday's musings

Democracy v Psychology: why people keep electing idiots
(The Guardian; Science)
Dean Burnett
The 2015 election campaigns are under way, and it’s clear that doing or saying unintelligent things is no barrier to political success. Unfortunately, there are several psychological mechanisms that lead to apparent idiots being elected into powerful positions. . . . So, for the record, not all politicians are idiots…. But plenty are. The US seem particularly afflicted with them; Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, these people
were/are contenders for the presidency. And the archetype George W Bush WAS the president. For 8 YEARS. The man whose idiotic musings managed to sustain businesses had a nuclear arsenal at his command. . . . Confident people are more convincing. This is has been demonstrated in many studies. …. And politicians are clearly aware of it, hence all the media training and PR management; any politician that doesn’t come across as assured and confident gets (metaphorically) destroyed. So confidence is important in politics. … However, the Dunning-Kruger effect reveals that less-intelligent people are usually incredibly confident. More intelligent people, by contrast, aren’t at all….
Dead creep
Oh, Schuller was a legendary asshole, a pathology he always masked with his grin and grandfatherly ways. He gleefully engaged in the anti-commie witchhunts of the 1960s, a past that he tried to mask long afterwards. He hobnobbed with corrupt politicians like Ronald Reagan, former Congressman James Utt, and OC's felonious sheriff, Mike Carona. Waitresses in South County knew that Schuller was a bad tipper and a terrible customer. Remember that incident where Schuller abused an airline stewardess, and he claimed he was trying to give her a blessing, which led to the Rev getting a misdemeanor? Asshole.

The New Yorker, 1926

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Streaming video: faculty carp about contract negotiations

     To see streaming video of faculty comments to the board Monday night, go HERE. Then scroll down the menu (below the screen) to 2.5 (public comments). Click on that. Voila!

     The faculty union comments begin at 21:50.

     DtB's report on Monday's meeting is HERE.
     The news? The board has decided to appoint Bill Jay's replacement, and it has set out a schedule for interviews of candidates, etc.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

The March meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees: Jay's replacement will be appointed; timeline set

     [Don't forget to read Tere's Board Meeting Highlights.]
     6:00 p.m.: well, I've arrived—along with lots of exited faculty unionists—in the Ronnie Reagan meeting room here in beauteous Mission Viejo, home of the nattering Neanderthal. The room's really filling up fast. No sign of the trustees just yet. Back atcha in a minute!
     6:02 - Tonight, the trustees will decide how to deal with the vacancy on the board created by the recent passing of Bill Jay. Will the board appoint someone? Will they set up (and pay for) a special election? Etc.
     The faculty are especially concerned these days about recent developments in the contract negotiations between the faculty union and the district. The district's negotiator is doin' some serious low-balling, I'm told.
     Still no sign of the trustees.
     6:12 - The room's quite full; lots of faculty lining the back wall. No trustees. Some green shirts; more green buttons ("faculty united").
     6:15 - Trustee TJ Prendergast just dropped in to see what condition his condition was in, I guess. And here's Gary Poertner (the Chance). So the meeting will start up likely in about 5 minutes.
     6:17 Jim Wright has entered the room. Folks are taking turns walking over and connecting with Dixie B and some older gal (Bill Jay's widow, Bobbie). They're sitting immediately behind me.
     Here's Marcia. And Dave. Wonder if Nancy's showin' up tonight? (Nope; evidently her health is worrisome.) There's Tim Jemal. We'll start soon, I think.

