Oh, By The Way, We’re Not Dumb

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:34 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, once again, South Dakota public schools have, according to “Education Week” flunked the course and rank dead last among all the states in the country. Shame on us for intentionally neglecting our children’s education so.

Or are we?

Let’s take a closer look at the 6 criteria used in this condemnation of South Dakota education;  student’s “chance for success” later in life if they attend school in the state, school finances; state assessments and standards; and teacher and school accountability.” Oh yeah, it also considers student achievement but, apparently, the fact that South Dakota kids rank consistently well above the national average on every level from report card grades, to  SAT scores to the percentage of those who graduate high school to the percentage of those grads going on to college..doesn’t count for much . Here are some of the latest actual figures.

Our  kids and teachers are getting that job done, folks; in spades..but  you’re not seeing those numbers in “Education Week” which would have you believe that students in New York and New Jersey are much better off than those in South Dakota.

Is there room for improvement in K-12 education?  Of course there is. Teacher salaries, for example, are embarrassingly low by comparison to other states and it’s high time we put a higher priority on paying them more before the realities of the economy outweigh their willingness to keep biting the bullet . Please don’t say, well, they only work 9 months out of the year. I think if you totaled up all the hours they dedicate to the job day AND night, you’d find they could put in for overtime.

Look, I don’t have any solutions to education issues but, like a lot of you, grow tired of having outsiders keep calling us dumb because we don’t measure up to their perception of how schools should be run and our kids’ chances for success in life.

You don’t know us..so shaddup.


  1. J.P. Skelly says:

    Well stated Doug. As for the perception that teachers only work 9 months out of the year, I think most folks may be surprised to learn that many teachers spend their summers pursuing professional development at their own expense. Having said that, teachers need to “educate” the general public regarding what they do outside the classroom.

  2. Donn says:

    I know teachers put in a lot of hours in the offseason. My mom taught for almost 40 years. That being said, they are still in the top 20% of wage earners in South Dakota. Most of us work at lower wages than the national average, so it is all relative.

  3. Mark says:

    Is that the top 20% of all wage earners or those with a degree or advanced degree?

  4. Kelly says:

    I have a second cousin that went to school both in the South and in South Dakota. He will tell you firsthand that school here is much tougher and more is expected of you than in his other school.

  5. Pat says:

    my daughter in law is a teacher and I know how much of own personal time and money she puts into teaching her students and I don’t think people realize this. so take the time to say thank you to your children’s teachers and if you had a special teacher who made a difference in your life it’s never too late to say thank you to them either.

  6. JeniW says:

    Unless an organization provides funding, or has some “power” to influence change, I don’t pay much attention to any ratings given to anything in SD or other states, or populations.

    If the U.S. Department of Education gave SD schools a poor rating, then that would be an indication that we would have something to be concerned about.

  7. Em says:

    I have a Masters Degree, and I make $38,000 a year. I have been teaching for the past ten years. If I did the same job in North Dakota, I would start at $53,000 a year. We have not had a pay raise in the past three years, and our insurance rates have gone up over 200%, while my deductible doubled. I don’t know if I can continue to afford teaching. This kind of treatment will not attract, or retain the best and the brightest.

    Furthermore, as teachers, we constantly have to fight to get the things our students need. Teacher pay aside, the kids in this state deserve better. They deserve a community that invests in its future.

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