Rep. Carbaugh: Federal government hurting local schools and students' right to education

Posted by: Brandi Klingerman  | Monday, June 22, 2015

Federal government hurting local schools and students’ right to education

As a state representative, one of my goals is to ensure our students receive the best education possible. This year, House Republicans made it a priority to increase education funding and empower teachers and school districts to find innovative ways to meet the educational needs of their students. This is why I am concerned about a potential proposal impacting federal statute that could limit a school’s ability to help students become college ready.

Federal regulations require universities to be accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) which allows them to provide their students federal student aid assistance. This federal funding for college students makes the HLC accreditation important for universities to obtain but could soon negatively impact high school students attempting to earn dual credit.

Currently, there is a proposal in front of the HLC that would limit the number of teachers that are eligible to teach dual credit courses. The proposal would require these educators to hold at least a Master’s degree in the discipline/subfield of the course they teach. If an educator holds at least a Master’s degree or higher in a discipline/subfield, other than that in which they are teaching, then they must have completed at least 18 graduate credit hours within that field.

For example, if you are an English teacher with a Master’s degree in Education, you would no longer be eligible to teach dual credit English or Speech courses. If you are this same teacher, but have less than 18 hours of graduate credits earned in English, then you are still considered ineligible to teach English dual credit courses –regardless of the undergraduate credits you may have earned. If this proposal is adopted by HLC, schools would have a significantly lower number of qualified, dual credit teachers.

According to Fort Wayne Community Schools, this proposal would reduce their dual credit offerings and it could even hurt their accountability or A-F grade. Academic growth, graduation rates as well as college and career readiness are a few of the measures used to calculate the accountability of Hoosier schools. One of the indicators for the College and Career Readiness Metric is dual credit. By limiting the amount of eligible teachers that are available, Indiana schools could see a negative impact on their A-F grade.

Additionally, a measure of accountability is necessary to receive a waiver from the federal education standard, known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Therefore, it is impossible to postpone our current accountability system and allow our local schools to adjust to these changes without hurting another area of our education structure. NCLB is another example of federal regulations that burden our local schools. These regulations require Hoosier schools to waste resources in order to comply with federal statute and do not always make sense at the local level.

Studies show the more dual credits students take with them to college, the more likely they are to stay enrolled and potentially finish their degree. Supporting Hoosier students’ academic success means providing them adequate access to dual credit courses, which will better prepare them for college. I encourage you to contact my office at 317-234-9643 or h81@iga.in.gov if you have any questions about this, or any other issue.

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State Rep. Martin Carbaugh serves as Vice Chairman of the Insurance Committee. He also serves on the Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee. Rep. Carbaugh represents a portion of Allen County.