Trustees Pass Tougher Teacher Standards

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.


Schools within the SUNY system will implement changes in terms of admission requirements and clinical experiences for educator preparation programs in 2015, according to a Sept.18 memorandum from the SUNY Board of Trustees.

The resolution, known as “the final resolution,” proposed that SUNY adopt a “standard admissions requirement of a 3.0 GPA for entry into an educator preparation program at the undergraduate or graduate level” or that the candidate rank in the top 30th percentile in their high school class.

“SUNY is adopting a system-wide requirement designed to ensure we’re getting the best and brightest in teaching,” Dean of The School of Education Michael Rosenberg said. “The standards are designed to ensure that high quality teachers are entering the classroom.”

According to the memorandum there are 17 four-year campuses offering teacher preparation, with 12 offering educational leadership programs within the SUNY system, preparing “approximately 25 percent of New York States teachers.”

The memorandum also calls for SUNY to adopt “high quality entry assessments” including GRE for graduate and the SAT/ACT for undergraduate programs “to ensure that candidates are academically competitive with all of their peers, regardless of their intended profession.”

Though the current requirements for education students at SUNY New Paltz varies based on department, Rosenberg said the new SUNY-wide standard will begin to affect those entering programs in the 2015-16 year. The current minimum GPA requirements within the School of Education, however, are determined by department, Rosenberg said, which will remain the standard for those already accepted into their departments.

“We already have high standards,” Rosenberg said. “This is just putting them on the entry level.”

“First and second-year students should continue to do well in their coursework to get into and do well in their programs of choice,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said the school could see a slight drop in enrollment after the initial implementation of the policy, however,  the School of Education is looking closely at data from the new standards and to analyze the percentage of New Paltz student applicants that already meet the standards and assess the impact of the changes.

Though, Rosenberg said, the GPA is not everything.

“I want to stress that this is only one component [of the admission process], but we also have to be careful that it doesn’t exclude those who have lower GPAs due to certain life circumstances,” Rosenberg said. “While there is this number and it is believed to be important, it’s also important to ask “will one be a better teacher because of it?”