State Proposes New GPA Requirement for Future Teachers

New Jersey Department of Education is considering a proposal to raise the grade point average requirements in order to be admitted into teacher preparation programs to acquire a provisional teaching license in New Jersey

Education Commissioner Chris Cerf is pushing this proposal, which would take effect as early as September 2015. The new proposal will require a 3.0 grade-point average to be admitted into a traditional teacher preparation program in New Jersey and to get a provisional license after completing training.

According to Ramapo’s website, Ramapo students in the teacher education program must maintain a 2.75 grade point average.

The change is an increase from the 2.5 grade point average required to be admitted into a teaching program and 2.75 grade point average required to get a provisional license. The proposal would increase the minimum to a 3.0 in each phase, but allow for review of students that show exceptional mastery in their content area.

This proposal is a part of New Jersey Department of Education’s plan is to increase standards across the board. The Department wants the program to be more challenging, and more closely linked to the kind of content that teachers will be teaching at schools across the state.

Along with wanting to ensure that the curriculum is more challenging, the Department is acting out of concern that other states have tougher requirements for admittance, and that by keeping the requirement of a 2.5 grade-point average, New Jersey could attract teachers that fall short of the requirement in other states.

“There may be a slight dip initially but as people are more prepared to meet the requirement, I believe there will be an increase in students admitted to the program,” Joanne Caselli, Certification Officer, said about the initial implementation of the proposal.

Cerf’s proposal goes one step further than many students expected though, by requiring that high school candidates applying to be in a teacher preparation programs have a 3.0 grade-point average as well.  

Steve Baker, a spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association, has spoken out saying that upping the requirements is not just about raising standards for becoming a teacher, but making the job more attractive, citing the Christie administration’s scuffles with the teaching union as reflecting badly for those who teach in public schools.

“Some potential students are nervous, but that’s always the case with a change,” Caselli said about the reaction amongst students that have been in contact with the teacher education and certification program at Ramapo.

Sophomore Kevin Ng, a math major applying for admittance to the teacher education program, thinks the proposal is a great idea.  He believes that while more than just grades and test scores should constitute expertise in a content area, that putting a higher value on teachers will help him and all of the other hopeful teachers at Ramapo in the future.

“Society doesn’t value educators as much as they could. Raising grade point average requirements puts a premium on high-quality teachers. This may be a small change but it’s going to make a positive impact,” Ng said.  

Sophomore Victoria Antropow, a biology major applying for admittance to the teaching program, also agrees with the points that the proposal outlines for grade point average requirements, stating that raising the standards will bring out the best teachers in New Jersey.

“Better teachers mean better students, and that’s what the education system is about. Students in teaching programs should strive to do their best, that should be the goal,” Antropow explains about her view on the change.

The teaching education and certification program at Ramapo is hopeful that students will embrace the new changes when they take effect and reap the benefits from having a higher grade-point average.

“This is a positive move in the right direction – we want teachers to be experts on what they’re teaching,” Caselli says about the office’s reaction to the proposal.

Students that have questions about the teaching program and the new proposal should contact Assistant Dean of Teacher Education, Dr. Rexton Lynn at