Saturday, August 20, 2016

Preview of Monday's Board Meeting: the budget, parking structures, Basic Aid allocations

Hey there, Hi there, Ho there!
     Recently, and as usual, district denizens received a link to the agenda of Monday’s (August 22) meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees (BoT). Here's a preview.

     This item is from the 5:00 p.m. closed session. Make of it what you will:

      The open session starts at 6:30, natch.
      Here are elements taken from each of the college presidents' reports:
Burnett's report: "17 new full-time faculty...."
Roquemore's report: "The morning began with breakfast...."
     There are two "discussion" items for Monday's meeting:
     Item 4.1 is a report of "Basic Aid Allocation Recommendation for FY 2016-2017."
     Here's the PowerPoint:
     Here's one among many graphics from the presentation:

Ain't basic aid wonderful?
     Item 4.2 concerns the District-wide Parking Study Report. Here are the "key findings":

At IVC, the annual fee for student parking is now $80.
At UCI, student parking is literally ten times more expensive.
In our future, apparently.
     No surprises there.
     Here's the first part of the long list of recommendations:

     There're no big surprises among the consent calendar items, I guess.

     General action item 6.1 is approval of the FY 2016-2017 Adopted Budget.

     Links are provided:
     Item 6.3 is curious: "Conduct a public hearing to provide an opportunity for the disciplinary matter [concerning a Saddleback College student] to be discussed in public session":

     Golly, what did this student do (allegedly)?

     This was in one of the attachments to item 6.9, Academic personnel actions:

Donald Trump's call for poll watchers brings back fears of 1988 Santa Ana
(LA Times)
     (Oddly, this article fails to mention [future SOCCCD trustee] Tom Fuentes’ key role in all this.)

The new and improved A400 (IVC)

Shiny new classrooms
And there's lots of new office space upstairs



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sykes. Yikes.

Calling Out the Professoriate
(Inside Higher Ed)

Author of the 1988 book Profscam, conservative talk radio host Charles Sykes, discusses his new book that again takes on higher education.
Q. The book calls for a shrinking of overall college enrollment. Why? And aren't there downsides to rolling back the access gains of recent decades, which women, minority groups and low-income students largely drove? 
A. We should make access to higher education as open as possible. But the reality is that the “college for all” mantra is a delusion that sets too many students up to fail. Far too many students enter college without adequate academic preparation; far too many end up dropping out. The real irony here is that the students who are most likely to be hurt by the higher education complex’s indifference to undergraduate teaching are precisely those vulnerable student groups who need more attention.
      Of the 1.8 million students assessed for college readiness in 2014, ACT found that only 26 percent met college-ready benchmarks in all four subjects (English, reading, math and science). Charles Murray notes that an SAT score of 1180 will give a college freshman about a 65 percent chance of maintaining a 2.7 grade point average. But that is a score only about one in 10 18-year-olds could achieve. “So,” writes Murray, “even though college has been dumbed down, it is still too intellectually demanding for a large majority of students.” Even so, in recent decades, 30 percent of students with C grades in high school and 15 percent with grade point average of C-minus or lower have been admitted into four-year colleges. That has consequences both for the students and for the institutions, which often have to adjust their standards to the new demographic realities….

The Danger of the Right's Noise Machine: Years of Misinformation Led to Trump's Rise

Charlie Sykes
…And today, for the first time, some conservatives in the #NeverTrump camp are seeing where their decades-long attacks on the mainstream media and the “reality based community” have led. Right-wing radio talk show host Charlie Sykes from Wisconsin gave an interview lamenting the situation with reporter Oliver Darcy who put up an excerpt on twitter. Sykes also appeared on MSNBC’s “All In” last night where he said this:
Over the years conservative talk show hosts, and I’m certainly one of them, we’ve done a remarkable job of challenging and attacking the mainstream media. But perhaps what we did was also the destroy any sense of a standard. Where do you go to have any sense of the truth? You have Donald Trump come along and the man says things that are demonstrably untrue on a daily basis. My experience has been look, we live in an era when every drunk at the end of the bar has a Twitter account and maybe has a blog and when you try to point out “this is not true, this is a lie” and then you cite the Washington Post or the New York Times, their response is “oh that’s the mainstream media.” So we’ve done such a good job of discrediting them that there’s almost no place to go to be able to fact check....

