Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Lawmakers, educators vent over college credit rules change

ST. PAUL-State lawmakers heard nearly four hours of passionate testimony Thursday from educators, parents and students who fear a recent policy change could endanger Minnesota's two-decade history of high school students to taking college classes.

ST. PAUL-State lawmakers heard nearly four hours of passionate testimony Thursday from educators, parents and students who fear a recent policy change could endanger Minnesota's two-decade history of high school students to taking college classes.

They sent a clear message of support of dual enrollment courses to a joint session of the Minnesota House and Senate higher education committees.

Classes students take for dual credit are important to improving the academic outcomes of many types of students, supporters said. Minnesota needs help and flexibility in complying with the new rules.

The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits nearly 1,000 colleges and universities in 19 states, recently updated education requirements for college professors. In June, the HLC board of trustees voted to require all college instructors hold a master's degree in the field they teach or a master's degree in another field and 18 credits in the field they teach by 2017.

Minnesota educators worry the change could mean many instructors will no longer be qualified to teach dual credit high school classes. In 2014, 24,731 students took dual enrollment classes to earn college credits without leaving their high schools.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barbara Gellman-Danley, HLC president, told lawmakers and educators the recent policy update merely clarified what has long been an expectation of all college-level instructors. She noted that schools have years to make sure all instructors are in compliance.

Committee members, many of whom have supported dual credit classes for years, expressed deep concern the popular programs could be at risk.

And educators showed their frustration that they may need to return to school to comply with the rules, which would take time and cost money. They hope HLC and the institutions they accredit will exempt dual credit instructors or give them credit for other experience.

Many argued using college credits was an antiquated way to determine if a teacher was qualified.

"You can't count it by credits," said Barbara Perushek, who coordinates the College in the Schools program at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. "It's who the people are and what is happening in the classroom."

After hearing hours of testimony, lawmakers concluded the hearing without a clear solution. Gellman-Danley encouraged state K-12 and higher education leaders to continue to discuss creative ways teachers could comply with the standards.

"While you're frustrated with us, it's your colleges and universities you need to work with on this issue," she said

Related Topics: EDUCATION
What To Read Next
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack explains the differences between Alzheimer's, dementia and other common forms of dementia.
While the United States government gave help to businesses and people, a lack of assistance has left some Chinese citizens angry and destitute.
Having these procedures available closer to home will make a big difference for many in the region.