Daugaard Performance at Gifted Education Summit Sends Wrong Message

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.

Daugaard Laugh
[Just waiting for the laughter to subside.]

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”):

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.

56 Responses to Daugaard Performance at Gifted Education Summit Sends Wrong Message

  1. Deb Geelsdottir

    Shame on Daugard. Here we can see a couple of comedians can join the TAG kids as having a much better idea of how to treat education:


  2. Hahaha you act like I didn’t want you to see them. Daugaard left in the middle of an event we spent a long time preparing for him. He got up without a single word and left before we even read him the speeches we had prepared for him. We focused so much of our energy that we have focused into other things each year to put on this stupid ceremony. And he got up and left

  3. Thank you, Madyson, for reminding me that I shouldn’t underestimate the media savvy of you always-connected youngsters. Thanks for sharing your perspective on Daugaard’s performance today! Were you one of the speakers? If you know the speakers, and if they’d like to share the full text of their remarks, I’d be happy to post those remarks here in the comment section so that Governor Daugaard and everyone else can see them.

  4. I wasn’t a speaker but I can let the speakers know to hit you up

  5. I attended this camp for 6 years, and I loved the challenge of it; it provided many great chances for personal growth and learning that is not guaranteed for many gifted students across the state. Daugaard is clear in this: he really hates children. His ambivalence to the message these bright minds articulated is an attack on gifted education, and this camp and the ideas it stands for: tolerance, growth, love.

  6. Expecting different???

    Why should we expect different from a governor who has squelched education every time he got the chance? Shame on South Dakotans for thinking they could have an influence on a stubborn person. Some politicians think they don’t even have to RESPECT the people they represent much less listen to them.

  7. Allison Buckley

    I, too, am with Madyson. In fact, I regret not tagging the governor in my post. I want people to know that our governor does not and has not supported education, which should be a main issue in my opinion. Iowa has a full mandate for gifted and talented education. Minnesota has a partial mandate. Every other state surrounding us has some form of funding for gifted and talented education. South Dakota’s students are just as gifted and talented and deserve the same opportunities. Our governor claims that he supports our students, but neglects the students who WANT to achieve more, but are being held back because our government won’t give education a little more money. And, South Dakota has had a surplus leftover in our budget for the past several years, which could easily be used to help at least partially fund a gifted and talented education program. Don’t get me wrong, we have some absolutely amazing teachers that truly do help their students achieve their fullest potential, but there is only so much that they can do with absolutely zero funding. It’s about time South Dakota invested in it’s real future, instead of just telling kids to “follow the money.” Also, even of we can’t get a little funding, we deserved just a little respect, at the very least. Don’t tell the future to “follow the money” and then not even stay to hear what they say.

  8. Donald Pay

    I’ve always supported what is unfortunately labelled “gifted education.” Really, all these kids and parents are asking is that we respect their innate desire and ability to learn and to challenge them appropriately. Not accelerating learning and/or providing an enriched learning environment for “gifted” students should be seen as being as bad as not providing necessary supports for those who have learning challenges. These children can’t help it that they are quick to catch on to concepts and knowledge, just like other children may have difficulties in learning the same material.

    Still, I think districts are far too restrictive in who qualifies for accelerated learning experience. I looked at standardized test scores for RC schools back in the late 90s. I followed cohorts of students over time in several academic categories (“academic stars,” “bright,” “average” and “struggling”) and what you found was the district seemed to be able to challenge all academic categories through 8th grade. That meant the TAG program combined with the normal classroom experience was doing great.

    The problems started showing up in 9th grade. The “academic stars” had access to advanced placement classes and TAG programming. Others didn’t. And what you saw in test scores was the “academic stars” continued to improve, but an almost immediate and steep drop off in test scores of the “bright” students and slight drop offs in “average” and “struggling” students. Although the “bright students” were smart kids, they weren’t the “academic stars,” and weren’t provided access to TAG or to advanced classes. My hypothesis is that the “bright students” ended up being taught in classes with “average” and “struggling” students, were not challenged, became disenchanted with school and didn’t try.

    My conclusions was that it would make sense to broaden the ability of “bright” students to access challenging courses provided to the “academic stars.”

  9. Allison, Rob, Madyson, what programs do (did, in Rob’s case?) offer to challenge you when you got back from camp? If the state were requiring and funding gifted education, what specifically would you want your schools to do with that money for “gifted” (I agree with Don: is there any better term we could use?) students?

