Monday, November 17, 2008


The Herald to my surprise covered a story coming out of UTB/TSC which effectively verifies that BISD and UTB/TSC are failures. Then to my surprise, in a blind editorial, the Herald begs for lower standards for BISD because of its unique location on the border. Apparently, the person who penned the blind editorial has never been out of Brownsville, and spoke with zero knowledge as to reality, when BISD is compared to other school districts.

Something I have been calling for, for months, appears to be happening at UTB/TSC. The Faculty Senate is taking a stand against the Garcia Administration. It seems without consultation Juliet Garcia and her lemmings decided to not hold the dual credit students to the same standards as the regular students. This has infuriated the Faculty Senate.

Important to the story is the fact UTB/TSC enrollment would have dropped by 529 students since 2004, had it not been the for dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is for students who are ready to take college level courses. This program was never designed for the average student. Somehow, Juliet Garcia has managed to get the various school districts to promote the program to students who are not prepared for college level courses. The only reason for this was to raise the enrollment numbers. This is yet another fraud on the community and taxpayers.

Apparently, the dual enrollment students, who include more than just BISD, are not making the grades. Last year when UTB/TSC was faced with record loses in terms of financial aid to its students, because of the record number of students failing, UTB/TSC started a program called SAP. The idea was to use SAP to get students back on the right track so that they would not loose their financial aid. Large numbers of students have failed to participate in the program, according to previous articles published in the Collegian.

There can be no doubt that the only reason to not include the dual enrollment students in SAP is to keep them on the enrollment lists. This is a fraud on the community. If they are not ready to take college level courses, then they should be removed from the program. This is the worst form of affirmative action there is. There is nothing more insulting to the community than a policy which states, if we lower the standards they will succeed. NO - there is never success in lower standards.

Since Hector Gonzales became the Superintendent at BISD, the high school TAKS scores have come down. He must go. There is no time to loose on this issue. We must raise standards at BISD and not look for pathetic excuses such as proposed in the Herald’s blind editorial on Sunday.
I understand we are a poor community. But you can go to poor communities throughout the world, where there is a policy of no excuses, and find students who are out performing American students, even in good school districts.

NYC school district is recovering from years of mismanagement. Their teachers are dealing with students who speak no English, such as BISD. The major difference is in Brownsville, Spanish is the only real language other than English the super majority of the students speak. In NYC they speak well over 100 languages other than English. Try managing that and see how far you go.
The students at BISD will not succeed outside of Brownsville until we raise the standards. I do believe the decision of school districts to teach to TAKS has been a major contributor to the failure of our students. If BISD students are not being taught to take notes from lecture, should it be a surprise that when they get to UTB/TSC they do not know how to take notes from lectures or their books?

I have done six week assignments in Dallas and Point Isabel. In both cases I was told that the students are not equipt to take notes during lecture. Okay - THEN TEACH THEM AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES. I lecture from an outline. I put the outline on the board (today I use power point). I leave several spaces wherein they the students must fill in the blanks. I am teaching them the skill of making an outline. They need this skill if they are to succeed in college.

I only give fill in the blank and short answer tests. A study guide in high school, if properly done teaches the skills of organizing your notes for test preparation. This is another skill we must be teaching the students. When students are forced to use their notes to look up all of the answers on the study guide they learn the material. They then have something to study. Again, these are skills which must be taught at the high school level.

It is time to fire Hector Gonzales. It is time to hire a superintendent who will put teaching back into the classroom. I propose the BISD Board create a citizens board which is composed of parents, educators, and UTB instructors. The goal is to identify what BISD can better do to prepare their students for UTB?TSC.

The following is a comment related to BISD. I am running late today. A morning appointment which should have had me back home by 8:45 turned out to be a nightmare. I did not know it takes 4 ½ hours for a transmission fluid change.


Where is the $$$$$$$$$$$ going????????????
I will try and look into this BISD issue tonight


Anonymous said...

Please, review your comments before you post them, spell check simply doesn't catch the grammatical errors.
1. 4th paragraph grades should be grade.
2. 4th paragraph loose should be lose.
3.5th paragraph lover should be lower
4. 6th pargraph loose should be lose
5. 9th paragraph I study should be A study

I agree with a lot of what you have said, but the blatant mistakes have made it very hard to read.

I do believe the skill of outlining is first mentioned in the 4th grade TEKS. I looked through the new TEKS for English language arts to be implemented in the 2009-10 school year. I found this listed in the reading section. If you intend to use this for the Herald, please reread your article. Clearly there are some shenanigans going on down at the college.

Anonymous said...

As a former UTB student I remember having classmates that did not know how to speak English let alone write it. What amazed me was that I would see them pass the classes and graduate. Currently at my employment I see a lot of dual enrollment BISD students that do not know how to even write a complete paragraph. Yes, the majority of these students would never make it if they leave Brownsville. And by UTB and BISD standards they are considered college students, come on!

Anonymous said...

Just returned from the BISD board meeting. Seems like the meetings will soon be like the City Commissioners' meetings. Hopefully, the true professionals (Mr. Aguilar, Mr. Zayas, Mr. Colunga, Dr. Escobedo and Mr.Cortez) wll keep the meetings sane. These meetings should not be like football games where the superintendent has a cheering section. This is so unprofessional.