ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders have reached agreement on an alternative licensing plan for teachers.

The bill is designed to give Minnesota schools an infusion of new young teachers who reach the classroom without attending the state's traditional teaching colleges. It's meant to help close to a stubborn achievement gap that has separated white and minority students.

In a letter Monday to the chairs of the House and Senate education committees, Dayton says the compromise will create an alternative pathway that will address projected teacher shortages, assure that teacher candidates are well prepared and expert in their fields, and increase teacher diversity.

Dayton writes that he wishes the oversight provisions were stronger. But he says he'll sign the compromise as it now stands if it's passed by the Legislature.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)