Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sources of "Guided Pathways" skepticism

Guided Pathways: “What Is So Bad About Getting Folks Through College Quickly So They Can Join the Workforce?”
The AFT Guild
     …Many faculty and professional staff are worried about this concept because they have seen these sorts of initiatives used elsewhere to gut a variety of academic programs that are deemed “inessential” or that don’t lead students quickly enough to a career. The example of the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point is illustrative of this:
• UW-Stevens Point faces a deficit of $4.5 million over two years because of declining enrollment and lower tuition revenues. It proposes adding or expanding 16 programs in areas with high-demand career paths as a way to maintain and increase enrollment. 
• To fund this future investment, resources would be shifted from programs with lower enrollment, primarily in the traditional humanities and social sciences. Although some majors are proposed to be eliminated, courses would continue to be taught in these fields, and minors or certificates will be offered.
     As a result of this way of thinking, the University was reorganized in such a way that 13 majors including English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Geography, Geoscience, and a number of languages were eliminated because these programs were not seen as contributing to the financial bottom line of the university. Aquaculture, Fire Science, and English for Teacher Certification (instead of English), on the other hand, made the grade as they shunt students straight through college and into narrowly conceived career paths….

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ethnic Studies Brouhaha

Push for Ethnic Studies in Schools Faces a Dilemma: Whose Stories to Tell
California’s newly proposed model ethnic studies curriculum has led to bitter debate in recent weeks.
…The 2016 law that led to the California course materials, which will be optional for schools to use, did not precisely define ethnic studies, leaving much of the work to a committee of teachers and professors appointed by a state curriculum board. Members of that committee said they had taken their cues from the way ethnic studies is taught at the college level, where the discipline has traditionally encompassed the study of four groups: African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian-Americans.
    The draft falls short, said Assemblyman Jose Medina, a Democrat and former ethnic studies teacher. He has introduced a bill to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement but said he now supported slowing down the process, in part to make the materials more inclusive….. (continue reading)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What a Difference a Year Makes...

It's all Pride rainbows. Some will tell you that the administrators so present at today's event did not attend IVC's first ever Pride in 2018 when this photo was taken. Yes, that's Rebel Girl in green on the left, with the big chip on her shoulder. 

LAST year during August FLEXweek, IVC denizens who showed up to the President's Welcome were treated to information about the dangers of texting while driving and advised how they too could sign up for the services offered by the Automobile Club of America, aka Triple A, a favorite organization of Rebel Girl who still can't change a tire on her own but not what she, or many others expected from FLEX week.  You can read all about last year here: Flex Week Follies.

This year was a very different story.

Gone was the usual  triumphal braggadocio. In its place, the college president offered personal testimony about how he understood his place of privilege and shared his own story of encountering diversity and that of his wife. This was followed by two noted equity in education activists - The Campaign for College Opportunity's Audrey Dow and USC's  Dr. Shaun Harper -  who notably did not ask us to sign up for Triple A insurance plans but instead challenged us to do better. They were great. Unsparing. Direct. Pie charts. Data.  They called out institutional racism and the white supremacy and the failure of our educational leader to address it.  It's not enough to hang well-intentioned banners, Mr. President. Funny too.

Some say this is Glenn's doing.

Many claim it is the influence of the new chancellor.

After all, so many of us have seen what Glenn's priorities have been for nearly two decades.  Equity assessment that looks at how institutions perpetuate racism and sexism instead of combat it have never ranked this high before.  For example, just take a look at the college website page for DACA students which continues to languish. We are beginning to lose a generation of students here who are too afraid to enroll at community college once they graduate high school, so worried are they that doing so will risk themselves, their families.

So what has changed?  And why?  You tell us.

"I've taken my bows": a fine "opening session" for the SOCCCD


Chancellor (Kathleen F. Burke): a vision in red.

Pledge of allegiance: “ready, begin,” said the student trustee.
I was transported to grade school, 1961

Introduction of the Powerful and Clueless: they each stood and smiled

 • Trustee Prendergast
 • Trustee Whitt
 • Trustee Lang
 • Trustee Milchiker
 • Trustee Jay
 • Trustee Wright
 • Trustee Jemal

Then everyone else in the room, which was pretty full. It took a while.
Lots of applause.

