The WUNC headline is “Enrollment At NC Teaching Programs Inches Back Up,” so one may have the impression that gains in UNC education school enrollment were trivial. That is not the case.
A five year decline in North Carolina students enrolling in teaching programs appears to be turning around. The University of North Carolina system saw a 16 percent uptick in education degree-seekers last year. One college of education is seeing gains in enrollment as students return this fall.
Mary Ann Danowitz is Dean of the College of Education at North Carolina State University. Her school’s enrollment grew for both undergraduate and master’s programs this year.
“After a trend in which we’ve been part of around the country of declining enrollments in teacher education, our enrollments are really up this year,” Danowitz said, “which across the board, whether you’re looking at undergraduates or teachers who are furthering their education, it looks very good for the profession.”
Again, that “inching” is actually a 16 percent increase in enrollment.
Who gets the credit? Well, we have little idea why there has been an enrollment increase this year. For all we know, the election of Donald Trump could be the reason. It’s likely part of a national trend, just as the enrollment decreases were. That is why I am not convinced that state policy or politics are responsible for the changes in either direction.