By Elizabeth Kantlehner
The North Carolina government decided to stop allocating funds to the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, an academic organization that provides scholarships and funding to local students who plan on teaching after they graduate. Elon’s teaching fellows program has 25 students, with typically 20-22 state teaching fellows.
When sophomore Kyle Keith learned that the program was being cancelled, he decided to go with other teaching fellows to Raleigh to lobby to senators and congressman to save his program.
“Teaching Fellows from East Carolina, UNC Ashville, and Appalachian State all got together and went to Raleigh for a lobbyist day for Teaching Fellows,” Keith said. “However, it didn’t go the way that we planned.”
Keith explained that when he tried to approach representatives, they didn’t have time to talk to him, or they brushed him off. He said that part of the problem was his age, but also because the representatives didn’t seem to think his program was important.
“I was told by one student from my district that he was trying to peel back 100 years of bureaucracy right now, and that my little program didn’t matter much to him,” Keith said.
While Keith and other Teaching Fellows were in Raleigh trying to save their program, Elon University professors were working behind the scenes to help save the program. Dr. Glenda Crawford is the director of the Teaching Fellows program, and she spent the summer trying to get current and former fellows involved.
“We alerted all of our students and alumni of the teaching fellows to contact congressmen and representatives,” Crawford said. “We made a concerted effort across the state to save our program.”
Even though the State Teaching Fellows program was cancelled, Elon will continue to give out National Teaching Fellows awards.
“I think that now we are going to have a more diverse cohort,” Crawford said. “Now, instead of having one or two National Teaching Fellows in a class, we can have up to 50 precent.”
Even though the funding for the State Teaching Fellows Program has been cut, current students that are State Teaching Fellows are allowed to keep their scholarships until they graduate, and are now eligible to receive the Presidential Scholarship awards as well.