Fear Not the Parking Lot: The Show Must Go On

Shakespeare by the Sea's "Cymbeline" at Soka University

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, 
Nor the furious winter’s rages; 
Thou thy worldly task hast done, 
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages: 
Golden lads and girls all must, 
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

                                           -  from"Cymbeline"

Last night hundreds of community members converged on the IVC campus for "Cymbeline," yet another terrific and otherwise well-supported production by Shakespeare by the Sea, a regional theatre which travels throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. IVC has been fortunate enough to play host the last few years and the result has been a terrific event which finds community members of all ages enjoying quality theatre for free on our lovely campus. Last night's production was spirited and the full moon rose over the actors on the stage and the audience, which included a few faculty and students picnicking among the community members.

In past years, the plays have been staged in the Live Oak Terrace with free parking nearby in the lots. This year something went wrong. The audience arrived to discover that the Live Oak Terrace was empty and were directed to the front of the Student Services Building where the stage was being erected along with the lighting, sound system and the portable backstage dressing rooms. This reporter arrived too late to conduct a full inquiry but, along with  the audience, was told that the Live Oak Terrace was "double booked," and thus the production had been forced to move to the much less suitable quad. This assertion seemed to defy facts as throughout the evening Live Oak Terrace remained completely deserted.

There was also some kerfuffle about parking. In previous years, as for most venues used by the exceedingly non-profit theatre company, the parking was offered for free. But yesterday, reports varied about whether this was true this year until show time when the audience was assured that parking was indeed, gratis. Also, concerns were expressed from the stage, apparently as directed by IVC police, about how exactly the audience should exit the campus. Much was made about not slowing down in the roundabout when exiting the campus. Much.

It should be noted that the audience members seemed entirely able to exit the campus without incident, owing no doubt to the fact that the majority of them parked in the lots by the Live Oak Terrace and had to slog their picnic baskets across campus, avoiding the Charybdis-like maelstrom of the IVC roundabout completely, and noting at the evening's end the mysterious and complete desolation that was the Live Oak Terrace.

Despite hitches, the show, fulfilling proud theatrical tradition, went on. Funded by every sort of County grant and Arts commission out there, esteemed and celebrated regionally, the troupers performed winningly, though it was clear their extremely accommodating director was justifiably puzzled by the logistical snafu and passive-aggressive administrative reception. She hoped to return, she said and we believed her. Most institutions welcome visitors, make it easy for them to park, roll out the red carpet in hopes of showing off their commitments to visitors, community. We wonder what went wrong last night.

Really bad photo taken by really bad photographer.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday night on CNN

(CNN)The Green Party is about to have a chance to show voters it is worth casting a ballot for.
     CNN on Wednesday evening is set to hold another of its live town hall events, this time with Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka.
     The prime-time event moderated the CNN's Chris Cuomo is set to be Stein's most high-profile moment in her bid to upset the 2016 election, four years after she first ran and failed to gain enough traction to make it into the general election debates....

Monday, August 15, 2016

Five years ago today...

From Dissent the Blog, August 15, 2011:

