Dr. Karen Wixson, dean of UNCG’s School of Education, and Sydnie Dale, a senior elementary education major, spoke to Carter Coyle of Fox 8 News about declining undergraduate enrollments in most of the UNC system’s education schools. And how UNCG is meeting the problem head-on.

“I have heard so many times: Why are you going into education?” Dale admitted. “I know there’s been a lot of talk about teacher pay declining, all this morale teacher stuff that’s been happening. But I think it’s a calling. It’s a passion.”

Wixson described a “perfect storm” impacting teacher education programs. First, the N.C. Teaching Fellows program, which offered scholarships to standout high school students wanting to become teachers, was phased out, she said. Publicity about a lack of teacher raises and pressure to meet Race to the Top mandates also contributed.

To help address the problem, Wixson told FOX 8, UNCG is launching its own  own version of the Teaching Fellows program.  “A year from this fall, we’ll admit the first groups of students and we will provide scholarship money for these students for all four years,” she said, adding that UNCG has resources to fund 11 students each year.

Speaking of declining education program enrollment numbers at UNCG and other universities, Wixson is hopeful about the future. “I think the jury’s still out on what the long term future is,” she said.