Officials in the Joplin R-8 School District, as well as those in districts across Missouri, are having to prove that teachers who have lifetime certificates are "highly qualified" under the "No Child Left Behind" law.
The refusal of the federal government to accept these people as highly qualified put Missouri at the bottom of the list for qualified teachers. Missouri stopped issuing lifetime certificates in 1988. (Note: I have a lifetime certificate to teach social studies in grades 7-12, which would not meet the NCLB requirements on its own, but I have tested for and received certification to teach communication arts to students in grades 5-9 in Missouri).
I find it amazing that the federal government is doing its best to push for lowering barriers to allow people with no training to step in front of a classroom, but wants people who have spent decades in the classroom to have to prove they belong.
What a wonderful boon No Child Left Behind has been to American education.