Saturday, August 19

Butts in seats does not equal learning

Hours in class meaningless as a measure, especially if a lawyer is the instructor

“Are you excited about the recall election? Arnold’s campaign has a new slogan: ‘Win one for the groper.’” —David Letterman

Arnold Calls His Acts of Sexual Harassment a Joke

October 2003. In a “Dateline NBC” interview aired Sunday evening, Schwarzenegger said of the allegations, “a lot of it is made-up stories. I’ve never grabbed anyone and pulled up the shirt and grabbed the breast and stuff like that.”

But when asked if he denied all the stories about grabbing, he said, “No, not all. But I’m just saying this is not me. What I am is someone that sometimes makes outrageous jokes, someone that is out and says sometimes crazy things that may be offensive because there is a certain atmosphere.”

Assembly Bill 1825

Once Arnold took office, a Democratic state Assemblywoman drafted a bill mandating sexual harassment training for all supervisors (including Terminators). So far, so good.Now lawyers are trying to grab an exclusive on the training. A partner in a San Francisco employment law firm said, “It’s hard to estimate the size of AB 1825 training. A couple hundred million dollars would be my guess.”

There are reports that lawyers are making veiled threats to Calfornia employers that unless they meet the sex discrimination training requirement by conducting two-hour workshops, they risk being assessed massive damages in court. Guess who they recommend to lead the workshops? Lawyers, naturally. It boggles the mind. Can you imagine what two hours with a lawyer lecturer would be like?

Two Hours = what?

The issue hangs on the two-hour requirement specified by the law. As if two hours of butts in seats guarantees anything. As Gloria Gery famously asked, “Why don’t we just weigh them and report how many tons we’ve trained?”

Small mindedness coupled with lawyers lining their pockets is more than I can bear. I am seeking friends’ help to blow the two-hour requirement out of the water.

Protest Letter

I have drafted a letter and am gathering signatures in an attempt to wake up the Commision drafting regulations on this. If you agree with my letter, email me and I’ll add your name as a signer. If you can suggest other potential supporters, please forward this email to them.

Thanks. See you at the victory tail-gate party.

Jay Cross
Berkeley, California

P.S. For you non-Californians: the California statute could easily become the model for other states.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jay. The rush to regulate led to a quick copy of a 1991 CT law that was later amended to endorse self-paced e-learning, but the amendment never reached CA. Now almost two years after the law was passed there are still no regulations and employers are being intimidated into training to avoid "class action lawsuits" by the author of the law. See the pdf on Guidance from AB 1825's Author Sarah Reyes under "In Focus" at In her last paragraph she claims the law deliberately has no penalties so it will be enforced by class action lawyers. Is this what we should expect from our legislators? Thanks for your initiative.

Anonymous said...

Another lawyer joke. This is unfair to lawyers and unfair to Schwarz-whatshisname. Learning takes more than just being present in class. Students must be internally motivated before they think anything worth imbibing. Depends on the students; you just don't blame everything on the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Where did the length of two hours come from? Courses are developed based on objectives, time allocated, a pilot course is run, and then the times are adjusted based on the pilot. two hours a wag based on their minimum fee charge?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you apple. Remember that we never got to be professionals just having to seat for 2 hours. It is a long process. Thus, learning occurs when given time and having proper attitude.