Press "Enter" to skip to content

Secretary Schopp Says South Dakota Can’t Educate 7,000 Indian Kids

Last updated on 2014.03.19

Addressing the House Education Committee in Pierre this morning, Secretary of Education Melody Schopp fielded a question about how she feels about Teach for America, the national non-profit that, by her off-the-cuff count, places about 100 young college graduates in two-year teaching positions in South Dakota. (TfA's South Dakota webpage says they have 65 teachers in South Dakota this year.)

Secretary Schopp praised Teach for America. The Secretary said Teach for America fills a gap that South Dakota could not fill any other way.

Teach for America quantifies that gap thus:

By 2015, corps members will teach half of the Native students in our state and two thirds of Native students living on South Dakota reservations [Teach for America South Dakota webpage, downloaded 2014.01.15].

So let me see if I have this right: Secretary Schopp says that South Dakota cannot to provide qualified teachers for half of our American Indian kids.

Can not or will not? That's over 7,000 students the South Dakota Department of Education is writing off.

Teach for America may be doing fine work, but instead of counting on TfA to fill the gap, Secretary Schopp should take a refresher course on Daugaardian self-reliance (hey, did Dennis use that phrase in yesterday's speech?) and figure out what South Dakota would do to teach those 7,000+ students if Teach for America didn't have our backs.


  1. interested party 2014.01.15

    Statehood for the tribes.

  2. Troy 2014.01.15

    You took her remarks out of context. She talked about how hard it is to get teachers to go to these remote areas. TFA fills that gap.

    I know as my daughter is in her first year of teaching. She had two opportunities to go to the reservation. In the end, she chose not to take those jobs for these reasons:

    1) She knows her parents want her to be close. Unique family dynamics in our family. Don't bash us on this please.

    2) She has a serious boyfriend.

    3) And, probably most important, she had always aspired to teach in a particular school system. When she got an offer in that system, she discerned it was where she was to be.

    On the converse, she has classmates (high school and college) who are in TFA. They chose this as their vocation.

  3. Troy 2014.01.15

    Secondly, you seemed to miss all the focused programs being initiated by the State specifically for our reservation children. To say they are written off is a lie. They got at least 30 minutes of her testimony.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.15

    Then why did she say she doesn't know how South Dakota would fill that gap?

  5. Jaka 2014.01.15

    Just another case of South Dakota 'REPUBLOCRATS" doing what they do best ---deny their responsibility to the least of their citizens--until the Feds dangle some dollars from the tree so we can further our grab for more federal $$$ so that we remain on top of the states list of the Federal dole. Then to next decry the Fed's regulating and requirements for taking the money. It's called doing the right thing-isn't it? Wonder how much good the $500,000 of GOED money wasted on "salary" for a greedy man would have done for thousands of Native kids learning not just ABC's but that there are some 'wasicus' out 'there that honestly CARE!!!!!!!

  6. Larry 2014.01.15

    TFA does NOT fill the gap. Maybe some people have good intentions, but they do not give their teachers enough training in techniques and management skills. Many of the TFA teachers have no intention of staying in education or South Dakota. They are simply East coast kids who want to fill out their resume. I have witnessed how ill-prepared they are to actually teach. We push these "teachers" on our Native students and wonder why many lag behind.

  7. Roger Elgersma 2014.01.15

    So we can not do basic education, so we need fed money as if money is what makes things go if you have a priority to get it done. But if we do not want to do health care we do not take fed money so it won't get done. We keep taxes to low to get things done right so we can keep getting fed money so we can blame the feds for spending to much so we can not make local decisions so we can make constitutional amendments so that they feds can not pay us enough to do the things we can not do. That might sound complicated but if we were responsible to tax ourself enough to get the job done we would not need this discussion.

  8. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.15

    Awesome comment Roger. Commenters Hall of Fame worthy. Seriously.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.15

    If the state of South Dakota truly wanted to educate 7,000 Native Americans students, they could.

    The state's priorities are so distorted that they don't provide adequate education for all children in the state.

Comments are closed.