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Teachers Taking Petitions to Pierre; Liss Listless, Lamentably

Last updated on 2013.01.24

Update 11:31 CDT: SDEA says they just handed Secretary Gant 30,000 signatures!

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Members of the South Dakota Education Association are delivering their HB 1234 referendum petitions to Pierre today with great Twitter fanfare. SDEA clearly feels good about their signature count:

SDEA HB 1234 Petition Stack 20120618
How many sheets of paper do you see in SDEA's HB 1234 petition stack? (photo from SDEA, 2012.06.18)

However many sheets are in those stacks, they are more than the disappointing pile Rep. Brian C. Liss has on his table... or in his trashbin. On Saturday, Rep. Brian C. Liss called off his petition drive to refer HB 1133, the Legislative planning committee bill. In a mildly amusing hearkening to the euphemism of failed Presidential candidates, Rep. Brian C. Liss told Facebook followers that he was "suspending" his push to place HB 1133 on the November ballot.

Sigh... and I sigh having declared that Rep. Brian C. Liss had good reason to fight HB 1133. Can we all just use words correctly? Pretty much every relevant definition of suspend includes some sense of a limited time frame, a temporary pause, with the idea of resuming action later. It's just silly to say you're suspending a petition campaign two days before the filing deadline. You say you are ending the campaign. You say you are quitting. You say you are done.

There seemed little doubt on either front, but Rep. Brian C. Liss's declaration of defeat and SDEA's trumpeted tour to Pierre suggest we have one more line on our ballot, Referred Law 16, which will join Referred Law 14 in what Bob Mercer accurately calls "a referendum on the first half of the Daugaard administration." Game on!

Update 10:49 CDT: This just in from blogospheric colleague The Displaced Plainsman: merit pay still doesn't work!


  1. Steve Sibson 2012.06.18

    So Cory, why didn't you support the HB1133 petition drive with the same zeal you did with HB1234? Is it because you hope the Democrats will take over Pierre and HB1133 with give the Democrats tyrannical powers?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.18

    Steve, I can only do so much petitioning. I signed the HB 1133 petition. The circulator I met signed mine. I did not demand that he put down his petitions and circulate mine. I chose to focus on HB 1234 because as a teacher, I am more knowledgeable and thus more useful to that campaign and because HB 1234 will do much more damage to South Dakota than HB 1133.

    And hey, I did more to publicize Liss's campaign with my blog than you did with yours, didn't I? Did you post his video or his phone number? How many signatures did you collect for Liss?

  3. Steve Sibson 2012.06.18

    "How many signatures did you collect for Liss?"

    Zero, and zero on HB1234. I still have the petitions sitting on my desk at home. I was told to stay away from issues while campaigning as a candidate. Good advice?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.18

    No. Crappy advice. I wanted you out there working your conservative friends so we could enjoy some coalition synergy on this issue in the fall. For you personally, what better way to kill two birds with one stone? You knock on doors, you talk about a real issue, you give your own pitch, and you not only talk to voters but give them a chance to do something that matters. I guess if you're worried about losing votes from Republicans who support the Governor's plan, then maybe it's good advice... but Steve Sibson isn't getting those Daugaard supporters' votes anyway.

    Who advised you to stay away from the ballot issues while campaigning? Is there a legal angle to this advice?

  5. Steve Sibson 2012.06.18

    It is like a family rule in the SDGOP not to talk issues. I hear it all the time. I wonder if it is a way for the RINOs to protect their kind.

    Both issues (SB1234 & RL14) did came out during the final push as you noted on a post. The crusade will be carried into the SDGOP convention this week too.

  6. Mike Larson 2012.06.18

    This is exactly what I am worried about. Dauggard will make this a war against the evil teacher union and his administration that cares about good teachers and establishing good school.

    Gov. Dennis Daugaard also issued this statement at 11:35 a.m. concerning the referral of HB1234:“I’m not surprised that the Teacher Bonus Bill was referred because the teachers’ union put a lot of work into collecting signatures. I look forward to furthering the discussion with the people of South Dakota on this very important topic. The bill is aimed at improving student achievement by channeling extra money directly to our best teachers and phasing out teacher tenure.”

    Now that it has been filed, I will support the action because if we lose this fight then it will just be another set-back for education across the state.

