INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana teachers of increasingly popular classes that allow high school
students to earn college credit hours will have five additional years to
meet new academic requirements for those courses, a regional accreditation
State lawmakers and
education officials were stunned in 2015 when the Higher Learning Commission
- the regional accrediting agency for Indiana and 18 other states - unveiled
new educational requirements for Indiana’s dual-credit class instructors.
requirements, a high school teacher must now hold a master’s degree to teach
a dual credit course. While many of those teachers already meet that
threshold, they would also have to earn 18 credit hours in master’s level
courses in the subject they plan to teach.
fearing that the requirements set to take effect in 2017 would disqualify
thousands of teachers, quickly passed a resolution that urged the commission
to revise the guidelines.
But earlier this
month, the commission announced that Indiana’s dual credit teachers will
have five years to complete the new academic requirements. That’s good news
for about 30,000 college-bound Indiana high school students who are earning
college credit in the courses.
from the new academic requirements runs through September 2022. But
maintaining a strong selection of the high-demand classes could still
require help from state lawmakers, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Even with the
five-year reprieve, 2,100 teachers will have to go back to school to keep
the programs going. And it’s unclear who will pay for their additional
Lawmakers set up a
framework for providing tuition assistance to those teachers during the past
legislative session, but they did not allocate any money for the proposed
$4,000-per-teacher stipend that was envisioned as coming from a mix of state
and local funds.
State Sen. Luke
Kenley, the Senate’s chief budget writer, said he doesn’t know whether
funding the stipend is an acceptable mechanism. But he said lawmakers will
consider that issue when they write a new, two-year state budget in their
session that begins Jan. 3.
“We want to
continue to take advantage of (dual credit) and fund it up a little bit,”
said Kenley, a Noblesville Republican.
The debate comes as
dual credit participation is growing quickly across Indiana, rising from
about 12,000 students taking courses in 2011 to nearly 30,000 in 2014, data
for Indiana’s public colleges show.
Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said she expects “some
movement this legislative session to actually put some dollars into” the
stipend. But she also expects help in other ways, including possibly
offering extra pay for those who teach dual credit.
“We need to make
sure that we give the opportunity and likely a financial incentive for
people to come back,” Lubbers said.