The Teacher for Life sign now

In 2003, SB 359 was introduced which proposed several changes in the Missouri education system. One of those proposed changes was the reinstatement of the Lifetime Teaching Certificate. No action was taken, and the bill died.

Prior to September 1, 1988, teachers who met state requirements received a certificate that entitled them to teach for life. This certificate was replaced by a three-level certification process which demanded renewal of the certificate after completing an unreasonable amount of professional development. This process is now replaced with a two-level process in which teachers are issued an initial certificate that lasts for four years and demands 30 hours of annual professional development, among other unreasonable demands. The certificate can later be upgraded to a career certificate which does not expire as long as the teacher completes 15 hours of professional development annually. It has been called a lifetime certificate, but this is a false name. If the teacher fails to complete the required professional developement, he/she risks losing the certificate. Such a certificate cannot be called a lifetime certificate.

Teachers who must clear these unneeded hurdles eventually burn out and leave the teaching profession. Those who remain in the profession must be willing to take time away from the classroom and students to satisfy the annual professional development requirements, which requires
(1)large amounts of money for travel, lodging, and registration for the programs, and
(2)time that could be better spent with the students to facilitate a rewarding learning experience.

We understand that professional development is beneficial. However, it is the right of the teacher to choose when he/she needs to pursue additional training. To demand unnecessary training only hinders the effectiveness of the teacher. Furthermore, to demand unnecessary training stops the effectiveness of the teacher altogether if the teacher leaves the profession.

We therefore, the residents of the State of Missouri, propose the reinstatement of the Lifetime Teaching Certificate with all of the rights and privileges enjoyed by teachers across the State of Missouri who received such certificate prior to September 1, 1988. We also stand in support of our children who would greatly benefit from a teacher with the Lifetime Teaching Certificate.

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Barbra WhitakerBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
Missouri General Assembly

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