  7. Steve Sibson 2012.06.18

    Response to Daugaard:

    It is not the teachers who are the problem, it is the watered down standards forced down our throats by bribing political leaders with money borrowed from the very children who are victimized by the system.

  8. Dougal 2012.06.18

    Governor Dennis Daugaard entered office empty-headed. No ideas on growing the economy. No understanding how broke his sidekick Mike Rounds left state coffers. No thoughts on making our state’s education system better. None! He ran a rose garden campaign and apparently thought that running South Dakota was a rose garden job.

    Common sense should have told him that HB 1234 would be the most unpopular bill passed in the last several years. Ridding education of its tenure system might be popular blather on a bar stool, but in the sober light of day it invokes the real world proposition that once you get rid of tenure, it changes education forever. It would only make the teacher shortage in South Dakota far, far worse because nobody in their right mind would work in a state that pays the lowest in the nation and now offers no job protection from politicians on school boards.

    The barroom intellectuals who claim education is hurt by teachers who can’t be fired are ignorant. Their blather is a big fat lie. There are procedures to remove so called “bad teachers.” There are also lazy school boards and administrations that don’t have the cajones to pursue the process.

    The only reason Daugaard introduced HB 1234 is it becomes a diversion from the fact that Daugaard and the legislature are deadbeats on paying their education bills to our local school districts. Deadbeats don’t pay their bills. They elude responsibilities and HB 1234 is just a thin attempt at eluding the truth that state government does a very crappy job of supporting our schools and students.

    Governor George S. Mickelson, who fought his party’s radical pinheads to fund education, would be ashamed of the incumbent governor.

  9. Steve Sibson 2012.06.18

    "The only reason Daugaard introduced HB 1234 is it becomes a diversion from the fact that Daugaard and the legislature are deadbeats on paying their education bills to our local school districts. Deadbeats don’t pay their bills"

    Not exactly, the real reason this was pushed is the National Governors Association. South Daktoa was not the only state, and this is also pushed by Obama. In order to "pay their bills", South Dakota politicians have to do what they are told in order to get the money that is borrowed by the children who will be victimized by strings (Common Core Standards) that are attached to the money.

  10. Jana 2012.06.18

    Dougal, love the barstool description. Having been in Pierre during session, that is a perfectly apt description. That the governor would use 'tenure' and 'continuing contract' interchangeably shows that his staff hasn't done enough homework to analyze the situation, let alone offer a solution.

    Given the high level of public interest on this bill, and now inevitable public vote, is there a media outlet that will file a FOIA for the emails surrounding this bill. I'd be particularly interested in the emails that could be related to ALEC . I would also guess that you would see a high level of disrespect for those dedicated to the education of our children.

    Funny thing is that I have a number of friends who are Republican....but that loyalty is fading fast.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.18

    Mike, our fear is Dennis's best hope. Your unwavering, vocal support (not to mention that of all teachers, and administrators, and parents, and taxpayers) is ours. There is no better issue on which to focus public attention to the failure of GOP policy.

  12. Dougal 2012.06.18

    Does Steve answer every post in this blog?

    The defining difference here is the direct attack on teacher tenure, which is the spine of sensible education funding. The "promise" to fund bonuses is only the bait. Teacher tenure keeps the political people on the elected school board from meddling and micromanaging the faculty who already have a difficult but essential job to do. Killing tenure would ruin the state's education system.

    Having heard and read the promises of one legislative and governor candidate after the other for decades in South Dakota that they will support education, I have no faith in what the political people in Pierre say. I indict both Democrats and Republicans here. Their memories of promises to keep are lost after the ballots are counted.

    And current legislatures can't stop future legislatures from taking money out of teacher bonus programs. We've seen that trick many times over with funding school districts, scholarships, property tax relief and other education programs.

    Daugaard has shown he wants to stop the discussion about fully funding the education formula by introducing this new gimmick. Instead, he wants to cherry pick with these modest rewards to a few categories of teachers and call it a day.

  13. Larry 2012.06.18

    This was not bold new plan thought up by the governor. Several states have very similar plans. This is taken right out of the playbook of ALEC and the GOP Governors Asso. He was probably feeling left out at those meetings, since he had not introduced a plan of his own. BTW he does know the difference between tenure and continuing contract, but just chooses to use the most inflamatory term. This is a bad piece of legislation. It will take more power away from the local school board and give it to bureaucrats in Pierre, divide staffs, cost the local districts more money, and do nothing to improve student achievement.

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