I guess Governor Daugaard is going to go full-tilt global-warming denialism on South Dakota's teacher shortage:
Instead of offering answers during an appearance on Argus Leader's "100 Eyes" program, the governor asked questions. He also questioned the state's culpability for South Dakota's low teacher salaries.
"Is there a shortage?" Daugaard said Monday. "Maybe in some areas. Is it driven by a salary differential, or is it driven by location, geography? What is it driven by?" [Patrick Anderson, "Teacher Shortage: Questions from Daugaard," that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.01.20]
Is there a teacher shortage? Dakota Wesleyan University president Amy Novak thinks so:
With fewer teachers for students in South Dakota's rural communities, lawmakers and educators are developing a plan to encourage other staff members at those schools to get teaching degrees.
Amy Novak, president of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, told The Daily Republic on Tuesday that she has been included in talks about legislation that would help paraprofessionals, such as teacher's assistants, already working in rural communities get a bachelor's degree in elementary or secondary education. Novak said Dakota Wesleyan would like to be involved in any effort to revitalize the state's rural communities [Chris Mueller, "Local College Joins Fight Against Teacher Shortage," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.01.20].
So does freshman District 14 Rep. Tom Holmes:
The legislation, prepared by State Rep. Tom Holmes, R-Sioux Falls, is still in its early stages. But, essentially, it would provide tuition assistance to those paraprofessionals who agree to teach for at least five years in a rural community.
The legislation comes as a response to a shortage of teachers in South Dakota, which the numbers indicate is likely to get worse in the near future [Mueller, 2015.01.20].
So does District 20 Rep. Tona Rozum:
State Rep. Tona Rozum, R-Mitchell, said she has visited schools in her district, which includes Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties, and has seen the teacher shortage firsthand.
"There is a shortage," Rozum said. "They need help to get teachers into the system" [Mueller, 2015.01.20].
And so does the Mitchell Daily Republic, whose editor at no point requires Mueller to qualify "teacher shortage" with "alleged" or "purported" or anything else that would support our Governor's feigned agnosticism.
South Dakota is short on teachers. We're not paying them enough to compensate for two generations of gubernatorial and legislative disrespect. We're not paying them enough to compete with other states and other professional opportunities. The Governor may want to ignore that reality, but evidently even members of his own party cannot sustain that denialism. Let's hope Holmes and Rozum can propose honest solutions to this very real problem.