Education majors adjust to new policy

By Shannon King
February 21, 2002

Last semester, senior education majors were in an uproar over the new policy that concluded that student teaching was not an option until all of the National Teachers Examinations were passed. These students who did not pass the required tests would be forced to become educational studies majors. The students fought the administration, but because of new regulations and a poor placement on the National Report Card issued by the federal government, Cabrini did not have much of a choice.

The pandemonium, the arguments and the tears have, for the most part, subsided this semester. “Everyone is placed in a student teaching position or in an internship in a school in such cases where student teaching was not permitted. Everyone seems to be understanding the timeline and how complex the situation is,” Dr. Dawn Middleton, chair of the education department, said.

Senior, secondary education major, Anthony Contipodero said, “For those students who had problems getting their GPA up, they have all increased. It’s still the tests that are giving people a hard time.” The problems of last semester have quieted down, but new problems were looming on the horizon for some students.

Gabrielle Beltran, senior secondary education major, said, “I did finally get placed at St. Andrew’s in Drexel Hill, Pa., which is a kindergarten through eighth grade school. It took me three trips to the academic dean to establish this placement for the ‘internship program.’ We started a week and half behind all of the other student teachers, so now we have to teach a week later than they do.” She also noted that although she is a secondary education major, this is her fifth position in a middle school, not a high school.

Beltran is not the only student having problems. Senior Kara Hawksley, early childhood and elementary education major, did her field experience at Arrowhead Elementary and was expected to be back this semester. She received the approval form for student teaching and at the last minute was told that she could not student teach there. She was placed in St. Theresa’s school and Cabrini never notified Arrowhead that she would not be back. “My teacher called me at home and asked why I never showed up for school that day. Cabrini didn’t notify them that I wasn’t coming until two days after I was supposed to start,” Hawksley said.

Beltran envisions other problems to come within the next month. “The school is not going to start looking for another placement for those students who did not pass the tests until the next test results are in, which are scheduled to be mailed on Feb. 26. We are only at our first placements until March 20.” Beltran also said, “According to Middleton, it takes the education division up to three months to place an education major at a school for field experience or student teaching. So why are they only allotting two weeks for this second placement to be arranged?”

Many students, including Beltran and Contipodero, will have to return to Cabrini, post-baccalaureate, for six more student teaching credits at $350 per credit. Many of the students believe that they were just not notified soon enough of the changes that were being made to the program to complete it successfully unhindered.

“Our class got screwed in the long run,” Hawksley said. “We should have been grand-fathered in or notified about what was going to happen.” Most students understand what happened and even though nothing they can do will help their situation now, they are taking everything that happens now with a grain of salt.

Contipodero said, “It’s kind of calmed down this semester. Next year should be ok. This was just a transition year so as long as juniors know what is going on, they should be fine.”

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Shannon King

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