Foothill College cuts radio, work programs | June 29, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 29, 2012

Foothill College cuts radio, work programs

Budget constraints reduce students' options

by Bryce Druzin

Foothill College will discontinue several programs this fall quarter due to $2.3 million in budget cuts that will take effect July 1.

This story contains 797 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Subscribe

Editorial Intern Bryce Druzin can be emailed at


4 people like this
Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

Another nail in the coffin of liberal arts education for our young people. Cancel Chinese, really? When 1/4 of the world is Chinese? And cancel the radio? And Creative Writing? Wow, languages and effective communication skills are the backbone of humanities - train for jobs yes, but you also need to train for life so that when there are no jobs you can cope. All the money that is concentrated in private hands nowadays in this country. I really miss the days of public money collected based on ability to contribute for the public benefit of all. With the middle class and lower class bearing the brunt of the tax burden in this country, there is a wide reservoir of potential revenue not being tapped. The rich are being taxed at historic all time lows. We all know this, why we, as a nation, do nothing about it, is sad.

7 people like this
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

And the dumbing-down of our youth continues.

1 person likes this
Posted by Solon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

It appears Foothill has essentially been "embezzling" several million dollars a year

Are these employees going to be arrested? Pay it back?

What is the name of the person responsible? OR, as usual, there is no accountability in government waste, theft, embezzlement?

Sad loss of programs BUT not it is done to protect STAFF.

2 people like this
Posted by Ian
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

What really makes me sad is seeing these courses get cut while certain other courses remain. Calculus, Trigonometry, Finite Mathematics, Discreet Mathematics, Statistics, do we really need five different "college level" math courses? Why not eliminate the first four and just force students to take Stats. Its not like it would be any detriment to the staff. I had the same instructor for my Algebra I, Algebra II and Stats classes so there are already teachers who are pulling double or even triple duty.

3 people like this
Posted by Foothill Mom
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2012 at 2:34 am

Ian, Foothill needs to offer all those different math courses for students who are transferring into science and engineering curricula at four-year schools. One of my sons, who is transferring to UC Santa Cruz in Computer Science in the fall, was expected to have taken 3 quarters of Calculus, Discrete Math, and Linear Algebra before entering UCSC - this is what a Comp Sci major would be expected to take in freshman and sophomore years there. Other universities have different requirements (some add Differential Equations and/or Statistics, for example). All the ones my son took are also required for the AA degree in Comp Sci from Foothill, the last time I looked.

And math requirements for students majoring in fields like Physics, Math, and engineering are even greater. Foothill needs to offer more than just what is needed for everyone's General Ed requirements. I haven't seen any math offerings at Foothill that would be out of line for the first two years in a standard STEM field at a four-year school.

2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2012 at 8:22 am

Chinese and Biotech cut. Foothill College will be a shell soon.

3 people like this
Posted by Ex Middle College Student
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2012 at 8:56 am

I am shocked they are cancelling classes like German and Chinese. Radio I understand I never knew anyone who was involved with the radio program but the languages is pretty much a shock.

1 person likes this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

The California Community Colleges (CCC) have grown to the point that they spend vast sums of taxpayers dollars, but don’t produce much to justify those expenditures. The transfer rates to 4-year (now 6+year) institutions is difficult to track, but may be as low as 15%. Moreover, with the graduation rates of most 4/6-year colleges/unis now at/about 50%, the graduation rate for CCC students most likely is about 7%. Given that billions of dollars disappears into the pockets of teaching/administrative staff, the CCCs have become little more than employment engines for people who don’t seem to have much to offer society—particularly the productive private sector.

This is not fully the CCCs problem, since it has become clear that the K-12 public education system is not producing students capable of doing college-level work, for the most part. Remedial English/Math programs at the CSU schools, and the CCCs, have become so burdensome that the CSU schools have been booting students out that do not pass the remedial courses quickly. The basic question as to why these students were allowed to enter CSU schools may be answered by pointing out that the meddling Legislature might have mandated those students being admitted. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the Legislature is clueless about education—and the state is in constant peril until control of the education system is removed from the Legislatures fumbling hands.

