Education cutbacks affect TCU grads

Potential state budget cuts in public education have resulted in cutbacks in hiring of teachers upon graduation, Dale Young, director of teacher placement in the College of Education, said.

Gov. Rick Perry proposed $10 billion in cuts to the public education system, according to an Associated Press article on March 14. More than a thousand teachers, students and school officials protested the proposed cuts last week in Austin on the Capitol steps.

Young said because of the budget cuts, school districts across Texas pulled out of career fairs. He said TCU had to cancel its state education career fair because of lack of participation.

“Usually we have around 25 and 30 school districts come to that [state career fair],” he said. “We only had five school districts who wanted to participate, so we had to cancel it.”

While the state career fair was canceled, the DFW Metroplex Interview Day, a day typically reserved for students to connect to school district representatives, still took place Wednesday. All but six districts in the area said they would bring representatives, Young said. The districts were not scheduled to bring as many interviewers and were not looking to hire but just take resumes, he said.

Despite the lack of open positions, senior education major Andrea Gouldy still planned to use the Metroplex Interview Day to her advantage.

“Hopefully by the time they do the interviews, maybe a job will have appeared for me,” Gouldy said. “But for me it’s just going to kind of be a training for me to learn how to interview.”

In addition to hiring freezes, districts are first cutting newer teachers who have been teaching for less than three years, Young said. He said he received emails from graduates who received notice that they will not be teaching next year if the budget is passed in April.

Since her freshman year, junior education major Katie Hall said she planned to become a teacher and hoped to influence students as the teachers she had growing up influenced her. She never looked back to question her decision until the education budget cuts were released and hiring freezes started across Texas, she said.

Hall said she did not agree that newer teachers should be cut first. Districts should give younger teachers a chance because younger teachers know the newest teaching techniques, she said.

“Younger teachers will have a better chance of getting students to be engaged,” Hall said.

Young said that because of the cuts, students shouldn’t be selective when deciding what districts to apply to.

“What we’re telling them to do [is] widen their range of where they want to go,” Young said. “They may need to go out to rural school districts.”

Gouldy said she applied to districts she would not have applied to prior to the proposed cuts. She expanded her region from the Metroplex to the San Antonio and Houston areas, she said.

“I’ve already completed applications for about 16 school districts, and I’ll probably do another 15 to 20,” Gouldy said. “Before, I probably would have just applied to the larger districts in the DFW area.”

Hall said her aspirations to teach middle school history now are harder to reach because of the budget cuts. She said she would now be happy to teach any grade or subject.

“I just want to have a classroom that kids want to be in, and I don’t really care what grade level at this point,” Hall said.