May wants special session on education because she doesn’t like who is on panel

From a today’s KCCR, State Rep Elizabeth May wants a special session of the legislature to address education. 

Representative Elizabeth May of Kyle is making a bold statement, saying that a special session is needed to truly address the teacher shortage and the financial crisis that most school districts are facing.


May has been critical of the “Blue Ribbon Task Force” that was created by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard. May states that the Blue Ribbon task force is failing to address the negative effects that the federally mandated standards and assessments are having on school districts financially and academically.

May says that she knows that the people selected to the task force will do a good job, but is also disappointed with who was selected.

Read it here

48 thoughts on “May wants special session on education because she doesn’t like who is on panel”

  1. We went to the public part of the Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting last night, and I agree that probably nothing will be done except “education needs more money.” Not true – half of the state budget goes to education. It was brought up how many staff there are per pupil ratio in the SF district – just what do those staff do if they aren’t in the classroom? Where is all the money going if not to educators – administration, athletic directors and attendant extracurricular expenses? If it’s the federal and state mandates for this and that, then what would happen if SD just said we aren’t going to abide by these mandates. We are going to do what we deem necessary to educate our students and direct the money thusly. New buildings, expensive gyms, are not necessary, but teachers are. So figure out where the money is going and redirect it. If the capital outlay funds are growing by leaps and bounds because of increased valuations, instead of a new building etc why not direct that money to increased teacher salaries; this would require legislative changes if I understand correctly, but this has been done before.

    Like May, I don’t see much of substance coming out of these meetings. But a special legislative session isn’t going to do it either. Education lobbyists want more money, period, and the people in SD are not going to support an income tax, period. So we need to find other solutions.

    I believe that part of the problem with decreasing teacher numbers is the lack of respect, inability to teach without the govt looking over their shoulders with mandates etc, and the inability to use discipline now prevalent in schools. It’s not all about the money.

    1. “I believe that part of the problem with decreasing teacher numbers is the lack of respect, inability to teach without the govt looking over their shoulders with mandates etc, and the inability to use discipline now prevalent in schools. It’s not all about the money.”


  2. How many times can they say “bold” in a press release?

    I know many of my friends who vote no on everything really like May but she is not a good legislator. She is kind of obnoxious in session and hurts her cause and everyone else who agrees on an issue with her when she speaks on the house floor. She single handedly hurt the anti common core movement when she spoke on the house floor. Some legislators are meant to be a good vote and others are meant to lead a rebellion. May is meant to vote and be quiet so she doesn’t continue to hurt the cause.

    If they really wanted to make a statement they would have a press release go out signed by 20-30 members in the legislature opposing common core or the blue ribbon task force. But as long as May is the front person for this effort they might aswell have lora hubbell.

  3. I think Liz May speaks from a West River perspective that shouldn’t be ignored. The common Core debate isn’t going away, but I hope it doesn’t stop a meaningful discussion of school funding options. I’ve listened to this Common Core debate with as open of a mind as possible, and two things are clear. It probably isn’t going to cause the Earth to fall of its access, and it’s about 1/10th as good as its proponents claim. If you get a chance, go through the math work sheets and you will in short order understand why it’s rightfully drawing arrows, but understanding that still won’t fix the problems with the funding formula and the shortage of educators.
    Whether it’s a special session, or taking up the education legislation as a committee of the whole, there is a serious need for legislators to understand the ins and outs of the formula, and to address its shortfalls.

  4. 7:33 is right. May is a nice person but she’s not an effective legislator. She is too over the top. Press releases & public speaking are not her strengths. Neither is critical thinking. But did I say she is a very nice person?

  5. Anonymous at 7:33 am, are you one of the Blue Ribbon task force members who want legislators to sit down and shut up at your meetings? It sure sounds like you support the folks who just want more money so they can waste it on things that have nothing to do with improving education. Rep. May is a very good legislator, who is very concerned about our children getting a good education. She does her own thinking and knows her voters didn’t send her to Pierre to support whatever the governor wants at their expense.

    1. I agree. If a town doesn’t want to lose its small school, then at least combine the administrations with other nearby small schools or a nearby larger school. If teachers are the main component in receiving a quality education, why are the superintendents, principals, and athletic directors receiving HUGELY higher salaries than the teachers?

      1. In the lower population areas, why not at least utilize the Co-op’s that the schools are a member of to consolidate Superintendents. Have them do the reporting, and all of the paperwork and required reporting for multiple schools. A school needs to have at least a Principal in the building for student/staff issues, but a 80k/yr supt for a school of less than 200 students? Plain silly.

        1. Anonymous 1:19,
          Some smaller schools hire a Superintendent and a Principal. How does that make sense for a school of 200 students? A co-op would reduce costs for them.