  10. Allison Buckley

    I found almost no programs that challenged me upon returning from camp. Sure, we can take college classes online, but I tried taking those and I really wasn’t challenged by that even. I took a government class through US online and it was a very easy class that required almost zero work. Maybe, I just ended up having an easy teacher, but that was Daugaard’s only push. That and SDMyLife, which is a waste of time. There’s a survey that tells you careers you should pursue based on your interests and what is in demand. My top two were dancer and garbage collector. Tell me where yoy can get a job as a dancer in South Dakota. And the garbage collecting business is definitely not for me. I will be pursuing computer science … out of state.

    I would love to see a gifted and talented education program funded in every school. A program that challenged students to do something that they are interested in, but is outside of their comfort zone. Some sort of project that pushes their creativity and abilities. As governors at the governors camp, young students spend the first few days of camp taking a variety of classes in a variety of topics. The last few days of camp they work on putting together a project that pushes them out of their comfort zone in the best way. Some students write and perform songs or little plays. Some students create beautiful works of art. Some students research different scientific theories and perform experiments that they present to the camp. Some go way outside the box, as I remember one student carved an entire chess set out of soap that they made, after taking a soap making class. A program that followed a curriculum similar to this camp would do wonders for the creative and intelligent students across our state, especially those who don’t get the opportunity to go to this camp.

    Also, just paying our teachers a little more would do wonders. For example, my high school has had several amazing English teachers leave in recent years because they cannot support their families on their paycheck, so they have to quit education. These teachers have been the kind of teachers that pushed students to their fullest potential and challenged them to challenge themselves.

  11. Heidi Marttila-Losure

    I am struggling with this from a mother’s perspective. As I see it (from my view outside of the classroom), the goal of Common Core is to establish a floor–a basic level of understanding that everyone can stand on. There are big incentives to make sure everyone is standing on that floor, in terms of teacher pay and school funding.

    But there is no incentive to get students above that floor any faster than mandated. In fact, there is a systemic disincentive to challenging bright students: If you just leave them in the level where they are doing well, they bring up the average of the class. Move them up a level, or give them more challenging material, and they might not do as well. Their test scores might not do much to bring up the average anymore. I’m not saying leaving bright kids doing work they find tedious is a conscious choice of educators, or even that it happens all the time or most of the time–but that’s what the system rewards. It’s easier for teachers and administrators to be complacent, especially when there’s no funding for gifted education, or even any official recognition that bright kids should get something different in their education than other students.

    I’ve mentioned this issue to friends and relatives living elsewhere, and they typically suggest private school or homeschooling. The closest private school is 30 miles away, and I don’t want to homeschool–I want my kids to be a part of the community, and school is one big way that happens. I want to make sure my school has enough kids to stay open, since it’s such a key part of keeping a rural community vibrant.

    And you know, South Dakota used to do better at this. I was a gifted kid (went to one of the earlier years of Governor’s Camp). In elementary school, I was sent up to the next grade for some subjects, and was in the gifted program, during which one activity was attempting to learn some French (of which I remember almost nothing–sorry, Cory). It was something, anyway. I think Don is right that by the time students get to high school there are more options, and it’s easier for self-motivated students to find ways to challenge themselves, but in elementary school, things are much more rigid.

    I almost don’t want to bring up my viewpoint. From a societal perspective, it’s more important to make sure that everyone has a basic level of knowledge. But I’m hoping this pool of bright kids is where at least some of our future leaders come from. Seems like the system shouldn’t be set up in a way that extinguishes the fires already lit in these kids.

  12. Caroline Johnson

    Dear Esteemed Governor Daugaard and First Lady,
    It is with great sadness and disappointment that I write this message to you. Some of the best and brightest were in attendance today at the Gifted Education Summit…the very people who will one day, be sitting in your seat. The very ones who will be writing out literature, teaching our grandchildren, leading our state and nation, penning …the very ones you could not give a little time to hear their thoughts and needs. If not total disrespect toward a population of South Dakota citizens who need to be heard, it is a personal affront to the entire state of South Dakota. When a governor can’t take the extra few minutes to listen to the voices of his citizens…regardless of age, race, and gender…it is a sad rendition on his ability to lead. I lost all respect for the governor and his wife today. Shame on you!

  13. One of the Few School System With full funding for Gifted Students in South Dakota is the Cheyenne Eagle Butte School Conglomerate which received an award today at the summit. Its funding is derived from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education, SD District 20-1 and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, I Would be Quite Upset if The Sec. of Interior, Superintendent of the CRST or its Tribal Chair. made the long trip to Vermilion to speak made a lousy misinformed speech, grabbed their award and left! To me this emphasises the lack or respect many of the Republican Politicians elected to run our country show towards their constituents.

