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Texas Educators Going Back to School

Lamar University in eastern Texas has opened up an online degree program that is targeted at people who are working in the public education system and want to upgrade their credentials. Brian Bowman, spokesman for the Longview School district, is working on a master's in education administration and certification status for the position of principal at the same time. He is one of several of the school district's employees who have enrolled in the program.

Lamar has developed an eighteen month curriculum for master's degrees in instructional technology and teacher leadership as well as the education administration program. The cost for the entire program is $4,950. The professionals who are taking advantage of it see that as a bargain. One teacher who is working on an administration certification said that "I went to the University of Texas at Tyler and graduated summa cum laude so there's scholarships available to me, but it would still cost me three times as much as Lamar University��I decided that the cost was too phenomenal not to take this up."

A neighboring school, Le Tourneau University, has launched a similar plan. Their online opportunities include masters' programs in curriculum instruction and education administration. The cost at Le Tourneau however is over $17,000 for the degree, way beyond the price charged at Lamar, which is a state school.

Le Tourneau's dean of the Department of Education said that he doesn't see lack of employment opportunities ahead in the field of education leadership. "We have not reached that point, and from our projects we haven't seen the inevitability that that will happen yet," he said. "What you have is individuals going into retirement, and as they do so, others will move up either within the school or from one school to another. A master's degree allows all teachers more flexibility to advance in their profession whether they do so immediately or not."

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