MI lawmakers approve alternative teacher certification

State lawmakers continue to debate legislation to enter Michigan into the competition for federal "Race To The Top" education-reform money. Wednesday, there was a lot of talk about how to help professionals who aspire to teach get into classrooms.

The state Senate approved a package of bills that GOP lawmakers say will get Michigan ready to compete for a share of $3.5 billion. The Senate plan would make it easier for aspiring high school teachers to get certified. Some House Democrats want to go further, and extend alternative certification to prospective elementary school teachers.

Representative Tim Milton chairs the House Education Committee.

"We're trying to at least create, in our bills, at least from the beginning, what gives us the most competitive advantage to get us up to $400 million," he says.

Melton and the Senate education chair say they think the House and Senate can reach an agreement before the end of the year. Some lawmakers are worried the legislation will become too watered down to compete effectively for "Race To The Top."