10
Jan
12

South Dakota Education Association Statement on Governor Daugaard’s Proposal for School Accountability and Merit Pay

Governor Dennis Daugaard is  proposing  a new school accountability system that imposes a statewide evaluation system on school districts, requires districts to participate in a merit pay system that relies heavily on standardized test scores and eliminates fair dismissal procedures for teachers who have not already received continuing contract status.  Sandy Arseneault, SDEA President, released the following statement.

“SDEA agrees with Governor Daugaard that South Dakota needs an effective accountability system that ensures high standards for all teachers and promotes great teaching.  However, we differ significantly on how such systems should be developed and utilized.  Daugaard’s proposal appears to be another one-size-fits all approach and continues to rely heavily on high-stakes testing. The Governor’s proposal will do little to help school districts or teachers improve instruction, which is crucial to student learning.

 

South Dakota must have a comprehensive, meaningful and fair accountability system that is student focused. It must be based on sound research and support rigorous standards.  To be effective, the system must be adequately funded to ensure proper training for all – including teachers, administrators and school board members.  Most importantly, a successful accountability system improves student learning. Teachers know the learning needs of students’ best and their involvement in the development of any system is critical.  As we see it, this plan, as outlined by the Governor, falls short in all of these areas.  This punitive approach will certainly undermine the spirit of collaboration in our schools.

 

The good news is we still have 34 legislative days to work with the Administration and the Legislature to come to an agreement on a plan that provides the tools teachers need to continuously tailor instruction, enhance the practice and advance student learning.    If we work together, we can devise a system that is fair for all and will truly ensure that every student has a high quality teacher in their classroom.”

SDEA is South Dakota’s largest education professionals’ organization, representing more than 7,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

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