In tough times for schools, teaching degrees still sought

Though teachers are being laid off at an increasing level across the state, schools that train teachers aren’t overreacting to the bad economic news.

At Kansas University, the school does have some caps in enrollments, but not an overall cap, said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the KU School of Education.

“We’ve always limited enrollment in some of our programs,” he said.

Some of those are tied to the job market — for instance, the state doesn’t need as many elementary school teachers right now, he said.

Other caps are tied to budgetary constraints and are designed to keep class sizes low, he said.

The KU education school’s enrollment has fallen since fall 2008, when it was 2,036, to 1,911 in fall 2010.

Ginsberg said in today’s job market, recently graduated teachers might do well to prepare themselves to have to be mobile and to be willing to work outside their preferred place to live.

At Emporia State University, the Teachers College accepts the students who meet their requirements academically.

“We don’t have caps on our programs,” said Ken Weaver, associate dean of the college.

Still, he said, the shrinking market is a concern. He recalled shivering outside in the cold during the school’s most recent spring commencement.

“I’m wondering, not only for our graduates, but for graduates throughout the state that are preparing to graduate, what will happen to them?” he said.

By Andy Hyland

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