Career and College Readiness

HLC Extends Deadline Five Years; Issues Remain

By November 22, 2015 No Comments

Institutions offering concurrent enrollment now have until September to apply for an extension to meet the new requirement on qualified faculty. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) decided on Nov. 5 to extend the deadline up to five years on the requirement that now treats high school  teachers who are teaching dual credit courses the same as college professors.

A state higher education entity can apply on behalf of accredited institutions in its jurisdiction. Without an extension, institutions will need to comply by Sept. 1, 2017. Learn more.

While a five-year extension prevents the HLC’s June action from immediately disrupting the effective transition of high school students to college, there are underlying issues that MREA will continue to advocate for on behalf of Greater Minnesota education.

Proponents of the HLC decision see it as a way to ensure students have an instructor with adequate credentials in the content area being taught. Opponents, however, think it is more difficult for schools to offer concurrent enrollment courses, which has a direct, negative impact on equal access for historically under-served and under-represented minority students.

Key considerations include:

  • Will high school teachers receive graduate credit for experiences such as curriculum writing, taking students on trips to Washington DC or to other nations, and for successfully teaching dual credit classes?
  • How should requirements be different for high school teachers who are not designing college credit courses nor teaching a full range of college courses, in comparison to the college professors they are working under?
  • How will transitions be addressed when credentialed teachers retire or otherwise leave a district and a new teacher is not yet credentialed?
  • How will Minnesota solve this credentialing issue long-term when the university systems, both public and private, have been offering for decades a cohort model general curriculum and instruction masters for all teachers and not masters in specific content areas which are accessible to working teachers?
  • Most importantly, why has there been no public dialogue between the Minnesota Higher Education systems and the K-12 system since HLC announced its new rule for credentialing in June? MREA encourages them to come together on this issue for the betterment of our state’s students. Learn more.

Read a recent article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on this issue. While the headline read “Fears allayed…” the article also noted, “The extensions might not be enough to satisfy advocates of dual-credit courses who say the change is unnecessary and complying will be costly for Minnesota educators.”

The Associated Press reported the Indiana Higher Learning Commission plans to apply for a five-year extension.