Blue Ribbon K-12 panelist Senator Corey Brown (R-23/Gettysburg) impressed me last week, saying on South Dakota Public Radio that he’s willing to fight for $75 million to fund teacher pay raises. Hearing a Republican of Brown’s ilk utter such a commitment makes me think there’s a chance the Blue Ribbon panel‘s work may not have been for naught.
KSOO’s Rick Knobe, who has risen from his conservative inclinations to say raising South Dakota’s “pathetic and embarrassing” teacher pay is so urgent that he’s willing to talk state income tax, is not as impressed:
The Blue Ribbon Task Force appointed by the Governor and chaired by Sioux Falls Senator Deb Soholt to make recommendations on our low teacher pay and scarcity of teacher situation barely qualifies for a white ribbon.
For those of you not brought up in 4-H purple is the best, meaning it meets all standards. Blue conveys the effort meets most standards. Red stands for meeting some standards. Finally, white means the effort meets few standards and generally lacks quality.
Many hours of testimony, brainstorming, and discussion produced a report on the situation today. The Task Force did NOT make specific recommendations to fix what is clearly broken. They did put forth concepts, but not enough to warrant more than the white ribbon [Rick Knobe, “Gov’s Blue Ribbon Task Force Barely Earns A White Ribbon,” KSOO Radio, 2015.11.03].
Presenting parameters instead of a plan does make the Blue Ribbon panel sound like the 4-H’er who puts up a poster of her recipe for rhubarb pie but doesn’t actually bake and bring the pie. Heck, the Blue Ribboneers didn’t even settle on a recipe. But hang in there: the Blue Ribbon panel could still surprise us with a final recommendation to the Governor that how to bake a bigger pie for the teachers we’ve starved for decades.