  14. I live in Watertown, and personally there aren’t many classes there that serve to challenge me. There are online and advanced/ap courses, but they’re not really designed for gifted students, just smart kids (which I still think is amazing.) My main concern is, and this may be different then what was intended by the summit, is that there are TONS of really smart kids with amazing talents that will never be able to have opportunities to grow and succeed due to their backgrounds. It’s all about money. The governor complains about our economy but this is one of the steps we could actually take to fix it: Give the kids who can change things an opportunity to do so. (ps. SDMyLife is completely worthless. If you want a similar website that you can more easily personalize to your interests and get in touch with colleges, I recommend cappex)

  15. Jake Cummings

    Allison hit the nail on the head with her mention of investment; I still hope that my generation and the next will exemplify the empathy and civic mindedness of some of our forebears and truly value education and make it a fiscal priority for more than a handful of favored programs/fields.

    Then again, maybe I am hopelessly naïve and we should all strive to “win” millions in noncompetitive state contracts as executive directors of NGOs (http://www.npr.org/2011/10/26/141700018/tribes-question-foster-groups-power-and-influence)to demonstrate our leadership acumen and multi-tasking ability, because we would also be lieutenant governors (which wouldn’t be a conflict of interest at all) and later become illustrious governors.

  16. My friend Megan Tyler Dahle offers this commentary on the Governor’s speech to the students attending the Governor’s Camp:

    Governor Daugaard owes each and every camper and staff member at the SD Governor’s Camp for the Gifted (no relation to politics) an apology. The same man that refuses to support gifted education just told an audience of almost 300 kids – the brightest, most creative world changers you’d ever have the honor of meeting – that creativity is economically worthless. They should avoid “intellectually worthy”, but otherwise (what he views as) worthless college degrees and focus on STEM.

    STEM has it’s merits of course (speaking as a robotics coach), but it’s not the be-all and end-all.

    He obviously doesn’t know his audience. He certainly has no regard for either education or “intellectually worthy” pursuits.

    Keep the Faith, campers. You have spent the last 6-12 days discovering your own sense of self and stepped bravely outside your comfort zone. You are appreciated, you are loved and you will each change this world in ways you can’t even fathom yet. We need you and your unfathomable creativity [Megan Tyler Dahle, public Facebook post, 2015.07.31].

  17. Donald Pay

    It is interesting to read the comments here. My daughter was a top student, had access to high school TAG and AP courses, and was in debate for four years. She had several great teachers who challenged her, but she found the most challenge in debate. It allowed her to pursue research, craft and counter arguments, think on her feet and experience competition and teamwork, even though she wasn’t athletic. Sure, debate isn’t for all students, but these sorts of experiences are important for many top students. And it’s not just debate, but all the academic “extra-curricular” programs that provide important experiences for top students. Yet, these programs get scaled back or cut whenever there is a budget squeeze.

    I’m a supporter of Common Core State Standards, but they are supposed to be a floor, not a ceiling.

  18. @ Allison: I was the guy who carved that chess set from soap.

    I attended a relatively affluent school system that could afford a Gifted Education teacher throughout my elementary school years. When I got to middle school, however, the school district’s desire to provide some sort of Gifted Education to those who qualified became less than half-hearted. We would meet once-per-week, and only for thirty minutes. The only other opportunity for a challenge came with taking higher-level math courses within the school district, which involved bussing students to and from the high school to teach them geometry. High School was more of the same, with AP and Rising Scholars (a dual credit system through NSU) classes offered. These courses were, for the most part, easy, supplementing the difficulty of the material with the greater volume those courses required.

    I think that offering middle and high school courses that may serve as introductions to courses taught in Liberal Arts Colleges, such as a basic philosophy course, might serve as ways to challenge the thinking of these students. Guaranteed small group or one-on-one discussions with the teacher on topics learned in class might be a great way to promote engagement in gifted students, something that, at least for me, has been lost in classes that are “too easy” to be taken seriously.

  19. Kristine Larson

    I attended this conference yesterday. My grandson was one of the speakers. The comments about the governor’s performance are spot on. He and his wife had a real disconnect with these extremely bright students. These kids get it! They noticed the Daugaard’s early departure and they heard his ridiculous words encouraging them not to study things that would not get them a job. These kids do not fit in the “box” that the governor would consider worthwhile. How sad he did not stay to hear their voices. I have encouraged my grandson to post his speech here on this site.

