One advocacy issue facing both higher and secondary education in Minnesota has to do with therecent ruling by the Higher Learning Commission regarding dual enrollment: high school courses in which students obtain college credit, inclding courses that include English courses. In making its ruling, the Higher Learning Commission is assuming that the teachers teaching these courses lack the graduate level subject matter course background to teach college in which students obtain college credit. They will require that by September 2017, high school teachers in all dual-enrollment programs—typically involving college/high school relationships, will have either a Master’s degree in English or at least 18 graduate credits in English.
While this does not impact AP courses, dual enrollment courses have grown in popularity. “Nearly 15,000 public high schools enrolled students in college courses in 2010, and from 2002 to 2011, dual enrollment had an annual growth rate of over 7 percent” (Smith, 2015).
In Minnesota, there are a lot of
strong “College in the Schools” English courses, many of which are taught in
conjunction with the University of Minnesota. However, teachers of many of these
courses, including some of my own previous students, obtained Master’s degrees
in Education and not English, so they lack the 18 hours of credits in English—or
six 3-credit courses. If these teachers would have to take six additional
courses in English, most teachers, because they already have their Master’s
degree, would decline to do so, but then they would not be able to teach these
dual-enrollment courses, which would jeopardize students who benefit from not
only the quality of these courses, but also resulting in more costs for students
who would have to pay for taking equivalent courses once they went to college.
MCTE has made this an issue by posting the following reports on their website http://mcte.org/
Smith, A. A. (2015). Questioning Teaching Qualifications. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from http://tinyw.in/mZtz
Nathan, J. (2015). College in Schools defended against St. Olaf-led attacks. Retrieved from http://tinyw.in/J8Vp
Assumed Practices Policy Changes Adopted on Second Reading. Retrieved from
While one could certainly be concerned about the qualifications of teachers teaching courses for college credit at the high school level, I therefore urge NCTE to further explore this issue effecting dual-enrollment high school courses English throughout the country.
The Higher Learning Commission invites comments on this proposed policy before the Board takes final action in June 2016: see http://tinyw.in/EnNh
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments must be received by May 17, 2016.