PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota schools will soon get to issue permits for their student teachers.

The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee decided Tuesday to let the state Department of Education’s new plan take effect.

State Education Secretary Joe Graves said it is another way to address South Dakota’s shortage of K-12 teachers.

“It’s a short-term solution, but a very effective one,” Graves said. “We have really seen no negatives.”

He described the permits as “a real and immediate step” that school superintendents and principals can take.

Republican Senator Jean Hunhoff focused on two sections dealing with the need for student teachers to enroll in a mentoring program.

Amanda LaCroix, the department’s legal counsel, said the department offers a mentor program that most school districts use, but the new rules package would give districts an option to establish their own.

Hunhoff asked whether school districts would need to provide the same offerings as the department. Kathryn Blaha, director for the department’s division of accreditation and certification, said she couldn’t guarantee that.

Said Hunhoff, “All I hear about is standards. In every profession there are shortcuts,” she said. She wondered whether a district’s mentoring content should be reviewed. “I’m not judging, I’m just asking.”

LaCroix said the department will be able to track mentoring outcomes.

Republican Rep. Roger DeGroot, a retired school superintendent, praised the department for “thinking outside the box” about countering the shortage of teachers.

“This has been an issue for many years,” he said.