College & Workforce Readiness

College-Credit Plan for High-Schoolers a Hot Iowa Debate

By Scott J. Cech — April 08, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Dual-enrollment programs are no longer unusual. The U.S. Department of Education says that more than half of all colleges enroll high school students in courses for college credit. What is unusual is the kind of pushback a proposed expansion of dual enrollment in Iowa has provoked.

To many, Gov. Chet Culver’s “Senior Year Plus” proposal to let dual-enrollment students take up to 30 hours of college credit might have seemed an uncontroversial way to give them a free head start in college.

But the bill, introduced last February at the behest of the Democratic governor, rankled some members of the higher education community, including Lee Skeens, a psychology professor at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Iowa. See data on Iowa’s public school system.

“We’re already getting students who are … not academically prepared for college courses,” said Mr. Skeens, who also chairs a higher education committee in the National Education Association-affiliated Iowa State Education Association. “If we start reaching down for more students, I don’t see that as a good thing.”

The association hasn’t taken a formal position, he said, but he and about 50 other representatives from higher education groups, including the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, met with legislators on dual enrollment and other topics in March.

Democratic state Rep. Cindy Winckler, the bill’s floor manager and a former teacher, said lawmakers amended the legislation after hearing concerns about training gaps among some high school teachers who were leading college courses.

“Fifty to 70 percent of those [dual-enrollment] courses are taught by a high school teacher that is then hired in their own building to teach a college-equivalent course,” she said.

The bill, which has also been introduced in the Iowa Senate, now calls for students to meet colleges’ normal enrollment requirements and to show proficiency on state achievement tests or alternative assessments.

Further, it provides for a committee of postsecondary and other educators to conduct random audits of classes to ensure they’re up to college standards.

A version of this article appeared in the April 09, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Spotlight Spotlight on Inspiring Innovation through STEM Education
This Spotlight will empower you on ways to include more students of color, locate gifted students in unexpected places, and more.
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion The High School Network Providing Students With On-the-Job Training
Rick Hess speaks with Cristo Rey Network President Elizabeth Goettl about the network's innovative work-study program.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness From Our Research Center Class of COVID: 2021's Graduates Are Struggling More and Feeling the Stress
COVID-19 disrupted the class of 2020’s senior year. A year later, the transition to college has in some ways gotten worse.
7 min read
Conceptual illustration of young adults in limbo
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness From Our Research Center Helping Students Plan How to Pay for College Is More Important Than Ever: Schools Can Help
Fewer and fewer high school graduates have applied for federal financial aid for college since the pandemic hit.
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of young person sitting on top of a financial trend line.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision<br/>