Price Lab students & faculty march to save their school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Price Lab students & faculty march to save their school

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Hundreds of students, teachers, and community members are showing their support for a troubled Cedar Falls school.

On Wednesday, University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen announced his recommendation to close Malcolm Price Laboratory School this summer.  The decision is part of a measure to save millions of dollars annually at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI).

MPLS has long been a staple of the UNI College of Education (COE) program.  College students who are training to become teachers work closely with faculty and students at MPLS for real-world classroom experience.  The K-12 school is well-known for having high academic standards, which is why many parents choose to enroll their children at MPLS. 

COE students say, without Price Lab there is nothing to set UNI apart from other Iowa universities.  They, along with MPLS students, faculty, parents, and community members are hoping to save the school by showing Allen how many people support MPLS. 

The turnout for the "March for Education" from Malcolm Price Laboratory to the College of Education suggests the school has wide support. Their goal was to be visible and convince President Ben Allen that keeping the school open is in the best interest of the entire university.

"My mom was crying, I was crying. I was really sad," said fifth grade student Christian Mauer.

"I was so sad, I just love this school," agreed third grader Isabella Robinson.

It's no secret that the building is in bad repair, and it's not the first time Price Lab's future has been in jeopardy. But parents and faculty members say, this time is different.

"In the past we've been given some notice, we've had conversations. There's been open communication. We've had a chance to save our school," said Suzanne Freedman, a faculty member of the UNI College of Education and parent of two children at MPLS.

With word that the Board of Regents is making a decision about MPLS on Monday, families believe they have just a few days to fight for their school. And the kids are doing everything in their power to help.

"My friends and I are finding ways to raise money. We know this is a really good school and we don't want to see it closed down," said second grade student Anisia Smith.

Others have started an online petition -- which now has four thousand signatures and counting.

"Please sign it. We need all the help we can get," asked Alex Glascock, a fifth grader at MPLS.

With hundreds marching, and thousands pledging their support, it's clear the Price Lab kids, and the community, will do whatever it takes to make sure they're still here next year.

"We can make a difference... together," Robinson added.

The Dean of the College of Education said, the proposed changes could improve the training students receive at UNI, making for a more authentic classroom experience.

"The superintendents of Waterloo and Cedar Falls schools are willing and ready to accommodate even more of our students to provide these mentoring and hands-on learning experiences that will prepare our future teachers. I'm excited about this opportunity as we move forward in making a demonstrative impact on pre-k through 12 student learning," said Dr. Dwight Watson.

On Sunday, Senator Jeff Danielson is meeting with community members about the situation at MPLS.  The Board of Regents will meet by phone Monday for a special session regarding Allen's recommendations for MPLS.

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