  20. A message from a mom of 3 gifted and talented kids … I, like you, am disappointed that the governor didn’t stick around for the closing ceremonies and speeches. That’s a real cool part of camp! But take a step back … Was he planning on staying? Did he have something else scheduled? Did he know what was next on the camp agenda? We can’t assume he left because he doesn’t like kids or doesn’t support gifted education.
    At the same time, I believe you can use your angst to rally the troops and actively write letters to your legislators asking them to support more education funding. You do have a voice – use it for good. Be bold. Camp encourages you to be tolerant and show love … Put that into practice and go make a difference.

  21. Daugaard and Maine’s dummy of a governor, Paul LePage, are like peas and carrots. These two boneheads even belly laugh the same. Tea party twins, so you know nothing gets done that is not corrupted.

  22. KN, thank you for encouraging folks to channel their disappointment with the Governor into positive action, to “rally the troops” and work their legislators for action on gifted education in the next legislative session. Perhaps that’s the sort of proposal we can include in the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel to create a coalition for broad support for better K-12 funding.

    As for the questions you ask about the Governor’s schedule… well, as you might expect, I’m not going to cut him that much slack. If I’m Governor (imagine that for a moment! :-D ) and I’m heading to an event to make a speech, I find out the schedule. I find out who else is speaking. I anticipate how my arrival and departure will look. If I have to leave early, I pre-empt any possible negative feelings like what we’re hearing from the summit attendees by explaining to them why I have to leave early… or I just say to my people, “Know what? Tell my twelve-o’clock that they’ll have to wait. I have an important event with a couple hundred South Dakota kids.” Whether I stay because I really want to hear the kids’ speech or just because I’m protecting my image, I take some simple steps to keep everyone happy. That’s just smart politics.

  23. Mike Henriksen

    My wife was a TAG teacher for several years. Her approach was that every student had gifts, including those who may not have great grades, and needed to be challenged in different ways. She was in every classroom at least every couple of weeks. That was in addition to the regular TAG group she had every day.

    One of her regular TAG students was Chris Daugaard. She taught in Dell Rapids.

  24. “Daugaard is clear in this: he really hates children.”
    Now that’s just over the top Rob. Misguided policies perhaps, but saying the Governor hates children is quite another. Credibility is lost with such rhetoric.

  25. Rob, come now, you know you can’t get a job with a philosophy degree:



    Seriously, I agree wholeheartedly with that proposal. An honors philosophy course—not an AP class, not a dual credit class where you sit in on a regular university course, but an in-house honors philosophy class, taught by one of your sharp local teachers—could be one of the best exercises in critical thinking that you could offer to gifted students, not to mention a great springboard to pretty much any branch of solid liberal-arts education. (Ever read Sophie’s World?) It would certainly beat thirty minutes a week doing supplementary brain teasers (what kind of educational consistency or momentum can you build in that sparse timeframe?). A good philosophy class demands good discussion and active engagement with ideas… which, if we have to work within the Governor’s workforce paradigm, is exactly what you want good workers and leaders to be able to do.

  26. Building on Don’s comment, I’d say that absent a dedicated gifted education program, a good traveling debate team is the next best thing. (And if you don’t have a philosophy class, do Lincoln-Douglas debate!) Unfortunately, only a couple dozen schools in South Dakota do debate on any sort of regular basis. Again, budget cuts make it hard to keep that program alive.

  27. Heidi, you bring up a real practical challenge for schools. We have a moral and constitutional mandate to provide a free and fair education to every child. I agree that means we have to make sure every kid gets some practical minimum of knowledge and skills necessary for voting, working, and enjoying life as a human being, not just a drone. If we can’t build that floor, should we be building the rocket ports out the ceiling for the high achievers?

    But then we can turn it around to indict Daugaard’s approach. We need talented entrepreneurs, thinkers, and leaders to make our economy grow. Those gifted leaders don’t just happen. Governor Daugaard thinks the way to get them is to send them robocalls after they leave the state and try to win them back. But as his speech yesterday showed, he’s ignoring the opportunity to cultivate those gifted leaders right here. If we just focus on the floor, we get one uniform crop, all beans and no sunflowers, all workers and no leaders… which maybe is what the Governor wants, to minimize the number of real leaders and movers and shakers to a small pool that the GOP leadership can control and bring to heel.

