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No on 16 Campaign Releases Second Video, Opens Fire on Merit Pay

In the political video battle, opponents of Referred Law 16 outnumber proponents so far 5 to 1. The backers of Governor Daugaard's really bad education reform bill give us one teacher preaching math based on imaginary numbers. Opponents lined up three educators in their first video to discuss RL16's injury to local control; now they release video #2 pointing out that the centerpiece of the plan, merit pay, has been proven not to work in multiple experiments:

New York, Chiacgo, Nashville—ticking off those examples of the failure Governor Daugaard's preferred merit pay policy is Kate Hanson, Harrisburg first-grade teacher and former Madison High School Bulldog debater. O.K., she didn't debate many rounds, but even a couple tournaments clearly made her a better speaker with an excellent grasp of the importance of basing policy on evidence!

Want better student achievement? Get your kids to sign up for debate... and Vote No on 16!


  1. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    The key to getting teachers more money in SD, considering our fiscally conservative legislature, is to tie increased dollars to measurables. (Read that statement again and again until it clicks.) Education is inherently measurable - teachers give grades everyday. Our present system is not fair - my wife worked her tail off for years here in our school system and her pay was the same as the guy across the hall who did the bare bare minimums. I think we need to get behind our hard working teachers.

    So now ALL the SD experts in Education have a seat at the worktable to figure out how best to do it. And since they now have until 2016 to figure it out, I'm confident they will navigate the challenges of figuring this out taking into consideration how each kid and classroom is different. Cory, you know I was a last minute holdout on this bill and you know why... I wanted the players involved figuring out implantation not politicians. And so now we have that in this bill and I trust this Education Reform Advisory Council of experts in SD education to now lead the way, don't you? Sounded to me like this ad is arguing against an early form of HB1234, not the final product... "only a small percentage gets an increase?" As the bill reads that's now the decision of the local district - they could loop everyone in on a custom designed pay incentive program. Right?

  2. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    implementation not implantation - erg

  3. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Henry Ford understood that if he wanted to sell a lot of Model Ts he needed lots of people who could afford to buy them - so he paid his factory workers good wages. And they became his customers. And they spent money creating other jobs for people who became his customers. When it suits their purposes, the Republicans running our state talk about the fact that a dollar spent in our economy turns over 7 times creating a multiplier effect. Sales taxes or other taxes are collected each time the dollar turns over. Jobs are created. But then instead of providing dollars for the lowest paid teachers in the nation to spend in South Dakota, the Republicans running our government lock up the money in trust funds and invest the money with Wall Street - where we have lost hundreds of millions of dollars since 2008. "In Wall Street We Trust/Teachers are Leaches" seems to be the state motto.

  4. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    I hear legislative candidates giving noble platitudes: I'm running so we can pay teachers more. That's nice . I don't know of anyone who wants to pay teachers less or the same. But it's like teacher pay is the only profession with low wages in this state. Hardly so. It one thing to toss out a noble platitude, it's another thing to get in the details of our state budget situation and be able to tell us which nursing homes you suggest we close so teachers can get paid more. Economic development is our ticket out of this situation - alongside repealing and replacing Obamacare.

  5. Steve Sibson 2012.10.18

    "As the bill reads that's now the decision of the local district - they could loop everyone in on a custom designed pay incentive program."

    Not so, if it (the local plan) does not comply with the conditional NCLB waiver, then you don't get the money. Want local control, then give parents a no strings attached voucher. Not sure where you find the most misleading statements coming out of the SDGOP leadersip...the budget or education policy. Sad that Mr. Hickey has decided to repeat some of them.

  6. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Now there's an ignoble platitude. "Replacing and Repealing Obamacare". The folks with no solution to double-digit healthcare price inflation speak. But "Obamacare" is a federal issue - not a state issue. Here's a solution: stop taking tax money paid by thousands of small businesses and handing it out like candy to big corporations like some kind of reverse Robin Hood scheme. Stop using taxpayer money paying out-of-state companies to recruit out-of-state workers and instead train people already here.

