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New Jersey Teachers Union Doesn’t Rule Out Backing Higher GPA Standards For Educators

State Floats Idea Of 3.0 Mandate
A teacher asks her students a question. (credit: Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)

A teacher asks her students a question. (credit: Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s largest teachers union says it wants to dissect a plan that would require incoming public school educators to have had a 3.0 grade point average in college, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

The state Education Department sent a memo this week to school districts asking for comment on the idea, which would go into effect in 2015. The state says it is accepting input until Nov. 15.

The plan, aimed at strengthening the state’s pool of teacher candidates, is to require a B average to qualify for a teaching certificate, with some allowances for those with slightly lower grades.

Currently, the state requires at least a 2.5 average, or between a B-minus and C-plus.

Steve Baker, a spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association, said the union has backed higher standards for teachers in the past and may eventually support Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf’s plan. But it’s important to make sure the state won’t exclude potentially good teachers, he said.

“At some point, you could set the bar so high that you’re going to exclude people who would be really great in the classroom,” Baker said.

An interesting litmus test, Baker said, would be to check the GPAs of all teacher-of-the-year award winners statewide over the last few years and see if any had a 3.0 GPA.

“If not, then you have to start asking the question: Would it have been good for public education to have excluded one of those people from the opportunity to become a teacher?” Baker said.

A handful of states and many college teaching programs already require a 3.0.

New Jersey is also looking into a final college exam for teachers.

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