Early Christmas! The first bills and resolutions are in the hopper for the South Dakota Legislature!

Leading the pack are a couple of resolutions from the Interim Education Funding Formula Study Committee. HCR 1001 exhorts K-12 school districts to keep cooperating with each other to make up for the fact that they "sometimes lack the staff and resources needed to provide students with the course offerings, co-curricular activities, or other educational services or opportunities that are necessary or would serve to enhance the students' learning and educational experiences."

Sometimes? Teacher friends, care to weigh in on the percentage of days when your school can't do everything it should for kids?

HCR 1002 would have the Legislature admit that South Dakota faces a teacher shortage, due to "a variety of reasons including the financial hardships that many school districts have recently endured which caused them to ask teachers to do more with less." HCR 1002 also acknowledges that "the salaries paid to teachers in some surrounding states are significantly higher than the salaries paid to teachers in South Dakota."

Some? Legislators, look at the map and tell me which state doesn't pay teachers significantly more than South Dakota does.

Like most resolutions, HCR 1001 and 1002 are mostly useless exercises in rhetoric. At best, they would put legislators on the record admitting that South Dakota's public schools lack the resources to provide the best education and build the best staffs. The two resolutions carefully avoid pointing out the Legislature's culpability in creating those shortages or its responsibility to fix those shortages. But even these veiled admissions of guilt may be too much for some legislators to stomach.