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If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

Door closed for future teachers
Justin Gilson
Antelope Staff
Courtesy Photo
Houston's Outley Elementary School serves grades PK-4 in the Alief Independent Schools District. Outley Elemenary is one of the many schools in the Houston District.

Texas state deficit cuts student teaching programs

As the old cliché goes, everything is bigger in Texas.  Well, it seems that even budget deficits are bigger in Texas as the state faces a budget crisis of extremely epic proportions: a $25 billion state deficit.

Normally, news like this would cause little notice to UNK students, but the College of Education is feeling the budgetary blow full force on a student teaching program that may end with money problems.

Texas lawmakers are likely to cut funding for certain programs for schools within the public education system.  The aftermath of these decisions will extend all the way to UNK and prospective student teachers.

Over the years, the College of Education has had a partnership with the Alief Independent School District just outside of Houston, Texas.

The district is made up of 45 different campuses including elementary, middle school and high school locations from which UNK student teachers could choose for student teaching.  

Students had the option of completing their student teaching out of state and earning a salary of $1,400 a month. The district also supplied a professional to assist them in finding housing.  

“It was really hard finding out about this, especially for the students that had already applied for student teaching. I was excited about this opportunity, but now my plans have changed, and I have to rethink my next steps,” said Katie Penner, a junior in elementary education from Arthur.

Alief Independent School District is struggling right in the middle of some large budget cuts. Unfortunately, one of the first programs to go was the partnership with the College of Education.

Ann Knipping, director for field experience and lecturer for teacher education said many within the department are saddened by the unexpected cuts.  She said it was a wonderful and positive program and the students who came from Nebraska were held in high regard due to their work ethic and commitment.  

“Alief loved Nebraska students when they would come down,” Knipping said. “Alief felt the students received great instruction and were ready for the job.”

As of now, the opportunity for UNK student teachers to teach at Alief Independent School District has been cut.  Hopefully all will not be lost, Knipping said. Alief district officials are working toward restoring the partnership with UNK and hoping to make the program cut temporary to bring back the Nebraska student teachers.


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