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Gettysburg School Scores High Despite Ungrateful Legislators

An eager reader complains that Dakota War College's "Yay, Gettysburg!" post seemed to want to give undue credit to Gettysburg legislators Corey Brown and Justin Cronin for BusinessWeek's market-defying conclusion that Gettysburg is the best place in South Dakota to raise kids. Said reader submitted a critique along those lines to DWC, but the itchy spam filter there apparently gobbled it up.

I disagree that UFO (Unidentified Faking Object) "Bill Clay" was necessarily trying to credit Senator Brown and Representative Cronin with making Gettysburg great. "Clay" uses language sufficiently vague ("Some of that must also have to do with the top quality legislators they send to Pierre") to leave the direction of causality's arrow a matter of interpretation. He/she/it could be saying Gettysburg's great legislators are proof of its good educational system. Or "Clay" could just be sending warm fuzzies to legislators. (Next up: DWC goes Fluffington Post and simply posts cute puppies, kitties, and ducklings over Roger Hunt and Dusty Johnson... not that Dusty isn't adorable enough to make The Fluffington Post all by himself.)

But my friend does make a strong point that Brown, Cronin, and other Republican legislators certainly haven't been doing anything to help Gettysburg or any other South Dakota public school win national recognitions. I yield the floor to my friend, whose sentiments I share:

We should all be thinking about the hard work put in by educators in the Gettysburg School District, and other public districts throughout the state, that allow our young people to score higher than the state average in math and reading. You certainly can't credit Brown and Cronin, for they took part, as leaders of our state Legislature, in the slashing to our education system earlier this year that reduced state aid funding by 6.6 percent, and, according to the ASBSD's report, "Costly Cuts: A Survey of South Dakota Schools," forced public schools to shed, at minimum, the equivalent of more than 465 full-time jobs last year.

Gettysburg participated in the survey, but the report doesn't list how many jobs each of the 113 schools districts who took part in the survey lost individually. We do know, however, that in the Gettysburg School District, the burden of education funding has shifted to the district's property taxpayers (something not noted by Businessweek).

The ASBSD report states that the Gettysburg district successfully passed a new $300,000 property tax opt-out over the next five years, effective for school year 2011-12, so that it can meet its goals of maintaining a high quality education -- a task that Corey and Justin obviously believe the state shouldn't be bothered with.

The report also shows that the school districts across the state must tap their reserves to make ends meet, and are taking advantage of some spending flexibility given them when the Legislature, instead of not cutting state aid, offered to allow districts to shift $15.9 million in general fund expenses to their capital outlay budgets.

Sen. Corey Brown, the assistant majority leader from Gettysburg, conducted his own school funding survey for the appropriations committee in September, with 106 districts participating.

He was surprised by how few academic programs were eliminated and by the widespread use of capital outlay spending flexibility. If the Legislature allows that law to sunset in 2014, he said, "We'd probably have a problem on our hands."

Brown also thought he'd see more districts raising more local revenue by opting out of the state's property tax freeze." (Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Nov. 17, 2011)

Corey doesn't seem to bothered by the fact that property taxpayers in his hometown have to pay more because he and his fellow legislators chose not to find any way for the state to even maintain state aid funding at a consistent level.

He lets the folks in Gettysburg, including the school administrators, teachers, and property taxpayers, do all of the heavy lifting, to the point where his hometown, along with scores of other communities across the state, "might have a problem on their hands" by 2014. Oops.

The K-12 system in Gettysburg and statewide produces some good results despite, not thanks to, our Legislature. And the dereliction of duty to education by Brown, Cronin, et al. suggests they are either forgetful of or ungrateful for the great education they received from South Dakota's public schools.


  1. troy jones 2011.11.24

    LOL. Intellectual vigor is officially dead in liberal circles.

    To be "pro" anything for a liberal is measured by how much one spends of other people's money.