    2. “Look at the size of these districts and explain why we have districts with just barely over 100 students.”

      One reason is geography. I once drove a bus route with a kindergarten student who spent nearly 15 hours per week on the bus. The best solution for the kids is reducing top-down government mandates, not further consolidation.

      1. outside of the city districts, geography is the huge problem, you are correct. there’s a big debate about this every year in pierre and i don’t think enough people make themselves aware of it.

      2. Case in point: Rutland. Enrollment is 150, and they get that number by importing students from Madison, 13 miles away. They’ve got a superintendent with a PhD and whatever they are paying him it’s enough to keep him from going someplace else. Meanwhile the teachers beneath him are very poorly paid.

        Why hasn’t that school district hasn’t been consolidated with Madison?

        1. And how does Rutland get away with spending money to advertise on Corey Heildelburger’s blog?

          Talk about districts WASTING MONEY.

  6. I did notice one thing at last night’s public meeting. There were several legislators there. Some of them changed tables as the meeting chairman told people to do, and one came to our table and actually liked our ideas as to what the legislature could do regarding capital outlay. However, some of them never got up from their seats and interacted with the public in attendance to hear the exchange of ideas. They should have!

  7. Why do we need so many administrators who do nothing but sit in the office and let their secretaries answer the phone? I’m pretty old, but when I was in high school both the principal and superintendent taught classes. Our principal taught all the science and math classes, and the superintendent taught social studies, history, and civics. Why can’t we go back to those days?

  8. Rep. May needs to give it a rest. She’s tried for three years in a row to get rid of common core. She’s failed each and every time. It’s time to move on. Common Core is here to stay. The voters want it. The teachers want it. The Governor wants it. And the majority of the legislators want it.

    The focus now is on education finances.

    1. I disagree that we should just shut up and accept Common Core. My niece is an elementary teacher in SD and she does NOT like Common Core, and neither do many of her colleagues. But when they ask the head of the Dept of Ed in SD to come to their classroom and see just how it is NOT working and is harming the kids, the head of the DOE will not talk to them or come to their classroom. So she has decided to teach the best she can in spite of it. How does that solve anything?? Critical thinking is fine and good, but some things just are, like math. Fuzzy math is not going to help students who are not math oriented or who do not like math be better at it or enjoy it more; it’s just more confusing for them. Remember the “new” math of years ago? More testing when the kids don’t understand it and just hit keys to pass to the next question doesn’t give a true view of their learning ability or learning period. But the people who sit at the top refuse to see or acknowledge this; Common Core is not the answer. And we aren’t going to give up on getting rid of it.

      1. Springer, if you’re torqued, keep fighting. But so far it’s been nothing but a waste of time for the legislature. First year May lost her bid to get rid of it. She tried again the following year. Same result. The third year – new legislature and new House Education committee. Same result.

        Regarding your niece. Nothing in life is 100%. Same thing about opinions. However, the school teacher’s association, the principal’s association, the assoc school boards of SD, the big schools, the small schools – all the professional education associations – they are all united that common core is good for our state and our children. So keep complaining and keep wasting time, that’s your right.

        1. Really? Give up? I’ve. Even helping my kids with this “math” and it’s a joke. States are getting rid of it and you want to double down?
          Glad you weren’t part of the revolutionary war. You’d just quit when the going got tough.

  9. fire all the principals and administrators. here in rapid city, and many other places, every Wednesday is a half day. if the teachers had a 1pm collaboration meeting, they could knock out self-administering in 20 action packed minutes per week. sure, why not? who hires the principals and vice principals? do we even need a school board? a state education department? with the internet around now, there are a lot of people who think we could do away with buildings. put it all on the table.

  10. Let me get this straight. The people of SD elect legislators to represent us in Pierre. The legislators then elect from among themselves a group of leaders.

    May doesn’t like the fact that leadership is serving on the task force because . . . . eh, why?

  11. Springer,

    Your statement “some things just are, like math” tells me real clear you don’t understand math. Maybe you can add/subtract and multiple/divide at a remedial level or operate a calculator. Mathematics is the building block to logic and philosophy. It is the means to order and understand relationship of things, put them in perspective, and determine materiality. Learning only to “do” and not to understand CONDEMNS students to mediocrity.

    Reading the standards, find me one thing in particular you don’t want with regard to the math standards. For every teacher you find who doesn’t like it, I’ll find two.

    A third grade teacher’s opinion on what a third grader should know is not relevant. A third grade teacher is “working for” what the 4th grade teacher needs the student to know.

    The standards define what math skills a third grade teacher’s students are to have when they are delivered to the fourth grade teacher so the fourth grade teacher can properly deliver the student to the fifth grade teacher a properly prepared student. This continues until the student graduates high school and either moves into a career or further educations.

