Better Teachers Through Higher GPAs?

The governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, has several ideas to try and improve education in his state. One of these would require minimum grade point averages of students who want to enter into education programs at Iowa’s state universities.

According to an article by Jens Manuel Krogstad in the Des Moines Register:

College students who apply to the state’s 32 teacher preparation schools would need a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 — a B average — under the proposal that was unveiled in October as part of Gov. Terry Branstad’s education blueprint.

The change would give Iowa, which now has no minimum grade-point average requirement, one of the most selective teacher preparation programs in the United States. The logic behind the move, according to supporters: Tougher standards would yield better teachers for Iowa youngsters.

Some Iowa critics complain that there’s no evidence that a student’s early GPA predicts success as a teacher (the GPA requirement would apply to students who are already in college but want to enter education specializations in order to become teachers).

This is true–though mere reason would dictate than someone who can’t manage to obtain a 3.0 isn’t exactly the best candidate for any specific profession–but another problem might be one of human resources. Krogstad found that one in five prospective teachers wouldn’t have been admitted to education programs under Branstad’s proposed changes.

Making teaching a more selective program, without doing anything to make the professional more attractive, may simply reduce the amount of new teachers Iowa has available.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer