Monday, August 19, 2013

ALEC Tells the SD GOP To Be Disappointed With SD Education

School is starting again for many districts in South Dakota this week.  Students under the age of 12 will probably be looking forward to this time, and those over the age of 13 will be practicing their eye rolls to respond to the question, "You ready for school to start?"  Most school staff will already have been hard at work in preparing for another year of trying to encourage those young minds to care about learning and helping to prepare them for a life outside of school; all the time wondering how the Governor and many in the GOP will show their disdain for our profession.  It has been a tough few years for many in the education field to be told that they are a bunch of failures that either need to bribed to get off their lazy rear ends or that as Daugaard claims, we are all basically "average."
"We're paying our teachers right now as if they were all average. Why shouldn't they then perform average?"  
I wonder whatever happened to these people to think that teachers in this state are do horrible, and then discovered a possible answer when looking at one of the most powerful influences on SD GOP: ALEC.

The 18th ALEC report card gives states a letter grade.  South Dakota gets one of the lowest grades in the ALEC report: D+.  Only three other states received a lower grade (D) by ALEC: North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska.  That's right, according to ALEC, states like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Washington D.C. (I know that is not a state) received much higher scores than South Dakota by ALEC, yet South Dakota outperformed each of those significantly on the NAEP for 4th and 8th grade reading exams (provided in the ALEC report).

South Dakota ranks 24th for fourth graders and 9th for eighth graders.

Arkansas gets a grade of C, yet ranks 35th in fourth grade and 36th in eighth grade.
Louisiana gets a grade of B, yet ranks 50th in fourth grade and 49th in eighth grade.
Washington D.C. gets a grade of B-, yet ranks 51st in both fourth and eight grade.

How do states like South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska fail?  We don't allow for charter schools, vouchers, and have not implemented merit pay and getting rid of tenure (which is really a continuing contract).  So the next time people like Hal Wick, Manny Steele, Dan Lederman and more than another dozen of GOP members say that SD education isn't working, ask them why are they listening for ALEC and not South Dakota's teachers and school administrators first.


  1. How many bills do you think this ALEC grade will spawn next session? I'll set the over/under at 9. The number of good ideas in those bills will be much lower

  2. That sounds about right. I am expecting more merit pay based ideas and bills to end continuing contracts. I also expect to see some for of voucher program for home schooled students.