When faced with a complex problem in public administration that requires a solution, management experts advise nearly unanimously to “get the stakeholders together in a room and work out solutions.” Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius has said the department’s working groups have been successful because they get bright people together who are committed to solving the problem.
Protecting Early College through the uninterrupted continuation of Minnesota’s concurrent enrollment (dual-credit) options for high school students requires a similar “all-hands-on-board” approach. Higher Learning Commission President Gellman-Danley was right to encourage 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. Not that HLC thought of all stakeholders when they surveyed only higher education institutions in their 19 states when formulating their recent decision to regarding credentialing dual-credit teachers.
Minnesota has a process to get all stakeholders to a room to forge a solution: The P-20 Partnership, which by statute is required to “…meet at least three times during each calendar year” and submit a report to the legislature Jan. 15 annually “that summarizes the partnership’s progress in meeting its goals and identifies the need for any draft legislation when necessary to further the goals of the partnership to maximize student achievement while promoting efficient use of resources” (MS127A.70)
MREA called for a P-20 Partnership meeting nearly six weeks ago. But the P-20 Partnership does not need to do this. Together, with the leadership of MnSCU, we can convene a stakeholder group similar to what occurred in 2006 when a collaborative group wrote the current MnSCU Procedure 3.5.1 Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program.
This is solvable if there is the will. It will take some new guidelines on what experiences high school teacher have that will count towards credentialing, consideration of an alternative level of credentialing for high school teachers teaching under the supervision of a university professor, the availability of graduate credits within disciplines, a longer timeline for implementation, and a restructuring of undergraduate and graduate teacher education so these standards are built into the teacher education pipeline.
Other states such as Indiana would be willing to work with Minnesota in forging such solutions and bringing them to the regional and national stage. Now is the time for Minnesota’s K-12 and MnSCU systems to start working together in order to preserve a great opportunity for students.