The Future is Now

Will our graduates succeed in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual world in which corporations recruit without regard to national boundaries?

The Los Angeles Community Colleges now advertise the reopening of classes with billboards and the direct mailing of class schedules to students. I received a catalog for Los Angeles Mission Collage. On the cover of the catalog, they promise success. Do the long term earnings of students show succes? See below.

The numbers are abysmal:

I recommend these changes in the adminisions proceedures of new students.

(Before I list what I recommend, I realize a Trustee cannot order changes in proceedures. Or classes. Trustees vote on the Chancelor selected by the Administrators and Faculty. And the Trustees can 'review' the budget in committee. Any Trustee pushing ideas will be ignored and/or marked for elimination. However, the committees 'reviewing' the budget receive many thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. For what I advocate, I will receive nothing. If I can find administrators and faculty with ideas in motion, I will attempt to help them.)

(Perhaps help can be money. The corporation overseeing the BUILD LACCD program gave Gabriel Buelna $10,000 for his campaign. What if that $10,000 went to buying software for language acquisition software for ten classes? In English. Spanish, Ukrainian. Whatever language students need. $1,000 x 10. A microphone and recorder, with quick training to upload a YouTube tutorial to YouTube. For that $10,000, instructors could set up language YouTube channels to teach students the vocabularies for difficult subjects. That's ten classes getting tutorials -- instead of thousands of people getting mailings at election time with the face of that Republican, Gabriel Buelna. And that's only one 'contribution.' He cost a million dollars to elect, now he's receiving many thousands more for this election and his next political office in Sacramento.)

I recommend these changes in the adminisions proceedures of new students.

* Test all incoming students for Learning Modalities: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic. I learned of these differences in learning and teaching styles in post-graduate special education classes. And I applied this knowledge in my teaching.

* Also, test for impediments. Whether physical, mental, or economic, the colleges must know of any extraordinary difficulties confronting the students. (I know of this. When I started kindergarden in Pacoima, the school assumed this white boy spoke English only. They did not realize I came from a bilingual environment and my stuttering came from a confusion of languages. Special education speech classes helped me through the first few grades of elementary school.)

* Test all students for their level of past instruction. Even if they come from a foreign nation with a different language, even if they speak no English, the colleges must know their academic or professional level. A student fluent in other languages can meet with an instructor for a one-on-one test. Then they repeat their education in English.

I recommend the advancement of these goals.

* Even though Los Angeles is a bilingual city, English and Spanish, English is the commercial language of the United States and much of the world. All graduates and transfers to colleges and universities must read, write, and speak English with intelligence and clarity.

* As a major international city, the people of Los Angeles speak many other world languages. The colleges must offer classes introducing students to languages beyond English and Spanish. And offer advanced classes of specialized vocabulary to multi-lingual students attempting business or professional-level achievement outside of their profession or outside the United States.

* The State of California requires basic math. Mathematics, calculations, accounting open many opportunities -- and prevent frauds. All graduates and transfers must perform at State required levels.

* Science and technology spans the world. The colleges now offer Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM) courses to students seeking work in emerging industries. And these courses must be offered in multiple languages. If a recent arrival to California wants work, teach them in their language. This is also an opportunity for English-speakers who want to work in other nations. (In my personal experience, though I worked legal and technical documents in the United States, I would have very much appreciated higher-level Spanish classes for my work in Central America. I encounterd the same problems in the Middle East with Arabic. The academic Arabic of UCLA did not prepare me for work in the real Arabic environment. )

The Los Angeles Community Colleges offer multiple pathways to success.

Yet most students fail. Billions of dollars invested in the colleges, hundreds of millions of dollars paid to faculty. For less than a 20% rate of academic success.

Perhaps more graduates succeed in the skilled trades after college. I am an example of that success. But the LACCD does not publish paycheck success.

Official administration numbers from the Los Angeles Community College District cite students "goals" of 50% to 4 year colleges and universities. Approximately 12% of the students hope for work skills. Several other categories, "General Education," "Undecided," and "Transitional" account for the other enrollments.

Here is the source of that statistic:

Transfer to California State Universities require only a 2.0 Grade Point Average, a "C."

In numbers published by the LACCD, of 12,060 graduates, 5,066 continued to the California State University system.

In numbers published by the LACCD, 1,026 graduates continued to the University of California system. The UC system requires a much higher Grade Point Average, 3.1 to 4.0, "B" and "A."

In numbers published by the LACCD, 472 graduates continued to private colleges or universities. Private universities offer scholarships and on-campus housing. However, these benefits only go to distinguished students.

And how many students graduated to the skilled trades? Those number are not published by the LACCD.

All those numbers can be confirmed here:

Success in work is not published. The Federal government tracks the work success rates for private colleges. The tracking of paycheck failures closed several for-profit colleges and trade schools.

The New York Times did track the careers of LACCD graduates. The numbers are not good.

All those numbers can be confirmed here:

Median individual income for all graduates at age 34, $28,400. For men, $31,500, for women. $26,100. In the ranking of colleges who helped students earn $110,000 or more per year, the LACCD ranked 525th out of 748 Two-year colleges.

