Gary Horton | Do More Service, Less Complaining

Gary Horton

The upcoming College of the Canyons Advanced Technology Center is a new program/facility providing state-of-the-art training for the advanced technological skills workers today and in the future will require to secure durable, high-paying jobs. 

The “ATC,” as it is known, solves many problems at once, both by providing a trained workforce to our city’s advancing employment, while giving our local job seekers the skill they need to build a solid career. 

In short, the ATC is about empowering our local citizens while building up our city’s valuable, local employment base. 

As vice chair of the COC Foundation, I’m able to help move these core principles of COC along by encouraging private investment in important COC programs. 

I am grateful to have been entrusted to push things forward. And that’s what the COC Foundation does: Advancing important programs at COC through public participation and contribution. 

In this, I’m not “biased.” Rather, I’ve learned a great deal about the Advanced Technology Center, and I think this a super-smart, visionary concept, coming to reality during these coming months. 

This is an educated opinion, not a “bias.”  

I am biased toward providing continuing and advanced education to all who seek it, and to best meet the needs of our community. 

COC attracts a lot of community attention and, these days, with polarized politics entering education, a few in our community have concluded that COC is a hotbed of radicalism, improperly indoctrinating our unsuspecting late-teen offspring with overdoses of liberalism. 

The other day I received an anonymous letter complaining of the public ratings of a single, particular COC professor. The letter cited two posted ratings citing excessive liberal bias in this professor’s teachings and in grading. Per those two ratings, conservatives were harshly treated but ultra-liberals were rewarded. 

It sounded horrific.  

I went to “” to dig up the dirt on this danger-to-society-as-we know-it professor. There, I found 50-something ratings for this professor. Of the highest possible rating of 5, this professor scored a respectable 4.5 average. Essentially, an A-rated professor. 

However, the letter sender hand-picked two specific strongly negative ratings attacking the professor’s so-called ultra-liberalism, and from this, concluded an over-the-top liberal bias at COC.  

Liberal bias when you’re being taught fine cooking and pastry-making at the ICUE? Or liberal bias as you’re earning a nurse’s degree? Liberal bias in advanced mathematics? Liberal bias learning firefighting, construction management, and a host of other pragmatic topics?  

Yes, certainly there are history classes and government classes and English literature classes. These subjects will certainly present new information that may challenge a student’s present beliefs and personal understandings. 

But what is education if it fails to provide new insights? What is education if it fails to raise a person’s understanding in any topic pursued? 

COC is about providing relevant, pertinent education and skills to all comers. 

COC has a fulltime staff of nearly 800, with additional part-time positions. Dr. Dianne Van Hook has assembled a remarkable team who enthusiastically work together, raising the education, awareness, work skills and life potential of those who attend this remarkable local college. 

Everyone, professors and students, come with their own personal beliefs and in some settings this may show. But this is valuable, as students personally challenge and weigh new information for themselves. 

It’s college. We’re training young people to think like grownups and helping grownups to gain valuable new knowledge and skills. 

I’m very pleased to serve as vice chair of the College of the Canyons Foundation. I assure readers, the foundation works to efficiently carry out the vision of the college. 

COC isn’t a hotbed of liberalism. It’s not particularly controversial. It is not wasteful with public money. Rather, we’re all quite lucky Dr. Van Hook has pushed her vision forward, creating, with the help of her team and hundreds of volunteers and tens of millions in public donations, a remarkable asset underpinning both sides of our valley with remarkable campuses. 

In the end, it’s easy to throw rocks and exaggerate grievances. Thankfully, we live in a country that allows public disagreement with public policy. 

However, service to the community is usually a better social response than complaining. Have an issue? Volunteer and work to fix it. A complaint to the community? Be rational and address it appropriately and you might find your views move policy. 

Most everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley hopes to unite to build a better city and living situations for all our citizens. Sometimes we all agree on specific topics and sometimes we don’t. Regardless, opportunities for public service abound all around us, from homeless shelters to hospital help to senior centers and libraries. 

And leadership roles abound with public elections for many positions.  

I believe the best way to serve our community is through service. In service, the “bias” is to help rather than complain. 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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