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Friday, August 13, 2010

Daugaard Perpetuates SD Teacher-Pay/Cost-of-Living Myth

Myth, Dennis. Myth, myth, myth. Have you not been reading the Madville Times?

The Heidepriem campaign fires off a missive on last night's gubernatorial debate before the electrons are dry on your TiVo. Evidently GOP candidate and current Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard justified our lowest-in-the-nation teacher salaries with the old saw that South Dakota's low cost of living makes up the difference.

Wrong, Dennis. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As I have documented on numerous occasions, our teachers—heck, all of us!—are near the bottom of the pay pile even after factoring in cost of living.

Heck, if Dennis hadn't been so busy fundraising and instead paid attention to the blogs, he'd have heard the same thing from conservative blogger Dr. John Schaff three years ago.

But fine, Dennis. You were distracted. So now that we have your attention, let's run the numbers one more time:
  1. Average teacher salary in South Dakota (AY 2008-2009): $35,070.
  2. Average teacher salary in North Dakota: $41,654.
  3. Average teacher salary nationwide: $54,319.
  4. SD average as percentage of nat'l average: 64.5%
  5. Most recent calculation of South Dakota's cost of living (Q1 2010): 92.8% of national average (13th lowest in nation).
  6. Purchasing power in South Dakota of average South Dakota teacher salary compared to purchasing power of average national teacher salary, factoring in cost of living: 69.5%.
Dennis, you have paid staffers who can update those numbers for you so you're not comparing 2009 salaries and 2010 COL data. But here you have the basic proof that you really shouldn't resort to the smiley "South Dakota's low cost of living makes up for our crappy wages!" myth. Myth myth myth (say it ten more times before you go to bed). Now you can concentrate on coming up with a better answer for the next debate.

You're welcome.
Update 2010.08.14: As noted below by the eminent LK, Daugaard's statements are not worthy of the title myth. Daugaard is peddling mere propaganda.


  1. Looks like Dennis was out at the lake a bit too long, it sure must be nice to go out there, take a break, and forget about things, with the election in the bag and all.

    I guess he made friends with 'Nessie' out there, now he has a head full of those crazy myths.

  2. I find it depressing that this is a race at all.

    Did you catch the bit where Daugaard patiently explained that his eight-year mission has been to have a pulse and keep quiet in case one of Rounds' missions for the South Dakota Air Force ended in tragedy, and then, in his closing statement included his eight years of leadership experience as Lt Gov.?

    Which is it, anyway?

  3. I teach myths. Myths are friends of mine. This isn't a myth. It's propaganda

  4. Both candidates stumbled a bit with their logic, but since when does logic rule in political discourse?

    As a solid Republican, I have to say that I think Heidepriem won this round. (But not enough to make me trust him yet!)

  5. That's o.k., Stan: I don't expect to win on one issue, and there's much more campaign to come.

    But one rhetorical note: I noticed that Heidepriem seemed to tailor his closing remarks to the education audience that hosted this debate. Daugaard gave what sounded like the generic closing pitch, with little mention of education. Know your audience.


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