SUNY schools to raise GPA minimum to 3.0 for education students

School of Education building at SUNY Oswego
School of Education building at SUNY Oswego

The SUNY System is planning on raising the minimum required GPA for education students to 3.0.  While some agree with the minimum GPA change, others do not.

SUNY hopes that raising the bar will make it easier to find candidates better prepared to be successful teachers.

In the 18th edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Report Card on American Education, New York State currently ranks 10th. Part of the overall rating is based on teacher quality, with factors such as “delivering well prepared teachers, expanding the teaching pool, identifying effective teachers, retaining effective teachers, and exiting ineffective teachers.” The entire report can be read below.

As of right now, any entering first-year students that declare a Teacher Preparation major are required to maintain a GPA of 2.5 to register for courses within the major.  This change would be put in place to improve education across New York State and to increase the standards of the SUNY System, both of which are goals of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Despite SUNY’s good intentions, opinions of the change on campus of both students and professors is less certain. Many professors were not consulted about the minimum GPA change.  They expressed concern that the program could be exclusionary to many students.

To put this into perspective, those who were under prepared in K-12 schools with minimal resources, or schools in areas with high concentrations of poverty, would be at a great disadvantage.

Currently, SUNY is the number one provider of teachers in New York State, pressing out 5,000 new teachers each year which totals out to a quarter of all the teachers in the state.

SUNY Oswego's Park Hall, which houses the university's School of Education.
SUNY Oswego’s Park Hall, which houses the university’s School of Education.

While those who are for the GPA minimum change say that the impact will make the SUNY education programs more prestigious and competitive, those who are against the change believe that the change will eliminate diversity and bar hundreds of students who have the potential to be great teachers.

Many believe that SUNY is not trying to raise the bar and that what they’re actually doing is creating a more narrow definition of the bar.

With registration for the upcoming Fall semester right around the corner, many fear that this plan to increase the minimum GPA for future teachers will discourage many from pursuing an Education degree.

The change is scheduled to come into affect during the Fall 2015 semester.