Back in March, Rapid City Journal columnist Janette McIntyre tried to defend HB 1234, Governor Daugaard's education reform package. Like most defenders of HB 1234, she failed, having to resort to inaccurate statements and ad professionem attacks on teachers and bogeyman scare tactics about lawyers and unions.

Janette McIntyre has since realized that defending HB 1234 is hopeless. After just a couple weeks of feedback from readers who disagreed with her, McIntyre declared fatwa on HB 1234:

Have you ever felt liberated when you said you were wrong and really meant it?

Well, I was wrong. The education establishment and everyone else should want the governor's education bill killed one way or another [Janette McIntyre, "Ask Why Superintendents Against Referendum," Rapid City Journal, 2012.04.11].

Somewhat hilariously, McIntyre claims that the real reason she came to Jesus on HB 1234 is that she heard superintendents opposing the referendum for fear that it might hinder their ability to pass the sales-tax initiative and get more funding for the schools. McIntyre may hate teachers, but she hates taxes worse, so the enemy of her enemy becomes her friend. Congratulations, Superintendent Graves! By flacking for the Governor's plan, you helped convince someone else to oppose it!

McIntyre straightens her views out more in her April 25 column, wherein she calls Governor Daugaard's plan the wrong approach:

Gov. Dennis Daugaard's latest attempt with serious arm twisting pitted good teachers against good teachers. I defended his stand originally to give teachers a raise thinking at least a few of them would be making more money. It was the wrong approach [Janette McIntyre, "Merging School Districts an Answer," Rapid City Journal, 2012.04.25].

McIntyre reverses her April 11 contention that South Dakota's K-12 schools are broken. She now admits that there isn't really a major problem requiring HB 1234's ministrations:

First, teachers are doing an excellent job teaching the children in South Dakota. The statistics prove it. It does not matter if it is the comparison on ACT tests or testing at lower grades. Our students come out above the national average.

That isn't happening because we have clean air and purified water running down Rapid Creek, it's the dedication of the teachers [McIntyre 2012.04.25].

McIntyre acknowledges that there are underperformers in every profession, but that principals and parents already have the ability to weed out the underperforming teachers. The real problem, says McIntyre, is paying all of South Dakota's dedicated teachers a competitive wage:

The problem is that under the current system — and by system I mean the unnecessary bureaucracy we have created — [teachers] are not even close to parity with their counterparts in adjoining states. That should embarrass all of us.

Those of us, and I admit I have had the same thoughts, too, who think that they only work nine months of the year, well, so do the teachers in other states. Frankly, most of us couldn't do their job, nor do we want it [McIntyre 2012.04.25].

That statement is a dramatic shift from McIntyre's April 5 statement that "Teachers are paid fairly, statewide and regionally."

McIntyre now contends that we should save money and raise pay for all teachers by consolidating school districts. I've heard calls for administrative consolidation from a number of petition signers. Consolidation has pros and cons; in some sparsely populated districts, it's unworkable.

HB 1234 has done all the work it should. It has inspired a lot of thought and conversation about what's really happening in our public schools. It has inspired people like McIntyre to get past teacher-bashing and easy rhetoric and look instead for real solutions. Now let's do what McIntyre says: kill HB 1234 and come back to the 2013 Legislative session with just and effective education policies.