The Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditor working on behalf of the federal government, granted Indiana an extension on new requirements for dual credit teachers, giving the state until 2022 to meet new requirements.
The HLC passed changes for the credentials high school teachers that teach dual-credit courses that were supposed to go into effect in 2017. The changes said a high school teacher teaching a dual credit class, a high school class that also earns a student college credit, must have a master’s degree that includes 18 credit hours in the subject they teach. This means a high school teacher teaching advanced Biology can’t just get a master’s degree in education, but also complete multiple classes in Biology.
The new requirements raised concerns in the education community, as it was estimated 71 percent of Indiana’s dual credit teachers, teaching more than 45,000 students, wouldn’t meet the new requirements.
The extension from the HLC gives Indiana teachers until September 2022 to meet the new requirements.
In the last few years, state superintendent Glenda Ritz and Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers have called on the legislature to provide funding so teachers can afford to take these college classes and meet the requirements.
During last year’s legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill saying they would study ways to make these requirements easier for teachers to reach. But the bill allocated no money to pay for these classes, just makes a scholarship or tuition break possible.
Indiana schools are required to offer dual credit classes to students, but currently do not provide assistance for teachers to obtain advanced degrees.
Lubbers said in a statement Tuesday she is glad the state received approval of the extension.
“We are pleased that the accreditor has granted our colleges this extra time to ensure Indiana’s teachers have sufficient time to meet these new requirements,” Lubbers said. “We will spend the next five years working to make certain all Hoosier students continue to have access to high-quality dual credit opportunities.”
The legislature may pick up the issue during the budget session that begins Jan. 3.