  7. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    Sibby , it is so. Listen to yourself . You are advocating we write checks and basically say spend it however you want - no strings attached- no accountability to the taxpayer- no measurables. Not sure you really want to go there. We are accountable for every taxpayer dollar. Why did you support drug testing welfare recipients if you advocate this no strings attached philosophy ? I had a principal tell me local politics in his school make it difficult for him to design his own merit pay plan and that's why he likes it coming from Pierre. Then he doesn't have to deal with giving a math teacher / coach a bonus when the school board members son isn't put on the starting team by the coach . If left to the school board member the principal said the math teacher would get a cut in pay. So there are two reasons local control is not a driving concern for me on this issue . But even so, local districts can do what they want with most of what's on HB1234.

  8. Steve Sibson 2012.10.18

    "Here's a solution: stop taking tax money paid by thousands of small businesses and handing it out like candy to big corporations like some kind of reverse Robin Hood scheme. Stop using taxpayer money paying out-of-state companies to recruit out-of-state workers and instead train people already here."

    No way, they pay the campaigns of those who are willing to go along with the pay to play system of corruption. IM15 will give them $180 million more funding for that system. The party will continue.

    And for those who don't agree to go along and instead are vocal about that corruption, you will be blacklisted and will have no political future in South Dakota.

  9. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Steve Hickey,

    Where is the accountability for the taxpayer with the Governor's corporate welfare slush fund you voted for? Where is the accountability for the taxpayer in the Manpower, Inc. contract funding you voted for? More platitudes that sound good but you only apply selectively. The bottom line is you're not ALWAYS in favor of accountability - just when it comes to teachers. When it comes to corporate welfare you vote to give the money no strings attached.

  10. Steve Sibson 2012.10.18

    Hickey especially doesn't like accountability on his voting record.

  11. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    And shouldn't you be out campaigning or something, Rep. Hickey, rather than shoveling misinformation that nobody's buying on a Democratic blog?

  12. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Sibby, Rep. Hickey didn't pass any bills despite having a 2/3 GOP majority in the legislature. The other freshman GOP rep in his district passed a few, but not Rep. Hickey. But there was that one thing he passed trying to push the bible, Quran, Talmud, and other such texts into public schools.

  13. Coltar 2012.10.18

    RL 14 is advocating that we South Dakotan's write checks (taken from the general fund) and basically tell the governor "spend it however you want - no strings attached- no accountability to the taxpayer- no measurables."

    Not sure we really want to go there as a state, or continue in this direction. Legislators are accountable for every taxpayer dollar.

    The governor has indicated that voting down this referred law would make it difficult for him to frivolously hand out hard-earned tax payer money to corporations.... and MAYBE THAT'S A GOOD THING!

  14. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    Rorschach - if you'll simmer down and look closer at the bills I proposed you'll notice they weren't things that Republicans have much zeal for... reining in our immoral usury laws, cutting the amounts bank trustees can take from the bankrupt poor, opening our courts to all the victims of child sex abuse, putting teeth back in our speeding laws,etc. A few of those went down because I tried to bite off too much and all of them are big and therefore multi-year challenges. Did any other freshman legislators try any big bills (ones that flew in the face of Republican priorities) and get them through successfully? I don't know of any.

    You guys have obviously bought into the partisan rhetoric that removing tax obstacles is "corporate welfare." Here's the deal on that: welfare is when you give money and it's gone. This is priming a pump which produces a vital, long term revenue flow that is essential to substantially addressing the eduction funding shortages which is the legislature's perennial struggle. And it's not no-strings attached tax breaks. These companies have to meet a criteria of dollars invested in our state with a corresponding benefit to our state of jobs and tax revenue. Very measurable. Dollars invested in economic development are investments in South Dakota education.

