While the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students gears up to reinvent the wheel, Ellendale (ND) superintendent Jeff Fastnacht reminds us of the main cause of South Dakota’s teacher shortage. The Wessington Springs graduate tells us he’s able to raid out labor pool with much bigger paychecks:
…we ran into a husband and wife team from down by Yankton. They were NSU grads that had been teaching 20-plus years each. They had masters’ degrees, did many duties and were highly regarded by their present school. With that experience and education, they were presently being paid less than Ellendale’s base salary. That is shameful! We ended up getting both to agree to move north and they probably made over $25,000 in additional salary.
Wouldn’t you move for that? South Dakota, you lost. Your schools are losing their very best every day, when will you notice? [Jeff Fastnacht, “South Dakota Losing Because of Teacher Pay,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.04.04]
Those talented professionals gave up balmy Yankton for the Ellendale tundra, because they could increase their income by 15%–20%.
BluRT-FTS, I have no idea what plans and policies you are going to propose. But can we at least start from one agreed principle, that having the lowest pay in the nation is bad for South Dakota’s teaching corps? Can we aim toward one agreed goal, to raise our teacher pay to be competitive with neighboring states?