    That is all the standards are- clear direction on what a teacher can expect with regard to skills when their student arrives and the skills the student should have when they advance to the next level.

    The school and the teacher get to choose the curriculum and the teaching methods to meet the standards. A teacher who doesn’t want to deliver a student for the next level at the required standard needs to be fired. Period.

    So, Springer, in particular, do you disagree with standards and expectations that students are properly prepared to move on? Or do you disagree with these standards? What in particular? Are we being too hard on 3rd graders? Too much homework? Should we just give them a medal and let them move to the next grade? Are you satisfied with what we are delivering today? If not Common Core, what standards do you propose?

    I’ve had literally dozens of conversations about Common Core. While having formed firmly held positions on Common Core, the two most common denominators are few people have actually taken the time to read the standards (I did math and science in an evening) and few people have an understanding of what skills are required in these disciplines to be successful.

    Prove to me you have read the standards and understand what skills are required by grade, and that those standards will get us a competant graduate.

    1. Wow. I guess my stupidity is really showing by my dislike of Common Core. You have a right to like these standards and I have a right to disagree. It doesn’t make me stupid and you smart; we just disagree. And BTW I have always enjoyed and studied math, much beyond the remedial level you refer to.

      All the teachers I have had and my kids had over the years know that they must be sure the student knows and understands the concepts of a grade before passing the student on to the next. This isn’t something new to Common Core and fuzzy math. It’s an insult to teachers to imply otherwise. And to imply that all students were condemned to mediocrity before the advent of Common Core is arrogant and incorrect. I am not now and never have been against standards, just against the type of standards mandated by Common Core; there is a big difference.

      1. Springer –

        What standards mandated by Common Core are you against? I would appreciate a top ten list.

        1. The way math is taught is a major concern. And the mandated testing that goes along with Common Core is another. There are two easy answers.

          1. Springer, it would be nice if you could answer the question. Which standards are you against? Testing preceded Common Core by many years and the requirement hasn’t changed with development of Common Core. Many people seem to say they are against the standards but have never read them. Hence the question: which ones don’t you like?

            1. Franklin –

              Thank you. He did not answer the question. Common Core does not define how standards should be taught. The standards are there to define goals for the teachers before handing them off to the next educator.

          2. CC does not tell or mandate or guide how ANY subject is taught!

            Are you confusing STANDARDS (CC) with METHODS (teacher’s choice)?

    2. “The standards define what math skills a third grade teacher’s students are to have when they are delivered to the fourth grade teacher so the fourth grade teacher can properly deliver the student to the fifth grade teacher a properly prepared student.”

      Troy Jones seems to have an extremely naïve perception of how students learn. If teachers had the power to “deliver” students “properly prepared” to some arbitrary standard, a large majority of us would have been doing so without Common Core.

      It may work that way in the utopian dreams of education bureaucrats, but it doesn’t work that way in real life.

      “For every teacher you find who doesn’t like it, I’ll find two.”

      So we’re only making life miserable for a third of our teachers. Somehow that’s not an especially comforting thought.

      1. It’s not only the teachers that are miserable. It’s the students, and that’s the problem.

      2. Not comforting?

        THEN GET OUT.

        It’s impossible to light a fire under an arse that doesn’t move.


        30+ years in education.

        1. If you can’t make a point without insulting someone, I think you just lost the argument. I did read the standards. We have always had standards in math, even before CC.. And yes, we have always had testing, but not the amount or frequency of testing now associated with Common Core.

          I do not agree with standards that insist students be taught a confusing manner to solve a simple problem. And I said that without insulting anyone.

          1. “insist students be taught a confusing manner ”

            You’re wrong. You’re 100% WRONGH.

            The CC standards state NOTHING about HOW a topic/concept is to be taught. There are NO CC mandate or recommendations or suggestions on how a “simple problem” should be taught.

            You’re confusing METHODs with content/standards

            You haven’t a clue.

            You’re insulting yourself and embarrassing yourself.

            I challenge you: QUOTE the CC standard(s) that require a “simple problem” be ” taught a confusing manner .

            QUOTE IT. CITE IT.

  12. I don’t understand the common cores of education or how they related to getting more money for good teachers.

    So I have to agree with those who point out that we have way too many fatcat administrators with huge salaries and fancy reserved parking spaces. Cut them by 75% as the first step. Then move on to other steps.

  13. We fought you moderate/Democratic bastards for almost 100 years on slavery.. We’re not giving up on opposing your liberal Common Core crap.

    Give em hell Representative May.

  14. 10% of the gambling money could directly pay from the State to every certified teacher in SD $5,000. Even if one third of the 46,000,000 acres comprising SD are not taxable this would add a whooping 30 cents an acre to the tax base.

  15. Frustrated educator,

    I know it is a challenge to meet the standard. I appreciate that being a good teacher requires hard work.

