Friday, September 2, 2016

Orlando Boy's website

     You remember John Williams. He was an SOCCCD trustee (1992-2011). Plus he was OC Public Administrator/Guardian.
     As trustee, he had taxpayers pay for his trips to visit his brother in Orlando, FL. He was a champeen Brown Act violator. His head shot was the most ridiculously smiley and cheesy political photo of all time.
     He was loathsome. So loathsome was he that he inspired one political writer to post something entitled "Worst. Public Administrator. Ever."
     I think it’s fair to say that the John Williams saga is one of the most embarrassing chapters in the history of the GOP in Orange County. And that's sayin' somethin', baby! (See here.)

* * *
     Did you know that John Williams has a website? It was created by "Friends of John Williams" and it appears to be a residue of Williams’ political career circa 2012. It’s called John Williams as Public Administrator.
     Its home page welcomes the reader “to the website for John Williams as Public Administrator.” Ol’ Brown Boy himself then says:
I’m proud to have served the people of Orange County for nine years as Orange County’s third elected public administrator since 1968.

I retired last January after 38 years of public service: Public Administrator, Public Guardian, Marshal’s Department ... Sergeant, College trustee, and Probation Department counselor. Just a few short months ago, I was called upon by community members to return to the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees where I previously served for 18 years.

During my tenure as your Public Administrator, I was proud to be endorsed by the Orange County District Attorney [See], members of the Board of Supervisors, members of the California Assembly and Senate, local elected officials, business leaders, police and fire safety personnel, and teachers.

In September 2009, the Orange County Grand Jury praised the Public Administrator - Public Guardian department for maintaining the highest quality administrative, managerial, budget and personnel practices and fighting elder abuse, disregarding previous inaccurate and flawed reports from that office. This included a formal apology to me for those previous unsound reports.

     Wow. Among other things, this little blurb is the Platonic Form of Cherry-Picking. Leavin' out a coupla things there, aincha Johnny?

     The website has two other sections. One is entitled “TV commercial,” but the video that is supposed to be displayed there doesn’t appear. (“Missing plug-in.”)
     The remaining section of the website is entitled “Court Victories,” and, unsurprisingly, it cherry picks court cases with wild abandon.
     Included among his so-called “victories” is this curious factoid:
In 2011, the Governor of the State of California signed a bill prohibiting conflicts of interest in Grand Jury service. This bill would have prevented a former Irvine Valley College professor from attacking me, as an SOCCCD Trustee and Orange County Public Administrator, while that professor was seated on the 2008-2009 Grand Jury. [SECTION 1. Section 916.2]
     Huh? Anybody know who this “former IVC college professor” is supposed to be?
     Enquiring minds wanna know!
     (I've been told [by a certain fellow who is currently an OC Supervisor] that the beginning of the end for Williams was DtB's digging up a certain otherwise-obscure appellate decision. Perhaps so. We're so proud!)

Clinton Signals No Letup for For-Profit Sector
(Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2016)
     Two Obama administration veterans are now advising Hillary Clinton's campaign, suggesting that as president she would continue aggressive enforcement policies of the current Education Department.
For-profit colleges can expect continued pressure from the White House under a Clinton administration, now that two familiar critics of the sector are advising the campaign….
Something we missed (5 months ago):

SLO Madness
(Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2016)
     The student learning outcomes accreditors require too often reduce learning to inane, meaningless blurbs, writes Robert Shireman, which prevent the sort of quality assurance that puts student work at the center.

Robert Shireman
In a recent Century Foundation essay, I raised a concern that accreditors of traditional colleges are allowing low-quality education to go unaddressed while insisting, in a misguided attempt to prove they care about learning, that colleges engage in inane counting exercises involving meaningless phantom creatures they call student learning outcomes, or SLOs....

Monday, August 29, 2016

It ain't me

This cut from the summer's Latin tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Quiero Creedence, just might get Rebel Girl through the election season. Maybe. Play loud.

Yes, that is a Donald Trump piñata being dragged by the little girl.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Trollery is Assholery

Trolls are generally loutish and
cowardly, hiding behind anonymity
     Many online sites are responding to the problem of nasty trolls by shutting down their comments section à la NPR. Some sites (NYT online) heavily edit or moderate comments. We've generally left our comments sections alone, but it ain't easy letting IDIOTS have their say. Let's see how they respond to this!

Goodbye to the Loudest Drunk in NPR’s Online Bar
(Moyers & Co.)
     Once seen as a way to democratize the media, news site commenting sections have become playgrounds for nasty trolls.
…As NPR’s ombudsman from 2007 to 2011, I know firsthand how futile and frustrating comments sections are. Even though NPR had a sign-up system, and hired an outside moderator to check comments before posting, a listener could still create an alias and write whatever he (and it was usually men) liked. The comments were often mean-spirited and did little to foster civil conversation.
. . .
The trolls who rule the comment seas may actually have won because they often scare away people with their vicious attacks. An infinitesimal number of NPR’s 25 to 35 million unique monthly users bothered to join story-page conversations.
. . .
The New York Times handles comments by strategically opening up only 10 percent of its stories for comments and then heavily moderates the debate.
. . .
“We have the ability to find the worst people on our sites,” said Losowsky [head of the Coral Project, an effort to respond to the problem]. “But there’s almost nothing that really helps find the best people. So what you have is the best commenters feeling like they are not getting attention from the newsroom. And they are not. You need to celebrate the best comments and find and encourage those people to do more.”
. . .
After over a decade of stagnation in comment sections, the Coral Project or, Hearken, which allows journalists to partner with the public, may be what’s needed to shift the debate from negative to positive, listen more to the audience and enhance the conversation for those who want to be involved….

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