At the cracker barrel Saturday morning here in Sioux Falls, state senator Todd Schlekeway continued his efforts and defended his failed amendment to push for an interim task force to study and improve Governor Daugaard’s education bill HB 1234. Schlekeway has the right proposal and the right idea.
“Here’s my rational. I’m trying to build support for the bill. I’m talking about ten months. There is no appropriation in HB 1234. So why are we passing something for the sake of passing something? In testimony the school administrators were opposed to the bill and they said four out of one-hundred-thirty-three administrators in the state support it. Four. You do the math on that. My intention with the task force and I’m skeptical of task forces sometimes also but I’m trying to garner more support. This bill has changed positively throughout the session but we have five days left… And will everyone support it at the end of the day? No, but we would get more stakeholders on board. School boards and administrators and then come back next year when by the way the appropriation is slated to take place… The reason I crafted the amendment (that kept critical needs scholarship but eliminates rest of HB 1234 in favor of an advisory council – amendment failed 5-2) is because it should have more support from those it impacts the most. – Senator Todd Schlekeway at SF cracker barrel
There are aspects of the bill that many of us disagree with. I’m happy to see some of the bill has changed, such as the math and science bonuses which were among the most intolerable aspects in my opinion.
What I liked about Schlekeway’s proposal was that it halted this bill that has been recieved poorly by the public (other than Troy Jones – who is a class act by the way). Let’s not get carried away, I don’t think this bill is the end of the world as some in our blogosphere seem to believe, but the mark of a great leader is the ability to build consensus. What Schlekeway wants to do is what Daugaard should want to do. Listen to people, make some of the changes South Dakotans are asking for, improve the perception, and craft a better bill. Maybe merit pay and math and science bonuses aren’t the way to go. If they aren’t, allow us to bring forth ideas to replace those we disagree with.
Daugaard’s proposal is only one idea. It isn’t the only option, and I’m certain if a study was conducted over the next 10 months and the governor’s intention to increase student achievement remained the goal, legislators such as Schlekeway would come up with a policy to unite a much broader segment of South Dakota’s population.
Improving student achievement is an honorable intention which has broad support and should become the uniting piece of legislation South Dakotans want. Unfortunately HB 1234 has become viewed by much of the public as an assult on teachers, and I guarantee that was not Governor Daugaard’s intent.