* * *
     6:19 - the meeting begins (sans Nancy Padberg, who has been recovering from an injury of many months ago; obviously, Nancy might decide to retire, though nobody's said that).
     Reading out actions in closed session (Wright): 5-0 vote, approved personal unpaid leave w/benefits for classified manager at IVC. That's all.
     Invocation: Wright. "Dear heavenly father...." (The usual pieties.) Wright mentions to the Lord Nancy Padberg's health, among other things.
     Resolutions: first resolution honoring Bill Jay.
     6:21 - Wright reads the res. His widow, Bobbie, is at the podium, accompanied by Poertner and board Pres Prendergast. The Res says all the expected things. "Touched many lives," etc. They do the roll call vote, which is brief (only 5 trustees present). Belated applause. Mrs. Jay seems nice, is all smiles.
     Next resolution: for Beverly Johnson, manager of the year. She stands at podium next to Gary P (chancellor). Wright reads through the res. "Dependability and attentiveness," etc. Applause. Photo op. All smiles.
     More: the "President innovative awards." Blah blah blah. Good grief, they're still talking about that water line break that happened months ago here at Saddleback! Give it a rest! Timely repair. Blah. Applause. Blah. Roll call vote. Photo op. Blah.
     6:30 - Next: IVC. Linda Fontanilla: administrator of the year. (Good grief.) Wright reads the res. Blah Blah. "Passionate leader..." Supported "student equity plan." Blah blah blah. (This is ridiculous. Reminds me of the bad old days when the very worst instructors at IVC received the Teacher of the Year award.) Applause. Roll call vote. Blah.
     Next: Craig Hayward, IVC manager of the year. Applause. Wright reads the res. (Hayward seems to do his job well. He's popular with faculty.) Applause. Roll call vote. Photo op.
     6:34 - PUBLIC COMMENTS:
     Jim Leach, prez, board of governors, Saddleback Foundation. Looks like classic business dude: suit, glasses, Republican hair, entrpreneurial yammering. Goes through factoids, accomplishments of Foundation. Talks about recent "gala." "Each table was fitted with a beautiful centerpiece," he intones. Blah blah blah. "Every speaker was spot-on," he adds. The city of Dana Point bought a table.... Mentions football. (Natch. Kill me now.) "We're gonna do even better next year ... thank you very much."
     Next: Quinlan Raiken(?) (Southern boy in his late 30s): followup comments re comments made at last meeting. He had questions on general action items, extension of contracts. (He's skeptical, concerned about accountability, transparency.) Not discussed/explained in open session. Where's the money coming from? Not explained. 5 year construction plan was discussed last time. In the end, the board went along with the order of priority suggested. Raiken recommended modification, but nope. Re contract negotiations: faculty have not had a raise for "going on nine years now." It's hard to attract the best faculty with cost of living so high, salaries so low, etc. Applause. (Prendergast assures him that his concerns will be addressed.)

