Did we win? Did we really win?
We killed Referred Law 16, Governor Dennis Daugaard's stinky pack of ideological teacher-busting policies, at the polls on November 6. The Governor and some minions sputtered some nonsense about ignoring stupid voters and bringing back RL 16 in bits and pieces.
But if I didn't know better, the Governor's water-carriers are now carrying white flags. Check out what Education Secretary Melody Schopp is saying:
Schopp said her department’s senior staff gathered for a retreat since the election and set out a new approach. She said the emphasis won’t be on “reforming” education and instead the focus will be on “supporting” education [Bob Mercer, "After Reform Bill Fails, SD Education Focus Shifts," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2012.11.27].
What's that? We don't need "reform"? The status quo is working, and we just need to "support" it more?
This could just be a trick, a diversionary tactic to make me think we don't have to watch the Legislature for school-bashing monkeyshines this winter. But folks tried to tell me that Referred Law 16, or House Bill 1234 as it was known last winter, was a trick, too, and neither I nor the Governor saw that trick play out.
Let's watch closely to see if Secretary Schopp is signalling a real surrender in the war on teachers. And if it's real, let's hold her to her word to provide real support for education. Forget the task forces and workshops and expensive software purchases; let's talk about erasing the Daugaardian new norm and restoring the funding that was unnecessarily and harmfully cut from education in the Governor's first budget.