The University of South Dakota is hosting a Gifted Education Summit tomorrow morning in Vermillion on the Old Main North Lawn. The summit will “honor First Lady Linda Daugaard for her work with promoting STEM education and its impact on gifted students, Governor Dennis Daugaard for his continued support and endorsement of the SD Governor’s Camp.”
Wait—we still have gifted education in South Dakota?
During my family’s brief stay in the Twin Cities last fall, the St. Paul School District sent us a letter indicating that our daughter qualified for the district’s gifted education program. When we returned to South Dakota, we learned that the Aberdeen School District offers no such opportunity. Aberdeen hung on longer than several other school districts after the Janklow-era budget cuts that eliminated all state support for gifted education.
South Dakota state government does nothing for gifted education. Governor Daugaard’s K-12 budget cuts in 2011 would have killed the gifted education program in Brookings if private donations hadn’t saved the program. South Dakota at least offers dual credit classes so go-getting high schoolers can accumulate some college credit for their hard work. But the state does little if anything to ensure that the best and brightest have challenging educational opportunities.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has found money to increase the number of districts offering gifted education programs. The Minnesota Department of Education has a Gifted and Talented Advisory Council that meets four times a year.
Maybe USD should invite Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to tomorrow’s event at USD to explain to Governor and Mrs. Daugaard that gifted education is much more than telling everyone to take STEM classes.
Related: On Tuesday Governor Daugaard congratulated the first recipients of the Build Dakota Scholarship for vo-tech education. $25 million from usurer turned philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and $25 million from the Governor’s economic development slush fund will pay tuition for 296 lucky recipients out of 1,062 applicants who have promised to put their vo-tech training to work in South Dakota for at least three years.