Now that House Bill 505 has removed the authority to regulate the number of dual credit hours students can take, as well as the locations offered, it’s time to carefully examine all the criticisms the program has received.
Among those complaints are:
• The college does not collect tuition for these students.
• The college has no control over how dual-credit classes are taught.
• There is no guarantee that students are receiving a college-level experience.
• Some districts offer many opportunities for dual credit while others have few.
Among new suggestions is the idea that students could pay a flat fee for a dual-credit course.
That, however, will only exacerbate the social division already in place.
The Alamo Colleges does not charge high school students — or their parents — to take dual-credit courses.
So there doesn’t seem to be a financial downside for students if they don’t do well.
Although they acquire a college transcript when they enter college, there’s no threat financially.
If they fail to do well in the course, students don’t get credit, but they aren’t losing any money.
Additionally, high schools use their teaching staff who are already being paid to teach.
The high schools should pay for these classes since they’re the ones offering it.
You can’t expect the parents of these students to pay for the classes; there would most likely be a decline in enrollment as many would refuse to pay while others simply could not.
And again, the gap between the haves and have-nots grows.
Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor for academic success, said some high school teachers treat dual-credit classes like other high school classes, so why are we giving away college credit?
The students may not actually be getting a college-level experience.
These classes are already offered free of charge by the Alamo Colleges, but to also have them dumbed down seems like an insult to the students enrolled at the colleges who struggle to study while working to pay for school.
To make sure they teach appropriately, the high school district would have to pay for extra training for their teachers.
The districts most likely won’t be inclined to pay because it’s an extra expense.
The high schools are the ones getting paid for the students taking these courses, not the colleges. The colleges are only paid for contact hours.
High school teachers may not have the same experience as college instructors at teaching a college-level course, and if high school districts want instructors with that knowledge, those high schools should have to pay for that specific dual-credit training as well.
It doesn’t seem fair that these high school students can take these courses for free, while college students have to pay for them.
Dual-credit students are supposed to receive a comparable experience, but that doesn’t seem to be case.
The high school districts and teachers should take these classes seriously. If these students aren’t actually getting a college-level course, then when they eventually do end up attending college, they won’t be ready.
We already are the beneficiaries of this particular problem in higher education.
The district should reinstate restrictions and require training.
If these dual credit classes are actually being treated like any other high school class, there needs to be discussion on what needs to be done to bring the quality of the course to the proper level.
The college district should bring back the course limit for one, and the high school districts should foot the bill to get the instructors to take the class seriously.
Maybe then so will the students and high school teachers.