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Noem Stuck with Jones for Duration as Education Secretary

With Tony Venhuizen leaving Pierre to make his millions in Moneyland, Governor Kristi Noem is stuck with making her interim Education Secretary permanent:

Governor Kristi Noem today announced that Dr. Ben Jones has been appointed as the permanent Secretary of Education. Jones has been serving as Interim Secretary of Education since January 2019.

“I’ve been impressed with Ben’s work in the first four months we’ve served together, and I’m pleased he’s on board moving forward,” said Noem. “Ben shares my desire to ensure every South Dakota student has access to a quality education.”

“I appreciate the confidence Governor Noem has in me to lead this department and the dedicated professionals who make it their work to help our students, teachers and administrators,” said Jones. “It’s bittersweet to be leaving my position at DSU, but the opportunity to help Governor Noem enhance the lives of the next generation of South Dakotans is something I couldn’t pass up” [Office of the Governor, press release, 2019.05.07].

Secretary Jones’s impressive work includes his complete failure to pass any of Governor Noem’s much ballyhooed (or is that hallway-booed?) civics education agenda passed in the 2019 Legislature. But when you’re Jon Lauck’s neighbor, you don’t need to produce results.

In announcing that she’s taking Dr. Jones away from DSU for good, Governor Noem claims Jones has been “key in developing the ‘Week of Work’ program,” another Bolsonaran initiative she one-offed in her first State of the State Address as a proposal to take even more class time away from high school teachers trying to teach civics as we dispatch kids to do someone else’s dirty work. I have yet to see any sign that this developing program has been finalized or deployed. Maybe they’re still working on the name, because, “Week of Work”?—sure, that’s a name that will get kids excited. Perhaps it comes from Noem’s expectations of herself and her family members employed in state government.


  1. mike from iowa 2019-05-08 08:25

    “Ben shares my desire to ensure every South Dakota student has access to a quality education.”

    One holds the door as the other waves buh-bye to students leaving Northern Mississippi for better education opportunities?

  2. o 2019-05-08 11:34

    (Sad Peanuts music playing in the background): We’ll at least I don’t have to wait by the phone, hoping for my big call any longer.

  3. Porter Lansing 2019-05-08 12:08

    “You use a shell company somewhere like the British Virgin Islands, and then you add that to something like a trust in South Dakota, and then you’ve arranged all that via a lawyer in London, and you’re holding your money in a bank in – I don’t know – Singapore.” – MoneyLand
    TLSTW (the little state that won’t) is listed among some highly roguish places. Butina, Erickson and the NRA knew it. It would be embarrassing except it’s hidden, you know, under that big rug in Pierre.

  4. Debbo 2019-05-08 16:30

    The Gov is not doing well in PARGland either. That’s 538’s shorthand for Popularity Above Replacement Governor. Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz is 13th nationally with a rating a +19. There are a couple whoppers at +88 and +80.

    I ran out of fingers and toes to figure Noem’s standing. Her rating is -13. Argh! It appears that South Dakotans feel they are “stuck with” Kristie!

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-08 17:36

    O! We should’ve put your name in! You’d be great!

    Porter, indeed, we find ourselves part of a dark web of kleptocracy.

    Debbo, were I teaching civics, I’d obviously ask students to first find out where on earth 538 got polling on South Dakota’s gubernatorial approval rating. 538 cites Morning Consult, which must have called somebody in South Dakota. They report Noem at 49% approval, 32% disapproval, while Walz is at 45%/24%. Morning Consult says it surveys over 5,000 registered voters a day across the country and surveyed nearly 473K Americans during Q1. I wonder if they survey representative proportions of each state each day or if a larger proportion of their South Dakota calls might have happened in one month or another. I suspect Noem’s ratings would have looked different in January when she was just all happy-pretty-newly inaugurated, in February when she came out against hemp, and in March after she dropped her protest suppression surprise package on the tribes.

  6. Moses6 2019-05-08 22:57

    Is this another good old boy job or what?

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