Hey, aspiring teachers! Don't run away! The state Department of Education just announced that your evals won't be counted in your school performance index!

Now if we could just pay you enough to get you to apply.

Superintendents testified to the growing teacher shortage before the Legislature's Planning Committee Monday. Mr. Kallis summarized the supes' struggles as tweeted by the ASBSD:

  • Rapid City superintendent Tim Mitchell, whom the state superintendents just named their superintendent of the year, said one of his elementary schools has had five teachers turn down job offers due to salary.
  • Baltic Superintendent Bob Sittig calls the teacher shortage a crisis.
  • Hamlin and Alcester-Hudson have struggled to hire Spanish teachers. (Alcester-Hudson is still looking; ¡soliciten ahora!)
  • Brookings superintendent Roger DeGroot says he's "never had to work so hard" to recruit applicants. He's having to "convince" applicants to take offers. In Brookings, a beautiful university town, one of the most appealing places I can think of for a young teacher to settle down, raise a family, and pursue further education.

Alcester-Hudson superintendent Tim Rhead understands a big part of the problem is pay:

Rhead believes it all comes down to money. Though teachers in his district may start at $31,000, South Dakota's average starting salary is $29,851. That is a more than $6,000 drop from the national average of $36,141. These statistics come from the Collective Bargaining/Member Advocacy's Teacher Salary Database, which is posted on the National Education Association's website. The numbers are from the 2012-2013 school year. According to this list, Minnesota and Iowa both pay teachers more [Brady Mallory, "Superintendents Fear Teacher Shortage in SD," KELOLand.com, 2014.07.24].

An Alcester-Hudson special ed teacher agrees:

"There are a lot of people (teachers) who commute to Iowa. I don't know what the answer is, besides increasing pay," Hannah Swanson, special education teacher, said [Mallory, 2014.07.24].

Mr. Larson reminds us that the superintendents laid mostly identical testimony and evidence before our Legislature last winter but that our legislators took no concrete action to address the teacher shortage. Some Republicans couldn't stomach a resolution merely acknowledging the problem.

I've offered a plan to raise teacher pay. Have your legislators? And if they haven't, are you voting for someone else?