  2. David Newquist 2011.11.24

    And liberals sweat, stink, steal, cheat, and like to wear loose shoes.

  3. john 2011.11.24

    So Troy if the state cut all funding their school would be even better.

  4. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.24

    Happy Thanksgiving Troy. You are the one voice I see here who represents more of what I truly believe without ever needing to confront your reasoning or rationale.

    Cory you know deep down I appreciate your intellectualness and feel challenged by what you write; which does not happen elsewhere very often. We could become friends someday if we agreed to not ever discuss politics in person. That said you write like all liberals though in trying to convey somehow an objective position while accusing those of differing viewpoints with scandalous intentions. This particular blog represents your finest hour. Gettysburg School Scores High Despite Ungrateful Legislators reads the headline. Where in the world did you come up with that accusation? Did Senator Brown or Representative Cronin say something negative about their own high school education to you? Did they write or say something negative about their own educational experience at GHS? If not then you are putting words into their mouths and would it not be that they are in the public eye and run under a different set of standards then the rest of the general population would be able to sue you for slander. How can you sleep at night Cory?

  5. troy jones 2011.11.24

    John, thanks for reinforcing my point. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Nailed it Charlie. Happy Turkey Day to you too.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.24

    I sleep nervously, Charlie, worrying that you, Senator Brown, Rep. Cronin, and your other colleagues might decide that since immediate catastrophe didn't ensue from the cuts you made last year, K-12 can stand another go 'round of cuts this year. For this fiscal year, Spearfish eliminated one of three world language positions; what's wrong with cutting one more, right? (That would be me.)

    Charlie, the budget passed by you, Brown, Cronin, et al. carries the implicit statement that the education Gettysburg and the K-12 system provided last year was not worth a similar investment of money and manpower this year. That budget said hundreds of teachers who were busting their chops last year were unnecessary. I feel comfortable seeing in that implicit accusation a certain ingratitude, a certain inability to recognize the good work done in the past by our K-12 system and the resources needed to do just as good a job for present and future students.

    Troy, you know I don't advocate blindly throwing money into K-12 education. That accusation lacks intellectual vigor. I advocate providing students with good role models, coaches, advocates, and other adults who give a darn. Sustaining a high school staff requires some certain amount of money. This year's budget said kids deserve fewer teachers. That reduces the opportunities our kids have. I think that's a pretty objective position, Charlie.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.24

    That said, gentlemen, permit me to wish you a healthy and safe Thanksgiving as well. You're wrong, but I still appreciate your taking time away from your families and festivities to cast me a glance and drop me a line.

  8. Charlie Johnson 2011.11.24

    Money and more of it may not guarantee success but lack of funding will most certainly guarantee failure in our school districts. Teacher morale is at a major low in all school districts across the state. By paying professionals well(I consider k-12 instuctors in that category), you can and should demand respect, excellence, and the best there is to offer. When it comes to my view of the general society, our first task is to educate our youth well.

  9. Stace Nelson 2011.11.24

    Mr. "H,"
    The two top countries kicking our butts in math & science? South Korea & Japan. They have longer school days, longer school weeks, longer school years, older schools, rigid testing to enter HS & colleges, school uniforms, little to no school sports programs (pay clubs), still low tech blackboard type lecturing, larger class sizes, corporal punishment still in some schools, and the teachers have comparative pay to US teachers.

    Teachers throughout Asia are given great respect by the students and the community.

  10. David Newquist 2011.11.24

    Some school districts achieve high performance levels despite what politicians and other kibitzers try to inflict upon them, as the commenter quoted by Cory points out. The most strident criticism of American education comes from those who have had little exposure to it, as their writing and commentary demonstrates. Their efforts are compounded by those tabloid-type rankings of media such as Businessweek which rates a community with a high school senior class of 12 against communities which have thousands. A quick look at the demographic composition of Gettysburg district students would make people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds conclude that Gettysburg would not be a very good place to raise their children. And where would the parents of these children work if they did find it attractive?