    Back to Heidi’s main thought: we have to escape the idea that gifted education and basic education for all are in competition with each other. We have to break the scarcity mentality, change the conversation from, “Gee, we can’t afford to do a separate program for gifted education” to “We can’t afford NOT to cultivate our best and brightest.” We managed to make that mindset change in terms of special education for kids at the other end of the spectrum, creating all sorts of special assistance to bring those kids up to the floor; why can’t we exert the same effort to help high achievers break through the ceiling?

  28. mike from iowa

    Dauhaard is a wingnut. Wingnuts hate children. If the program had been for gifted fetii,Daugaard would have stayed up until 20 weeks when they could be forced to be born and then walked out.

  29. Allison, I agree: telling you to use the SDMyLife website isn’t a way to promote critical thinking or increased intellectual activity; it’s just more job-filling, peg-in-hole time-wasting. You don’t need a computer to tell you what you like and what jobs you could do. (Although in defense of garbage collecting, I recall that when I was in the gifted program in the Madison SD school district in sixth grade, I told the gifted program teacher Mrs. Konkel that I wanted to be a garbage collector. I was doing it mostly just to get a rise out of her, but you know, garbage collectors get to work outside, get some exercise, see the city, chat with neighbors, drive big machinery… it would have its merits!)

    Allison, you should send your note about teacher pay to the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel. Raising teacher pay doesn’t by itself put a gifted education program in place, but if we increase our pay to competitive levels, we can recruit more talented teachers who will have more to offer the more talented students. (See? Raising teacher pay really should be the number one policy priority for the 2016 Legislature: it addresses multiple problems!)

  30. Dang it, King, there you go again, trying to hold us to standards of intelligent and responsible speech. ;-)

    I will agree: “hates children” plays into the hands of those who would discredit our claim that Governor Daugaard and the Legislature do not put enough value on students and teachers. “Hates children” makes it too easy for the Governor to trot out photos of him hugging his grandkids and making us feel all gushy about him and all cranky about people who called him names… while we forget about the real policy issue at stake.

    But Governor Daugaard’s performance yesterday may leave some gifted students thinking he hates them, or at least doesn’t respect them very much, thus inducing them, as we see in the comments here, to think their best option for the future is to leave South Dakota and take their talents to someplace more accepting and encouraging of their talents. We perhaps should avoid using overheated rhetoric ourselves, but we can see that the Governor’s action that inspires such rhetoric from others does real damage to the kids who feel that way and the state they would abandon.

  31. Another note on KN’s question about the event schedule and whether the Governor was expected to stick around: KDLT announced the event with this press release from USD. Campt director Andrea Wange said, “…this summit will show our state officials and citizens why education in South Dakota needs more attention.” That comment suggests that the state officials in attendance, including the Governor, would hear “remarks by USD President James W. Abbott and some of the students attending the camp, who will talk about the importance of education reform in South Dakota.”

    Campers, what was your understanding of the event? And Governor’s staff and newshounds, what was the Governor’s schedule yesterday? Where did he head after the USD event?

  32. Roger Cornelius

    Even President George Bush remained in the classroom reading when the Twin Towers were attacked on 9/11, what was so damn important that Dennis Daugaard had to do to leave the ceremony so early?

  33. It would also be great if they would make the camp more affordable, or even free thanks to our huge budget surplus. I would have loved to send our child but $500 was just too much.

  34. I’m just guessing that the Sturgis Rally was more important for the Governor. You know his staff reads this blog everyday and their silence is probably not a good sign for them that they blew off the kids.

  35. What A bunch of whiners. Do you want more money for the good teachers or do you want the Governor to kiss your fat doopas?

    What a bunch of whiners. No wonder the legislatures ignore the begging for money. Focus your priorities, people. We can get it done.

  36. Roger Cornelius


    Will you be sending Daugaard an award for walking out on these gifted students that were well prepared to challenge him and his lack of understanding about education in our state?

  37. Kathy Tyler

    Whiners? Hardly. Extremely disappointed campers, parents, grandparents, etc. Yes. It’s just another example of the disregard for education held by the leaders of this state. These are the kids you want to stay in South Dakota. Students should be the priority; they aren’t, and this proves it.

  38. actually Grudz we want more money for ALL teachers and a Governor that gives the teaching profession the respect it deserves and a Governor who actually gives a crap about education.

    Teachers aren’t whining just tired of the Republican crap.

  39. Kathy,

    Could it be that the Governor realizes these kids will be too smart to buy into what the Governor and his party are selling and will leave the state for better opportunities? Those opportunities offer better intellectual stimulation, recreational, cultural and career opportunities.

