Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, has published a lengthy document outlining a number of proposals for higher education.
Most of the recommendations are not particularly noteworthy or controversial, but one relating directly to community colleges is attracting some attention. Mr. Abbott recommends requiring "block scheduling" for two-year schools. It's found on page nine of the document, available here.
Please peruse the entire publication.
According to College Parent Central:
In block scheduling, students take only one course at a time for approximately 3-4 weeks followed by a short break of a few days. Students then begin a new course. Courses meet daily for 3-5 hours at a time and cover the same amount of material as traditional semester courses. Block classes tend to be smaller and more discussion based. At the end of the year, students will have taken the same number of courses as those with more traditional schedules, but in short, intense units rather than juggling 4-5 courses at any given time.
According to the Abbott document, the practice has been successful in Tennessee, and the Texas State Technical College system is presently implementing such a plan. Reportedly students achieve greater success using this model, as it's more accommodating to the work schedules of community college students.
At the recent TCCTA Fall Conference for Faculty leaders, members wondered aloud how such a shift would work in practice. The abundance of online classes, part-time faculty, and student preferences that don't fit the model might be hard to navigate. The proposal's impact on contact hour funding and faculty workload is also difficult to predict.
Subsequent posts will concern the positions of other candidates in the forthcoming election that potentially affect two-year college teachers in Texas.