The wife and I were having a discussion over dinner about the pros and cons of Proposition 30, and its claim to save education from a devastating blow of the budgetary axe. Then I remembered this post I’d uploaded some time ago in 2011 about the NOCCCD’s “School of Continuing Education”, and decided to re-post it. So if you happen to be sitting on the fence with this one, well, I won’t tell you how to vote, but it might help to keep in mind how tax dollars have been spent in this particular scenario. Enjoy!
The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) is the proud parent of Fullerton College and its younger sibling, Cypress College. But apparently the nest wasn’t quite complete, as NOCCCD decided years ago that it wanted yet another baby, and popped out the abundantly productive School of Continuing Education (SCE) on Wilshire Blvd., across the street from Fullerton College. Amazingly, SCE has no academic courses, but has new buildings, deans and even its own Senate like a regular university!
And what does this seemingly well-greased, finely-tuned bureaucracy manage to provide for the taxpayers? A substantially rich offering of classes, such as (read this carefully):
- How to Sell on eBay
- Digital Scrapbooking
- Blogging for Beginners
- Toddler Fitness
- Raising Caring Kids
- Bartending Workshops
- Latin Cardio Blast
- Journey Back into Time for Older Adults
- Needlecrafts, Knitting, Crochet for Older Adults
- History of Comedy and Humor for Older Adults
- Beginning Drama for Older Adults
- Draw and Paint Animals (ages 5+)
- Making Yummy Snacks (ages 6-10)
- Sing and Learn Chinese for Parent and Child (ages 0-6)
- Cheerleading (ages 4-7)
- Public Speaking for Children (ages 8-12)
- Career Exploration (ages 9-12)
- Please Pass the Manners (ages 5-7)
- Teen Etiquette (ages 13-17)
- Puppetry and Storytelling (ages 3-6)
- Readiness for Kindergarten (ages 4-5)
- How to Be a Best Friend (ages 5-8)
Okay, just in case this list hasn’t left you completely baffled, keep in mind that the SCE’s course offerings are funded by the North Orange County Community COLLEGE District! Do these classes have ANYTHING to do with college? Don’t offerings like these really belong in the domain of something like parks and recreation?
Despite the inappropriateness of these course offerings, the Chancellor of the NOCCCD, Dr. Ned Doffoney (one can only imagine what kind of salary the title of “Doctor” delivers) continues to cradle the SCE as a fresh newborn, giving it his support and blessing as only a chancellor can do.
Meanwhile, administrators at the colleges are suggesting the cancellation of 46% of the courses that were offered this year, a move that is likely to prevent significant numbers of students from graduating and moving on to university because they need classes in chemistry, calculus and business. Well, at least we can all take comfort in knowing that senior citizens will fully comprehend the History Of Comedy, or that toddlers will know how to make Yummy Snacks!
Apparently at the July 27, 2010 meeting of the NOCCCD Board of Trustees there were some pretty serious issues being discussed. Not only did the taxpayers dodge a costly administrative bullet when it was announced that the district wouldn’t be filling the position for Vice Chancellor of Education (see the article in the O.C. Register by Teri Sforza for the details on that boondoggle; be sure to check out the job description in the fourth paragraph), but trustee Molly McClanahan informed the Board that the Fullerton Museum’s new exhibit, “10,000 Years of Beer Making,” will soon be on display. That’s quite a chaser!
A few days ago on this post about Pam Keller’s blank Collaborative calendar, we received a visit from FSD trustee Minard Duncan. As is usual, Minard’s visit was vacuous and inane. Just about what you’d expect from an educrat. Minard admitted his comments were just made to “rile” us up.
But what was really interesting was when Minard dropped this spud on the Friends, unwittingly revealing a mindset that reveals all the things wrong with Fullerton’s elected representatives:
School board members do not have any power as individuals. It takes three board members out of a five member board agreeing on an issue to have authority. We are the boss of the district superintendent and no one else but not as individuals only as a collective board.
See, Minard indicates that authority (power) is only to be exercised by a majority, and, moreover, through the conduit of a Superintendent - thus effectively removing the “elected” from actually having to do much of anything except hire a single underling and ratify his decisions. And of course the consequence of Minard-think is that the responsibility and accountability attendant upon elected office is conveniently dissipated through delegation to a host of protected bureaucrats who are never held accountable either.
But whoever thought that the absence of a majority meant that a boardmember was somehow robbed of any of the authority vested in him by the electorate? While it takes a board majority to act affirmatively on a specific issue, the authority of an elected is indivisible. Minard is not just a third of a potential majority, nor does he represent only a theoretical one fifth of the property tax payers and parents – although he doesn’t seem to grasp this idea.
It is each boardmember’s responsibility to concern himself with everything that goes on in his district and to take responsibility for it.
Minard-think leads to the complete dereliction of responsibility that seems to obtain not only at the FSD, but also at Fullerton City Hall, too, where electeds delegate responsibility right along with the authority they invest in their City Manager. And of course as any honest council watcher knows, the Council, through laziness and/or inclination, is completely in thrall to the Chief Bureaucrat who is supposed to be working for them. It’s rather like the Stockholm Syndrome.
And you know what? A lot of electeds and their bureaucratic masters sure seem to like it that way.
Oops. “Community Colleges.” Oops. I mean “Colleges.”
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
A while back we spent some time looking at the architectural monstrosities being foisted on students and bond underwriters (us) at Fullerton Junior College. We noted the crappy fake historical detailing, the blocky bulk of the overbearing McSpanish dinosaurs, and of course we regretted the intellectual confusion that equates fake old with real old and believes building crappy architecture enhances historical buildings.
Here’s a reminder of what we were talking about.
Ye gods! A series of out-of-scale, fake-arched, hollow-walled, Styrofoam-corniced, bulk-squatting godzillas dumped across the campus.
We also lamented the fact that in lower-middlebrow land nobody seemed capable of conceiving the deployment of inventive and engaging contemporary architecture.
In response to a follow up post this fall, a Friend forwarded images of some recent buildings that have gone up at Santa Monica (Junior) College. We share them below.
Hmm. Food for thought. Okay, the west side of LA, SM, and Culver City are chock-full of talented architects and designers of the SCI-Arc variety, and north Orange County is chock full of…well, let’s let that one go for now.
What’s baffling is that there doesn’t seem to be anybody on the NOCCCD staff or board with a clue. Instead of doing new buildings that actually stimulate aesthetic interest, they prefer to cough up the dreary, banal, and embarrassing visual tripe of McSpanish. And then threy dredge up support for their travesties from equally clueless citizenry.
Time for a change?