  15. Jana 2012.10.18

    Pastor Steve, a couple of points you bring up make me think a little more on this subject. You worry about the local politics aspect of it, but then I look at how the South Dakota Education Reform Advisory Council and various committees are almost entirely appointed and stacked with people who march in lockstep with the Governor.

    Of course we know that there is no risk in voting against the Governor and his establishment legislators....heck, ask Stace.

    We also know that when people of the same ideology get together to create an evaluation (scorecard) nothing could go wrong. I mean just ask Gordie and his friends.

  16. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Be honest, Rep. Hickey. Referred law 14, aka HB 1230 (2011) that you voted for does not impose any accountability on anyone. The existing law allowed state government to make loans to companies. The change made to that law allowed GRANTS to companies in addition to loans. So instead of loaning money to companies, state government can now give money to companies. We're not talking about tax breaks - this is corporate welfare - handouts. The law takes 22% of tax money raised by the contractor's excise tax and lets the governor hand out actual money - not tax breaks - to corporations. But you knew that because you read the bill you voted for, right?

  17. Jana 2012.10.18

    Oh, sorry Pastor Steve, I said a couple of things and only brought up one...

    The other comment you made was your anecdote "I had a principal tell me local politics in his school make it difficult for him to design his own merit pay plan and that's why he likes it coming from Pierre."

    My fear is that the merit pay plan won't come out of Pierre, but rather will be outsourced from "education reform for profit companies" and ALEC.

    The principal's wish to have someone else do his job (much like the spineless Harding County school board) tells me that maybe that principal isn't qualified to lead and manage.

  18. Jana 2012.10.18

    One other thing Pastor Steve...thanks again for championing legislation that ends South Dakota being the capitol of immoral usury laws. Don't give up!

  19. Steve Sibson 2012.10.18

    "no accountability to the taxpayer- no measurables"

    The parents are the taxpayers. The responsible ones find out that the standards used in public schools are designed to indoctrinate their kids with UNESCO's pantheistic theology. When they decide to homeschool, their tax dollars do not follow that decision. A clear violation of the First Amendment. At least we now know Mr. Hickey is an anti-parent pro-educrat liberal.

  20. David Pyle 2012.10.18

    Let's face it Mr. Hickey, this Legislature is afraid of the current governor. They have been subjected to threats and have bowed to them. Examples:
    1. HB1234 -- members of the House and Senate held their ground until being "bought" by the governor and his henchmen so that the bill could be passed in the final hours. Result: RL 16.
    2. Funding for Pine Beetle Control in the Black Hills -- so much concern by the Executive Branch that the Legislature allowed the governor to swindle the budget into a total of $1 million. Result: according to their own press release that allowed the Department of Ag to hire a total of 46 employees for tree removal this summer.
    3. This Legislature allowed themselves to be coerced into turning their heads while the governor allowed the sales of substandard fuel in the state. This was illeagle according to the South Dakota Attorney General. Result: nothing done by this Legislature.

    Why do we have a legislature?

  21. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    Afraid of the Governor? He's gentle. And most of us have voted to overturn his vetos at least three times in the last two years. I'm told that compared to Janklow, Daugaard is easy to vote against.

    Were you there David to testify to these henchmen who came in during the final hours of HB1234? I was there. The pressure and torrent from the Ed community made the pressure from the Governors office seem like a soft breeze.

    We need a stronger legislature, I'll agree with that and that is why I don't like term limits (for our state legislature) and I support the long range planning committee so the legislature can put forth initiatives that only a FT office can put together now.

  22. Steve O'Brien 2012.10.18

    "As the bill reads that's now the decision of the local district - they could loop everyone in on a custom designed pay incentive program."

    It is also worth noting to show this cannot be the case; when TCAP got a little too close to going to every teacher, Pierre pulled the plug on funding.