     AS YOU KNOW, the proposed faculty contract will be presented and discussed at tomorrow’s Faculty Association luncheon/gabfest. In their August 11 “faculty alert,” a group of disgruntled Old Guardsters (DOGs) objected to two features of the contract(My apologies to canines everywhere.)
     ① One objection concerns the proposed fate of “75” senior faculty who (they say) are at the highest paid step in their "column." You see, the DOGs noticed these features of the proposed contract:
• Elimination of the lowest two steps of each column on the salary schedule, increasing the base salary;
• Each faculty member not at the highest paid step in her column will receive an additional step increase, in addition to the regular step increase, in the fall of 2010*
FA Prez Long: often
compared to a Boy Scout,
"only less cynical"
     These grizzled curs are sayin’, “Hey, what about us? How come we don’t get no increase?” (For background, see 1997 Times article re SOCCCD salaries.)
     So they're like a dog without a bone. All snarly.
     ② The other flea-bitten objection concerns alleged “discriminatory lab compensation decisions.” I shall assume that the objection refers specifically to the following mangy feature of the proposed contract:
• Load value equivalency to lecture (1 for 1) for Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geology and Nursing labs.
     The problem for the money-grubbing mongrels, evidently, is that this “upgrade” in the valuation of an instructor’s “lab” hours is visited only upon Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geology, and Nursing instructors.
     "What about all us other labbers?" howl the DOGs.
     (Gosh, I had no idea so much labbing went on!)
     Below, I present the relevant verbiage of the old (2007) contract and the proposed (2011) contract:

*I found the three contract features referred to here in FA President Lewis Long's Aug. 1 email to faculty

Labs come in several varieties
A group of employees--mostly biologists--vandalizing property at Irvine Valley College
One particularly notorious School at IVC actually teaches vandalism.


Dissent the Blog, 8-15-2011

     Newer faculty: you might want to learn more about Ray Chandos, Michael Channing, Sharon MacMillan, Mike Merrifield,* Sherry Miller-White, and Ken Woodward—a group of faculty who recently sent out an “alert” regarding contract negotiations between the district and the Faculty Association.
     It is important that you understand what these people are capable of. I have already described (and documented) some of their outrageous antics (see). But there’s much more.
     To learn more about the Old Guard’s defense of Holocaust denying trustee Steven Frogue, see When is an anti-Semite not an anti-Semite?, Chandos' letter to the Times in 1997.
     To learn more about the Old Guard’s efforts to secure Tom Fuentes’ appointment as Frogue’s replacement (in 2000), see Fuentes’ suspicious appointment, an account from Dissent.

*As I recall, Merrifield was not associated with the union Old Guard (c. 1996-2000). The rest of these characters, however, were.

                                             Dissent the Blog, 8-15-2011

Harris seeks millions in for-profit college lawsuit (California Watch)
     The U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general in four states, including California, filed a complaint last week against for-profit college giant Education Management Corp., which operates 14 campuses in the state under the Argosy University and Art Institute brands.
     The 122-page complaint contends the Pittsburgh-based for-profit college company illegally paid admissions employees based on the number of students they recruited, regardless of the students' qualifications. The Higher Education Act prohibits colleges and universities that participate in the federal financial aid program from paying commissions, bonuses or other incentive payments to recruiters based on how many students they enroll.
     The exact amount of California's claim is still unclear, but state Attorney General Kamala Harris is suing Education Management for all the state financial aid the colleges have received since 2003, mainly in the form of Cal Grants. The state is also seeking $10,000 per false claim.
. . .
     The lawsuit says the company created a "boiler room"-style sales culture in which recruitment of students was the sole focus. A guide for assistant directors of admissions includes a points-based salary chart, described internally as "the matrix." The chart rewards a set number of points for each type of student recruited in one year.
     The company relentlessly monitors each recruiter's enrollment statistics, the complaint states. Admissions personnel who recruited the most students in a year won all-expenses-paid "President's Club" trips to Puerto Vallarta and Cancun in Mexico and Las Vegas.
     Education Management also instructs its sales force to enroll applicants regardless of whether they can write coherently and even if they appear to be under the influence of drugs, the complaint says.…
Argosy? Cool!
     --I do believe that Argosy reps regularly visit Irvine Valley College. I guess they're looking to see if we have any druggies and illiterates.
* * *
     I did some digging. Sure enough, I reported the following in early March, 2009:

[O]n Saturday, members of the Irvine Valley College community received a curious email from Dean Elizabeth Cipres (Counseling and Library Services). She wrote:
Dear Faculty:

I have attached a Lunch and Learn invitation from Argosy University that will be held in our Career & Transfer Center … on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. Also if you are considering a doctorate program, I have attached the recently updated doctoral matrix for your review. 
Liz Cipres
     Like Raghu Mathur, Cipres has a gig at Argosy.
     I made a big point of Argosy's unsavoriness back then. I don't think it had any effect. We're still promoting the crap out of these for-profits.

