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Monday, December 8, 2008

SD Poll: Schools Need More Money, Less NCLB

It's not just liberal hogwash; it's what South Dakotans think!

The Associated School Boards of South Dakota just released a survey of voter attitudes about education in our fair state. Listen up, legislators (especially you, Russ!):

  • "Voters polled say a lack of funding and difficulty hiring teachers are the biggest challenges their local school district faces."
  • "Those polled are concerned that K-12 education spending, as a percent of the state budget, has decreased in the past decade."
  • "South Dakota voters believe K-12 education funding should be increased and that it is important for school districts to have the resources needed to provide an adequate education."
  • "A great majority of South Dakotans agree that additional funding will result in a better education for students."
Now, legislators, if you'd like to come to the crackerbarrels and tell us why we're wrong. But wouldn't it be easier to just go to Pierre and find the resources to get South Dakota up off the bottom of the national barrel in teacher salaries and state funding per student?

"Oh, but the economy!" Yeah, yeah, quit your whining. Your voters agree education is valuable. They'll pay for that education, if you show the leadership in finding the revenue.

Perhaps we could free up some revenue by opting out of No Child Left Behind. ASBSD's survey also shows folks don't care much for this federal intrusion into locally controlled education. End that bureaucracy and let teachers and principals do their jobs without busybodies from Pierre snooping over their shoulders.


  1. To the teachers that read this blog:

    Would there be a way to integrate in some type of selective reward mechanism for excellent teaching (whatever that nebulous term means)?

    It's a tough sell to increase salary across the board but I think a competitive program may be sellable.

  2. I think there are teachers who deserve bonuses, i.e. merit pay, but the problem is who decides which deserve it, who sets the criteria,will it turn out to be a popularity contest, will it go to winning coaches vs excellent but not as well liked teachers?

  3. Here is the kind of performance pay program that deserves consideration.

  4. Let's suppose for the moment that we wake up on, say, May 12, 2010, to discover two things.

    (1) Schools will henceforth receive all the funding they ask for from the state every year on demand; and

    (2) In order to balance the budget, a state personal income tax is now imposed, subject to adjustment as necessary.

    I suspect that these two measures would end all complaints from the school districts in regards to education funding.

    How would the voting public in South Dakota react?

    This is not a trick or rhetorical question. I really want to know.

  5. It would be Christmas, Santa Claus, all wrapped in one for the schools every day of the year! There would be no incentive to save money, evaluate programs, be careful with taxpayer money becuse the well would never go dry.

    Taxpayers on the other hand would revolt!

    More money for education does not equal better education. Just look at Washington DC to see how well that has worked!

    Students are entitled to a free public education. The problem is that this initial concept has been expanded to include free socialization, free nursing, free counseling,etc etc etc., none of which was envisioned to be part of a free public education.

    But hey, it seems, based on the results of the last election, that that people think the gov't should be all to all, providing everything for everyone, and choose their leaders based on this concept.

  6. Step away from the Rush Limbaugh mic, Anon. I'm not asking government to "be all to all"; you'll notice I'm actually asking government to scale back by getting rid of No Child Left Behind. But I'm also asking that state government fulfill its moral and constitutional obligation to provide a free and fair education to every child... and maybe a competitive wage to its teachers.

  7. I'm not quoting Rush or anyone else. If you listen to O's speeches, he has promised that if elected he would see to it that the gov't solved all our problems. Just ask that lady who was interviewed after O won and said now she wouldn't have to worry about gas prices or her rent or anything!

    I think that teachers should be paid fairly and commenurate with what other people in SD are paid. A starting salary might not be high in some cases, but after a teacher has been in a position for several years he/she makes a good wage usually. And whether or not teachers want to acknowledge it, they DO get more time off than the average SD worker, which has to be factored into the amount they are paid.

    And I agree with providing a free and fair education. But just maybe the time has finally come when some of the stuff added to actual academics are just not affordable. Get back to basics of eduction. Leave socialization and health to the parents and community instead of the schools and you might be surprised how much money is freed up for academics.

    The present economic troubles in our country should be showing all of us that there is a limit to available monies for all programs, that there is a limit to taxpayers' abilities to fund everything, and that we have to use some common sense with what we want anymore.

    Or maybe we can do like the fed gov't is doing now and will continue doing under O to just print up some more money and distribute it around. Problem though is that sooner or later the chickens come home to roost with that plan too.

  8. Perhaps we should adopt the same salary as what the military has, everyone gets paid the same regardless of gender, job, race, etc. Everyone starts out as a private and has to work their way from the bottom. In order to do this though, you have to keep getting educated, attend more leadership schools, move your family every three years or so, make wages that are below the poverty line for at least the first 5 years of your service, go over seas somewhere and dodge a bullet or a roadside bomb! Teachers choose their profession as those serving in the military do. I don't hear too many of us complaining because we VOLUNTEERED to be Soldiers. And one last thing, where the heck is all my lottery money going anymore??

  9. Please explain how the "socialization" that occurs in school costs any serious amount of money. Kids go to school in groups and learn how to get along - what socialization are you referring to??

  10. When I said socialization, I meant all the activities that are necessary for kids to be well-rounded individuals. My point is that if money is scarce, the first priority should be to educate kids academically. Let the activities that develop well-rounded kids be outside the school setting and funds.

  11. Anon 12:49: reasonable point -- do keep that in mind next time someone proposes a ten-million-dollar gym.


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