Bill Jay
     Next: faculty union comments. "We've got 50 minutes worth of speakers."  TJ's willing to waive the 30 minute limit as long as speakers stick to their two minute limit! With that:
     Blake Stevens: "it pains me to say to you, 'shame on you'." (Ouch.) Ridiculous recent offer by district in negotiations. Miniscule cost of living increase offered, "patentedly offensive." Administrators got an 8% pay increase recently. What about faculty? Want to disincentivize, demotivate faculty? Then offer them no raise or chincy raise, etc..... Applause.
     Malia Womack (former student): wants to speak on behalf of students here. I've had many dedicated professors turn my life around, make a big difference in my life. I graduated here and went to Berkeley, studied at Columbia, earned a Masters. Just asking that you reward faculty's hard work and dedication. On behalf of students, please invest in faculty. "I applause all of you faculty members." Applause.
     Loma Hopkins: want to speak as a taxpayer, point out some facts. What's in reserve: (a lot). The district rolled over $44 million, unspent, 2013-14. As a taxpayer, these amounts seem excessive to me. We've been taxed to provide education, not to have people hoard money. Spend the money on a meaningful raise.... (Applause).
    Martin Welc: been a faculty for a quarter of a century. Served in many capacities. Have assigned myself 8 sections.... (Imagine that!)  That's typical of faculty here. Want to speak in favor of "multiple degree aspect" (i.e., stipend for those with multiple Masters, namely, Mr. Welc). Thank you. Applause.
Teddi Lorch
     xxxx: no meaningful raise for faculty--supposedly because you can't afford it. Doesn't ring true. Revenues have gone up and up. Faculty have received 1% COLA allowances, etc. But $44 million rollover in this year alone. Etc. 21% increase in administration and bureaucracy. A college needs only a teacher and a student; all else is window dressing. Applause.
     Maureen Smith: district is saying, does not have funding for pay increase. Surrounding colleges are paying much more in salaries, and we're the richest district. (Gives details.) Thank you. Applause.
     April ?: will share my story. I love what I do. I'm a sociologist. What I don't love: since I've been here, I've had to teach 4 classes per summer to support myself as a single mom. I work every weekend. Make myself accessible to students. The message I'm getting: my work doesn't matter. That angers me. Makes me think that I'm devoting all of this--am I crazy for working here? I don't know how much longer I can sustain this. Our part-timers need equity! Pay them for office hours! Applause.
     Kurt Meyer: dedicated my professional life to serving and bettering the college...for my students. Writing scores of letters of rec., foundation scholarships, scoring. Goes through list of activities, accomplishments; he's very busy. Mentoring a dozen or so students each year. Presenting at national conferences. Serves on four committees, and also hiring committees. I respectfully urge you to recognize the value that teachers bring to the district by compensating us fairly, additional step. Applause.
     Mr. Bar: two rhetorical questions. If you were permitted, would you stand up and be accountable for district's decision to reject the faculty proposal? Do you believe this is good faith bargaining? Third: I'm an optimist. The only positive about negotiations is you've done a wonderful job helping recruit new faculty to the union.
     Lewis Long: SOCCCCD is richest district in state. But in comparison with adjoining districts, we come in last in amount dedicated to salaries. Unconscionable. Yet we're hiring new administrators at every board meeting. It appears that we're beginning to create an administratively heavy district. Applause.
     Paula Jacobs: I've worked in this district for a long time. The most disappointing district salary offer ever. (She goes over the grim details.) Total increase of 2.58% in six and a half years. We all know this is a very rich district. Let's get serious, make a serious offer. Ask that the district team go back and make a reasonable offer. Applause.
     Bill Billingsly: I'm a contract negotiator. A cautionary note: after months of work and meetings, negotations have stalled. The district negotiator brought it all to a halt: district will not give one red cent to increase faculty salaries. Mentions real estate valuations. Projected high tax revenues. Richness of district. The response to date of the district is "untenable." Not fair or equitable. Direct negotiators back to the table. Chancellor Poertner has done much to create trust, etc. But his good work will be squandered by public dispute over salary. Assume "more resolute oversight." Thank you. Wild applause.
     Beverly Hudson Worth(?): my fourth year teaching history at Saddleback. Student success demands access to faculty, including office hours. Quite an adjustment for me, not paid for office hours, holding them in the hallway. I'm not comfortable with the little I can do. Goes through time she devotes to do quizzes, grading, encouraging critical thinking. My department chair and dean support me. I have the respect and admiration of my students. But will I continue at a college where I am not paid for office hours?... Countless unpaid hours on grading, etc. Applause.
     7:05 - Margo Lovett: I teach history. Want to discuss rejection of FA's salary proposal. I cannot remember the last time I've felt so demoralized and viewed with such disdain. My work extends far beyond the classroom. (Lists activities.) Mentoring, parenting, etc. Discusses one student. Cares about her students as people. It is imperative that we pay our faculty a fair wage. Applause.
     Brenda ?: new faculty member at Saddleback. Two points. There are challenges of being a new hire. I realized that I cannot afford to live in OC. Commuting two hours a day. Happy and proud to do so, but I would like to live in the community that I serve. Second, I worked as a part-timer for a long time. Our union supports part-timers. I'm not OK, now that I'm a full timer, with the treatment of part-timers. Applause.
Dave Lang
     Robert Farnsworth: I am a dedicated employee. (Gives examples.) Some of my dreams are distant at best--affording a home here. Groceries! Obscene to think that we can't live here, pay the cost of living. Please consider that. Send your people back to the bargaining table.
     Kathy Schmeidler: I teach biology at IVC, do other jobs. I'm here as a taxpayer and consumer. I wonder about how the money is being spent in the district. Hiring the cheapest is not the best way. (Gives humorous domestic examples.) I don't want the cheapest, I want the best. Applause.
     Jeanne Egasse: I've been here for 35 years, teaching Spanish. First, support parity for adjunct faculty. Adjunct faculty are underpaid. My workload has greatly increased over the 35 years. Now: curriculum written, rewritten, SLOs, letters of recommendation, answering 40 emails a day. I find much of this work distasteful. Love to teach. We deserve to be paid for our work. Faculty deserve a raise.
     Gila Jones: board member at Capistrano Unified. Speaking for myself tonight. Two things. First, I hope certain changes on your radar.... A great increase in articulation between our district and SOCCCD. I hope you are moving forward with this, aware of it. Thanks. Applause.
     That concludes our public comments.

