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Bill would require college classes in high school

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Feb 08 2013 08:11:34 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with the Redmond High School principal and a student about a proposed bill that would make it a requirement for high school students to take college classes to graduate.

BEND, Ore. -

Several Oregon lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require high school students to take college classes to graduate. On Friday, Redmond school officials and a student said there are pros and cons to such a move.

Many high school students already are getting a jump start on their college careers, by taking dual-credit courses. But the new bill could make what's now a choice, a new requirement to graduate.

"I think it's a personal sense of pride," said Redmond High senior Hannah Holley. "I'm leaving school with close to 25 college credits."

Holley has already completed math and English college-level courses, and she's already been accepted to American University in Washington DC.

A bipartisan group of legislators hopes their bill will boost the number of college students and make their degrees more affordable.

"I think it's really important for kids to get that first college exposure, and then it won't seem like such a big thing or such a big deal," said Redmond High Principal Nicole MacTavish. "They can really see themselves as a college student, and they can really envision it much earlier."

While it's a great opportunity, there's a chance it could be another hurdle to jump through for students struggling to finish high school.  

"For those who don't have any reason or motivation to go to college, I think that would be a step that could inhibit them from maybe being able to graduate, which I think would be unfortunate," Holley said.

The bill could also pose challenges for teachers. Most teachers have a master's degree in education. But to teach a dual-level course, they would have to earn a masters in the specific subject they plan to teach.

"So I'm hoping that if we get this bill, which I think is great for kids -- if we get this bill, then we can figure out a way to support those teachers while they get those extra credits," MacTavish said.

Bend-La Pine Schools officials said over 8,000 college quarter hours were earned by their students last year.

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