March 11, 2021
As a professor at Palm Beach Community College (which became Palm Beach State College under the direction of Dr. Dennis P. Gallon), we found students coming to college who had no idea how to research and write. They came unprepared. That was great for me because now, with our English professors, we could team teach and work towards the Florida “Gordon Rule.” The “Gordon Rule” was about specifying the completion of college writing assignments. When the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), beginning with “privatizing” guru, Jeb Bush, began to decimate assessments of education such as the “Gordon Rule,” Dr. Gallon and his associates decided to keep it. In order to “bridge” students from pre-college preparation into full time students, we did team teaching (learning community?) with a team consisting of college professors in the following areas: library research, speech, English writing, and Student Learning Center where students were tutored in order to complete college entrance requirements. At the end of each semester, we invited parents and faculty to attend a presentation by students in the class, including refreshments for all. Students dressed in their best attire and each gave presentations, as well as each of the faculty giving a presentation tailored to each individual student. Dr. Gallon and several administrators would attend these “celebrations” of accomplishment, as we called them. They were very well received, including our administrator who eventually became a college president at Polk Community / State College in Winter Haven, FL, Dr. Eileen Holden. This program was an “experiment” for two years, in 1999-2000. We presented the results of our work at two professional conferences: (1) Florida Developmental Education Association (FDEA) in Tallahassee, and (2) National Association of Developmental Educators (NADE), in Biloxi, MS. The program was titled, “Bridge to College.” This was an excellent program. We are sorry that we never kept accurate assessment statistics with a “before,” “after the program,” and “after completion of two years of college.” Once those who endorsed the program departed, then there were few others who wished to sign aboard it. That is a shame. I am proud, however, NOT to be a Donald Trump and point fingers at others, rather than taking responsibility for the events. Shame on us. However, several years after and with new administrators, I proposed that we set up procedures to collect assessment survey information from alumni after completing their degree and having a career in the workforce. The reply was, “we are not interested in that information, only in the money the alumni can contribute to the college.” The only way we are able to understand the success of the “Bridge to College” experiment is when students from this program remain in touch after all these years, whether on social media or otherwise. That is all the measurements we have available.
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