Governor Dennis Daugaard attended a Gifted Education Summit on the USD campus this morning, largely so he and South Dakota’s First Lady could be honored for all they’ve done for gifted education.
One individual who attended the event said that one of the middle schoolers emceeing the event urged the Governor on mic to renew a statewide gifted education mandate. The Governor mentioned no such commitment to gifted education. Instead Governor Daugaard said to these kids pretty much the same thing he says to all kids. warned the youngsters attending the camp not to “get a degree for which there is no job demand.” He reminded campers that getting good grades, taking the right courses, and scoring a 24 on the ACT could get them $6,500 Opportunity Scholarships for college in South Dakota. (Daugaard did not remind them that choosing to be a welder, machinist, nurse, or auto tech will get you a free education in South Dakota.) He averred that “we need the driven, hard-working, and gifted leaders of your generation to take the lead” in South Dakota.
WNAX says that Linda Daugaard received “the 2015 State Initiative Award for her work in STEM education.” My source in the audience tells me the Daugaards then left, missing other awards given and the speeches of three student speakers (and remember, these students are middle-schoolers):
The first noted how if we don’t challenge gifted students, they will plateau. He talked about how despite the Governor’s claim otherwise, no gifted education in South Dakota will inevitably result in weak to little economic development. The second focused on the importance of arts. She acknowledged STEM education, but recommended we focus on STEAM education. The third noted that his school does not have a gifted program, but that the state needs to do more to ensure all students have those opportunities. He said that if we don’t have gifted education, we won’t have gifted students and that will hurt South Dakota in the long run [Dakota Free Press correspondent, 2015.07.31].
Some young observers on Twitter were unimpressed with the Governor’s attendance at the summit (remember, kids, when you Tweet stuff, we grown-ups can read it… especially when we Twitter-search “Daugaard”):
Lolol at Daugaard for leaving this summit after his wife got an award, even though he really just needed to hear about gifted education.
— Al (@ajobuck) July 31, 2015
Dennis Daugaard: u don’t need funds you have dual credits. Peace duagaard outie — meowdyson (@madyson_sandoz) July 31, 2015
Literally everyone who spoke at the summit gave a more impressive speech w better diction than Dennis daugaard
— meowdyson (@madyson_sandoz) July 31, 2015
Received no respect from Governor Dugaard at our gifted education summit today. He could have stayed and listened to what we had to say
— Lucas Thomas (@lt3078) July 31, 2015
Careful, kids—you’ll lose those Opportunity Scholarships with talk like that.
But these kids make an important point. The kids attending the 32nd Annual Governor’s Camp are smart. They understand what’s going on. They can see clearly the signals the Governor sends to young people about the value state government assigns to their education. And those signals—low teacher pay, low K-12 funding, no dedicated support for gifted education, and this morning, not sticking around to listen to them—tell gifted kids that, yeah, sure the state wants them to stick around and take the classes and jobs it tells them to, but the state isn’t really interested in investing in their unique talents.