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One Teacher, One Superintendent Preach Bad Math to Boost Referred Law 16

Last updated on 2012.12.11

District 8 Senate candidate Charlie Johnson says he hasn't heard one educator express support for Referred Law 16, Governor Daugaard's ideological school-wrecking plan.

Here's one: Nicole Keegan of Rapid City East Middle School:

Nicole Keegan (not to be confused with Staci Keenan, who played "Nicole" on My Two Dads) teaches English at East. Good thing she doesn't teach math. She claims the scholarship portion of RL16 will "keep our new teachers right here in South Dakota." Let's suppose there are a huge cadre of good new teachers whose decision whether or not to stay in South Dakota hinges on money. Those prospective teachers will add that scholarship to the maximum possible merit bonuses they might get. They'll multiply that premium by the five years they'll have to commit to stay in South Dakota. And they'll realize they can still get bigger and more reliable earning power by teaching anywhere but South Dakota.

Plus, they'll have fewer hoops to jump through than they will under the regime of Referred Law 16. Governor Daugaard's plan doesn't recognize teachers for the work they are already doing. It creates a whole new superstructure of state-mandated evaluations, standardized testing, and merit pay plans that will add more work to every teacher and administrator's day.

Keegan also signed the RL16 "pro" statement on the official ballot information pamphlet with Mitchell superintendent Joe Graves, who continues to get lots of free space in the Mitchell Daily Republic to promote RL16 and his campaign for a cushy job in the state Department of Education. Graves is one of the 3% of school administrators who backed RL 16 when it was House Bill 1234 last winter. Keegan is likely in a similar minority among her colleagues.

Bonus Graphic Critique: Nice hand reaching out of the ground in that logo on the Yes on 16 video. That's RL16: bad policy, disproven by research, but reaching up like an ideological zombie to wreak havoc on our successful K-12 system.


  1. Sam Peil 2012.10.17

    I believe that Ms. Keegan is also a member of the teacher evaluation work group.

  2. Rorschach 2012.10.17

    Ms. Keegan just got in line to run as a Republican for the legislature in 2014. She just carried the water needed to get that glowing Gov. Daugaard endorsement for all of her campaign mailings. Which Rapid City district does she live in?

  3. Justin 2012.10.17

    She was given this award by the Milken Bros, whose primary goal is to privatize all education in this country. And it was awarded by a partisan administration known for exchanging cash for favors, albeit usually in the other direction.

    Funny that she teaches English when the award was announced they said she taught "science and social science". Doesn't that imply that the people announcing and granting the award didn't even know what subjects she teaches?

    The other question is whether she has any link to Lisa Keegan, the imbezzler hired by both McCain and Gingrich as their "education consultant". I can't find any links, but I am still suspicious. There is no family information for Lisa anywhere, which I find odd for such a public figure.

  4. Donald Pay 2012.10.17

    OK, so maybe this is starting to make some sense. Milken Family Foundation has various programs it sells to school districts, one of them being a teacher improvement program. Just skimming through it, some of it seems interesting and innovative. I like the idea of master teachers helping mentor teachers, with both getting a little bonus. However, they implement the program using value added standardized tests. The costs of the program is listed as $250-$400 per student. I'd be a little concerned that Ms. Keegan is working more for Milken than for education. Having her on the teacher evaluation committee would place her in a place where she could push the Milken program.

  5. Donald Pay 2012.10.17

    Just clicking through a lot of their web content, it seems HB 1234 is a stepping stone to the Milken Family Foundation's TAP program.

  6. grudznick 2012.10.17

    She seems like a very nice and smart young lady. I hope she does run for one of the legislatures in a few years.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.18

    Justin, Donald, I'm intrigued by this discussion of the Milken Foundation. Indeed, if Milken chooses teachers for their potential for leadership on policy, one would think they are looking for teachers who back their agenda. If RL16 is a logical step toward their agenda, then Keegan's advocacy for it makes sense. Now how many other teachers support this agenda?

  8. Donald Pay 2012.10.18

    If you look at what the Milken Family Foundation is doing in other states it seems they suck up the federal money coming from the educrats in DC, so that money is not going to students and teachers. They also do that with state money as well. The end result is that programs in schools are cut, while the money flows to the high-priced consultants. It's a way to starve public education (while making it look like you're trying to improve it) in order to siphon money off to high-priced consultants. In short, it's privatization of some of some of the profit centers of public education, while letting the real work of education starve.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.18

    Consultants instead of educators: sharp observation, Donald! I see that coming with RL16's evaluation scheme. The time requirements of thorough Danielson framework evaluations of every teacher may require every school district to hire a full-time evaluator in addition to existing administration.

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