MSBA Executive Director on Concurrent Enrollment credential proposal: School districts want more flexibility

Today MSBA Executive Kirk Schneidawind testified at a Joint Higher Education Committee regarding potential changes to Concurrent Enrollment credentialing.

Schneidawind and other public school advocates are concerned with the Higher Learning Commission’s intent to implement additional credentialing standards on high school faculty for Concurrent Enrollment programs.

The biggest concern includes this language: “If a faculty members holds a master’s degree or higher in a discipline or subfield other than that in he or she is teaching, the faculty should have completed a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline or subfield in which they teach.”

The 18-credit requirement would go into effect on September 1, 2017.

Click on the video below to watch a replay of the hearing. Schneidawind’s testimony begins at the 1-hour, 56-minute mark.

Visit MSBA’s Twitter feed for other highlights.

Below are some highlights from Schneidawind’s prepared testimony:

In 2007, MSBA led the charge in seeking funding for Concurrent Enrollment programs. Approximately $2.5 million was allocated each year thereafter to provide modest support for our school districts to provide Concurrent Enrollment programs on their high school campus.

We also heard from our districts they wanted more flexibility and fewer barriers related to Concurrent Enrollment.

Why Concurrent Enrollment?

  • School fistricts wanted to keep their high school students on campus.
  • Increased academic value and interest for high school students.
  • Better trained teachers.
  • If Concurrent Enrollment is not offered, we know that students will choose PSEO options that will take students away from high school campuses and move them to postsecondary institutions. Thus, creating a financial and budgeting challenge for districts.

Little Falls School District: The school district has 13 current veteran teachers who teach in the College in the School program through Central Lakes College; the enforcement of this new HLC policy would result in 10 of those staff members unable to teach.

Pequot Lakes School District: Presently the school district has 138 students enrolled in the College in the Schools program. In the 2014-2015 school year, 115 students earned 30 credits or more, saving students and parents more than $660,000 in college tuition.

Carlton Independent School District: Carlton High School currently has approximately 40 students enrolled in college and the schools courses. The teachers offer: Accounting, Western Civilizations, Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy and Physiology, Algebra, Trigonometry, Writing, and Finance.

Blooming Prairie Independent School District: Blooming Prairie High School currently offers classes that total 30 credits. Total enrollment in these programs is 85 with some students taking multiple courses. If the policy is enforced, Blooming Prairie could only offer three courses in English. Obviously, they could not hire or replace these longtime tenured educations that are currently teaching concurrent enrollment classes.

In a recent study by the University of Oregon:

  1. Dual credit students have a higher college participation rate than high school graduates overall.
  2. Dual credit students who go on to college continue to the second year at a higher rate than freshman who enter college without having earned dual credit.
  3. Among freshman who continue to the second year of college, dual credit participants earn a higher first year GPA.
  4. Student who continue to the second year of college accumulate more college credits if they take dual credit in high school.

If school boards and districts are being asked to create the World’s Best Workforce, we can’t have additional barriers

MSBA’s positions:

  1. Concurrent Enrollment is a program that is working very well for all of our districts. Requiring 18 graduate credits in the field will result in fewer teachers teaching in these programs, fewer students taking college level courses in the high school building and increased higher education costs for families.
  2. Years of teaching experience should be considered when this concurrent agreement is evaluated. Knowing how to teach and experience with the materials can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, when teaching these courses.
  3. Ensure graduate-level degree courses are made available to our districts and teachers.
  4. While we don’t have hard data on how many districts are using the staff development set-aside for training their teachers, we do know that school districts are being asked to do more with this fund, e.g. teacher and principal evaluation.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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