Remember What School Used to Be like? Daugaard Doesn’t.

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.
So what exactly is Daugaard’s vision for our schools? Send the students with learning disabilities home, take away extracurricular activities for girls, remove education requirements to graduate, subtract due process for teachers, end collaboration in our schools, and bam! – you’ve got a recipe for increased student achievement.
Sorry, Governor, but this deserves a dunce cap. Attacking teachers is not a substitute for funding schools. (And cherry picking your data without any recognition of reality won’t fix the mess you’ve created for our students.)


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