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Comment Re:Unions College educated people (Score 1) 608

My state barely supports the community college system anymore. I do my department budget and we have to justify our existence based on dollars coming in from tuition and fees, with a "promise" by the state to reimburse us for credit hours 2-3 from now. Maybe.

As of the need for union protection - our district is very political and we were not unionized for the first 16 years. The problem became one of politics. If you offended the politicians voted onto the school board you could be fired. (If you think that this makes the instructor "responsive" to local needs, think of the implications of passing some arbitrary litmus test. Board members have 6 year terms, so they once they are in, they don't have to worry for several years.)

Other reasons that became significant were the fact that great gobs of money at the time (state seed funds) would have some instructors "displaced" to make way for patronage/connected "instructors". The students are the ones to suffer by bad instruction, with people like those frequenting this site bashing all organized education because they think they didn't learn a thing. Before you blame the instructor, think of who hired the instructor. What are their motivations? Sad but true.

I am in favor of on-line course-ware. Anytime you can replace a person with a DVD you should do it. They are obviously not bringing much to the classroom. The problem in our department is that the material (computer science topics) change so quickly that we can barely keep up. And if you have priced how much publishers charge for "fresh" course-ware it becomes uneconomical to deliver. We look for and hire the best part time instructors we can find. They are up-to-date and know what they are talking about. I know because I eavesdrop on student conversations. Good instructors fill in the gaps of what, how, and why, making the learning experience worthwhile. The learning experience needs to be targeted to the needs and capabilities of the student, and current on-line systems just don't do it.

We have been pushing for a hybrid of video/on-line course ware along with well mentored labs, but we need to find qualified tutors willing to work for almost nothing (no $$). Good luck with that one.

Disclaimer: I am a community college instructor and a union member.

Comment Read the Bill: No Mention of Card #'s, etc (Score 1) 277

Has anyone here actually read the bill?

There is no mention recording name, address, credit card numbers or any of the other stuff. The only part of the bill I find distressing is the use of the term "unregistered sex-offender". Who is that supposed to be?
I knew a cop who once referred to everyone around him that wasn't a cop "a perp who hadn't been caught yet."

Otherwise, you have to go through an unbelievable number of existing laws to figure out what this bill is really trying to do because of the way they have this thing written. To me it looks like the bill is trying to give the U.S. Marshalls a free(er) hand in going after those involved with witness intimidation.

I remember a contract negotiation I was involved with that was written like this, and it was the worst contract "proposal" any of us had seen. BTW, the contract was rejected.

The biggest problem I see is that ISPs would have to store an unimaginably huge amount of data at (ultimately) customer cost. Don't forget the cost of back-ups and security for same.

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