    Where the comparisons get really treacherous is when the U.S. scores in math and technology are compared with Japan and Korea. Both countries have mandatory education only through middle school. To advance in Japan, students must take competitive tests to gain admittance to the high schools. In Korea, education at the late middle school and high school years is streamed into vocational and academic tracks. The students in Japan who take the high-stakes assessment tests are those who have scored high on competitive exams and been admitted to the academic high schools. In Korea, the students who take the assessment tests are those who are streamed into the academic tracks. In the U.S., the assessment test scores are from all the public school students for whom education is mandatory through age 16. In Japan and Korea, the scores are gathered from students who have been selected to enter the academic programs which include mostly math and science.

    In those countries, as in most foreign countries, teachers do not live in a culture which constantly demeans them as unionized slackers.

    A good place to begin any comparative discussion would be with the comments by an American who operates private schools in Japan:

  11. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    I would argue finer points of balancing the budget were evident other than waiting for catastrophic failure of our school systems Cory. But we were wrong and didn't get the play book explaining how the legislature controls school boards determining teacher pay. We were wrong in ending a seven year run on a structurally negative budget. We were wrong by not spending more money than we had mimicking the rest of America. (Though you could bring an amendment to our State Constitution changing that little piece allowing us to borrow and spend our way into success!) Wrong again in taking any stimulus money. It could have easily been sent back although we were all loan signers. (Your grandkids would have loved us for that.)

    Cory you said; "(( Charlie, the budget passed by you, Brown, Cronin, et al. carries the implicit statement that the education Gettysburg and the K-12 system provided last year was not worth a similar investment of money and manpower this year. ))" and then your wrote "((I feel {{feel is the big clue here}} comfortable seeing in that implicit accusation a certain ingratitude, a certain inability to recognize the good work done))" and then, "((I think that’s a pretty objective position, Charlie.))"

    In the English language if what you wrote concerning our perceived threat to your salaried position was not 100% subjective than we are on two different planets my friend. You can spin it anyway which makes you feel vindicated in your own mind Cory but the last thing any educated person would ever do is purposefully hurt the very school system which gave that educated person his or her foundation of thought process.

    It was all about ending a structural deficit. We did that and it was not easy nor was it any damn fun. Come to some cracker barrel meetings in District 23 with us and ask us questions in public with a reporter there Cory. I'm betting that never happens.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    From David's link: "passive, non-responsive... void of opinions... a nation of order takers who have trouble making decisions"—yikes! (No wonder I don't get many Japanese commenters.)

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    I'd love to come to a crackerbarrel in District 23 to ask you questions in public and on the record... just as I do here. (On this blog, I'm betting our conversation is better preserved on the record and made available to more citizens for review than it would be in the local paper in District 23.) I'm perfectly comfortable asking you these questions in front of anyone: the press, our families, our neighbors, our fellow South Dakotans. Someday when blogging makes me independently wealthy (since teaching certainly won't), I'll travel the state every weekend attending crackerbarrels. I'll come to every legislator's town and conduct 30-minute podcast interviews with every one of them and their challengers in the election (dang, that would be a good blog series! Any subscribers want to underwrite a 2012 tour?).

    Charlie, you and our Governor consistently create a false dilemma. The choice was not between cutting education funding or continuing a structural deficit. Behind door #3, we had the option represented by Initiated Measure #15: raise taxes. Access the uninterruptedly expanding GDP of our state to pay for the good services our schools provide. We have the money; the Legislature lacked the will and vision to get the money and spend it on education.

    I stand by my statement of objectivity: if you spend less money on X, you are saying that X is not as valuable to you as your previous spending said it was.

    And Charlie, please, don't hide behind the specious argument that the Legislature doesn't control teacher pay or hiring or firing. Can you seriously say (on the record, in front of reporters) that you cut 6.6% from a K-12 budget that dedicates most of its spending to payroll and had no idea those cuts would necessitate reductions in payroll?

