School & District Management

Iowa Governor Seeks to Raise Teachers’ College Bar

By Sean Cavanagh — December 13, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.”

A version of this article appeared in the December 15, 2011 edition of Education Week as Higher Bar Sought for Iowa Aspirants to Teacher Colleges


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent
New federal research indicates the harm from fires and storms to school facilities, learning, and mental health is disproportionate.
4 min read
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP
School & District Management Opinion What It Takes for Universities to Conduct Useful Education Research
Many institutions lack the resources to make research-school partnerships successful, warns Thomas S. Dee.
Thomas S. Dee
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers collaborating.
School & District Management Opinion Trust Keeps Our School-Research Relationship Alive in the Pandemic
An educator and a researcher describe how their team was able to nudge forward a plan for equity even as COVID changed almost everything.
Katherine Mortimer & Scott Gray
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers analyzing data.