An effort to ease Missouri’s teacher shortage just a little bit has become a struggle in the state senate.

Smithville Senator Lu Ann Ridgeway proposes an alternate way for people with college degrees in non-educational fields to become certificated high school teachers. An education degree would not be required.

But Senator Joan Bray, a former teacher, says Ridgeway’s idea demeans and degrades teachers who go through teacher training. She says other professions would not stand for this kind of alternate criteria and asked what would happen if somebody could become a lawyer with just a few weeks of education. Ridgeway suggests lawyers are not protected by tenure standards and said she could support an effort to make teacher employment part of the free enterprise system. .

The two finally did negotiated some working. Ridgeway made some concessions she says do no damage to her legislation. The concessions were enough for Bray to announce she still did not favor the bill but would get out of the way and let the Senate pass it. The bill will face House scrutiny next.

Ridgeway says she has has no pretensions of her bill solving a teacher shortage. She says the program will probably only produce about 100 teachers a year.


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