Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ernie Otten and Isaac Latterrell Abandon Reason and Evidence to Score Political Points

Recently Senator Ernie Otten and Representative Isaac Latterell from abandoned the evidence that was gathered by a bi-partisan committee to study the problems of education in getting and keeping teachers in school districts for a wide variety of fields of studies and especially in more rural schools.  The committee decided not to push for any specific bills, but instead to just get the Representatives and Senators to agree that there is actually a problem and that there are several reasons including low teacher pay for that shortage.  The House saw some opposition over the vote with Isaac Latterell voting with his Tea party friends Don and Jenna Haggar.   Part of the reasoning given by Don Haggar was he just couldn't believe that pay had anything to do with the teacher problem; however, the non-binding resolution passed the house with a large majority of 49-18 vote.  

So the resolution was on to the Senate with support by such Republicans as Senator Larry Tidemann.  The bill failed on a vote of 15-19 with Ernie Otten against it and not bothering to give a speech on why it should be rejected.  He did take time to report his vote on his Facebook page to those watching, but still no explanation.  I did ask him for his justification and will let you know if I hear a response.  

Not every Republican has taken a leave of his or her senses.
“We need to move forward and do our part,” Sen. Larry Tidemann, the school funding committee’s Vice Chair, said during his testimony in front of the Senate in support of the resolution. “We do have a teacher shortage. We can do nothing or we can recognize there is a problem.”

Sen. Tidemann noted testimony during the committee meetings identified a lack of applicants for teaching positions. Sen. Chuck Welke, also a committee member, echoed the statement.

“We heard story after story from schools of all sizes…struggling to find teachers,” Sen. Welke said.
Some of the Republican Senators that voted for the resolution and sound reasoning and evidence were Begalka, Hunhoff (Jean), Rampelberg, Rhoden, Soholt, Solano, Tieszen, and Van Gerpen.  

UPDATE:  As promised, here is Mr. Ernie Otten's response to my question.
Ernie Otten for South Dakota I'm supportive of the Governor's proposed 3% going into education. School boards at the local level set the wages for educators & staff, not the legislature.

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