HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The CEO of H-E-B Grocery Stores wants to help pay for your training to become a public school teacher in Texas.
500 scholarship will become available this Fall for the 2018-2019 school year as part of Charles Butt's $50 million Raising Texas Teachers initiative.
“Research consistently shows that the strength of the teacher makes the biggest difference in influencing a student’s success,” says Charles Butt in a press release announcing the program.
“To improve academic achievement, it is critical that Texas elevate the status of the teaching profession, strengthen the existing pool of aspiring teachers, and inspire our most talented high school graduates to consider a career in teaching," Butt adds.
Rice University and University of Houston are two of the ten partnered institutes where scholarships will be available. The others are Texas institutes of higher education: University of Texas Austin (Austin), Trinity University (San Antonio), Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio), Southern Methodist University (Dallas), University of North Texas at Dallas (Dallas), Texas A&M University - Special Education Program (College Station), Texas Tech University (Lubbock), and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - Student Teacher Educator Preparation: University Partnership (Edinburg).
The scholarship consists of $8,000 in annual funding for up to four years through the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers scholarship. Eligibility rules state a students must be enrolled in an teaching program at one of the above listed institutes, be a Texas resident, maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average, and commit to teaching in a Texas public school after graduation. (click to more details on eligibility)
Applications for the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers scholarship will open in Fall of 2017, and will be available at www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/programs/raising-texas-teachers
"The fear that some people have is that they're not properly prepared and I think something like this gives them the opportunity to get them properly prepared," says retired teacher Katie Reed.
Like many educators, Reed says she was an expert on her subject matter but had to learn the art of teaching on the job when she was placed in the classroom. "When I got to the school in Pasadena I was just like a fish out of water," recalled Reed. She says she had only a certification, and no formal training in how to educate. She hopes the Raising Texas Teachers initiative will create more confident teachers.
"You shouldn't have to go into debt to become a public school teacher," says Bob McPherson, Dean of the College of Education at University of Houston. He notes the average starting salary of a public school teacher in the Houston area is around $50,000. McPherson says many young educators take on major debt becoming qualified for the job and then struggle financially to get a return on their investment. He looks forward to seeing the Raising Texas Teachers initiative ease the burden of becoming a strong educator.
"Some of the money is going to be spent on interaction among those different schools for the students," says Judy Radigan, Director of the Education Department at Rice University. She hopes the scholarships and resources will lead more students from the university's various undergraduate programs to pursue a graduate degree in education.
Raising Texas Teachers is part of the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation. For more information, visit www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/programs