To justify ending teacher tenure, imposing testing-based teacher rankings, and instituting merit pay for only the top 20% of teachers, Governor Daugaard has been parroting a nice chart comparing increasing school spending with middling student achievement between 1971 to 2011.
Let’s be clear – either Daugaard is blissfully unaware of the transformation that has taken place in our schools over the last 40 years or he’s being deliberately thick to enact a controversial education agenda. Here are just a few policy changes our schools have seen over the last 40 years.
- Mandatory special education in public schools (and the enormous resources we dedicate for it) didn’t exist until 1975.
- Gender equity in schools didn’t exist until 1972 (i.e. same number of athletic/extracurricular programs for boys and girls.)
- Graduation requirements have increased substantially in those forty years, so students need to take more classes to graduate.