Why attracting teachers with higher GPAs shouldn’t be N.J.’s top priority

Laura Waters:

The New Jersey Department of Education has proposed raising the required college GPA for new teachers to 3.0, or a “B” average. The higher cut-off — NJ currently requires a 2.5 -will “ensure [that] all novice teachers meet a minimum bar for knowledge and pedagogical skills before entering the classroom,” explained the DOE in a memo circulated last week.
Simple, right? Raise the bar for selection of teachers and, thus, raise teacher quality.
It should be so easy. The DOE’s proposal is not simple but simplistic, a facile sound-bite, (remember, it’s election silly-season) that does nothing to elevate the teaching profession.
Of course we all want to recruit and retain great teachers. But can we glean the potential of prospective educators from their college transcripts? Is a 3.0 at an undistinguished school that liberally distributes “A’s” equivalent to a 3.0 at, say, Rutgers or College of New Jersey? Are GPAs lenses for discerning teacher potential? And, given all the slings and arrows thrust by the Christie Administration towards public school staff — stiffening of tenure laws, data-driven evaluations, Common Core implementation — is the timing right for a gratuitous barb?