HB 1234: Still a train wreck for education, still a waste of tax dollars. Sign and share this online petition to stop HB 1234 today!

Josh Verges, education reporter at that Sioux Falls paper, chides teachers for their continued opposition to HB 1234, Governor Dennis Daugaard's package of K-12 education reforms. The amendments of this bill still encompass the four primary and bad policy tenets Governor Daugaard laid out at the start of the legislative session: state-mandated standardized teacher evaluations, merit pay, elevation of math and science above other disciplines, and termination of continuing contract due process protections.

Yet Verges joins Rep. Hickey in poo-pooing teacher expertise. Apparently Verges feels that teachers have an obligation to accept a policy just because the Gang of Six keep moving the words around.

Each amendment has been billed as an answer to the complaints of teachers, administrators and school boards. "We're listening," Daugaard and Republican lawmakers keep saying. And yet, HB1234 keeps attracting more critics.

...as the bill has been amended, complaints about the merits of the bill have grown increasingly vague or off-point [Josh Verges, "Analysis: What Would It Take for Bill to Gain Teachers' Approval?" that Sioux Falls paper, 2012.02.23].

Increasingly vague and off-point? Kind of like hasty generalizations, right?

O.K., try this:

  1. Merit pay doesn't work. Legislators have no evidence it will work. Folks reading the research realize it doesn't work. We should not waste any tax dollars on policies that don't work, especially not when there are effective alternatives.
  2. Arts, history, English, and music are just as important as science and math. Extra merit pay aimed just at math and science teachers ignores that principle.
  3. K-12 schools already have all the tools they need to get rid of bad teachers. Eliminating the due process protections of continuing contract does not improve student achievement; it makes it easier for administrators and school boards to cut good teachers for bad reasons.

Is that sufficiently specific and on-point for you, Mr. Verges?