Sizzling off the press: the South Dakota Education Association wants you to vote on Governor Daugaard's education reform package... not in some online poll or petition (though thank you for doing so!), but for realsies, on the statewide November ballot!
(Pierre, SD) --The Board of Directors for the South Dakota Education Association (SDEA) has voted to support the referral of HB 1234 to the voters in November 2012. SDEA President Sandy Arseneault said the decision is based on concerns by educators that these major changes to education policy in South Dakota were rushed through the legislative process and will do little to help students. She went on to say the goal of the SDEA Board is to continue this important conversation with the voters and let them decide the bill's fate at the ballot box.
"South Dakota educators are deeply committed to the success of every child and our education agenda puts students at the center of any reform proposal. However, HB 1234 ignores that need and creates a bureaucracy of one-size fits all mandates which ultimately forces more high stakes testing on students," said Arseneault. "There is no evidence that HB 1234 will have a positive impact on student achievement in South Dakota and we think the people of South Dakota will agree that this legislation takes public education in the wrong direction."
Petitioners must collect 15,855 valid signatures by June 18, 2012 in order for the referral to go on the November 2012 Ballot. Any citizen can refer legislation that is passed by the State Legislature. The petitioners have 90 days from the official close of the Legislative Session to gather the signatures.
"The feedback we have received from educators and the general public has been consistent. People from all walks of life do not believe this policy is good for students and they want the chance to voice their opinion at the ballot box in November," said Arseneault. "We look forward to a healthy debate on the issues and we hope that as we work through this process everyone will stay focused on what is best for kids."
SDEA is South Dakota's largest education professionals' organization, representing more than 7,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
As I understand the referendum process, we can start circulating petitions after the Legislature formally adjourns on veto day, Monday, March 19.
I'm not an SDEA member, but I'll be coming to your door to ask for your signature and your vote. I invite you to join me. Get out your clipboards and walking shoes, friends!
Stay tuned for discussion of the political ramifications of this referral drive, coming up later in today's blog cycle!