The 68 percent increase in the number of high school students taking college courses for credit between 2002-3 and 2010-11 is being assailed by critics (“The Rise of Dual Credit,” Education Next Weekly, Sept. 23). They charge that when the courses are taught by high school teachers, rigor is lost.
The criticism assumes that introductory courses taught by graduate students in college automatically are superior. I disagree. In fact, I submit that certified high school teachers are far better at instruction because they are trained in pedagogy. Graduate students who teach the bulk of introductory college courses lack such training.
Even when introductory courses are taught by professors there is no assurance that students learn more than they would if the same courses were taught by certified high school teachers. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, some of the worst classes I took were by full professors. They were solely interested in publishing rather than in teaching. I learned far more from my high school teachers.
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