Dual credit classes in high school: A leg up or a college cheat?

Schools are cheating their students by offering “dual-credit lite,” charges Kevin Teasley, founder of the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation in Indianapolis, on Flypaper.

Offering dual-credit (aka dual-enrollment) classes on the high school campus gives students no experience of learning on a college campus with college-age students, he writes.

Often, “dual” instructors are high school teachers, not college instructors.

Students who take classes at a college campus usually have to arrange transportation and pay for costly textbooks — and sometimes for tuition, he adds. That limits participation.

At 21st Century Charter School in Gary, Indiana, which his foundation manages, “we do dual credit on steroids,” writes Teasley. Most students don’t have parents who went to college.

We use state tuition support funds to pay for our students to take college classes on college campuses.

For instance, one of our students is receiving her bachelor’s degree in May from Purdue University, where she took fifteen credit hours per semester, and our school wrote a check for $3,500 each term to cover her tuition at Purdue. Other students took three credits at Ivy Tech Community College, for which we paid roughly $400 per class, per student.

21st Century Charter pays for textbooks and commuting costs and provides a study room at the high school and staff support to help students pass their college classes.

The high school doesn’t offer classes that can be taught better at the college level, writes Teasley.

Why should we have foreign language classes, a Computer Architecture Design (CAD) class, auto mechanics, or any other elective or career/certification class in our own facility when we find the same courses at the postsecondary level?

Of 43 seniors graduating in May, seven have earned associate degrees and one has completed a bachelor’s while attending high school.


A version of this post originally appeared on joannejacobs.com.

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Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs

Joanne was born in Chicago and named after her grandfather, Joe Jacobs, who’d been a police reporter for the Omaha Bee-News. At the age of eight, she and her best friend became the creators and co-editors-in-chief of "The Wednesday Report" for four years. After years as a San Jose Mercury News columnist, Joanne started an education blog in 2001 and wrote "Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds." She freelances for online sites, newspapers, magazines, foundations and think tanks. In addition to blogging at joannejacobs.com, Joanne writes Community College Spotlight at ccspotlight.org.
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