    This study I discussed in June notes that salary matters, especially when we compare what beginning teachers make compared to comparably educated professionals in other fields. It's funny how Republicans think money and market forces matter in everything but education.

  14. Charlie Johnson 2011.11.25

    The legislature by not looking at revamping our tax structure chose to underfund vital services like k-12 education, medicare, and such. When many segments of Sd did well in 2010/11 ie, farmers, the legislature did not ask those who make decent incomes to help fund education. My BEEF proposal would allocate less than 1% gross receipts go toward the school aid formula-both eliminating the need for state general funds and local property taxes. How about that for providing regular steady funding for education while providing major tax relief? Any thoughts, Mr. Hoffman?

  15. Stace Nelson 2011.11.25

    Mr. "H,"
    Japan & South Korea are kicking our butt in many areas in addition to schools. Dismissing their successes out right, and spouting Western prejudice, is a statement about the commentor.

    What is not being discussed are the problems in RESULTS that we have in our state public education system and that throwing money at those problems have not solved them.

    You blame the governor & legislators for last years budget; however, no heat for those liberal policies that helped create the national recession that caused our own budget short falls? If we followed the examples of other liberal led states of simply raising taxes and spending like there was no tommorrow, we very well could have tanked our economy and had cuts in the line with theirs of thousands of such jobs.

    As Rep. Hoffman reflected, it was a miserable process to balance the budget last year. NOBODY wanted to see cuts or our state employees going for their third year without even a cost of living adjustment or pay raise.

    The liberal call to tax and spend does not work. Ca, Ny, Nj, Mn, etc., etc., are perfect examples of that.

    Other states are imploding with debt, massive unemployment (to include wide spread teacher lay-offs), and a grim future; however, SD is chugging along near the top of the national economic scale. We have been able to minimize the loss of jobs across the public sector and our private sector is thriving. Tax revenue receipts for this year look promising, even as other states continue to flounder, and our national economy remains sluggish at best.

    Of note, you are villifying legislators that haven't had a pay raise since I believe 1992. Many of us actually lose money serving, when all things are considered.

    Many of the emails I received from South Dakotans called for us to remove sports programs from receipt of public funding for education (roughly $25 Million for K-12 & $25 Million for state colleges alone), cut the amount of administration positions that were viewed as excessive, etc. Those decisions are local ones that can have a huge impact on the monies available for the education of our youth.

    In the economic environment that we had to make those tough decisions in last year, your comments are unjust at best.

  16. troy jones 2011.11.25

    You would think in a conversation about education, someone besides Charlie would articulate something informed vs. perception and bias.

  17. Anne 2011.11.25

    It is revealing that the only two commenters who have experience and education in the field of education and who cite actual facts are merely expressing perception, bias, and Western prejudice.

  18. troy jones 2011.11.25

    Considering the decline in education performance despite significantly more resources over inflation, I dont consider that experience anything positive. They have pursued an agenda which belies a hatred of children, especially poor children.

  19. Anne 2011.11.25

    If you are accusing specific people of pursuing an agenda of hatred against poor children, I suggest you provide specific examples you know of where they did this. Libel goes pretty far out of bounds.

  20. Jana 2011.11.25

    Charlie, "catastrophic failure of our school systems?" Wait a minute, didn't the Governor and the Republicans tell us there wasn't a budget crisis during the campaign?

    Troy do you suppose the advances of society and technology have something to do with the increasing costs of education?

  21. Jana 2011.11.25

    Stace...your comment "The liberal call to tax and spend does not work. Ca, Ny, Nj, Mn, etc., etc., are perfect examples of that. " puzzles me.

    Let's see it was iconic Republican governors that ran MN, NJ, CA etc., etc,

    Heck, even with all of the federal aid Rick Perry's Texas received he had a huge budget problem as well.

