Association commends Gov. Ducey, lawmakers for expanding pathways to higher education
HB 2078 supports innovation, excellence & opportunity in K-12
Phoenix (April 18, 2017) – Thanks to the continued support of excellence and innovation in K-12 education, lawmakers have secured an alternative path to higher education for Arizona’s students.
Signed by Governor Doug Ducey on April 17, House Bill 2078 clarifies the concurrent coursework programs presently offered in many high schools and defines best practices for the operations and funding of these programs.
“Concurrent coursework provides students an opportunity to graduate high school with not only their high school diploma, but also with an associate degree or credits toward a degree,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO. “This legislation will ensure that public schools across the state can continue to offer innovative programs that challenge students and bring higher education within reach of more Arizonans.”
Unlike dual enrollment programs, a student enrolled in concurrent coursework will attend regular classes at a community college campus. The high school pays the costs of the community college course, provides academic support for the student on the high school campus, and awards high school credit for the course.
This model has been successfully used for nearly twenty years. Public charter schools like Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center’s five high school campuses have developed strong relationships with Arizona’s community colleges. Due to concurrent coursework, an average AAEC student earns 40 transferrable college credits, with nearly a quarter of students earning one or more associate degrees before graduating high school.
Through the leadership of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), Arizona high schools have the flexibility to provide innovative programs for public charter and district students seeking a more challenging curriculum and an opportunity to gain practical higher education experience and knowledge.
“Employers rely on an educated workforce, so it is critical that our K-12, community college and university systems are challenging Arizona students to succeed,” said Rep. Carter. “Concurrent coursework provides an innovative pathway to college for our high school students, giving many students the financial boost they need to get to and through college.”
Backed by a wide coalition of education leaders and lawmakers, HB 2078 passed the legislature with unanimous support. The Arizona Department of Education worked collaboratively with the K-12 education community to advance this bill and together, we will continue to support the work of schools creating these options for students.
About the Arizona Charter Schools Association
The Arizona Charter Schools Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates and strengthens the autonomy, equity, and quality of Arizona’s diverse public charter schools. As a national leader in the public charter school movement, Arizona’s 547 charter schools serve over 180,000 students in the 2016-17 school year. Academically, Arizona charter schools continue to produce excellent results. For the last two years, public charter students outperformed the state average on the AzMERIT assessment. In fact, if Arizona’s public charter students were separated and measured as their own state, it would rank among a handful of the top-performing states in the entire country on the Nation’s Report Card. For more information, visit www.azcharters.org or call 602.944.0644.