Start over on Daugaard education proposal

Governor Daugaard did something good. He started a conversation about how to improve student achievement. But our legislature should vote against his education bill and collectively produce something better that would receive broader support among our communities.

I have no doubt Dennis Daugaard is a great man with the best intentions; I just wish our legislators had an opportunity to consider and revise a plan that would better suit the needs of South Dakota’s students and teachers. Our state legislature should take that commitment to bettering our educational system and spend the next year developing a stronger plan jointly with the Governor, House, and Senate, with input from parents, students, educators, and other constituents.

Our governor and our legislators are serious about increasing student test scores and want to jump start the flat lined trajectory in education. This is a good place to start the discussion.

A plan like this should be formed jointly. There are 105 legislators who all ran to serve the state and their constituents. I guarantee every single one of them wants to increase our children’s test scores. Rather than Governor Daugaard proposing a bill in the manner he did, I would have preferred that he give an outline of his goals and allow the legislature to form a committee to study all of the various possibilities to enhance the education experience.

Let’s work together to find the best alternative to increasing student achievement in the state of South Dakota.

My belief is that if this bill is rejected, our leaders will produce a much sounder bill with input from a diverse group of interested individuals.

I haven’t talked to one person who is outright supportive of the education proposal as currently written. Many conservative educators I know who are active in conservative causes have problems with this bill.

We should commend Governor Daugaard and his desire to improve student achievement. But I ecourage the senate to vote no on this bill and work through the next summer to create a better bill that could unite communities, parents, and teachers, as well as produce the desired results.

52 Replies to “Start over on Daugaard education proposal”

  1. Anonymous

    I am generally supportive of the governor’s attempt to better education but a good point was made to me the other day. The new math/science teachers who would have received the bonuses, as I was told, would get several thousand a year for five years. What is going to happen when that 5th year is done? They will be, in effect, taking a huge pay cut and not be
    able to perhaps continue the life style that they are used to. Might move out of state then.

    Perhaps, if the legislature hasn’t already done this, amend the bill to send the money directly for payment on their student loans.

  2. Black sheep

    When it?s all said and done all that will have been accomplished is making sure you can fire the basketball coach when he doesn?t play your kid, and the elementary teacher who says the reason your kid is getting bad grades is because he doesn?t apply himself. And we STILL won?t be rid of the weak teacher that the administration or school board is too lazy to do anything about. The most malicious thing of all is that that?s probably all they wanted all along. All the rest is distraction.

    1. Cefil

      I agree. Unfortunately, one out of three ain’t good, especially when the other two provisions (math&science bonuses and the “merit” pay scam) are so egregiously bad.

    1. 73*

      Santorum would be a bad idea.

      I am 10,000% behind Dennis but I could not support this form of legislation if I was to hold office in the people’s body.

      Some legislators carry water for the Governor. It’s that simple.

      1. Running of the RINOs

        Some? Some? Kirkeby called the Gov the “supreme being” and said they were all good soldiers who must accomplish the gov’s wishes!

        We do not have three seperate branches. We have a legislature that has been co-opted and is herded in the direction the executive and judiciary want by Lust and Olson.

  3. Anonymous

    None of the teachers in my family (5) like the bill and they are all Daugaard supporters. Of course they aren’t angry with him but they wish we had more time for discussion.

    1. anon

      Legislator committed to doing a good job for their constituents should be upset with Tony and Dusty or whomever the staff and cabinet members are that chose to drop this bill in the legislators lap without giving propper time to prepare or come up with a better alternative.

      I’d be pissed. I’m just sayin’. All the Gov’s office seems to think is that the legislators are there to rubber stamp anything and everything.

      1. anon

        The bill that’s out there now is substanially different than where the Governor started out. He agreed to the compromise language the legislature wanted.

        1. caheidelberger

          Baloney. The bill as amended contains everything that the Governor originally proposed, just in some ways worse. You still have the merit bonuses (which don’t work) for only one in five teachers. You have the math/science bonuses made worse: instead of $3500 for every math/sci HS/MS teacher, we give $8000 to every rookie math/sci teacher and cut the bonuses off when they have five years’ experience, creating a market incentive to drive away talent after they apprentice here. You still have the elimination of continuing contract, which makes it easier for bad admins to get rid of good teachers. The only major change was the chance for schools to opt out of the merit bonuses or to compose their own bonus plans, which of course are subject to Pierre’s approval (no local control there). The current bill is not a compromise. It is not a substantial change from Daugaard’s original plan. It is still top-down policy with no evidence of effectiveness.