  22. Bill Fleming 2011.11.25

    Troy, how is accusing people of hating children in any way helpful? You may have arguments you wish to advance that demonstrate current policy is not as beneficial to children as it perhaps could be. But to accuse two respected educators of hating children seems uncharacteristically (and unnecessarily) pugnacious.

  23. troy jones 2011.11.25

    Anne, if you can infer Newquist experience makes his opinion superior, I can infer the results of his ideas belies hatred since they are such dismal failures. You liberals just cant see passed your biases. And, isnt that the definition of bigot?

    (I will bet the paradox I am trying to expose is totally lost on you. Hint- consumers of education are more important than the suppliers yet it is only the suppliers/experts whose opinion is respected in certain quarters. Why is that if it is really about the children?)

  24. Anne 2011.11.25

    An inference is a conclusion drawn from facts. You present nothing of the facts you know about Mr. Heidelberger's or Mr. Newquist's performance as teachers. Can you cite any evidence that they, who spend their lives teaching, know nothing of their obligations to their students. Rather you begin with the premise that education is a failure and deduct, therefore, that Mssr.s Heidelberg and Newquist as educators must have caused the failure and that their failure is motivated by their hatred of children. Such a deduction in my rhetoric classes was termed a logical fallacy. But then I was apparently taught by one of those child haters. You attribute malevolence toward children to the men. That is a libel pure and simple, and provides evidence of what is truly the problem confronting public.l It does not reside in the classrooms.

  25. Anne 2011.11.25

    Should read: public education in second from last sentence.

  26. Jana 2011.11.25

    Stace, you said that: "Japan & South Korea are kicking our butt in many areas in addition to schools. Dismissing their successes out right, and spouting Western prejudice, is a statement about the commentor."

    Do you really hate America so much that you would not just accept that education is part of American exceptionalism?

    It seems during the health care debate that any questioning of the outcomes of the American health system was equated with being un-American.

  27. Jana 2011.11.25

    Stace, here's another puzzler from your last post. You said: "You blame the governor & legislators for last years budget; however, no heat for those liberal policies that helped create the national recession that caused our own budget short falls?"

    What responsibility should the last 30 years of total Republican control of South Dakota shoulder? That we weren't frugal enough in our last-in-the nation spending on education?

  28. Stace Nelson 2011.11.25

    If you really desire answers, try a little civility. Until then, please enjoy the ignoring your ignorance inspires.

  29. john 2011.11.25

    Troy I find it interesting you advocate for cutting public education when you sent your kids and now grand kids to a private school

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    Stace, come on: don't play the "Cory's a bigot" card. You know better. I did not dismiss Japan's successes out of hand; I noted a serious critique offered in David's link from a person with lengthy experience of living and teaching in Japan. I also offered a link to a study that found merits in Japan's education system.

    Don't try to shift the blame for the budget cuts to the recession, because, as you guys keep forgetting, the recession never happened in South Dakota. We saw GDP growth. We have more money available. Yet you decided teachers and schools are worth less (two words). There lies the fundamental ingratitude to the K-12 system that no one has rebutted. Nobody wanted to see the cuts, but you guys made those cuts, even though you had alternatives.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    And Troy, stop trotting out the "Cory hates children" line. It's old, and it's wrong. And have we seen a decline in educational performance in the South Dakota K-12 system?

  32. Donald Pay 2011.11.25

    I looked at some of the results from Gettysburg Public Schools, and some of the data on the district.

    Gettysburg's achievement numbers bounce around from class year to class year year. School year 2010 appears to have been a good one for some class years, but 2009 was not for those same class years. This result reflects a statistical artifact of small numbers relative to the larger population of students in South Dakota. Unfortunately ratings in periodicals usually don't look at multiyear data, or track class cohorts over time.

    Still, I'm impressed with Gettysburg being able to keep class sizes low, which probably has much more to do with their generally outstanding achievement scores, than who the legislators are.