This is abysmal. It cannot continue, not in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the United States. Los Angeles may an international city of the future, a center of imaginative and innovative industries, but most students passing through the LACCD system will never participate in that future.

I am both a graduate of the community college system and a past instructor in the system.

In my life, I succeeded as a writer of novels, a designer of products, and I prototyped products and wrote patents. I served as a professor in civilian and military colleges and universities. Now I continue writing and designing as I work on documentaries.

For a brief time, when I returned to the Los Angeles area, Los Angeles Mission College signed me to teach basic English writing classes. I encountered students unprepared for college. They lacked basic high school essay skills. Teaching them to write simple five paragraph essays, the equivelant of one typed page required my full time attention -- for the pay of a part-time adjunct.

Students attempting to transistion to the English language struggled. Spanish-speakers who had graduated from the LACCD English-as-a-Second-Language classes could not write coherant paragraphs in English -- or Spanish. I did receive some students fluent in several languages. They excelled. However, the mass of students required my full-time work on their writing. Many could not keep up with the assignments and dropped. And I learned from a source in the college -- adjuncts who did not pass all their enrolled students would not be rehired. This unfortunate experience led me to take work in the Middle East.

There, I found an opportunity for documentaries. When I returned to Los Angeles, I enrolled in LA Mission College Multimedia department to acquire skills in the digital arts and cinema. Many excellent classes. Far superior to the expensive private trade schools teaching 'film.' Equal or perhaps superior to the four year colleges and universities teaching theoretical 'cinema.'

However, what I had encountered when I taught classes and what I observed in the classes outside the Media Department made me question the beautiful color brochures and photos of happy graduates. What of their later life? When I review the statistics and numbers published by the LACCD, I do not see information on the career progress and earnings of the graduates. Why not?

I last attended classes in the LACCD system before the pandemic.

I observed lax methodology and discipline:

* College policy does not require 'professors' to consider attendence in determining grades.

* Many 'professors' test complex concepts by 'Scantron,' that is, multiple choice to be scored by automatic machine. This system is now upgraded to computer scoring. This does not prepare students for a complex world.

* I observed what appeared to be cheating on specialized technical and artistic assignments. The 'professors' did not question the students.

* Many 'professors' set very low standards. In writing classes, 'professors' do not correct final exams so as to upgrade student skills.

* Administrators do not question grade inflation. In my experiences at the university level, the Deans of departments reviewed every print-out of grades. One Dean required I present notebooks of student work to justify "A" grades.

* As Trustee, I will not vote to approve any future Administration or Faculty contracts that do not include reviews of professional standards. I cannot force standards. I can only vote. I observed excellent Staff work. They are not the subject of my criticism. For Administrators and Faculty, proof of excellence and innovation will be required.


In the pandemic, the United States suffered a crisis, a catastrophe equal to a war. The dead, the losses, the ruined. The Director of the Federal Reserve believes our nation, even if vaccines keep the Covid virus under control, may not recover for years. And our nation, as of the date I write, bears a debt burden beyond to the entire gross national product --- one year of all Americans working for no other purpose than paying off the accumulated debt federal debt.

We need to raise the number of workers. And we must raise the technical quality of workers entering American industries. All 'intellectual' workers --- designers, writers, engineers, administrators --- confront international competition for every opportunity.

A career with ZOOX driverless vehicles?

We need to raise college expectations and standards to prepare our students for the future. I have worked universities -- civilian and military, in the US and other nations. I encountered young people hoping to enter high-tech corporations. And many mid-career professionals uptraining to transnational expertise. Young and older, they knew the obvious. Companies now recruit from the world. Our graduates will compete for employment with highly qualified graduates from American and foreign universities.

If our graduates attempt to launch a business, in the United States or international (as I did), they will need many skills to succeed. I struggled for years. Technical skills in the film industry supported me until I sold my first novel, the money from several novels financed a NGO (non-government-organization / business), and when war killed that NGO, education provided fall-back work as a university instructor. After I found opportunity in the Middle East, I uptrained at LA Mission College and UCLA, then worked an excellent position as an international media worker.

I repeat my question at the top of this long page. Will our graduates succeed in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual world in which corporations recruit without regard to national boundaries? If a graduate finds technical work in a corporate factory, how long will they work before the corporation transfers the work to Vietnam or Malaysia or Bangladesh for manufacture at the lowest possible cost?

Look at your cellphone, your shirt, your computer --- what is the nation of manufacture? Is your car American-made? Open the hood and look for the names of companies -- are all components American made?

Even service industries span the planet. As Thomas Friedman wrote in The World Is Flat, "I send my tax forms to a CPA in India, he sends them back the next day. Completed and double-checked. Via the internet."

Investment and achievement in education allows individuals to transcend the limitations of birth, class, race, nationality. I came up from an unfortunate section of the San Fernando Valley. I graduated high school on a Thursday and started classes at Los Angeles Valley College Monday. What I learned at the college, then university, then graduate school --- education, skills, and experience --- launched me into the world. The young people entering the Los Angeles Community Colleges must graduate or transfer with qualifications for success.

I ask again, will our graduates succeed in multi-cultural, multi-lingual world?

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Why do I volunteer for the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees?