A program started more than 10 years ago finally has the money to start making its goals a reality. The Center for Urban Education was given a $93,000 grant by TCU’s Vision in Action initiative. The center will now be able to hire a new director and fund partnerships, new programs and internships that will allow the center to expand its services.
For the last 10 years, the CUE has recruited students and prepared them to become educational leaders, teachers and administrators that will work in urban schools. It has conducted research on the best practices to use in urban schools.
As part of the CUE education, students, who have a concentration in an academic field outside of education, work one-on-one with a professor in their respective concentrations. If a science education major were to join the program, he or she would be working with a science professor. The professor and student then decide what area school in which the student should be placed.
Cecilia Silva, an associate professor in the CUE, said the program is a collaborative effort among faculty in the School of Education who are interested in issues dealing with education in cities.
“I support new teachers in being prepared to work with linguistically and culturally diverse populations,” Silva said.
One goal of the CUE is to teach TCU students to feel comfortable teaching in a low-income setting.
TCU students who join the CUE begin spending time in districts beginning their sophomore year. In their junior year, they begin to take on more responsibility, and by the time they begin student teaching their senior year, they already have experience in an urban setting.
Mary Patton, an associate professor in the CUE, said she wants the new director to go out and seek foundation funding so the CUE can begin to realize its goals.
“I want somebody who can get funding for the CUE because we got initial funding from the VIA, but it is bare-bones,” Patton said.
Patton said the majority of TCU education majors come from suburban backgrounds and want to teach in a similar surrounding. She said her personal goal is to help TCU student teachers explore opportunities outside high-income school districts.
“I want to help students become successful in an urban setting because schools will often place first-year teachers in the most difficult and challenging situations,” Patton said.
Molly Weinburgh, associate director of the Institute of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, said her involvement with urban education began before she started working at TCU.
Weinburgh said she worked with a $5.7 million national science foundation grant while teaching in Atlanta to help bring equal science education to low-income schools.
When she started at TCU, Weinburgh said, she was instinctively drawn to the CUE.
“Between my own love with the idea of equity, and how to get science to all, that naturally puts me in urban schools because there is a high probability the students are not getting equal science education when compared to other schools,” Weinburgh said.
Fort Worth, White Settlement, Everman and Burleson are the four main independent school districts where the CUE places its student teachers, Weinburgh said.