  33. troy jones 2011.11.25


    Then quit inferring those who dont support your views are anti wbatever view you have.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    No, Troy, my claim is much more specific than yours. My claim is based on a fairly market-based read of the facts. The legislators we are discussing (and those who are participating in the discussion, thank you, gentlemen!) said that we were spending too much on education. They said the amount we spent last year was too much. They reduced the amount we spent on education, which reduced the number of people we dedicated to that work. They thus made an implicit judgment that the efforts of numerous educators to provide students with opportunities were unnecessary. That tells me they feel today's and tomorrow's students don't deserve the same level of opportunity enjoyed by past students, including themselves.

    Now remind me of the specific facts and the logical reasoning therefrom that demonstrate my hatred of children, especially poor children.

    (Whoa—sorry, I just backed up and reread Troy's comment. If people do not support my view, is it not a tautology to conclude that those people are indeed against ["anti"] my view?)

  35. Stace Nelson 2011.11.25

    No inference of such sort was intended towards you.

    What is not being addressed here, and towards Mr. Jones' swift punch to the gut of the issue, is we are not discussing what should be the most important point of discussion... the children and our retreat of accomplishments in educating them.

    Japan & South Korea are doing things that we have abandoned.

    To your point, the legislators & governor are to blame for last years cuts, they are also to blame for SD not being in the same tail spin recession as the rest of the USA. If we were in that tax & spend boat, it would have required massive cuts to education and every other state function in order to get us out of the deficits we see across the USA.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    What punch, Stace? I am addressing exactly the point of doing what's best for kids (a point I also happen to address more directly every day in the classroom). I contend that this year's budget provides them with fewer opportunities and human resources than last year's. That reduction of opportunities harms their education. The establishment of the "new norm" puts us at a permanent disadvantage in teaching kids and recruiting new teachers, a disadvantage that will make its impacts felt slowly and cumulatively over time.

    Stace, the Legislature is directly responsible for budget decisions. It is at most indirectly and partially responsible for South Dakota's ability to ride out recessions. We are not in the tax and spend boat, yet you still chose "massive cuts to education and every other state function" in order to eliminate the Rounds structural deficit.

  37. Jana 2011.11.25

    If you really desire answers, try a little civility. Until then, please enjoy the ignoring your ignorance inspires."

    So how's this...pretty please, answer just the last post please Mr. Legislator. Except I'll clarify it to mean only last-in-the-nation teacher salaries.

  38. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    When did I ever say that South Dakota was spending too much on education Cory?

  39. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    The legislators we are discussing (and those who are participating in the discussion, thank you, gentlemen!) said that we were spending too much on education. Your words Cory. I am either in or I am out. I'm good either way. But state your cover guy.

  40. Stace Nelson 2011.11.25

    Cory, Maybe too many choices is the problem. We have children who cannot provide proper change, graduating from HS. Let alone other basics.

    Jana, actually, when all things are considered, SD is ranked #41 for pay by national teacher sites: I believe administrators are ranked around 25.

  41. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    Jana I am re-watching the CNN GOP Presidential debates as I was at a meeting with some constituents and energy folks the night it played out originally. Hunstman is one of the smartest and most enjoyable speakers I have ever listened to. (If the smart ones in the GOP would pick him and set Ms. Bachman up for the VP could you imagine Obama/Biden debating them?) ((Me either--money will win the game so you can sleep well again tonight!))

    If you want the truth I publically will give it to you. The SD Legislature does not control teacher pay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! {{That is what this whole debate is about right??!}} I don't know how many times I need to tell Cory Heidleburger in real easy to understand terms until he understands. SCHOOL BOARDS set the district standards of starting teacher salaries. The general public either confirms that boards decision making process or they vote the buggers out and bring in newbies. Are you saying that we in the legislature should set minimum pay standards for all teachers in South Dakota? It is sounding like that is what I am hearing from you and Cory.