Board Prez Prendergast speaks
Blah, blah, blah
New budget from governor.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you” to everyone
"Have a great start of the year"

IVC Prez Roquemore (Good Lord!) comes up to introduce new hires, I guess
Blah blah blah
Saddleback Prez Elliot Stern is next. (I like him, so far.)
Bah blah blah
Again, lots of applause

Vice Chancellor (HR), Dr. Cindy Vyskocil, comes up for district services. Seems like a good egg.

Chancellor’s remarks
My notes:
Slide show accompanied by Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Laughter in response to clever fortuities. Applause.
75th Anniversary of D-day. I love travelling. Been to Normandy beaches. Life-altering experience.
My father is an immigrant. Immigration in the news these days. Immigrants make a tremendous contribution!
50 years ago: the moon landing.
Day after moon landing, “Abbey Road” recorded. Last album recorded by Beatles together. “Come together.”
Something about a “Mindset List.” 

GUN VIOLENCE. 254 victims as of August 8 – gun violence, mass shootings. (Anything involving 4 victims or more.)
Naturally, we’re concerned, afraid. I’ll do everything I can to support you, she said.
Inclusivity. Her theme. Talked about the current student generation’s assumptions, notions (based on surveys and such).
1995-2012 generation: “iGen” or “plurals”
Inclusivity (diversity, etc.) is appealing to this gen
Poll taken: they value it, man
Ideal: equal attention paid to students by professors
Protect students from attack, harassment
Student’s job to be open and respectful
Social segregation a hindrance
Characteristics of this gen:
Diverse, driven, open-minded, altruistic, creative problem-solvers
High levels of anxiety and depression (!)
What has influenced these characteristics? Over-parenting, etc.
Students think professors should protect their comfort. “This feels uncomfortable, so something must be wrong.”
Faculty (in the classroom, and elsewhere): two faculty recently lost. She honors mentor lost.
He's taken some bows.
New slide show. Plays Queen’s “We are the Champions,” a much misunderstood song, she said. (Yeah, I guess it champions the underdog, like Freddie, not the “winners.”)
During the part of the slide show that shows IVC’s Prez Roquemore, we hear Freddie sing: “I’ve taken my bows.” — Ha ha ha. (See Let’s compare IVC’s Prez Roquemore with Saddleback’s Prez Stern!)
Very nice [END]

Musical offerings: Saddleback College “Chamber Singers”
“I’m the one who can make the difference.”
“Against all odds,” etc. Pretty professional.

Keynote speaker: Michelle Deutchman: “free speech on campus: new challenges”
Iconic pic: Berkeley free speech, 1964? Berkeley 2016: “out of Berkeley, Nazi sum!” (Oops)
Today’s challenge on campus:
Polarization, lack of civic knowledge, increased use of heckler’s veto, misunderstandings about hate speech, impact of anti-bullying campaigns….
Polarized incoming class
Most politically polarized group in the 51 year history of the survey
Can you name specific freedoms that are protected by First Amendment? Few can.
Heckler’s veto is not protected speech; it infringes on the rights of speakers and of the audience
Protest and disruption: where do you draw the line?
Hate speech IS free speech
48% of students think the 1st Amendment should not protect hate speech!
Voltaire’s famous remark: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it
Many Americans think defending hater’s free speech is contrary to free speech. Nope
Those targeted by white supremacist groups, which are on the rise,
Highest number of incidents are in Cal
Impact of social media.
Free speech Is not free. Marginalized communities pay a high price
What can we do?
Historical context, etc.
Cleveland State U flier. Encouraging members of the LGBT community to commit suicide!
Yes, but: protected speech!
Can’t stop that speech. But you can speak out against it. (Not against right of speaker; against content of speech)
You have a right not to speak, too.
Speech codes have been struck down; counterproductive
Policy making:
Create, review and update policies, include feedback by campus stakeholders
Make sure people are aware
Institute clear, time place and manner policies and permitting requirements
Amplified sound is permitted in designated campus outdoor locations from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday
Where do we go from here ? [END]
NEXT came what I like to call the annual pinning of the tail to the donkey—i.e., the distribution of service pins.
C’mon, man. Ray got the biggest one. The biggest pin for the biggest asshole.

I noticed that, once again, my service (I was hired in the middle of the Reagan years: 1986) was not listed in the program.
What’s up with that, Glenn?

I booked

Overall, it was a fine opening session. Notably absent were descents into anti-intellectualism and patriotism (leaving aside that pledge thing) or any reference to idiotic buzz words and harebrained initiatives.


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