Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This Week in Threats, Heeded, Unheeded

This week at CSU Fullerton (photo from Orange County Jewish Life Magazine)
What to do in the face of threats?

I hope people call me insane’: Social media posts, former teachers reveal alarming mind-set of Thousand Oaks gunman by Matt Hamilton, James Queally and Richard Winton
Cluke, the former high school track coach, said she considered Long to be a “ticking time bomb.” She and another assistant coach, Dominque Colell, recalled how Long attacked Colell during a dispute in 2008. Colell said she was trying to determine if Long owned a cellphone that had been found by another student, and he was shaking with rage.
“He started to grab at me,” she said. “He reached around and with one arm, groped my stomach. He grabbed my butt with the other arm.” Colell said she reported the incident to school officials, who urged her to drop the issue to avoid jeopardizing Long’s dream of joining the military. “He was very determined and very angry,” she said. “He was probably the only student that I was actually scared of when I coached there.”...

Cluke said she witnessed the attack on Colell, and chose to speak out now because she felt sickened by what her former colleague had endured in attempting to hold Long accountable.“To be sexually violated and told by your bosses, ‘Get used to it’ ... it’s so wrong,” she said....
Cluke said she told her father, a staff member at the high school, and did her best to monitor Long herself. She felt that other staff members in positions of authority ignored Long’s behavior. “They chalk it up to being a teenage boy,” she said. “He needed help back then, and nobody even thought to seek any help for him.”
 L.A. Unified apologizes for keeping mum about armed man who tried to lure middle school girls off campus by Howard Blume
School district officials took the unusual step Wednesday night of offering an unqualified apology to an angry audience of parents.
The administrators told more than 200 parents at Reed Middle School that they had erred in failing to notify them and staff that a man had reportedly approached girls at school and then returned days later in a truck containing an arsenal of illegal weapons.
While insisting that the man posed no threat, officials said they had made the wrong call in keeping parents of students at the Studio City campus in the dark for more than two weeks. “We’re sorry,” said regional operations administrator Andres E. Chait. “This is something that was inexcusable.”

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8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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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