  42. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    Troy do you think my informed perception is biased? -;)

  43. Garyd 2011.11.25

    I am having a problem with Kristri Noem in indicating that she is conservative and beating SHS over the head for her vote for the stimulus package when she was more that willing to accept that money to balance the budget in SD with that money and then critisize SHS for voting for and thus winning the election! How hypocritical can you be Charlie!

  44. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    Sorry Gary but I don't see the relevance to our public education discussion here. Your right though; I am a hypocrit. SO are you and the rest of American's who want their check in the mail but someone else to pay for it...................

  45. Stace Nelson 2011.11.25

    Garyd, I am sorry. By Rep. Hoffman & Rep. Noem accepting back monies that came partially from South Dakotans paying federal taxes & monies borrowed from China, they were able to keep South Dakota tax rates low. Regardless, those monies were being spent and South Dakotans were getting stuck with the bill (national debt) of those monies regardless of whether they were accepted or not. They were not to blame for the stimulas nor the national recession.

  46. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    Honestly this isn't even halfway fair.............

  47. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.25

    Charlie: "When did I ever say that South Dakota was spending too much on education?" On March 8, 2011, when you voted for SB 152 to reduce the per-student allocation.

    Now I understand perfectly the technicality behind which you hide, Charlie: the Legislature did not sign my contract or set my pay; the Spearfish School Board did. But I pose the question again, Charlie: when you voted to reduce funding for K-12, did you not believe that vote would practically reduce the money and staff available to serve our students in our public schools?

  48. Bill Fleming 2011.11.25

    Charlie, your emoticon has a typo. Hilarious. -;)

    p.s. did you know they invented a new series of those, just for special use by Stace Nelson and those of us get to who have conversations with him?

    They go like this:

    (_!_) a regular ass

    (__!__) a fat ass

    (!) a tight ass

    (_*_) an ass hole

    {_!_} a swishy ass

    (_o_) an ass that's been around

    (_x_)kiss my ass

    (_X_) leave my ass alone

    (_zzz_) a tired ass

    (_E=mc2_) a smart ass

    (_$_) Money coming out of his ass

    (_?_) Dumb Ass

  49. Charlie Hoffman 2011.11.25

    Cory I absolutely do get it. You are most concerned with money and staff and the quantity of both available to you. SO AM I my friend. We somehow went into accusing legislators of malifiance while balancing a budget and now have gone out into orbit with emotion once again.

    I am certain that no child was left behind last semester or now for that matter Cory and when money is available once again the legislature will deliver as promised more money for education. Until then if the local board of education feels a lack of funds seriousness enough for an opt-out the local people have an opportunity to speak with their checkbooks; as they can also do with their local legislators if they feel they are not being heard.

    My best guess is the people of South Dakota were heard loud and clear in the last election Cory; and you were sadly on the short end of that big ugly stick.

  50. Jana 2011.11.25

    That's great Stace. I've been running around the block chanting We're #41!

    Well at least if you look at the site you have selected. And how did we get from paying the least amount of money to our teachers to #41...well from their super, double secret Comfort Score Index.

    Stace did you see who the experts are that provide this website? Nope, neither did I. Did you see the ads on the site for online college degrees? So did I.

    Here's a little article from South Dakota Magazine about that great cost of living argument that people like to use when it's just too uncomfortable to say we really don't like paying people what they are worth.

  51. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.26

    Charlie, the people of South Dakota were told in the last election that there was no budget crisis. They were not asked if they supported 10% budget cuts, including a "new norm" that set ongoing education funding back 8.8%. They did not provide a popular mandate for the specific vote under discussion here. You continue to try to dodge your responsibility for your choice, this time by hiding behind the skirts of an imagined popular majority and school boards. You could just as easily have provided schools with the same funding as last year, or even a 4.28% increase that would have reflected the 4.28% increase in wealth our state enjoyed in 2010. You could just as easily have maintained the status quo and said, "Hey, we legislators aren't forcing schools to keep all those teachers on the payroll. If the local boards want to lower their spending and cut staff, they have that choice." Instead you said education wasn't worth your sustained investment, and punted to locals.

    Yes, teachers and students are on the short end of an ugly stick. The Legislature swung that stick even though other sticks were available.

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.26

    Jana's right: that #41 is far from something to brag about, and it's not a measure of pay but of some mystical index. The salary figure used on teacherportal is from 2007 at the latest. Stace's data on teachers' "comfort" thus fails to include the new tax he imposed on new teachers this year. Stace's data also fails to consider the fact that the average South Dakota teacher salary dropped 9.36% last year, to 63% of the national average. That drop didn't happen anywhere else that actually had a recession. I dread seeing what Stace's budget does to that average in this fiscal year.

  53. Donald Pay 2011.11.26

    The problem I noticed as a school board memeber with the discussion about education funding is that everyone is discussing facts at different scales. Everyone may be right looking at the problem from their particular level in the scale. The problem is this is a multi-scale problem that has implications at different scales, and no one seems to have the desire to integrate decisions over the scales involved. I would suggest that the scale levels are five: state level, district level, school level, classroom level, and individual students. When you are using average data at the statewide level, there is no way you can understand the implications at the district, school, classroom or individual student level. Saying that a legislator has "no control" at the other levels, does not absolve them of trying to understand the implications of their decisions.

  54. Michael Black 2011.11.26

    What would taxpayers and teachers think if the state controlled all of school funding and teachers salaries were the same across the board no matter which district they taught in?

    I believe in local control but he who has the gold makes the this case the legislature.

  55. Erin F. 2011.11.26

    Donald Pay says a problem is that people are discussing facts concerning funding at different scales. I see some alleged facts which are not, in fact, factual. I am saving this entire thread for a project I am involved in which examines the factual integrity of discussions that occur on blogs. In this case, there are some hilarious ironies in which people who are holding their ideological notions out as facts are accusing others of operating from bias, prejudice, and subjective quirks.

    In the matter of education in Japan and Korea, I think of a recent alumni event I attended at my alma mater, NSU. The university has hit a high enrollment mark, and a significant part of it is because of Asian students from China, Korea, and Japan. When we asked how these students ended up on a fairly remote campus of a small college on the great plains, we were told of the opportunities the Asian students found there that they did not have in their homelands. Both the students and their parents wanted an education not available to them in their home countries.

    And one of the facts raised in the above discussion is the matter of how quality of education is compared among countries. The advisor to the Asian students and the students pointed out that high school education is selective for them. They are selected to attend advanced high schools in their middle school years. While America tests all students for their progress, many foreign countries test only those who have been selected to attend the advanced high schools. If we used the test scores from charter schools that concentrate on math and science to compare with high schools in Japan and Korea, we be using scores that are more comparable. As it is, we are making judgments based on scores from all kids for whom high school is mandatory.

    Historically, America public education has been universal, and was the most widely copied system after World War II. Now Americans are criticizing universal education on the basis of scores compared with education that is limited to the most accomplished students. The reason many of those Asian students are here is to escape a system that is exclusive and places limits on their futures based on test scores.

  56. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.11.26

    (Your project sounds interesting, Erin! I'd love to see the final product. Keep us posted!)

  57. Bill Fleming 2011.11.26

    Erin, good point. An elaboration on Dr. Newquist's point above, it seems. The long and short of it is that Stace Nelson is arguing for the efficacy of a system that — had it been the practice in the US at the time of his schooling — would probably have excluded him from participating in it. Hmm... perhaps not a bad idea, come to think of it.

  58. Stace Nelson 2011.11.26

    Billy, tsk, tsk, tsk... So rabid that you are tripping over your own words to distort the truths: "...the efficicacy of a system?"

  59. Jana 2011.11.26 rabid? efficicacy?

    Oh please do explain. See I asked nicely.

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