  23. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Let's just put it this way. Rep. Hickey provided the 36th vote for HB 1234 in the house. (36 is the minimum vote needed to pass it in the 70 member house). Rep. Hickey did this after publicly stating that HB1234 is the worst bill of the year and it ought not be rushed but should be postponed a year to work it out better. (I'm paraphrasing here - feel free to provide your exact quote Rep. Hickey). So he voted for the "worst bill of the year" because the governor needed his vote. Now he's touting a glowing endorsement from the governor in his newspaper advertisements. Yes, we need a stronger legislature. Now you know where the weakness is. Time to pull Rep. Hickey's tenure and fire him. No explanation or due process needed - just the way he would have it be for teachers.

  24. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    If the legislature gave bonuses to the top 20%, Rep. Hickey wouldn't make anyone's bonus list.

  25. Steve Sibson 2012.10.18

    "Afraid of the Governor?"

    Perhaps not afraid, but if you want a future in the SDGOP as a legislator there are certain bills you have to support like RL14. I was told that by more than one legislator.

    "We need a stronger legislature, I'll agree with that and that is why I don't like term limits (for our state legislature) and I support the long range planning committee"

    Too bad the planning committee will be controlled by those who are controlled by the governor. I asked Planning Committee member Sen.Vehle how much HB25 (NCLB waiver) will be costing and he had no answer. How much is RL16 going cost? Steve. Charlie. Anybody have the answer.? I do...IM15. The $90 million will be going to set up the control mechanism that Obama calls RTTP. Daugaard caved in to Obama, or are the leaderships of both parties on the same page and just pretending to be fighting like cats and dogs in order to keep the people off the scent of their tyranny.

  26. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    I called it my least favorite bill of the session and the reason was because we were moving ahead with needed ed reform and it wasn't being driven by the ed community. But that changed and was fixed in the bill - implementation was pushed out to 2016 and all the key players would be the ones figuring out how to proceed.

    Rorschach, which is it? You've smeared me by saying I can't get anything passed in Pierre and then you point out I was the deciding, hold out vote in the biggest piece of Legislation that was passed. From my vantage point I used that leverage to go into the governors office with a book (It's My Ship) and tell him I think there is a way to do ed reform where the people take ownership of their own ship. There were a zillion factors and people in play so I have no allusions that I made it happen but the end result was this thing was slowed down, changed, and all the players involved have until 2016 to figure it out.

    If the voters fire me I'll thank them - I have a variety of others things needing greater attention. It'd be hard to get any busier than I am and certainly my identity isn't wrapped up in being there. Knowing I can lead and make a contribution I signed up to serve. You're welcome.

  27. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    Which is it? You couldn't pass anything as prime sponsor except that toothless resolution pushing teachers to convert their classes to bible studies. You sure like to impose on teachers and schools.

    I do give you credit for flip flopping on HB1234 and giving the Governor the vote he needed to put it over the top. But as the President said, "You didn't build that." You just enabled that. Nice endorsement the governor gave you after your vote though.

  28. Rorschach 2012.10.18

    I didn't come here today to take on Rep. Steve Hickey. But I couldn't let all the spin stand without comment. As the late Paul Harvey would say, "And now you know ... the rest of the story."

  29. Steve Sibson 2012.10.18

    Steve, the governor already knows "It's his ship". In case you don't know, the only changes allowed on bills are those that don't mess with the agenda. UNESCO's Agenda 21 is moving forward in South Dakota thanks to legislators like you, bills like SB25 and HB1234, and people telling the truth being called fringe by self-righteous elites who think they were born apostles.

  30. David Pyle 2012.10.18

    Mr. Hickey: anyone can serve as a rubber stamp. Perhaps the SDGOP needs to find some candidates who have some backbone and courage. Oh, wait, then they would have to also find a candidate for governor who could propose and support progressive, thoughtful and responsive legislation. That the party cannot find.

  31. Steve Hickey 2012.10.18

    The book is called "It's Your Ship" not "It's my ship" as I wrote earlier. You can find it here.

