Missouri Gives Mid-Career Professionals Route Into Classrooms

Published May 1, 2008

Missouri has a new route to filling teaching posts that bypasses traditional teachers’ colleges and affords schools more freedom, under a new law signed April 30 by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt–the first bill he signed during the spring legislative session.

The Missouri legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Luanne Ridgeway (R-Smithville) and state Rep. Scott Muschaney (R-Frontenac), had been long championed by state Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield). Supporters overcame heavy opposition by the state affiliate of the National Education Association on its way to passage.

“We need to provide the opportunity for highly motivated people with education and experience in these areas to have the training to bring their expertise to the classroom,” Blunt said as he signed the bill into law. “Missouri’s current system of alternative certification of professionals who want to become teachers is too restrictive.”

Missouri’s triumph brings to eight the total number of states in which the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) is running its innovative four-year-old program called Passport to Teaching.

The program recruits and certifies talented professionals as K-12 teachers. So far, 1,000 people in Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah have completed ABCTE certification, and another 2,250 are currently enrolled.

Karla Dial ([email protected]) is managing editor of School Reform News. For details on the ABCTE program, check the June issue of School Reform News, arriving in your mail box in late May. Or contact Dan Miller, publisher, at [email protected].