ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Legislature has passed a bill that creates a new method of obtaining teacher licenses.

The alternative licensing plan is aimed at meeting projected teacher shortages in the future. It's designed to give Minnesota schools an infusion of new, mostly young teachers who don't attend traditional teaching colleges, and help close an achievement gap between white and minority students that's one of the worst in the country.

Critics say it will harm schoolchildren by making it too easy to become a teacher. But the bill passed Thursday reflects a compromise between Gov. Mark Dayton and bill sponsors, and it's expected to get his signature.

The state Senate and House passed the bill Thursday and sent it to Dayton.

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