    It's about a navy ship that was scoring low in every category; low morale, last in a variety of measurements and , had a drug problem and crew members pulled strings to get transferred off the ship to another. Along comes a new admiral, a new leader who turned everything around such that Bush referred to it as "the best damn ship in the Navy." Now people wanted to be on that ship. The title gives a clue to what the admiral did improve morale and fix the problem - it's YOUR ship. It's a good management and leadership book and it's on the reading list in my course on leadership. I still hold out hope there is a way to do ed reform in SD where the ed community isn't kicking and screaming and that way is to let their experts hash it out on that Advisory Committee.

    I still feel new to the legislature but I'm not new to the low pay and subsequently low morale issues in SD education. I wrote Janklow about my concerns in the mid 90's when my wife was teaching at Patrick Henry. He wrote me a snotty letter back. So these problems are long standing challenges. Certainly I don't have all the answers and I resented a bit the consternation from the ed community this past year and that is in part why I considered this my least favorite bill. I do believe there are experts and reformers in education who can figure this out and I believe this bill provides a framework for that - to expect legislators to become experts on merit pay for teachers in 40 days time is what I resented. That's why I brought the It's Your Ship book into the Governors office. And that is why I supported slowing this down to 2016 and bringing together numerous experts to figure out how to incentives and reward educators.

    Here's another controversial thought. It's a reality teachers will not be paid what they are worth, probably ever, in any state. It's one of those professions you don't do for money. And like with any other profession, my counsel is that every household needs to cultivate multiple streams of income because no one stream is enough to live comfortably, raise families and put kids through school. We CAN do more in Pierre and I'm certain we will this coming session. But fiscal realities far beyond our state play heavy in our state and we do teachers no favors telling them we see a day when their teacher salary is sufficient. I say the same to auto mechanics, police officers, and a variety of other low and middle income earners.

    Today I walked through Washington High School and visited come classrooms talking about all of this with the principal there. My kids graduated from Lincoln and Roosevelt so I haven't spent much time at Washington. I was very impressed with what he is doing with the most diverse student body in our state. Hopefully he didn't read me as aloof to the challenges there and I certainly felt he appreciated the challenges we face.

    David - do you think it took backbone to vote against my districts principals and administers who talked to me frequently during that time? That was hardly easy. Doesn't sound like you have any idea of what you are talking about as it relates to the pressure on legislators on this particular bill. Rubber stamp - all these candidates running now on this ed bill would seem to me to be one issue rubber stamp candidates for the ed community. No? I don't mean that but I'm saying it goes both ways.

    People, the vitriol doesn't help anyone. I respect all of you and I'd appreciate it if you do the same for me. I won't judge your motives and it'd help if you would judge mine.

  32. Charlie Johnson 2012.10.18

    R law # 16 is terrible legislation even in the "bud lite" form. As a candidate for state legislature, I will be voting no on the measure. It does away with tenure for teachers in the future, implements a merit pay plan whether done locally or in Pierre that is devisive, and places an undue emphasis on standardized tests. It also has no appropriation which makes an statement of providing more money to teachers a falsehood including provisions for critical need scholarships. Most importantly it takes the discussion away from the real issue which is--let's get more money into education by fully funding the SAF. To vote for HB1234 when the 2012 session left funding for SAF lower now then in 2007 is showing lack of real responsibility.

  33. LK 2012.10.18

    The good Reverend doth protest too much methinks.

    First,"As the bill reads that's now the decision of the local district - they could loop everyone in on a custom designed pay incentive program. Right?

    SDDOE has tied evaluations to test scores and the Danielson model. The 1 in 5 part still stands.

