On May 7-8, a delegation of 35 concurrent enrollment professionals, led by NACEP Executive Director Adam Lowe, traveled to Washington, DC for NACEP's annual Washington Policy Seminar. The delegation met with key policymakers to learn about current policies and legislation affecting concurrent enrollment programs. NACEP members, representing public and private universities and colleges, state/system offices and secondary schools, traveled from as far as California and Washington State as well as 14 other states.
Noreen Light, Associate Director, Academic Affairs and Policy, Washington Student Achievement Council stated, “The caliber of the speakers, timeliness of the topics, and the opportunities to learn about struggles and successes in other states all contributed to an informative and interesting event. I will definitely be back to participate again next year.”
Light continued, “Concurrent enrollment provides a very real bridge from high school to college for many students who may not otherwise find their way from one educational sector to the other. This meeting was timely for me, as on May 8, Washington Governor Inslee signed ESS HB 1546, expanding dual credit opportunities to more students, particularly low-income students and those in rural areas.”
Participants heard from a number of organizations actively working on educational policy in Washington, DC. Topics covered included the current federal policy landscape, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, high school reform policy, and state collaboration on higher education. [Seminar Agenda]
Presenters included representatives of organizations such as:
- American Youth Policy Forum
- Bard College
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
- Council of Chief State School Officers
- Jobs for the Future
- National Governors Association
To provide context for some of the present-day policy debates, Elena Silva of the Carnegie Foundation shared the history of the development of the Carnegie unit and credit hour system that is the primary means by which high schools, colleges, and universities measure student progress. She noted that the adoption of the Carnegie unit led to the arbitrary line between high school and college and the challenges that programs such as concurrent enrollment face in creating an educational system based on continuous learning. [Resource: The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape]
Travis Reindl of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shared the Foundation's Postsecondary Success Advocacy Priorities and emphasized how concurrent enrollment dovetails with initiatives to create a national data infrastructure, new models of financing higher education, address remedial education needs through acceleration, and shorten the time it takes students to complete degrees.
NACEP hosted a congressional briefing in conjunction with KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Jobs for the Future, and Bard College on Effective College Transitions: Engaging Students through Early College, Dual and Concurrent Enrollment -- to explain the benefits of dual and concurrent enrollment to Congressional staff and other DC-based policymakers. Presenters included:
- Harold Brown, President, EDWorks
- Noreen Light, Associate Director, Academic Affairs and Policy, Washington Student Achievement Council
- Monique Peterkin, Alumna, Bard High School Early College Manhattan
- John Weinstein, Principal, Bard High School Early College Newark
- Rachel Crew, Program Associate, Jobs for the Future and Alumna of Florida's Early College Program
NACEP Executive Director Adam Lowe concluded the briefing by identifying ways in which federal legislation, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, can support dual and concurrent enrollment partnerships.