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Governor Signs Alternative Teacher Certification

Governor Matt Blunt was in Springfield today to sign legislation that provides an alternative certification plan for engineers and scientists who want to teach in public schools. But critics say the program doesn't provide enough training. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The legislation the governor signed into law creates an alternate route for professionals like engineers to become classroom teachers in public middle and high schools. Governor Matt Blunt says the new certification process ensures these new teachers are prepared to enter the classroom.

Critics say the alternate certification process does not ensure these teachers have classroom management skills or an understanding of child development. Democratic Representative Sara Lampe of Springfield is a former principal. She says the measure undermines the profession of teaching.

Though the governor is signing the alternative certification process into law, the state school board has already approved it. Blunt says even with the actions of the school board, it's necessary to put the program into law.

A member of the state board of education was at the bill signing: Branson businessman Peter Herschend. He says board members waited to approve the alternate certification process until it came to them in a form they felt comfortable supporting. Herschend says having the process in law, rather than simply as a rule issued by the school board makes it difficult to make changes should any problems arise.

Herschend says he does not see any mistakes in the bill the governor has signed into law. Though the law doesn't take effect until August 28th, the alternative certification is already in place because the state school board has already approved it.