Next: trustee reports:

     Marcia Milchiker: re Bill Jay. Sings his praises. We will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with family. Praises Gaucho basketball team. OC legislative task force meeting. Etc.
     Jim Wright: attended labs, Workday training. "I like Workday," he declares, as if telling a joke. SC Basketball team: I attended all the games. Very exciting state tournament. Attended Foundation gala. Memorial services for Trustee Jay: "we'll all miss him."
     Tim Jemal: I learned a lot, laughed a lot, sitting next to Bill. Bill always focused on the human impact (including students, faculty). "Bobby, I'm sorry for your loss." Touching memorial. Also attended the SC Foundation gala. A "well done" to Don Rickner. Over 500 registered attendees. IVC's gala is coming up soon. Look forward to it. Holds up Lariat with "state champs" headline. The crowd goes wild (well, almost).
     TJ Prendergast: thanks for stealing all the thunder, people. (Laughter) Skips his report.
     Dave Lang: We'll miss Bill Jay a lot. Celebrates SC basketball, state title.
     Chancellor (Gary Poertner) report: quick comment. Board will have listening session, April 22nd, 12:30 at SC; 3:00 at IVC.
     President Tod Burnett (SC): first annual economic report luncheon. Over 200 people attended inaugural event. Blah blah blah. The best foundation gala ever. Basketball team, champs. Exciting games. We'll bring the team to the next board meeting. Sincere condolences to Bobbie Jay...
     President Glenn Roquemore (IVC): Senior Day. One of our instructors (voice) received a Grammy. Congratulated him. Debate team took "triple gold." Foundation awards dinner, April 11. Congrats to Saddleback. Condolences to Bobbie, etc.

7:30 - Discussion item:

4.1 - Career Technical Education blah blah blah

     Corine Doughty at podium with Don Busche. This is the sort of presentation that is probably damaging to the auditor. So excuse me while I surf the web or something while these people do their thing.... They're talkin' "pathways" and such. Good Lord. CTE Enrollment. I'm dying....
     Busche starts to speak. He's even worse, I think. I'm watching his mouth move. Don't know what he's saying. Very painful. Must stop....
     7:46 - I'm back, and these people are still talking, causing pain, slaughtering everybody in sight. I can't listen. (Back to surfing.)
     7:51 - Good God, they're still at it! The trustees look like they're dying. Oh, the humanity! This Corine gal is fiendish, what with her incessant yanmering about CTE factoids. Blah blah blah. She seems pleased about the whole business! Is she a machine? Busche, too. I'm watching his mouth move. Monstrous. I'm tuning out (dang! I'm missing "Better Call Saul"!).
     7:55 - They're still at it! (Tuning out.)
     7:58 - Good Lord, now Corine's talking about f*cking "synergy." Busche's mouth is moving again, hideously. He's like a mindless hungry freak or zombie. (Tuning out.)
     8:01 - They're finally done, thank God. Trustees can now ask questions. Jemal: assessing current programs? How's that going? Corine: curriculum is the purview of faculty. There's value in programs that haven't existed before. We need to work with people in the industry. This doesn't happen over night. Jemal: ATEP CTE programs: will we boster existing programs? Establish new? Look into your "crystal balls." Where do you see this going? Also: where does ATEP fit into this? Busche: current programs will continue, but always on lookout for new programs. Want to make sure that certificates earned here are of value to students. It's going to be both (retaining old programs, creating new ones). We have discontinued programs in the path. (Used to have flight attendant programs!) Jemal presses on ATEP. "Not just shifting programs from Saddleback to ATEP? Nope, says Busche. Talks about simulation centers at ATEP (?) that they'll want to use. Corine: I'm new and don't have a lot of history. First building going in. Names programs slated for that. Biotech, electrical, etc. Sustainable elements. Hoping to align Saddleback and IVC programs. Create a sustainable learnable community. Doing innovative kinds of things (looks cool). We have to be mindful of the global picture. We provide students with training that is "portable."
     Lang: "very good presentation." (I think he's a vegetable.) Heard something about how there are very few advanced CTE programs. How's that? Busche: clarification: we're only allowed two advanced courses per program. Lang: who mandates that? A: the state. Limited to two courses at the advanced level. Lang: Is this driven by turf wars (competition with state colleges, etc.). Busche: don't think so. Corine insists that students have no idea about advanced vs. intermediary or beginning instruction. Don't look at the courses that way. (Frankly, I don't know what the issue is here. Can you tell?) Busche mentions that we cannot offer Baccalaureate courses. (Somehow, this helps clear things up. Can't imagine how.) Marcia talks a bit about "jobs in the community." Marcia loves Corine's use of the term "street cred." (Laughter.) Jobs in the community needed today, blah blah blah. Town hall meetings, etc. Busche starts talking about the hundreds of areas in the CTE area. Marcia talks about how it's great to work with industry. "They can actually tell us what they need."
     Thank God that's over. Sheesh.
     8:14 p.m. - 4.2: regulations for hiring administrators/managers (this is a "listening session" item)