The underlying issue as to why the public must provide high-cost education services to anyone with a pulse is another question that needs public attention. Throwing untold billions/trillions into the black hole of public education, that produces nothing but demands for “more money” seems to be not only futile, but suicidal The notion that everyone needs a college education makes no sense. Why do garbage men, or tree trimmers, or grocery clerks, or retail sales representatives need a BS/BA? Anyone who makes such a claim quickly should be carted off to the local loony-bin.

There is no reason that distance learning should not be offered to people who are unlikely candidates for completing 4/6+year degrees. Distance learning techniques can be adopted to help people engage in self-analysis, to provide them with various analytic results as to their temperament, and ultimately, their suitability, to be successful in the kinds of environments that are found in/on/around college campuses. What is suggested here is that at least half of the people who enter college/unis tend not to finish. This failure translates into high costs for the individual, as well as the taxpayers. So, it would seem only reasonable to recognize this fact, and return to former days where the barrier-to-entry was high, with the likelihood of success being high.

With the cost of educating students on the CAL/CSU campuses now costing over $30K (and no doubt more if all of the costs were considered), the taxpayer can not be expected to pick up the tab for these expenses for everyone (including illegal immigrants) who wants to sit in a classroom, and avoid getting a job.

There is also a serious problem with “Mission Creep” in the CCCs. Too many people see political/personal gain by pushing the boundaries of the CCCs beyond their original intent. While there might be some argument for some of these expansions, it doesn’t take long to see a lot of money being spent with little gain to show for the effort.

The CCCs are long overdue for a hard look at their purpose, and their execution. California can no longer afford to promise the sky to anyone who happens to be walking around, wondering “what do I do next?”

1 person likes this
Posted by Will Schwartz
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jun 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I learned my creative writing chops in a summer school class from Helen Tognetti, biggest influence in my life. Also did some time in the radio building. Performed as an actor in "The Music Man", "My Sister Eileen" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" back in 1982. Do you know who I am?

2 people like this
Posted by Flash Golden
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Decreasing support for any effort contributed by Doc Pelzel is a poor decision. He has been a visionary in using radio as a proven and effective recruitment tool for the college, an inspiration for those wishing to pursue the art of intelligent communication, and on-the-job vocational training. Better to slash back on administrative, paper-shuffling positions than someone who bring community and national focus on the school.

4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

This is gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, when I see how my country
calls itself the leader of the free world and yet in almost every
quantifiable metric is pulling strongly against what is happening
in the rest of the developed, free world, it makes me sick.

I went to Foothill for a long time as a kind, and I had a very ... very
hard time with math. I took took Beginning Algebra three times,
and so on with the next two, Intermediate and College Algebra.
I had the proverbial mental block in math, math anxiety, whatever
you want to call it. If it was not there, or if it had cost $1000 per quarter
to take I would have never been able to be push on through it and
eventually click with math and get straight A's though Calculus,
Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Linear Algebra, Differential
Equations, etc and transfer to a state school to become an engineer
and pay California's wonderful taxes to keep our state great!

The short sightedness of our policies are going to really hurt us,
the American people, but our corporate state doesn't seem to care
because they see our economy as a weapon to suck the talent from
other countries, supplant our own citizens, and leave other countries
weaker with less talent. The only downside is for our own people
and apparently we've decided that is acceptable.

Ian, I am not sure what your underlying complaint is but I hope you
will see the value of the mathematics and hard science programs at
Foothill. It can change your life if you get the right teacher.

That said there are a lot of problems with CA schools at all levels.
Arrogant teachers who are a large part of why people end up leaving
school, political and even racial issues. But pulling money and
programs does not seem like a solution for anything.

There is a lot that can still be done with radio. I recall when I went to
Foothill they had call in talk shows about politics that were very interesting.
At this time in the 80's into the 90's there was a blossoming of all
kinds of interests and people. Listen to California radio and then drive
across the country a few times to see how great California is. Let's
think twice about losing it, or let's consider getting it back!

3 people like this
Posted by Idiocracy
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Those who can afford to stay out of the work force long enough to get PhDs so highly desired by Sillycon Valley will do so.

The other 98.9% will have a hard time finding work without a graduate degree. A four year degree pretty much buys you clerical work.

This country started on a decline in the late seventies, but things like this, which make a real college education available only to the rich, just hits the accelerator into a fourth-world power for this country-- bought and paid for by an offshore ruler in China or Korea or some other place where education is given free, and freely, to all it's qualified young people

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.