            1. Mitchell

              I’m in favor of making some changes to education in order to pursue excellence but Cory is right the bill is not exactly the same thing it was when Daugaard proposed it.

              Any changes made didn’t change it.

      1. grudznick

        I think that makes sense. I completely understand what that poster is saying. It was concise, clear, and accurate. Maybe the post of the month.

  4. anon

    This has been an intersting topic to watch, because what we’re seeing here is a classic example of why the dems can’t win in SD.

    Teachers, and dems in general, tend to talk to other teachers and therefore get the false impression that everyone agrees with the way they see every issue. They also have somewhat of a self-righteousness that makes it impossible for them to believe that anyone could have a different opinion, and if they do…well, they’re just stupid then.

    So, they go into every election thinking that everyone agrees with their point of view, only to get hammered by the majority.

    People who disagree with teachers, or libs in general, don’t care to waste the time and energy discussing issues with them, because they realize it’s like talking to a tree. There’s no way to convince the liberals that there is truly another side to the issue.

    Many, many South Dakotan’s support the Governor’s plan. They are tired of being told to just put more money into the education pot and it will get better. Maybe the current plan isn’t the total fix to the problem, but it’s a start, and it’s better than what’s been happening for the last fifty years.

    We hear that we should let educators make their own decisions on what’s best for education, but at the same time we hear it’s OK for Obama to regulate every private business in America.

    Double standards apply, I guess.

    1. Black sheep

      Yea those stupid liberals. Why can?t they understand the critical importance to our economy of keeping for ourselves the honor of putting less fiscal effort than any other surrounding state into education? Why do they keep thinking that educators can contribute anything to this discussion? Why can?t they understand how boring and not fun it is to keep hearing about how underfunded education is? Don?t they get it? Don?t they understand that it won?t do any good? Kind of like talking to a tree?

    2. caheidelberger

      Funny that you make this comment in response to a Republican blogger declaring that we should chuck the plan and start over. Funny that you talk about a Democratic echo chamber when it’s a Republican who says that the conservative educators he knows have problems with HB 1234.

  5. Billy CLay is..

    Hmmmmm! Very curious that the normal establishment Repub supporter Bill Clay would take such a stance.

    Connect the dots though and the fella behind the curtain jumps out like a jack in the box!

    Consider the comments posted over at Madville times, the writing style, the people supported, the people not supported in posts, posts no longer from a certain person on DWC, and the logical conclusion is..


    1. Mitchell

      Lee is a good man. He’s probably just busy winning important cases.

      Lee should have run for Governor. I love Lee. He would have been an fantastic candidate and while I am a big supporter of Dennis Daugaard Lee and Dennis have totally different styles.

      Schoenbeck would have been an amazing candidate to campaign for as he is a rockstar!

  6. troy jones

    Three comments:

    1) “Bill” give me a call. I’m for the Governor’s Plan. Period. liked it better when the money went to all math and science teachers and not just the new ones. But that was a Legislature change.

    2)) Lee is not Bill Clay. Proof: the fact he hadn’t talked to anyone who supports the Governor’s plan top to bottom. I’ve told Lee my thoughts on the Governor’s plan.

    3) If we need to “study” this and wait to next year, I want to make sure the $15mm is spent on something rather than education. They don’t want the money, let’s give it to someone else who wants it.

    1. Woody

      1. Troy very rarely but ocasionally you are wrong. Daugaard’s plan is not good enough. It is a good intention though.

      2. I’m all for spending the money on anything other than education if this bill doesn’t pass. But let’s allow legislators from different regions to come together and create a better plan.

      3. Go around the state and visit with people. Very very few people are supportive of this plan.

  7. Black sheep

    Yes! If they don?t want the money on our terms, forget them! Let?s make them grovel and wheedle and bow in obeisance and apologize for suggesting such an outrageous idea as asking the state to make up a small portion of what the education funding formula agreed upon or of the $50 million we took away last year. If they won?t play by our rules, just keep tightening the screws!

  8. Troy Jones


    1) It would feel better and we could collaborate and cooperate more if you’d say “I was misguided.” Using the word “wrong” harms my self-esteem. 🙂

    2) There has been little debate/comment about what is wrong with the plan. It centers on if we should have merit pay or not. Let’s vote on merit pay. I have said all along a good system will need to be tweaked in the future anyway.

    3) Very few? Maybe on blogs. I know that my regular breakfast group is for it. Everyone.

    1. Woody

      Fair enough. Misguided works for me.

