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Regents Review Teacher Education Data, Find High Graduate Sit-Out Rate

Among other items on the South Dakota Board of Regents’ agenda last week was a report on teacher education. The Regents learned that…

  • Out of approximately 1,600 teacher education candidates in the Regental system in FY2014, only six are studying to be chemistry teachers. Four are aiming at speech, four want to teach business, and three are majoring in industrial/technical education. The FY2014 cohort included one aspiring physics teacher and one aspiring computer teacher.
  • After dropping 25% under the Rounds Administration, the number of Regental students getting teacher degrees has resurged and held steady under the Daugaard Administration at about 475 a year.
  • Placement of Regental teacher education graduates in South Dakota schools since FY2002. SD Board of Regents, Agenda Item 19, April 1–2, 2015, p. 6.
    Placement of Regental teacher education graduates in South Dakota schools since FY2002. SD Board of Regents, Agenda Item 19, April 1–2, 2015, p. 6. (click to embiggen!)

    Since FY2002, 52.5% of our teacher education graduates have been placed in an in-state school district. In other words, to meet in-state demand, our state teacher education programs need to graduate nearly twice as many students as anticipated K-12 teaching openings.

  • Under Governor Rounds, the percentage of teacher education graduates who got teaching jobs in South Dakota schools in their first year out floated between 28.6% and 38.8%. Under Governor Daugaard, the first-year placement rate jumped in FY2014 to 47.5%.

Then comes Appendix B, the Labor Market Analysis, which I find sufficiently instructive to quote in full, with tables:

American Community Survey (ACS) data help to shed additional light on the teacher labor force in the upper Midwest. Using the newest available ACS PUMS datasets, additional analysis was conducted on the employment rates, earnings, and professional placements of educators in 2013.

Table B1 shows two key labor market outcomes for teachers in 2013. The first column gives the unemployment rates of the teaching labor force, while the second column shows median earnings of employed teachers. The exceptionally low unemployment rates seen in this table – for South Dakota and the larger region alike – are suggestive of a labor shortage. One possible driver of such a shortage is implicated by a second observation from this table: that workers employed as teachers earned substantially less in 2013 in South Dakota than in any other neighboring state.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.56.09

Table B2 provides information about the industrial and occupational placements of employed workers with an undergraduate degree in education. Only about half of such workers in South Dakota work in the field of K12 education in some capacity. Similarly, only four in ten South Dakota workers with a teaching credential actually work in a K12 teaching occupation. The latter rate appears somewhat lower than those of other states, and may further hint at a systemic disinclination of teacher education graduates to enter and/or remain in the K12 teaching profession in South Dakota.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.56.20[SDBOR, 2015.04.01, pp. 13–14]

South Dakota’s teacher shortage is not just a lack of bodies. For every four teachers on the job in South Dakota, we evidently have six workers with teacher education degrees who look at that median income, look at Common Core, look at the general neglect and disrespect given to education by the Legislature, and say, “I’m not giving up a house for that.” Plenty of qualified teachers in other states sit out, too, but the sit-out rate is highest in South Dakota.

Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students, don’t cudgel thy brains too hard on the conclusion here: South Dakota’s low pay deters a higher percentage of aspiring teachers from entering and staying in the profession that any other state.


  1. grudznick 2015-04-06 13:56

    This seems to be good news. Resurging teachers. Unfortunate about the chemistry teachers but I guess those 4 will bring in big dollars if they are good teachers. Chemistry may be a dying science but we probably have no way of knowing right now.

    It would be really swell to know where those persons with teacher degrees are working. Obviously they are not chemists, but you have to wonder if they are in business or manufacturing or farming.

  2. Nick Nemec 2015-04-06 14:33

    Rest assured at some point an explanation/excuse will be offered and any shortage will be the fault of the young teaching graduates or the teaching profession in general.

  3. Troy 2015-04-06 15:25

    CH: “For every four teachers on the job in South Dakota, we evidently have six workers with teacher education degrees who look at that median income, look at Common Core, look at the general neglect and disrespect given to education by the Legislature, and say, “I’m not giving up a house for that.” ”

    You should know that correlation does not mean causation. That is the logical fallacy known as “cum hoc ergo propter hoc.”

  4. MOSES 2015-04-06 15:56

    One out of three leave the State ,Do nothing as our Gov could care less .

  5. rwb 2015-04-06 16:33

    Troy, another in a lifelong string of dogmatic “thoughts” you have shared. To think that all those factors would not combine to be a major determinant is just downright disingenuous, don’t you think?

