Sunday, April 5, 2015

You Know Teacher Pay Is a Problem in South Dakota When...

Happy Easter everyone.  

I always got a chuckle out of Jeff Foxworthy when he did his, "you might be a redneck..." jokes.  It is the open ended quality of the joke that I enjoy.  I think we could apply the same philosophy on a more serious issue if we change up the phrase.  You know teacher pay is a problem in South Dakota when....

I think if we create a long enough list, then maybe Pierre will understand when they have their little panel meetings, that this is an issue that can't be ignored anymore.  I will start us off from a recent editorial in the Aberdeen newspaper.

You know teacher pay in South Dakota is a problem when NORTH DAKOTA is telling you to FIX IT!  Ellendale, North Dakota, superintendent, Jeff Faustnacht, points out how our in ability to pay teachers is hurting South Dakota.
Low pay, NCLB and highly competitive neighbors are all pulling your best and brightest away from you. When will Pierre take notice? 
It was not until this year that I ran into two perfect examples of how detrimental this pay differential is for South Dakota. Ellendale is only 35 minutes north of Aberdeen, so when we post for applicants we look in both North and South Dakota. My first example was a first-year English teacher with no education beyond her bachelors. She was an exceptional candidate and we offered her a position. 
To my dismay, that offer was in excess of $5,000 more than her present salary. She did not end up taking our offer, but engagements do funny things. Next, we ran into a husband and wife team from down by Yankton. They were NSU grads that had been teaching 20-plus years each. They had masters’ degrees, did many duties and were highly regarded by their present school. With that experience and education, they were presently being paid less than Ellendale’s base salary. That is shameful! We ended up getting both to agree to move north and they probably made over $25,000 in additional salary. 
Wouldn’t you move for that? South Dakota, you lost. Your schools are losing their very best every day, when will you notice? 
I encourage you to submit some of your own "You know teacher pay is a problem when..." examples.

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