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NJ Mulls Minimum GPA for Teachers [POLL/AUDIO]

The New Jersey Dept. of Education (DOE) is exploring the idea of allowing only those who graduate with a 3.0 grade point average or better to teach in this state.

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That would mean smarter teachers educating our kids, right? Not necessarily says the chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

“When you start to limit and/or base someone’s skills just on a grade point average, then I think that we’re going to cut a lot of potentially very good teachers out of the possibility of jobs and being in the classroom,” explains Assemblywoman Celeste Riley. “I hear what the Dept. of Education is saying and I understand it, but then you might be limiting some very amazing (teaching) candidates.”

This week, the DOE sent a memo to school districts asking for feedback on the idea. If enacted, it would go into effect in 2015. The state is taking comments until Nov. 15. Under the plan, some allowances would be made for those with slightly lower grades. Right now, New Jersey requires a minimum 2.5 average, or between a B minus and C plus.

“You need some discretionary room sometimes,” says Riley. “Now, that doesn’t mean that in the interview process that the boards (of education) shouldn’t be looking at what is the grade point average? What did you do? How did you perform in school?”

Several states and college teaching programs already require a 3.0. The Garden State could be added to that list and New Jersey is also looking into a final college exam for teachers. Riley says there are mitigating factors when it comes to the grade point average requirement.

“What if you performed at a 3.5 grade point average in your major and you took a couple of electives that brought your grade point average down?” asks Riley.


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