Teddy, cat
     David Bugay gets up to yammer. He grabs the mike, pulls it way down to where he is. Nice tie. 4 policies about hiring. Blah blah blah. He reviews the existing policies, processes for hiring managers and administrators. Pretty familiar, boring. Goes on about "drawing the line" of scored candidates to invite. Talks about uniformity of questions. Have equal opportunity representative. Blah. Scores are tabulated. Top three candidates are usually forwarded to next level. Should be looking at an unranked list. Sometimes only two are forwarded, causing much consternation. 2nd level: reference checks are conducted. Three references at least. Questions for second level approved, etc. Thinking about a third party reference check service. Pilot program. "Very exciting." Blah. Finally, rec goes up to Chancellor. Then goes to board agenda for ratification. Questions?
     Wright: well done. I've heard that there's a third level going on right now. Bugay: if they wanted to have that, that's possible. Wright: letters, must they be current? We're thinking about going deeper into references, hiring pros.
     Jemal: thanks. Two questions. Neither college has an HR function. The services are centralized at district. Does the process work well? Can it be improved? Bugay: we're looking at that right now. The policies are complicated, specific. Generated by a lawsuit. (He's referring to the Academic Senates' suit of fifteen years ago--re the faculty hiring process.) Very micromanaged. Almost impossible to manage. We're thinking of revising, pushing more responsibilities to committees. Jemal: how are we approaching use of social media/internet in examining qualificaitons of candidates? Bugay: "carefully." People say "difficult things" on social media. We have to use that info with a grain of salt. Use that cautiously.
     Lang: I endorse this pilot program that you are exploring. The resumes we get are of a "self-serving nature." Good to get third party validation, to avoid bad hires. Every hire is an investment, so its critical to get hiring right. We want the best people coming forward. Takes much money to correct a bad hire.
     Claire pipes up: faculty really want to revise this policy. One issue: composition of hiring committee. Little faculty representation on dean hire committees. Out of compliance with best practices.

Consent calendar: Wright: 5.4, 5.6, 5.18.
For the balance: unanimous (two trustees absent)

5.4 - IVC, student out of state travel. Wright: they've already done the travel. Roquemore: "all I can do is apologize." Move approval. Unanimous. (for 5.6 as well)

5.18 - Wright: Academic Calendars. 87 days in fall, 91 in the spring. Is there a reason for difference in days? IVC's Kathy Schmeidler [evidently, a member of the commitee] speaks: since I've been here, more days in the spring. Why? Has to do with "hard stops" in the semester. Wright: Another issue: summer 11 weeks. Prefer 12 weeks. Schmeidler: the committee defers to the VPI on this. Wright: last issue: almost a month break between fall and spring. Blah blah blah. [I'm lookin' around the room. Lots of wiltage.] They vote, passes unanimously.

6.1 - Lighting....
6.2 - blah blah blah
6.3 - more lighting. I don't care.
6.4 - don't care, don't care....

6.5 - Vacancy on board

     Someone needs to make a motion: either a special election or appointment process.
     Marcia: motions for appointment process.
     Marcia: will cost us $2.4 million to have election. That's too much.
     Lang: loathe as I am to excercise this right, given the cost, want to go along with appointment process.
     Jemal: agrees with Lang. Should be elected seats. Almost always in the interests of the public to try to have an election. The election, though, is cost prohibitive. Supports the motion.
     They vote: unanimous (two absent)

Resolution 1516 -- Prendergast and Poertner worked on timeline. Etc. Unanimous yes vote. [You can see the timeline on the agenda.]

See agenda, item 6.5

[P.S.: here's the timeline, taken from the agenda:
… the Chancellor, or his designee, is hereby directed to advertise the fact of the vacancy and the process for obtaining an application for service as a provisional Board member once a week in the Orange County Register on Wednesday, April 1, 8 and 15 and in community newspapers such as the Sun Post News, Laguna News Post and Dana Point News on Thursdays, April 2 and 9, 2015 … [T]he deadline for submission of completed application materials shall be 5:00 p.m. on April 15, 2015, in the office of the Chancellor. No applications will be accepted or considered if they are received after 5:00 p.m. on April 15, 2015 … [U]pon closure of the application period, the Chancellor, or designee, shall forward to each applicant, information as to the time, date, location and order of interviews for the provisional appointment. The information provided to each individual submitting a completed application will include the questions which will be asked of each applicant at the interview before the Board. Each applicant will receive a 20-minute interview at which he or she will be asked to respond to the questions provided. However, depending on the number of candidates the Board may extend or shorten the time allotted for interviews … [U]pon closure of the application period, the Chancellor, or designee, shall forward to each Board member the applications received and the interview materials, including the materials provided to the applicants … [T]he Board shall hold a special meeting on April 27, 2015, at 3 p.m., or at such other or additional times as the Board may determine in accordance with law, for the purpose of interviewing applicants, voting on a provisional appointee, and swearing into office the selected individual…]
Etc. They zoom through items.
I can take no more. I'm outa here.

Why have you woken me? Is it Caturday yet?
Posted by Cats And Kittens on Thursday, March 12, 2015

Preview of tonight's board meeting

     Board meeting tonight; the open session starts at 6:00.
     Lately, the board has laid off of the endless commendations and resolutions, but they seem to be back at it tonight.
     Naturally, there’s a “resolution” in honor of Bill Jay, who passed away very recently. The resolution sports such verbiage as “Whereas, Dr. Jay touched many lives during his long and successful career, always making time to listen for [sic] faculty, students and staff. He will be forever remembered for being open, kind, funny and genuine in his desire to make a difference in students’ lives….”
     Classified manager Beverly Johnson, too, will be honored with a resolution. Hers tells us, among other things, that she “is talented at creating efficiencies in work processes and happily shares those with others.”
     They really oughta run these dang things by the English Department.
     Four other individuals will receive honors.
     There’ll be a “commendation,” too: “Saddleback College President Tod Burnett will commend students from an ENG 160 class for having received a first place award for the 2014 edition of WALL in a national competition sponsored by the American Scholastic Press Association....”
     I expect the faculty union crowd to make their presence felt tonight (at “public comments”), owing to the alleged dastardly details of district negotiation (serious low-balling, we're told).
     Tonight’s first “discussion item” (4.1) is described as follows:
Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College: Career Technical Education Certificate Programs At [sic] the request of Trustee Jemal, representatives from Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College will share information on the career technical education certificate programs offered at the colleges.
     Sharing information. I'm bracing for that.
     The second discussion item is
SOCCCD, Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College: Regulations and Policy for Hiring Administrators and Managers [sic] A presentation on selection, hiring and employment process for administrators and managers will be provided by the Vice Chancellor Human Resources & Employer/Employee Relations and the College Presidents.
     As you know, there are those who regard existing regulations as seriously wanting.
     (See the PowerPoint Presentation)
     Among consent items:
5.18: Academic Calendar: accept for review and study
     Finally, something juicy: among general action items is 6.5:
SOCCCD: Vacancy in Trustee Area 3 Recommendation for SOCCCD board members to adopt either Resolution No. 15-14 (Exhibit A) ordering a special election or adopt Resolution No. 15-15 (Exhibit B) calling for the appointment of a provisional board member. If the decision is to appoint a provisional board member, the Chancellor further recommends that the Board adopt Resolution No. 15-16 (Exhibit C) establishing the procedure for the appointment of a provisional board member.
     Here’s the relevant section of Exhibit A:
WHEREAS, California Education Code section 5091(a)(1) requires the Governing Board to either appoint a provisional board member or order an election to fill the vacancy created by the death of a board member; ….
     A or B? I suppose this will be decided tonight. Hot fun!

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