TEA considers cutting funding for high school cosmetology course - FOX34 Lubbock

TEA considers cutting funding for high school cosmetology courses

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Last month, the Texas Education Agency presented a plan to cut high school career and technical education programs that do not prepare students to earn a targeted salary of about $35,000. Cosmetology was among that list. 

Since the announcement, both industry professionals and instructors have spoke out, justifying the program and profession. While it is unlikely TEA will eliminate the program, there is still a chance it will cut funding and could affect Lubbock ISD's program. 

Former Lubbock ISD student Jessica Martinez knew what she wanted to do for a career and did not need a college degree to do it. Her junior year, she enrolled in Monterey High's cosmetology program. Martinez joined a group of 20 students, working to accumulate 1,000 hours in order to become certified. 

Just last May, she walked the stage with both her diploma and certificate, launching her into a career right away. 

"It's been the best thing I could of done in high school," Martinez said.

For Martinez, by going through this program, she was also helping her family. 

"For the majority of high school and when I first got into the program, my little sister had cancer," Martinez said. "She had been diagnosed since my freshmen year." 

With the medical costs adding up, Martinez did not want her parents to worry about paying for her certification.

"I thought personally It'd help to have a job, and it helped a lot with this program because I was able to pay for it on my own," Martinez said. "I was able to help with getting the supplies I actually need for the class."

That is because this program costs less than 10 percent of a private beauty school.

"The Texas-wide average of a cosmetology program at a post-secondary level is about $14,000," Monterey Instructor Laura Stephens said. "Where as at the high school level, they're paying $1,100." 

Stephens worked in the industry for 10 years before she began teaching. She said TEA's claims that professionals are not making at least $35,000 is not true. 

"It can range from the very minimum that they say we don't meet, all the way up to thousands of thousands of thousands of income," Stephens said.

The Perkins Act is where these CTE programs get funding for supplies, repairs, and to just keep the operation going. TEA has the authority to decide whether cosmetology qualifies for funding. Stephens said if they were to cut funding, it will put the future of the program at risk. 

"They walk the stage mostly with a cosmetology license in their pocket," Stephens said. "So I mean why would you want to get rid of this when we're helping that many grow?" 

A final decision on CTE program changes will not be until early 2019. Until then, Stephens said she will continue preparing these students for a career she believes provides entrepreneurial opportunities. 

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