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      Elementary education program no more?

      Since 2001, Finlandia University has offered students interested in pursuing a career in teaching a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, but at the beginning of this year, that all changed. Pre-Elementary Education students wanting to apply for the program were told it would be discontinued. "Part of our decision on this is that we do have small classes. We have maybe four seniors, four juniors; they're very small numbers," said TyAnn Lindell, Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. In 2009 they received accreditation for Elementary Education on a probationary status, and the university had until 2014 to complete all of the accreditation requirements given by the state. Finlandia says there just aren't enough students enrolling in the program, and there were only four incoming pre-elementary students this year. "Our current juniors and seniors can continue to take classes and student teach and graduate and take the test as long as they meet the requirements," Lindell said. The university says to become fully accredited, the process is costly and they would have to put in a lot of resources. The program does have a 92 percent pass rate when it comes to the teacher certification test, but if students choose to take a special area test, like social studies, and don't pass, that affects the overall results which would reduce the pass rate. The state requires a pass rate of 80 percent, and with such low enrollment numbers, one failed test would hinder the accreditation process. Finlandia says they did this in the best interest of the students, and they are currently working on other ways to connect with the community through educational outreach.