SBEC proposes higher GPA requirement for educator preparation candidates

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met today in Austin and proposed several changes to their administrative rules, which govern the education profession. The board is proposing rewrites to 19 TAC Chapters 227, 228 and 229 relating to educator preparation; some of the rewrites were prompted by the passage of House Bill (HB) 2012 last year.

Ch. 227, which outlines the minimum criteria for admission to an educator preparation program, garnered the most discussion. Board members expressed concern over the minimum GPA requirements and the number of college credit hours required in the content area in which certification is sought. ATPE testified before the board, urging them to consider raising the minimum GPA from 2.5 to 2.75. Although the board has required a 2.5 minimum GPA, with certain exceptions, for several years now, there was no statutory requirement for a minimum GPA until last year.

HB 2012 now requires SBEC to set a minimum GPA for educator certification candidates, which can be as high as 2.75, depending on the board’s discretion. Staff members from the Texas Education Agency recommended, based on stakeholder discussions with educator preparation program directors and principals, that SBEC keep its minimum GPA rule at 2.5. After hearing our testimony  and discussing the issue at length today, the board voted to change the 2.5 GPA requirement to a minimum 2.75. Several board members, including Brad Allard, Kathryn Everest, Christie Pogue and Suzanne McCall, spoke eloquently about the need to take pride in and maintain high standards for the profession.

Under the new proposal, which will come up for a final vote by the board in August after a public comment period, exceptions in the rule will still allow teachers who cannot meet the 2.75 overall GPA to demonstrate a 2.75 GPA in their last 60 semester credit hours and also allow educator preparation programs to continue to waive the GPA requirement for up to ten percent of each cohort.

The proposed increase in the GPA requirement is a victory for ATPE and other groups that have long advocated for higher standards and more selective recruitment of teachers in Texas. Research shows that the U.S. lags in student achievement measures behind other countries that allow only top students to pursue teacher certification. Raising the standards for admission also elevates the prestige of the profession, which may also help to secure better compensation for teachers in the future.

In other business, the board approved relatively minor changes to disciplinary decision-making guidelines, current accountability ratings for educator preparation programs and standards for newly created certificates for grades 6–12 in areas of Business and Finance, Health Science, Marketing, and Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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11 thoughts on “SBEC proposes higher GPA requirement for educator preparation candidates

  1. Carlos Rabino

    I don’t have an issue with requiring higher GPA for incoming educators. But, let’s get real: higher GPA does not keep highly qualify educators in the field. HIGHER SALARIES WILL!

    1. Jennifer Canaday - ATPE Governmental Relations

      Carlos, I absolutely agree. Raising the standards for admission is a recruitment issue, but we have a retention issue, too. One thing that would really help is for educators to VOTE and put more pro-public education candidates into office who are willing to prioritize funding for teacher salaries and schools’ needs rather than always focusing on property tax relief that takes money away from our schools in the end.

  2. J B Jones

    Unfortunately when you raise the GPA requirement you stymie some excellent potential educators who understand the power of bad grades better than those who have high GPAs. If you understand the power of an “F” then for a student to earn an F there is a better willingness to find ways to overcome the earned F.
    I am one of those educators from long ago. I hate my Fs but I earned them. i understand how to fight to overcome the F and how to search out methods to help students overcome their bad grades. I have two masters degrees and more graduate credit hours than I want to count concentrating in ethics and access to higher education.
    Under current rules I would not be a math teacher and rumor is that I am good at helping students be successful and carrying out that to the next level subject. And it also makes my ability to guide students in overcoming bad grades as a high school counselor now. Parents tell me I am good here also. But higher grade requirements would have prevented me from becoming a teacher and now a counselor.

    1. Jennifer Canaday - ATPE Governmental Relations

      JB – excellent point, and you would still be able to become a teacher under these rules. There are always exceptions to general rules, and it’s true there are some potentially great teachers out there who may not have done well in college initially. That’s why we supported and recommended maintaining the exceptions that were already built into the SBEC GPA rule, including one that allows an educator preparation program to waive the GPA requirement altogether for a limited number of outstanding candidates.

    2. Lisa w

      This requirement is a needle in a hay stack…… Meaningless until society in general places more value on the profession not much will change ……as long as tax dollars pay for education, it’s not going to happen…..Just like other comments, $$ and salaries will drive the educator standards , period. On a side note alt cert programs should be re-evaluated, the quality of alt cert teachers is questionable in my 22yrs experience.

  3. Tony Portilla

    More hurdles will create a need for higher salaries, an hour lunch, less time in front of the class, more time to prepare lessons and so forth. You raise the bar without raising the prestige and compensation, you run the risk of having a huge teacher shortage. In Finland-the teaching profession enjoys the same prestige as entering the medical field as a doctor. Until we do away with the 19th century assembly line mentality in the classroom and become willing to accept that we cannot all be engineers and physicists, we will continue to self-destruct.

  4. Kim Odom

    I applaud the GPA raise. Unfortunately, if the Board wants to maintain pride and high quality for the profession, why don’t they talk to the Legislature about our salaries!

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