Ward-Engelking urges tweaks to dual credit program

Idaho spends $12 million to encourage high school students to take college-level courses, and one legislator wants her colleagues to take a closer look at the program.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking is proposing two changes to Idaho’s growing dual-credit program. She wants the state to concentrate on offering dual-credit classes that support a student’s career choice, and she wants to ensure dual-credit classes transfer between the state’s two- and four-year colleges.

“Classes must be interchangeable, transferable and aligned so students can flow seamlessly between different institutions without penalty,” said Ward-Engelking, D-Boise. “Fixing that problem is a matter of curriculum coordination between our state’s two-year and four-year schools and won’t cost us any new money.”

Dual credit is among a host of programs Idaho has launched — and bankrolled — in hopes of encouraging more high school graduates to stay in school. Idaho’s college attendance and graduation rates remain among the lowest in the nation.

A 36-member gubernatorial task force is examining the state’s higher education system, and is charged with crafting a strategy to improve postsecondary graduation numbers. The group met Friday, and is expected to issue recommendations in September.

Ward-Engelking, a retired teacher, is a member of the higher education task force.

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