Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have been wanting to do this post for several weeks - but just kept on forgetting.

For three years I taught at Houston Community College. My personal experience in terms of the university is, I graduated UTEP in 4 years with 150 credit hours. In addition to my credit hours in Soviet East European Studies I had 18 hours in economics. I did both of my master degrees in two years at UT Arlington - the Political Science MA included a 106 page thesis. I did law school in 2 1/2 years instead of 3. My point is, I know how to start and finish at the university.

A university and community college are not the same thing. Community college instruction must include preparing the student for transfer to the university. I assumed my students had no writing skills, or note taking skills. I taught them both. I taught them how to compile notes - how to outline an essay question and then treat it as a fill in the blank test. By the end of each semester I had the super majority of my students getting a "B" or "A" on a comprehensive final exam - all essay. I understood my job was more than teaching American Government - it was teaching how to succeed at the university.  I took pride in the fact parents would call my boss and find out which campus I would be teaching at so their child could take the second semester with me.

A second role of the community college is providing job training not only with two year degrees, but with certificates.

I have blogged extensively on the problems in the medical training program. They intentionally encourage more students to enroll in the program than will ever be admitted into any of the programs. They spend a year or longer taking prerequisites only to learn they did not get high enough grades to move on to the actual medical training..

The medical terminology course is a fraud - the students who are passing are buying old exams on campus and then studying the multiple choice answers in order to pass the test. The students who cannot buy the exams simply fail. I showed the course to several doctor friends of mine and they told me they never would have passed the course. The course has as its sole purpose to encourage dishonesty and fail students.

Real teachers know that you can give the students 200 multiple choice study questions and then put 100 on the test and the students who study the review test will actually learn and still pass. Students who are not serious will still fail, but then it will be their fault.

TSC needs to handle this issue now, or continue to be accused of intentionally recruiting and then failing students for the sole purpose of money.


The TSC Board needs to hire a consultant to tell them where the growth area is in employment. They then need to create programs which meet those growth areas.

Manufacturing growth in the US is up and up big time. The key is robotics. I accept Brownsville has no immediate need for workers trained in robotics use and repair, but it will some day. We need to start the training now so that future manufacturing companies will look to Brownsville for a viable work force. If TSC is unwilling to do this, then the COB needs to coordinate with Texas Workforce to create the training.


In the coming weeks Pan Am is expected to sign its first significant cargo contracts. If Pan Am's plans materialize they will need plane mechanics. This is another possible growth area for TSC.

My bigger issue is, it is time the TSC Board of Trustees begin to look at the job growth areas for Brownsville. They need to lead and get ahead of the curve. They need to meet with Bob Hedrick and find out what his needs will be in terms of professional training. We need to start the training now, and not after Pan Am is forced to recruit from outside Brownsville


BobbyWC said...

FYI they are finally working on Dana road - good for Brownsville

Bobby WC

BobbyWC said...

Is John Barr billing BISD for matters which have nothing to do with the Joe Rod lawsuit?

Grand Prairie, Texas, United States
Burt Barr & Associates ( [Label IP Address]

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

If you are referring to the prerequisites that students need before they can apply to any of the health programs you are absolutely right. It is all about generating income and using the very large numbers of students desiring a high paying job in a health profession. The income generated from the students taking these “prerequisites” actually support and subsidizes the health programs. The actual number of students ever admitted in to a health program is relatively small. Some of the programs only admit 10 students per year. None of the health programs admit more than 25 students per year. Generally only about 50% of the students admitted in to a health program actually graduate. Of the selected few that actually graduate not all will pass their state licensure examinations. Of those, even fewer will obtain a high paying full time job with full benefits as advertised. The few students that ultimately succeed will do very well; it is almost like winning the lottery for them. But the rest of the hopeful students never really ever had a chance of being admitted in to a health program; forget about finishing and finding a high paying job. Some misadvised students have spent more than a year taking the same prerequisites more than once because they are encouraged to try to obtain higher grades in the hopes that they will eventually be accepted in to a certain program. Nice scam isn’t it?

One of the instructors for the medical terminology course is simply horrible. His accent is so heavy that the students cannot even understand his Basic English. Forget about trying to learn medical terminology from him. Of course students have to buy used exams to pass his course. The whole division should be in question, the dean acts more like a used car salesman. Some instructors mentally retired years ago but still collect a very fat check. They set the example for the rest. Why do you think the nursing programs broke away and got their own College of Nursing? The high quality nursing programs and faculty were tired of being associated with such an embarrassingly inadequate dean and low quality health instructors.

The TSC programs have been neglected for so many years that the personnel (the unethical ones of course) have taken advantage of the poor oversight to run amok unchecked. The health programs are not the only programs that need to be carefully examined. Some of the trade programs such as heating and air conditioning abuse students and their financial aid. Why do you think so many students opt to attend TSTC in Harlingen? That is why some of the trades programs have such low enrollment.

Fortunately not all TSC programs are of poor quality. In spite of everything there are some very good programs. An educator that really understands these types of programs can discern the good from the bad. It is imperative to hire someone that knows how to request all of the pertinent information and knows how to analyze the actual outcomes. It is time for TSC Board to step up to the plate and demand accountability. These programs are under TSC’s watch and responsibility. Students and the community deserve a lot better than what is currently the norm in some of the TSC programs.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the split will help these programs. I have not heard. I am being overly optimistic...since it is not happening now why should it latter under a smaller umbrella/institution/system.

This whole split thing is no better than a horrible divorce.

My government teacher showed me how said...

My government teacher, Mr. Robert Angel is the one instructor who did the most for me in terms of teaching me how to write a decent paper. Thank you Robert Angel and government teachers out there everywhere who care enough to help their students better themselves.

My government teacher showed me how said...

My government teacher, Mr. Robert Angel is the one instructor who did the most for me in terms of teaching me how to write a decent paper. Thank you Robert Angel and government teachers out there everywhere who care enough to help their students better themselves.