Policy Brief

Iowa Governor Seeks to Raise Teachers' College Bar

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Securing a place in the teaching profession will become a bit tougher in Iowa, if Gov. Terry Branstad and the state schools chief, Jason Glass, have their way.

Gov. Branstad, a Republican, wants to require a minimum 3.0 grade point average for admission to teacher education programs in the state, as part of a package of proposed changes to school policy unveiled earlier this year. Many of the changes would require legislative approval.

Other pieces of his plan would require aspiring teachers to take more subject-specific coursework and classes in core academic subjects and give them more classroom exposure and more mentoring.

The governor has also advocated overhauling the compensation system for educators—though he recently said he wants to hold off on trying to get that proposal through the legislature, in order to build support for it.

Critics of Gov. Branstad's plan—including some college officials, The Des Moines Register noted in a recent article—say it could exclude teacher-candidates who may have struggled as undergraduates but could still be effective teachers; others wonder if it would exclude a higher number of minority candidates.

Mr. Glass said in an interview that state officials are still examining whether to allow some flexibility on the 3.0 GPA requirement, such as allowing an aspiring teacher who does not meet the standard to gain entry through high scores on the Praxis, a teacher-licensing exam, or through other means.

The new standard would apply to both public and private institutions in Iowa, he added, because the state accredits all of those teacher programs and would not do so if they didn't adhere to the standard.

"The principle here is that we want to raise the bar," Mr. Glass said of the GPA requirement.

Mr. Glass said he understood critics' concerns that the GPA requirement could create challenges for filling workforce needs and luring minority candidates into the profession, but he said the state is counting on teacher colleges to develop more aggressive recruitment strategies.

He said a recent report by the Register finding one-fifth of aspiring teachers not meeting the 3.0 threshold "shows that we can be more selective and should be more selective in developing teachers and a more well-prepared workforce."

Vol. 31, Issue 14, Page 19

Published in Print: December 14, 2011, as Higher Bar Sought for Iowa Aspirants to Teacher Colleges
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories