Future not bright for concurrent enrollment

Days likely numbered for popular program that lets TAHS students take college courses at their school

By Per Peterson

The motto for today’s Tracy Area High School freshmen upon graduating from Tracy Elementary School a few years ago was, “Our Vision for the Future is 2020.” By the time they’re seniors, however, that vision could very well not include a popular academic program that today’s upperclassmen enjoy.
And, bigger picture, the school’s financial bottom line could take a big hit as well.
The option to take college courses without having to leave their high school (College Now) could be taken away by 2020 thanks to a ruling by the Higher Learning Commission that proposes that faculty members must hold a master’s degree or higher specific to the discipline they are teaching and that faculty member must have completed at least 18 graduate credit hours in the field they teach. In short, it means teachers will have to go back to college to qualify to continue teaching college-level courses at TAHS.
“That’s tough, because getting people to go back to school to earn those credits is challenging,” TAHS Superintendent Chad Anderson said. “They’re going to have to take their time, their resources, their money, to go back to school to get something they may not necessarily want. That doesn’t happen a lot.”
The Higher Learning Commission’s recommendations, announced in 2015, goes into effect Sept. 1, 2017. There is a deferral of compliance for up five years for institutions that applied by the December 2016 deadline.
Anderson sent a letter to the HLC in September 2015 to voice his concern over the proposal. He said the additional credentialing standards would ºhave a negative effect on small-town students, who don’t have universities within a short distance. It would also affect curriculum in that small schools would need to discontinue offering college-level courses to those students who want to push themselves academically while still in high school.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.