“Together we are stronger” is not just a slogan, especially when it comes to providing the resources and opportunities for students to succeed. Sometimes it’s simply about sharing information, which is what local leaders are doing on the topic of dual enrollment.
Sierra College Faculty Association (SCFA) President Johnnie Terry, Rocklin Teachers Professional Association (RTPA) President Colleen Crowe, and Roseville Secondary Education Association (RSEA) President Paul Hayes, among others, met to share resources, contract language and best practices in negotiating and navigating dual enrollment issues. Other union leaders representing school districts who contract with Sierra College, located in Rocklin, also participated.
What was your general “aha” from the meeting?
Our administrators are speaking up, but our faculty, the ones who meet the student face-to-face, are not, and this does a disservice to faculty and to students. For example, the faculty teaching dual enrollment classes did not have copies of the signed dual enrollment contracts between the college and the school districts. Additionally, the faculty teaching the dual enrollment classes were not aware of the college’s Outline of Record that included class max sizes (a pedagogically derived maximum).
It became clear that while we all want what’s best for students, we should be working collaboratively to get the best possible deal for K-12 teachers and college faculty, and not put either group in a difficult situation.
I was not aware that Sierra faculty had concerns, but it makes sense because we had not really been made privy to the information shared before. What also struck me was the amount of responsibility that the high school teacher had regarding the program. I was surprised by how much money the school district was receiving from Sierra College.
What did you discover about your contract language based on this meeting?
While, for the most part, the language concerning dual enrollment was consistent, I discovered that school districts provide different compensation to the teachers teaching dual enrollment classes. The amount varied from $500 to $1,500, depending on the district.
This meeting did help us write good language for agreements on issues such as class size, materials, etc.
I learned that some of our colleagues did not have Academic Freedom articles in their contracts and that, from my perspective, it cannot be a college class unless the faculty teaching has the benefits of Academic Freedom.
Additionally, some high school administrators were not respecting the class max size set by the college curriculum for dual enrollment students, but were placing additional non-dual-enrollment students in the same class to raise the class numbers. There are several problems with this, but one problem is that high school students enrolled in a dual enrollment class have the same privacy rights as college students. In other words, teachers do not share dual enrollment student evaluations, classroom issues with parents. That’s not the case for non-dual-enrollment high school students. Unless notified, how does the high school teacher know with which parents she or he can talk?
What do you think members should know and understand about dual enrollment based on what you’ve learned?
It needs to be on a voluntary basis. No member should be forced to participate. Also, make sure to get the financials about what the agreement is so that the stipends are adequate. We went from $500 stipends per course per semester to $1,500 per course per semester and release days. Our members were very grateful that we had pushed for adequate compensation.
Dual enrollment courses do help students to progress quickly along the path to attaining educational goals, and that is a good thing. However, faculty from both institutions need to be communicating.
The main takeaway is the amount of work that falls on the high school teacher teaching the course.
I strongly suggest they educate themselves on this before they agree to teach the course.
What did you learn about collaborating with community college and K-12 colleagues?
SCFA is awesome! Knowing and understanding how things work at the community college was so beneficial. They were willing to help us and give suggestions on how to obtain a better memorandum of understanding (MOU) on dual enrollment. Having these meetings helps us understand the different ways to compensate people. It draws us all closer together so that we are united in advocating for our students, K-14.
Communication and sharing of information so everybody knows what they are getting involved with can help solve any issue. We are all teachers — community college faculty and K-12 teachers are so alike. We have the same concerns.
We are all faculty who have an overriding concern to help our students be successful. I’m a union advocate first in everything I do. Sharing information, resources and contracts is the right thing to do as a union advocate and as a teaching professional. Moving forward, union collaboration like this can provide the information that administrators have such that K-12 unions are not negotiating in the dark. Community college faculty, as CTA faculty, have a lot to offer our K-12 colleagues!
What Is Dual Enrollment?
The term “dual enrollment” refers to a college course that is taken by a high school student through an agreement between the college and the K-12 district. Dual enrollment courses can be structured in a variety of ways:
- On high school campuses, taught by high school staff or community college faculty
- On community college campuses, taught by high school staff or community college faculty
- Occurring before, during or after the school day