BYU McKay School of Education enrollment falls

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Graduation statistics posted by BYU Admissions in 2018 found that enrollment in the David O. McKay School School of Education is falling.

The graduation statistics from April 2018 completed by BYU’s Enrollment Services office found that 17.6% of bachelor’s degrees conferred were from the Marriott School of Business as opposed to 3.9% in the McKay School of Education.

This shows a percentage drop of 1.5% when contrasted to graduation statistics from April and December 2014 in which 5.4% of the degrees were from the McKay School of Education.

“The change doesn’t exactly shock me,” Kori Crampton, a BYU alumna and current English teacher at Timpanogos High School, said. “Times are changing. I think one of the reasons is there doesn’t seem to be as much prestige with teaching like there used to be.”

Crampton explained that some people would love to be teachers, but the support just isn’t there.

“I really feel like Alpine School District has done well with recognizing teacher pay and incentives. Our district is doing their very best to recognize the efforts of teachers, but I do think there needs to be more support for those in the profession,” Crampton said. “Funding for individuals to coach and mentor would be beneficial. There are individuals who feel pressured and leave the job. Mentors and coaches would aid teachers who haven’t been in the profession long so they won’t feel so overwhelmed with everything.”

Additionally, in the past 10 years, there was a change to Utah teaching certification laws for the requirements to become a public school teacher.

“Now someone doesn’t need an education degree to teach in Utah,” Jacob Taylor, a psychology teacher at Farmington High School, said. “Instead of having to go through education courses, you can just take the Praxis with any type of bachelor’s degree and get the same job.”

Alternate Route to Licensure is an organization that enables future public teachers to become licensed while working full-time jobs instead of putting time into a teaching degree. “It isn’t to say these people without education degrees are bad teachers,” Taylor said. “It’s just more that why would you go through the education path to become a teacher if you can just do an internship?”

Taylor said he felt this devalued education degrees and that the provided benefits are not sufficient to support education enrollment.

“It’s basic economics,” Taylor said. “There’s not enough attraction to the field for enrollment to go up. You can make just as much as a paralegal working less time. Education itself is changing a ton, and a lot of people don’t want to have to deal with parents and technology. They’d rather just be the sage on the stage, which is what teachers call lecturers.”

BYU officials have noticed the dip in registration for the McKay School of Education and have taken several actions to improve numbers. The Dean’s Office put resources into hiring recruitment and marketing specialists for the program. Retention efforts of pre-majors has been vital, and student ambassadors spread positive messages about the rewarding careers as a teacher, according to Sarah Rollo, a recruitment specialist for the McKay School of Education.

“Yes, there are some negative aspects of becoming a teacher,” Rollo said. “But there are many, many benefits.”

Rollo explained enrollment in teacher education tends to drop as the economy gets stronger and the decline at BYU isn’t as severe as numbers may indicate.

“Regarding numbers of students admitted into teaching programs in the McKay School, we saw only very small declines the fall 2019 semester when compared to fall 2018 numbers. Our retention numbers regarding full majors improved considerably in 2018, meaning we are not losing as many full majors who made it through the application process.”

With continued retention and marketing efforts, BYU officials are hopeful that the registration dip will remain temporary and enrollment in the McKay School of Education will increase.

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