    If they return to South Dakota they might be at risk of being treated like Matt Varilek who was slammed in political adds for advancing himself getting a post graduate degree in Europe while Kristi was on the farm. Inferiority complex.

  40. mike from iowa

    What does Daugaard’s disrespect for gifted children have to do with teacher pay? Grudz,methinks your gravy taters done got rabbit fever.

  41. then again according to the pro-pot people & a number of Democrats including Clay County Democrats if we legalize Marijuana all of these issues would go away and our biggest problems will be how to spend all this excess money in what will become the land of milk & honey. lol

  42. WOW is all I can say… there was no time to stick around for these kids, for your future of SD. SD allows our gifted kids to come to camp for 6 day at $500 a pop… ND allows their kids to go for 6 weeks for $100 (subsidized by the legislature) way to go ND.

  43. Douglas Wiken

    Daugaard and many like him share a similar problem. They are just smart enough to think they know everything, but not quite smart enough to realize that other people may have much better ideas and/or be much more intelligent and informed.

    We have too many first ideas into the mind of some influential who then promotes the idea and has it tied intimately to their own ego and personhood. This generates inordinate animosity when their wretched defective ideas are challenged. This and a social tribalism is part of South Dakota’s backwardness and resistance to science and data-based decision making.

  44. larry kurtz

    Daugaard is the Koch Queen of South Dakota: why his authoritarian bent survives is a testament to the power of apathy.

  45. Mike McGirr

    I grew up in rural South Dakota at a time when it felt to me like the attitude of the state and the local school board was, “Well, these boys are going to be farmers so they’ll learn what they need to know from daddy, and the girls, well, they’ll marry the boys and stay home to cook and raise the kids. They don’t need no fancy education.” Guess what, a few of those girls and boys did become farmers, but to succeed at farming today they need a great education, and they deserve great schools and teachers for their own kids. The other kids, well, we moved away, the school closed and the town is disappearing. I guess one-room country schools worked for Daugaard and for me, so why mess with success?

  46. bearcreekbat

    This little story from Huffington really describes so many of the teachers that we have here in SD and certainly suggests they deserve an increase in pay:


  47. Fat doopas indeed.

  48. Speaking of the Koch brothers. It looks like the marching orders they are giving the GOP faithful is to end government subsidies for business and the well to do. Heads explode…


  49. since the governor’s staff reads this blog daily, as suggested, it is time we tailored our comments in a way that produces productive positive dialog; introducing his staff-member to member to-the (perhaps even offering blog bios as necessary once conversations are ongoing, get a read on each of their bios, and start scoring points on the critical state issues of the day. \_(“~”)_/

  50. Lar, I am glad your trip left you brown as a nut and fit as a silver fox. It is time for you to start actually paying attention to what is going on in the state that jilted you, the Great State of South Dakota. Any time you are back, visiting, I will buy you the out-of-stater breakfast at Talleys.

  51. larry kurtz

    grud, your state is a chemical toilet: washing away the stink couldn’t happen fast enough.

  52. Grudz, Larry, you turn the conversation to the same old personal fight that renders the thread unappealing and uninstructive to the students and parents who are reading this post looking for signs of intelligent, even gifted constructive conversation. Put a cork in it, and let’s talk policy/

  53. larry kurtz

    How sad that DFP abandoned its named commenter policy.

  54. Deb Geelsdottir

    Mike M, did you grow up in Hand County? I think I know you and your family.

  55. Deb Geelsdottir

    Gov. Brownback is trying his best to bring Kansas down to SD’s education level. Just like Daugard, he is using the ALEC/Koch template to bring about the destruction of the critical public good that is education.


  56. Powerful comments from parents and students on here! SD’s Governor and the Republican dominated leg. don’t hate kids but are fiscal conservatives (some would say extreme) who don’t recognize the value of providing an appropriate and challenging education to ALL students in SD. Funding was cut 20 years ago and they have chosen not to fund Gifted Ed since. Several years ago another extreme cut to education was implemented while hundreds of millions of dollars sat unused in a state educational trust fund.
    Many feel gifted students will be just fine, that they can succeed without any additional focus given to their academic or socio- emotional needs. This may be true for some, but it’s a disheartening fallacy to apply this ignorant belief to all.
    The most effective advocacy is informing and educating our state politicians by having our young people and their parents share their stories on how Gifted Ed or a lack thereof has effected their lives and school experience.
    The student roundtable was the best part of my visits to Governor’s Camp. I think an invitation to this for Governor Daugaard and state politicians is in order for next year. And perhaps an apology is owed from Governor Daugaard for his early exit this year.