Missouri: State Eases Teacher Requirements To Combat Shortages

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Missouri’s state board of education is making it simpler for individuals to enter the teaching profession by changing the requirements for obtaining a teacher’s certificate or license.

Prior to this change, those interested in obtaining their teaching licenses had to complete an assessment. Those who fail the evaluation may still acquire their teaching license provided they meet other conditions, such as maintaining a 3.0 GPA in college and completing supervised student teaching.

Schools may benefit from these reforms, according to Van-Far R1 Superintendent John Fortney. He said that they had three unfilled teaching posts, and he wasn’t concerned that this would lead to underqualified instructors being hired. “We’re very concerned about having great teachers in the front of the classroom,” Fortney said. “We’re not going to bring somebody into a classroom that we don’t think is gonna be good for kids; isn’t going to make a difference in the lives of kids in a very positive way.”

Melissa Deineke, director of special education, said the modifications might also encourage more individuals to enter the profession. “We need to remember to try to get people involved in educating,” she said. “It’s a very rewarding field to go into, just trying to get people interested into going into education, overall, it helps our society.”

Fortney acknowledged that there are other reasons that contribute to the teacher shortage, but this is a positive start in the right direction.