Thursday, January 2, 2014

SD Legislature Catching On?

Bob Mercer had a very somewhat hopeful/ depressing article on December 31 about the plight of teachers.  He reports that HCR 1002 will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.  This finally recognizes a problem that those of us in the education field have been aware of for quiet some time.
A legislative study committee filed a resolution that concludes “teachers are in short supply in this state, and that school districts of all sizes are now struggling to retain qualified teachers and to fill teacher vacancies.”
He pointed out that it is just not in the field of sciences that this shortage has spread through out many different areas.
The four traditional areas of need – math, science, special education and speech – now also include art, career and technical education, English as a new language, health, music, physical education, social science, language arts and world languages.
That is the depressing part.  It is harder and harder to see where future teachers will come from.  In our debate community, we have noticed this problem for years.  The fear is that when a coach is looking at retiring, there is no one there to replace that coach.  This is especially true in the smaller schools.

The possible good news can be seen in the resolved statements:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Legislature joins school officials in acknowledging that teachers are a highly valued resource in this state, and in exploring tuition reimbursement programs and other programs or policies that could help attract more good people into the teaching profession in South Dakota, and to keep the good teachers that are already here.
I can only hope that something meaningful that shows respect for the teaching field and support for teachers in South Dakota will actually happen and not another Daugaard attempt of trying to bring workers from other places.

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