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Sun Feb 25, 2024, 12:04 AM Feb 25

'I'm not going to teach in Iowa': UNI students explain why they're not sticking around [View all]

She grew up in Ames and went to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls to become a teacher. But Lydia plans to leave Iowa as soon as she graduates.

“Here at UNI, there’s so much emphasis in our classes on social-emotional learning and inclusion and talking about issues of diversity,” she said. “And then, at the legislative level … there are so many restrictions on prohibiting the types of things we’re encouraged to do here as educators.”


“When looking for jobs and looking for opportunities, it’s better to look outside of the state; that’s what [that legislation] signals in my opinion,” she said.

These thoughts were shared during a Friday morning listening post held at UNI by State Sen. Eric Giddens, a Democrat whose district includes the college. The theme of the event was, “Why are young people fleeing the state?”


Other students mentioned a lack of amenities, the state’s abysmal mental health care system, and abortion rights getting chipped away.


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