    I would take a step your direction saying that those factors mentioned by Cory may not be the entire reason, but it is impossible to know for certain across the board and I think you are probably capable of understanding that. But anyone with an IQ average or above average should be able to figure that the factors do carry weight.
    You seem to want people to think that because they don’t carry 100% of it then the analysis is meaningless. And that’s a cheap trick not even used in high school debate contests any more.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-06 16:50

    Troy, I don’t think the logical fallacy applies here. We have uniquely low participation of workers with teaching degrees in teaching. That must mean something. I’m offering a plausible explanation. What do you see when you look at those numbers, random chance? Higher concentrations of holders of teaching degrees with lower talent that still makes them fail interviews? What’s the alternative explanation?

  7. mike from iowa 2015-04-06 16:53

    Sometimes I think Troy tries to co-relate between the dumpsite and Dakota free Press and that causes all kinds of weird stuff to be put on here for people to decipher while Troy steals their lunch money or something. Pretty sure there is a 25 cent Latin word for it,but I’m too uneducated to say what it is.

  8. grudznick 2015-04-06 16:57

    For 2 bits you get two words, Mr. Mike who is from Iowa: cum hoc

  9. larry kurtz 2015-04-06 16:58

    I confess to wondering whether brick and mortar schools are really necessary and how many students could be better educated for less by laptop and Skype.

  10. Troy 2015-04-06 17:01


    Your response is another logical fallacy called “onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat” or shifting the burden of proof. Cory presented some statistics. I find them insufficient to draw conclusions on what they mean or what conclusions should be drawn.

    For instance, the fact that both South Dakota (48.6%) and Minnesota (48.8%) have half the people with education degrees working in education seems to contradict CH’s central premise which would indicate cherry picking (another logical fallacy) of what information to use for the argument and the entire thread is an example of a hasty generalizaiton (another logical fallacy).

  11. larry kurtz 2015-04-06 17:11

    Pat Powers lives by fallacies yet Mr. Jones lectures Cory: mansplain to the hand, Troy.

  12. Troy 2015-04-06 17:12


    Potential alternative explanations (I am not asserting I agree with them or assert they are significant or actually backed up by information not presented in your thread):

    1) Music majors get education certificates but end up working for churches.
    2) Teachers in rural districts marry the local farmer and decide to be a partner in the farm operation.
    3) Athletes get teaching certificates with a dream to coach. After a few years, they realize their real job is to teach first and coach second.
    4) We graduate an excess of elementary, music, english, and PE teachers relative to demand
    5) They marry itinerant preachers and decide to run for city commission/write blogs.

    Cory, you may be correct that teacher salaries are too low in SD but cherry picking information you “think” supports your opinion doesn’t serve your purpose.

  13. mike from iowa 2015-04-06 17:14

    Didn’t you mean cum hogs,Grudz? iowa is still numero uno in hog production I believe.

  14. larry kurtz 2015-04-06 17:18

    One bar for Cory, one bar for Pat. It would be fun to watch Powers try to jump over any bar tho.

  15. mike from iowa 2015-04-06 17:31

    ‘murrican exceptionalism-being last in teacher pay. Limbo much?

  16. rwb 2015-04-06 17:31

    Larry, the only bar I have ever seen Powers negotiate is the sneeze bar at the little Chinese buffet in Brookings. And does he ever have skill at that.

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T for that man’s ability to demolish that buffet.

    D-I-S-D-A-I-N for everything else he does.

  17. Bill Fleming 2015-04-06 17:33

    Troy, of course you realize that none of your “potential alternative explanations” have anything to do with the differential between South Dakota’s low rate of teacher participation compared to the other states. The reasons you offer could be true of any of them and instead speak to the reason why the overall percentage of all states isn’t higher, not why South Dakota’s is uniquely low.

    It simply begs Cory’s question and reinforces his hypothesis. Because when we ask “what else about South Dakota Teachers is uniquely low?” The answer, as we all know is “their paychecks.”

    Sure, it could be a coincidence… but there’s also that “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck” thing too, you know?

    Until you can come up with a better alternative (which, to your credit, you admit that you have not), I’m inclined to think Cory’s probably onto something.

  18. grudznick 2015-04-06 17:38

    We know, Mike who is from Iowa. We know. Anybody who has ever driven slowly through that state knows.

  19. larry kurtz 2015-04-06 18:25

    Troy would fund a church to guide students onto a path toward just wars and free enterprise where Mass is mandatory on First Fridays.

  20. Jana 2015-04-06 18:36

    Our niece is a newly minted teaching graduate who won’t even apply in South Dakota due to not just pay, but the perceived lack of respect that teachers have in SD. Even though she went to a Nebraska college, the word has traveled fast.

