By Ashley Hupfl
ALBANY Students looking to become teachers through State University of New York colleges and universities will face higher admission requirements under a resolution approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees last week.
By the 2015-16 school year, prospective teachers and principals must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and take a high-level exam, such as the GRE, to be accepted into a teaching program at a SUNY graduate school. For undergraduate programs, a student must have graduated within the 30th percentile of their class, according to the resolution.
The change was a recommendation from the New NY Education Reform Commission, which was created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year to recommend ways to improve the state's education system.
"The quality of New York's higher education system depends on having the best and brightest teachers in our classrooms teaching our students." Cuomo said in a statement. "These new admission requirements will help ensure that we are recruiting from exceptional candidates to education our state's students."
The SUNY system has over 17 teacher preparation programs and produces about 25 percent of the state's teachers, according to Cuomo's office. The state currently has no standard in class rank for entrance into teacher preparation programs.
Carl Korn, a spokesman for New York State United Teachers, said the union has long supported high standards for "entering and remaining in the teaching profession."
The union, however, wanted to see a broader public discourse when it came to the changes.
"To our knowledge there has been no public discussion of this raising of the bar," Korn said. "Changes are going to work best when the voice of the teachers and teacher programs are included in the discussion."
The tougher standards were backed by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who said they will "help improve educational outcomes in New York."