Mickadeit's "ode" to Tom Fuentes
Dissent the Blog, 8-15-2011

     The OC Reg’s Frank Mickadeit posted a tribute to Tom Fuentes today:
     Walked in the newsroom Monday and told my editor, "I'm going to write an extraordinary column today. I mean, even beyond my usual extraordinariness." He raised an eyebrow. I continued: "I'm going to publish my eulogy, ode, whatever you want to call it, to Tom Fuentes before he dies. So he can read it."
     I'd gotten a call last week from his doctor, Ken Williams, saying Tom had taken a bad turn and it would be "maybe only days," before he passes from his long fight with liver cancer. Now was the time to see him. I didn't want to…. (continued)

"It's Hillary"

Maureen Dowd: ‘The Republicans Have Their Candidate’ in Hillary Clinton (Truthdig)
Seeks guidance from Kissinger
     …All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old.
     They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.
     The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary….
     See Dowd’s The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee (NYT)


Sunday, August 14, 2016

What the emails show: "donations ... win access to ... State Dept. diplomatic officials...."

Transparent? No, "opaque"
AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to Santa Barbara, where we’re joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Grimaldi. He’s a senior writer at The Wall Street Journal and has covered the Clinton Foundation since 2014. … Can you talk about what this latest group of emails suggests…between the State Department under Clinton and the Clinton Foundation…?

JAMES GRIMALDI: Well, I think this confirms what we sort of knew. There are obvious ties and relationships. The key tie here would be Douglas Band, who was a top aide to Bill Clinton. … He was very close, of course, to [close Hillary associates] Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. … It shows how donations to the Clinton Foundation win access to … State Department diplomatic officials….

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: … [D]uring her confirmation hearings as secretary of state, Secretary Clinton specifically said that she would take, quote, "extraordinary steps ... to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest."…

JAMES GRIMALDI: Well, over the past year, we have looked at that issue. And what I did was I went into the lobbying records to see which companies and other entities were lobbying the State Department, and also looking to see how many of them had given to the Clinton Foundation. And one of our findings was that at least 60 companies had lobbied the State Department, had given as much as $26 million, and many of those companies, 44 of those 60, had participated in what they call commitments, or philanthropic projects, that were valued by the Clinton Foundation at $3.2 billion….
. . .
JAMES GRIMALDI: Right. Well, that’s how Hillary Clinton got involved. And we know this, thankfully, to WikiLeaks. The cables that were obtained under WikiLeaks happened to be that snapshot in time when these discussions were going underway. And what we saw was that when the Swiss foreign minister came to Hillary Clinton and said, "We really would like to take care of this UBS problem," Hillary said, "Well, we have a few things we would like, as well." And this was the time that the Clinton administration—I’m sorry, the Obama administration was eager to close Guantánamo Bay. And Mrs. Clinton was pressuring Switzerland to take some of the less dangerous detainees, in particular, some Chinese Uyghurs who were deemed to be not particularly dangerous, which they eventually agreed to do. That seemed to be part of the overall deal that was made between the United States and Switzerland regarding UBS.
. . .
JAMES GRIMALDI: …You know, there’s usually never a stop in what you can do in terms of contributions you can make to the various Clinton pots. You know, you’ve got money that you can donate to the foundation. You can partner—at the State Department there are these partnerships between the Clinton Foundation and corporations. Some of that went into building an Expo in China for the Chinese world fair that they held there. And the Clinton Foundation—Mrs. Clinton, at the State Department, was very eager to see those being built, because, apparently, under the Bush administration, it really had kind of had a—reached a point where they hadn’t raised enough money to even have a pavilion there. But then you could see that there are money coming from corporations to their own personal wallet, their purses, campaign contributions. It just seems as if there are many, many places that you can make a contribution and you can partner with either Mrs. Clinton at the State Department or get involved at the Clinton Foundation....

I decent introduction to the discussion re Third Party candidates

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