  21. Jana 2015-04-06 18:58

    My guess is that they know, or it wouldn’t be hard to find out where and why each teacher grad chose their current job destiny. Did they ask…or would that have been too uncomfortable.

  22. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-06 21:02

    Jobs in MN are in high demand, thus teachers have a hard time being selected for a job here. MN is a popular choice for young people. In MN if one only has a bachelors degree, one is only minimally educated.

    There are lots of coffee shops here, and not one of the baristas majored in making coffee. They are either in school or job hunting to put their MA or Ph.D to use.

    BTW, MN is lousy with South Dakotans. So is ND and WY.

  23. Nick Nemec 2015-04-06 21:10

    Troy is coming dangerously close to fulfilling the prediction I made in the second comment of this thread.

  24. Roger Cornelius 2015-04-06 22:34


    Troy is stops by on occasion to get what he can’t get at the Powers Dump Site, an intelligent conversation.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-07 07:33

    Troy, on those SD-MN percentages, notice the difference lies in how many are working as teachers rather than just in education. That tells me we have a higher percentage of teachers who decide to climb the ladder and get into administration. Perhaps that speaks well of our teaching pool’s ambition and upward mobility. Or maybe it just says fewer SD teachers can afford to stay in the classroom.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-07 07:39

    On Troy’s alts:

    (1) Music majors working for churches: unique to South Dakota? More church gigs available here to compete with education? Potentially further indicative of low wages: K-12 wages so low (and music jobs so undervalued due to Common Core) that measly church wages can compete?
    (2) Marry the local farmer—that doesn’t sound right. Part of the teaching shortage is Big Ag’s depletion of rural farm families, meaning fewer farmers’ wives available to teach. Plus, the teaching spouse goes to school specifically to get insurance/benefits for the family that are harder to provide self-employed.
    (3) Coaches instead of teachers: unique to SD? Maybe it should be flipped: might there be more schools in BB/FB-crazy South Dakota that would take coaches over teachers than in other states?
    (4) excess of elementary, music, english, and PE teachers—maybe… but how are those non-STEM folks finding other work? ;-)
    (5) “They marry itinerant preachers and decide to run for city commission/write blogs.” Sound off! One!… When you find the others, let me know. I’d like to form a blog ring. :-D

  27. Troy Jones 2015-04-07 10:42


    They may be of greater consequence in SD because of urban, semi-urban, rural, and very rural splits. And, for course, maybe not. I don’t know and you don’t either.

    My point is the deviation is not so great that there might not be significant contributing factors. Maybe not. But, being the good liberal and pro-science/information person you are, I’d think you’d want hard information and not just supposition. :)

    South Dakota’s economy has many unique economic dynamics divergent from even our neighboring states. It is not only possible they impact the statistics you mention but it is likely. For instance, western Minnesota (like SE SD) has consolidated schools in semi-regional trade centers because distance is reasonable. The rest of eastern SD the challenge is great making consolidation more difficult and in some cases unacceptable. I know it is an anecdote so I recognize it may not be statistically sufficient (but maybe the anecdote is supported by statistics): I have a friend who taught in Arlington. She ended up marrying a farmer from DeSmet. DeSmet didn’t have the grade/subject available and she didn’t want to teach outside her passion. She originally decided to substitute and work with her husband on the farm. By the time an opening came up in her field, she decided she liked working with her husband and his family so left teaching all together. Each of the other examples I used, I actually know a person who left teaching for that reason. Pay was irrelevant. Again, how significant that is relative to the statistics or how the dynamics of SD impact that? I don’t know.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-07 10:58

    Good grief—I provide more information than the South Dakota Legislature has ever applied to its K-12 funding policies, and Troy still wants more. May I characterize the above data as icing to the years of data I have presented on the pay gap between SD teachers and the rest of the nation?

  29. Douglas Wiken 2015-04-07 11:39

    We have a number of teachers and other professionals still here in Winner BECAUSE they married a farmer or rancher.

    The low number of teachers entering STEM areas is very discouraging whatever is the cause.

    We have a superintendent here who at one school board meeting claimed that teachers were hired because of subject matter competence not coaching. The very next meeting he noted that a newly hired fifth grade teacher had also coached football for five years.

    Now he wants to build a fourth school arena for $2 million dollars. We already have more building space dedicated to athletics than to academics.

  30. David Newquist 2015-04-07 12:02

    The ridiculous pedantry produces rideo risi risum and then severe laryngeal spasms, which are neither logical nor fallacious.

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