      I bet if you asked 10 legislators from sioux falls they would all have a varrying group of ideas that would improve the plan.

      The best plans (to a point) are often the ones that allow for the most input.

    1. Cefil

      That’s because education is young Tony’s bailiwick. Does he have the life experience to recognize what a lousy idea this is?

  9. Vertigo

    If it was only the liberal leftists who support the union that were opposing this bill I would support Daugaard’s bill but since so many of my friends who are teachers and more importantly conservatives I am very uncomfortable with this merit pay agenda.

    They are worried that the best teachers who make the noise and ocasisonally disagree with their administrator will be punished and other teacchers who kiss butt will be given rewards for kissing butt.

  10. Cefil

    Why do the Governor’s major proposals include throwing more dollars at education? He did such a great job in his SOTS speech showing the complete inefficacy of increased educational spending, why was his conclusion that we need *more* spending?

    The math&science welfare plan is just wrong-headed. The state’s obsession with a runaway STEM train is hard to fathom.

    Merit pay is a fine idea, by why does it require a big infusion of more public cash? Instead of an add-on to already wasteful school spending, let’s just require schools to convert their existing systems (and existing dollars) to a merit-based system. Taxpayers will get better value for the money we already spend, and we’ll avoid a big new entitlement burden.

    The idea that every new idea requires more tax dollars is a mantra of the left. I’m afraid our Governor and his youthful advisors have decided to govern from the left. What a shame.

    1. caheidelberger

      Come on, Cefil: merit pay is shown by research to be a terrible idea. The guys who drove us into recession got all sorts of merit pay. Can we all just accept that not every institution operates best according to free-market fundamentalism, that every now and then collaboration produces better results than competition? It won’t make you a communist to acknowledge that merit pay doesn’t work in education.

      But let’s kill HB 1234 and convene the summer study so we can have the conversation and look at the research in depth.

      1. Cefil

        Merit pay is certainly worth further discussion, Cory. (And I am well aware that the bromide “run it like a business” doesn’t always work in a public organization.)

        For now, though, we can find common ground in the knowledge that the ill-conceived implementation of “merit pay” in HB1234 is a terrible idea.

        We may be coming at it from different directions, but let’s stand united in our immediate goal: for the good of South Dakota, kill HB1234.

      2. Running of the RINOs

        Sorry, no summer studies… The legislature is moving towards a super committee (see HB 1133). Because we need the legislature to be able to march forward for the “supreme being” and be good “soldiers” and move his agenda forward without question. Because that is the job of the legislature, to carry the water (or whatever) for the governor and the judiciary.

        Don’t you realize, there are future appointments judgeships at stake here! Its not about the people..

        1. anon

          That is not true. There is not going to be a super committee that decides anything. The governor has pro bureaucrats working on this team 24/7. The legislature has a bunch of well qualified good intentioned inividuals who work hard to do the best job they can. A study committee would allow legislators to become better informed of certain issues. That is all. They aren’t deciding on anything major or minor in the world of politics. It is purely about education. Stop with the tinfoil hat lunacy you are ruining the conservative movement.

          1. Running of the RINOs

            The only movement of the conservatives in the SD Legislature is the movement of being thrown out by life long Democrat turned R (only to run for office) Rausch and his equally liberal accomplices Lust and Gosch.

            Our SD Legislature is full of people who stole the “R!” The same thieves that claim these report cards do not reflect their actual voting tendancies, are the same ones who do their best to keep their records from being put online:

  11. Anonymous

    What are these legislators doing all year if they have to sit around and wait for the executive branch to put an idea in their head before they do anything? You really think its a novel idea for legislators to form another umpteenth summer study on improving education? Between NCSL, CSG, ALEC and others, really nobody can bring forth an idea? Your putting way too much faith in the legislature to sit around and ponder how to make these ideas so much better!

  12. grudznick

    We need to take away those parking spots for high paid administrators and funnel some of this money to old people, not just slackard teachers.

    1. caheidelberger

      Tweet: Hasty generalization flag! Five yards, repeat the down.

      …and grudz, please define “slackard” and quantify for me the number of slackard teachers in South Dakota to justify your policy position. If you are able to define and quantify the problem, the explain to our reading audience how anything in HB 1234 effectively addresses that problem without creating disadvantages that outweigh the gains.

    1. Running of the RINOs

      Shhhhh! Do you not read the papers!? Rausch and Lust have outlawed such novel ideas and banished two of the few legislators that dared walk that talk!

      Sorry, King Bill Napoli was right about our legislature.