Citing low enrollment, UMKC recently confirmed the School of Education will be inactivating undergraduate programs in middle school and secondary education. This announcement comes amid extensive program and staffing cuts throughout the UM System.
This process will occur over the next four years, allowing students currently enrolled in the programs to complete their degree plans. Early childhood and elementary education majors will still be offered, as well as graduate programs for middle school and secondary school certification.
This decision did not come as a surprise to Autumn Steele, a senior majoring in art education. Steele has encountered a variety of difficulties at the School of Education, including inconvenient class times, advisor turnover and a recent restructuring of the program that altered course requirements. Steele said she spent thousands of dollars on classes that would ultimately not count towards her degree.
“A lot of people dropped out,” Steele said. “There’s only me and one other girl that are seniors in the art education program.”
Amanda McNeal had a similarly frustrating experience at the School of Education. McNeal graduated last May, receiving a degree in secondary education. She said although all her professors were “top-notch,” going through the program was “rough.” McNeal said students were held to unnecessarily high standards, arguably to make graduates more competitive in the marketplace.
“To be honest, I interviewed for, like, eight million teacher jobs, and my degree from UMKC didn’t matter at all,” McNeal said. “I don’t think it made me competitive in the least.”
Regardless of her personal experiences, McNeal disagrees with UMKC’s decision.
“If you’re taking out [grades] 6-12, when they’re really developing, it’s like saying that that part of education doesn’t even matter,” McNeal said. “I think UMKC’s making a big mistake by not supporting those in middle school and secondary education in that way.”