Good morning, Sandy. Are you here?
Good. We'll start in a couple of minutes.
Good afternoon. Welcome to our Live Chat with South Dakota Education Association President Sandy Arseneault.
What is the South Dakota Education Association’s position on Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s education proposal?
While we understand what the Governor would like to accomplish, We strongly disagree on hoe we get there.
Could you be more specific?
All children have a basic right to a great public school. Our vision of what great public schools need and should provide acknowledges that the world is changing and public education is changing too. I do not believe the Governor's proposed plan provides any proof that it will improve student achievement.
Gov. Daugaard has said the $15 million he has proposed for merit pay bonuses and bonuses for math and science teachers is the single largest addition to education spending in state history. From the SDEA’s perspective, isn’t this something to celebrate?
We have not seen any proof that merit pay improves student achievement. Most research suggests the opposite
One of our viewers, Kathy, would agree with you.
Wouldn’t merit pay provide incentive to the best teachers to remain in South Dakota? That's one of the reasons provided by the governor for the merit pay plan.
This plan would only reward a very small group of educators.I believe the dollars would be better spent on program and policies that have been proven to enhance teaching and learning. Mentoring, smaller class sizes, quality professional development etc.
Do you think it is fair to use student testing to evaluate teaching proficiency?
I should probably have prefaced the previous question by stating that Gov. Daugaard's merit play plan depends on student testing to evaluate who are the best teachers in the district. Do you think it is fair to use student testing to evaluate teaching proficiency?
We are contantly trying to compare ourselves to the globel education leaders such a Finland. Yet we refuse to look at what they are doing to get there. There are no highstakes tests used to drive instruction or evaluate teachers in their education system.
What is your view on ending teacher tenure?
Another comment from Kathy, who is an elementary teacher.
Well I would have to preface my answer with, we do not hv teacher tenure in our K-12 system. What we have is a fair dismissal process that works. I see no reason to change it.
The state Department of Education has a proposal to replace No Child Left Behind in South Dakota. What is your group’s view of the state seeking a waiver from NCLB?
For years we have we expressed our concerns over NCLB. We see the waiver as just more of the same, still relying on highstakes testing and not really focusing on the real issues our school accross the state are dealing with. Many are struggling with how to keep the doors open.
Do you agree with NCLB's goal of education accountability?
Educators are not afraid of accountability.Appropriate accountability means using results to identify policies and programs that successfully improve student learning and to provide positive supports, including resources for improvement and technical assistance to schools needing help. Schools, districts, states, and the federal government should be financially accountable to the public, with policymakers accountable to provide the resources needed to produce positive results. Accountability systems should be transparent so that policies are determined and communicated in an open, consistent, and timely manner. .Niether NCLB or the Waiver accomplish our goals.
You will be in Rapid City this evening. Will you be at the Rapid City Area Schools District public meeting at South Middle School?
I am attending another meeting prior to that and will see if time permits.
Are you aware of the Rapid City district’s middle school reorganization plan? And what do you think of it?
SDEA has always been respectful of school districts, administrators, educators, parents and communities coming together to make decisions based upon the needs of their school. I believe the district has some very tough decisions to make and I commend the leadership for including everyone in the discussion. What concerns me is why they are having to make these cuts.
Is there anything that you would like to add before we conclude our live chat?
I would like to encourage all the stakeholders to ask the questions do these proposals improve student achiement and if not why are we investing money in them. How is this good for kids?
Thank you, Sandy Arseneault, for joining us this afternoon.
Randy thank you for the opportunity.