    Second, "Afraid of the Governor? He's gentle." There hasn't been a "gentle" executive since Machiavelli wrote The Prince. Further, far too many legislators of both parties have mentioned the arm twisting that accompanied HB 1234. The more I see the Daugaard administration in action, the more convinced I am that 1234 is nothing more than an effort to weaken political opponents by defeating and demoralizing people who tend to vote Democrat, It is a crass political power play. The Governor seems to be a rather vigorous 59 year old man who wants to fight one more political battle. Defeating teachers will be his way to show the Republican base that he's a better choice than Rounds or Noem or whoever he has to run against in this single party state.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.18

    Rep. Rev. Hickey: let me start at the top. If the current system is not fair, because hard-working teachers get paid the same as occasional slackers. we create more fairness and better outcomes by getting administrators to use the tools they already have to fire the slackers.

    And no, I don't trust the ERAC to fix the fatal flaws of the bill you thought was good enough to vote for. The Governor will use the authority HB 1234 gives him to impose his ideological agenda. Schools straying too far from his desired parameters will not see their "Local Teacher Reward Plans" approved.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.18

    Rep. Hickey said, "But it's like teacher pay is the only profession with low wages in this state. Hardly so." True. But teacher pay is one of the few professions for which the government is directly responsible for the low wages.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.18

    R. I will say I welcome and appreciate Rep. Hickey's willingness to speak to fellow South Dakotans in this forum. Rep. Hickey has been a leader among his colleagues in laying out his views online with candor and gusto. Candor and gusto don't excuse horsehockey, but they make it more enjoyable.

  37. grudznick 2012.10.18

    Someday I hope to meet Rev. Rep. Hickey.

  38. Donald Pay 2012.10.18

    I think Rep. Hickey is semi-reasonable on this, but the bill was premature if the philosophy is "it's YOUR ship." This was definitely Daugaard's ship, and when you are dealing with teachers or sailors that is a bad approach.

    I have no problem with the Governor giving the education community a challenge. But let it be a challenge that they can engage in up-front, not something that was cooked up in some righty think tank or education foundation with a sketchy agenda, and they have to respond to.

    By the way, I attended Patrick Henry Junior High (as it was known then) and had the best teacher (Mr. Smith) that I ever had in the Sioux Falls schools I attended.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.18

    At 10:14 above, Rep. Hickey defends RL14 (you people, always drawing analogies and making connections!) by distinguishing it from welfare and proposing an alternative model of accountability.

    He says welfare is when you hand out money and it's gone. That's not the case. Welfare benefits for the poor are a form of stimulus. People who can't afford groceries can buy groceries. Unemployment benefits don't just disappear into a hole in some unemployed guy's backyard; they provide some of the most efficient stimulus around.

    In RL14, we see real corporate welfare. The money goes to rich companies that are building multi-million-dollar projects. These folks already have the wealth to build these projects; they're just looking to maximize their shareholder profits. Like the first Keystone pipeline, these projects will get built with or without South Dakota's "incentives." Thus, these handouts would qualify as "corporate welfare" even in Rep. Hickey's misuse of the term: we hand out the money and it's gone, producing no advantages that wouldn't have accrued otherwise.

    As for accountability, the commenters above aren't protesting the lack of accountability of recipients of the slush fund; they are protesting the lack of accountability of the Governor who mans the slush bucket. RL14 empowers a board of unelected gubernatorial cronies to hand out the people's money. Conservatives who lodge a protest about a similar panel merely giving advice on ObamaCare should be freaking out.

    Now let's tie this RL14 discussion back to RL16. You want money spent accountably, Rep. Hickey? How about we spend $15 million on education reforms that actually produce results? Merit pay won't increase student achievement; it will probably hurt it by driving away good teachers away from the new rat race merit pay creates. Yet RL 16 enshrines merit pay as the state's preferred, default policy for every school district. Ending continuing contract won't improve teaching; it will only make it easier for bad administrators to get rid of good teachers. The scholarship program and math-science bonuses won't be enough to compensate for the increased earning power new teachers can get teaching (with no RL16 hoops to jump through) in neighboring states, never mind the even bigger bucks to be had in other fields.

    RL16 is not a logical step toward paying all teachers more. It is a dysfunctional step in the wrong direction.

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