Another Step in the Right Direction
The House approved a teacher bill today, which would allow for alternative teacher certification for working professionals.
Although this isn’t the ultimate solution to the state’s education problems, it makes sense to reduce certification barriers for qualified professionals seeking to become teachers. For example, an engineer with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and 20 years of industry experience should be more than qualified to teach 8th-grade algebra. Traditionally, however, the training and education requirements needed to earn a teacher certification have prevented many potential teachers from transitioning into such a career.
Today’s bill changes that, allowing career switchers with 60 hours of student teaching experience to earn certification without the traditional 21 hours of education college coursework.
Of course there’s opposition to the bill (from the Columbia-Tribune‘s coverage):
Rusty Rosenkoetter, coordinator of education certification for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, argues that "The idea is to allow people with content knowledge to have an easier, quicker route into teaching. But it hasn’t increased teaching pools in other states very much. It’s not like Missouri doesn’t already have alternative routes."
But this criticism misses the point. If the bill offers the potential to increase the number of qualified mathematics and science teachers that are currently in short supply, then it’s a positive improvement. And if the bill has no effect, then we’re no worse off than before.
It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s a positive step forward.