Tuesday, January 11, 2011

South Dakota K-12 in the balance

Graphic from the Associated School Boards of SD -- read more about it here.

From today's AP story (thanks to the RCJ):

A challenge to the state Legislature's system for funding school districts has reached the South Dakota Supreme Court, which will hear arguments today in the case.... The lawsuit, which was filed in 2006, argues that the constitution entitles students to a free, adequate and quality education.

Well, I don't think what the state constitution says is in argument. The question is whether the legislature is honoring their commitment to K-12 as mandated by the State Constitution when they grow the rest of state government at a higher rate than K-12 education while starving the state with an ever-more-regressive tax code.

The tragedy is that the increasingly Republican-controlled legislature has been more interested in creating a so-called "business-friendly" (you can ask my friend Cory about that!) state than honoring their commitment to our state's future in good times. Now, when budget crunch time comes, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Maybe it's just karma that Republicans are going to have to make the hard choices caused by their lack of foresight (and vision). Maybe that's not the tragedy, that's just fair. The kids, especially those that really need help in school, are the ones that are truly getting the short end of the stick.

Capable young people (the ones with the great test scores that "prove" to Republicans we're doing just fine in our schools, thank you) are quite aware of the kids around them that are falling through the many cracks in our underfunded system, see what our priorities are -- and will continue to take their brains and energy elsewhere after graduation.

The founders of our State got this -- why don't our politicians? Will our new Governor may just be forced to follow the law by "activist judges" that are "strict constructionists" with our state constitution?

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