|The Missouri National Educational Association unsuccessfully stopped a bill that provides experienced professionals an alternate route to second careers as secondary school teachers, and, according to Gov. Matt Blunt who signed the bill last month, also seeks to address teacher shortages that exist in some areas of Missouri, especially in math and science. While the organization criticized the creation of another alternative certification program that they claimed "lacks adequate requirements to ensure that those teachers are properly trained in essential teaching competencies [taking those courses that keep teacher ed departments running], Blunt commended the bill for providing "the opportunity for new teachers with real-world experience and training to help foster a lifelong desire for learning in Missouri's classrooms."
"In the 21st Century, with an increasingly global and technology-driven economy, we must provide Missouri students with the training and job skills they need to compete with students from around the world," Blunt said.
Senate Bill 1066, sponsored by majority caucus chair Sen. Luann Ridgeway (R-17), goes into effect August 28, 2008 and has a termination date after six years. Until then Missourians will be able to obtain an alternative teacher certificate through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence by successfully completing the following requirements:
- Sixty classroom hours including 45 teaching or sixty hours as substitute, including 30 teaching or 60 hours teaching at a private school
- 30 hours of professional development
- 2 years of mentoring program
- Completion of performance based teaching evaluation
- Participation in beginning teacher assistance program
Alternative certification for educators will not be granted in the areas of early childhood education, elementary education, or special education. The alternative teaching certification aligns with one of the five recommendations that the METS Alliance formulated after Blunt's 2006 Summit that recommends expanding Missouri's METS educators.