    What I also know is if you don’t have a target (standard) for what a student is to know when they reach the next grade, you can’t hit it. You aim before you shoot and don’t shoot without aiming and hope you hit the target.

    At least dozens of times here, I have asked people to give me a single example of a math standard in any grade they think is not appropriate and never a response.

    I guess specifics is too much to ask when it is easier to just rant.

  16. Noah,

    You are exactly right. Most of the complaints isn’t about the standard but the curriculum or techniques used to teach them. These are local control issues.

    Solving problems depends on first correctly identifying the problem. Throwing out a standard because of curriculum/technique is not going to make our students more capable.

  17. Springer,

    I think we got to the heart of the problem when you said “I do not agree with standards that insist students solve a simple problem in a confusing manner. (Not on computer and couldn’t cut and paste and going back and forth was hard. So if I didn’t get quote right, I apologize.)

    Arithmetic is the lower branch of Mathematics where using the easiest means to solve is acceptable and usually appropriate. Mathematics requires knowledge of the principles of more complex means as the are necessary in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc. (higher branches).

    When we only expose elementary students to the simplest means, they are ill-prepared for the higher branches. And that is the heart of our declining Math competence. Students go through elementary school mastering Arithmetic but their lack of exposure to the basics of higher branches (by exposing them to other solution techniques and principles in elementary school) causes them to suddenly find Math too hard in Jr. High and High School and fail to stop taking Math classes as soon as they can.

    There is another detriment to not exposing them to these other techniques and principles- they are basics to logic, proportionality and materiality which are critical to higher thought processes, rhetoric, philosophy, and even understanding the Logos (Divine reason and His creative order).

    1. I can’t believe I’m on a “Blog” but since it was brought to my email box I’ve decided to respond and use my “Real” name. The State of South Dakota along with the rest of the country wanted out of “No Child Left Behind” The Feds. offered a RTT Grant that States could apply for. South Dakota applied for the RTT Grant with no guarantees that they would receive it. Upon applyiing for the grant they were required to entered into a contract for CCSS. South Dakota DID NOT receive the RTT Grant, but now were required to implement CCSS. With the implementation of CCSS it came at a high cost. Since there was no money that came through the RTT Grant the state was now on the hook to pay for the updates. These facts were held back from the citizens of SD. I’ve been asking for 3 years “What the financial consequences are for implementation of CCSS to no avail.” Fast forward to 2015 Legislative Session and SB53. The Gov. and Dept. of Education had no intentions nor could they pay for the technology and assessments without political consequences. So what they did is used SB53 to pass the cost on to the local districts. You might wonder why would any legislator support such a move. Well, they wrote the bill to include the technology/assessments and to get the votes needed they threw the sparsity into the bill. Legislators that had areas of sparsity in their district were scared that they would loose the funding. Sparsity had always been part of the Cutler/Gabriel Formula. That’s the background on CCSS adoption so let’s move on to the arguement. Under CCSS teachers can use 15% of outside material (not associated with CCSS) in the classroom. The problem with using outside material or teaching in a different manner is CC is based on the results for SBAC. (Teachers are evaluted based on SBAC results) If you were a teacher would you add material or alternative’s to adding 2+2 that students will not be tested on? See that’s the problem, teachers are not allowed to deviate away from the curriculum without suffering the consequences of retaliation. Local school boards have no other alternative in what standards, curriculum and assessments they use. There is currently only 3 text book companies and they all align to CCSS. So the idea that CCSS is a free, transparent and locally controlled way to educate is a fadrication sold to you by none other than Bill Gates, unelected bureaucrats and companies that are making millions of dollars of the backs of our chilldren. On a side note, schools districts such as Rapid City who are under financial distress/loosing teachers are a direct result of the technology/assessment mandates. The money they’re asking for is not for teacher pay. The taxpayers are once again required to pay for something that is unproven and our children are being used as guinea pigs. This new Blue Ribbon Taskforce is an affront to everything we stand for in South Dakota. The new “rules” handed out to legislators in an email from the governor’s office should spark outrage all across the state. In South Dakota the legislature is tasked with in my view the most important job of any society.
      The education of our children.
      However, in recent years, the bureaucrats, along with the full cooperation of the education committee chairs, have shut elected official and the public out of the discussion.
      Only those who are willing to submit to the executive branches’ mandates without question are given any voice. I I ran to serve the citizens of District 27 and all citizens of South Dakota. I was not elected by bureaucrats and the Governor. The way legislators are push aside is nothing short of draconian.
      As citizens, you don’t have to agree with my ideas on education. The issue at play here is that if you find my policy prescriptions ineffective you have recourse as is your God given right. Get me out of office. However, our current administration has found the silly notion of elected officials to be cumbersome and an obstacle to their current agenda.

Comments are closed.