Tuesday, March 11, 2008

UTB/TSC A COMPLETE FAILURE

UTB/TSC MUST CHANGE OR OUR STUDENTS WILL CONTINUE TO BE DENIED A MEANINGFUL OPPORTUNITY AT AN EDUCATION

UTB/TSC as most of the readers know is a partnership, wherein TSC (namely the taxpayers in Brownsville and a few other cities) finances the construction and expansion of UTB. It is a partnership agreement based on fraud. It is a partnership agreement which should be voided.
I have graduated 3 different universities 4 times, and the Defense Language Institute in Monterey California, Russian. In each case I completed my studies in the allotted time for each degree. I have taught for Houston Community College. I know the difference between a community college and university. They are not the same.

We all know BISD is a complete failure. A local incompetent and corrupt Board coupled with the TAKS has produce years of near illiterate and poorly educated students. I know a student who completed the 12th grade last year, but failed the math TAKS too many times. Although he completed 12th grade and passed all of his courses he did not graduate, over the TAKS issue. He has tried to pass the GED and he cannot. Think about this, completed the 12th grade in BISD and cannot pass the GED test. This was less than a year after completing BISD.

I raise this issue because it goes to the need for a real community college. Far too many of the students graduating BISD are not ready for even a community college. The majority who are, are going away to college and not attending UTB/TSC. To be fair several of the top graduates from BISD are attending UTB/TSC, but not many.

In the past year we learned UTB/TSC was to lose millions in federal funding because of the neglect by Juliet Garcia as it relates to the Freshman and Sophomore classes. She instituted the SAP program to try and get these students back on track. Only a real sap believes SAP will work. According to the Collegian far too many of the students are failing to even get on board with SAP and will be dropped from the university rolls.

Last year I spoke of the problem in the math lab. The students were doing anything but math. I can now report the teachers are now required to supervise in the math labs. I can also report grades are being fudged, and students are being allowed to retake tests in hopes of keeping them from failing. I actually have no problem with retakes - my problem is the failure to address the lack of competence at the administration and instructional levels.

The Juliet Garcia administration continues to ignore the simple fact, TSC is not a university. The students coming out of BISD need a community college. A small community college must base its instruction on the reality associated with the students being delivered over to TSC by BISD. If you have a math instructor who gives 90% of his students a D or F, you have a problem Houston. He may be the nicest person in the world, but he cannot teach. Yes, in large measure the problem is the students, but at some point we must face the reality, there is also an instructional problem.

At the university level it may be acceptable for an anatomy instructor to place 50 bones on a table and have the students list them in order - no multiple choice, no list from which they can choose to help jog their memory or help with the spelling of the various bones. I can tell you at UTB/TSC in a Freshman course the instructor simply places out the bones or a bunch of microscopes and the student is left on their own to remember all of the spellings without so much as a general list to jog their memory.

This would clearly be acceptable at a university. At a community college it is not. At a community college, maybe a multiple choice exam would make it too easy. But giving the students a list of 100 bones from which to choose to help jog their memory when trying to identify 50 bones is not giving away the test. This is the difference between a community college and university.

The numbers which will come out of UTB/TSC by the Fall will be dismal. Things are only getting worse. Juliet Garcia refuses to accept it is time that the Freshman and Sophomore course be adjusted to reflect TSC is a community college, and not a university. She will never change because she fears it will cause a stigma on UTB. The obvious solution is to end the partnership. Fear that UTB may suffer a stigma does not form a basis to sacrifice our local students. The quality of students entering UTB will not change until we change BISD. We all know BISD will not change until the people stand before the Board meetings shouting resign week after week after week.

True to form Cascos and Ahumada remain silent. The concept of leadership eludes both of these consummate politicians who live by the first rule of law of all politicians - "even children are to be sacrificed to protect my own ass." Both fear Juliet Garcia focusing in on their incompetent leadership, so they remain silent.

TSC has an election coming up. I known Herrera is the enemy - not because Juliet Garcia appointed him, but because of his own words. He stated he was looking forward to building the university. As a TSC Board Member his focus needs to be TSC and not UTB. I hope his opponent uses Herrera’s own words to insure he is defeated. Unfortunately we know nothing of the people running for the TSC Board.

The other day one took out an ad in the Herald. I know his resume, but I know nothing about how he feels about the UTB/TSC partnership or if he believes it is time to void the partnership. I have no idea whether he favors separating TSC courses from UTB courses. I have no idea if he favors lowing TSC tuition. Herrera may be the enemy, but lets make sure his opponent is not even worse.

To end this, TSC is not going to begin to solve its problems until there is an Assistant Dean over Academic Affairs for TSC whose job it is to review the courses and redirect them to be taught as community college courses, instead of university courses. It would be part of this assistant dean’s job to review every instructor at the Freshman and Sophomore level and begin the process of booting out those who are not competent instructors. (Community colleges have instructors, not professors) The university would be free to keep them on board. They simply would not be allowed to teach TSC level courses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahumada does not comment on the Port, because the city has its own problems...and alot of them.