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SD Failure to Prepare for Coronavirus School Year Leads to Lower Four-Year HS Graduation Rate

South Dakota state government and many schools failed to take coronavirus seriously and provide students with robust hybrid learning opportunities amidst the pandemic. That failure led to a sharp drop in on-time high school completion among American Indian and Hispanic students but not white students:

SD Department of Education, presentation to SD Board of Education Standards, 2021.10.18.
SD Department of Education, presentation to SD Board of Education Standards, 2021.10.18.

When the state finally gets around to spending its last batch of federal coronavirus relief dollars, let’s hope it invests more in helping those delayed students complete their high school diplomas than it did in making sure those students didn’t fall behind due to the pandemic in the first place.


  1. O 2021-10-20

    Cory, I think you have fallen into the education silver bullet trap. Although school can absolutely be the answer to moving upward and overcoming social and economic situations, there are hindrances to that movement that scuttle school’s ability to succeed. The corona virus exposed the cracks (and gaping holes) in the social welfare system — schools and other. Given the statistics of these identified groups to be hit harder by social and economic hardships, is it even practical to think that in that perfect storm, education would succeed in righting all of those wrongs to allow students to proceed as hoped?

    Although I completely agree that education ought to target these groups in need, that must be part of a MUCH larger answer.

  2. larry kurtz 2021-10-20

    No hospital beds for a 600 mile radius of Rapid City and Montana is suffering the highest per capita infection rates in the US where the unvaccinated compelled the Republican attorney general to force hospitals to treat patients with ivermectin.

    It’s an apocalypse of the ridiculous.

  3. Richard Schriever 2021-10-20

    “Republican attorney general (who) force(d) hospitals to treat patients with ivermectin” should be charged with practicing medicine without a license.

  4. ArloBlundt 2021-10-20

    The numbers on high school graduation, across the board, are shameful. This Governor, when a legislator, sponsored legislation to lower the mandatory school attendance age from 18 to 16. Students respond to the expectations of the system.

  5. grudznick 2021-10-20

    I say the parents need to step up and take a little personal and parental responsibility here.

  6. lrads1 2021-10-20

    Grudz,  parents have needed to step up for a long, long time. It’s not like that’s a new thing.  They aren’t, for more reasons than there used to be, and those new reasons are the direct fault of your party. Your party is DIRECTLY responsible for the failure of the family unit in South Dakota today. (you and Hollywood together, I guess).  Some of the reasons are human failures; some of those failures are because THEIR parents failed, or because there’s only one interested parent, or because they’re working 3 jobs to pay the rent, or because they’re addicted to something, or because they’ve been taken advantage of by a car salesman, or a cell phone salesman, or a real estate agent, or took out student loans before they knew what they wanted to do in life.  Much of it is because your party has refused to acknowledge the importance of maintaining a professional K-12 system for our South Dakota kids for the last 30 years.

    The fact remains…South Dakota’s voters and politicians are refusing to step up to fill in the gaps created by the situations above, because South Dakota voters have been convinced by GOP campaign money that state government should do no more than allow the survival of the fittest…should not get in the way of Darwinism…

    Thanks, for nothing. Many thanks (not) for the systematic dismantling of democracy.

  7. Richard Schriever 2021-10-20

    grudz – how’s about you do a little substitute teaching?

  8. grudznick 2021-10-20

    Well you know what, Mr. lrads, those people all need a swift kick in the buttocks.

  9. lrads1 2021-10-20

    Oh come on grudz….can’t do better than that? to answer for the destruction of SD’s future?

  10. V 2021-10-21

    It’s about leadership or “lack of” from the SD Department of Education and their merry leader, the Noem, the Trump administration and his education secretary, the pandemic, the lack of monies and resources for schools and our children, the lack of respect for the teaching profession, and the republicans who keep bashing the public school system itself.

    None of you men who are criticizing teachers could have survived the rigorous requirements that it takes to make it through any education program. You can’t play chess with checkers dudes and there are no classes on teaching from an arm chair.

  11. V 2021-10-21

    Some Republican administrations ignore minority students until they see the conditions of the communities and schools. We’ve had threats of closures of schools due to low enrollment in this area. One time, Janklow visited Wakpala to close it’s school and ended up helping to fund a new one. The location of the building was near a creek that floods yearly and children were exposed to mold etc. Parents were sending their children to an unhealthy place. The new school is on high ground and is the pride of the community with high enrollment and graduation rates compared to the years at the old school.

    Remember the Gear Up Program? Remember the standards for Native American Curriculum that took years to include Lakota language? All that work and no funding? And now, native kids get to learn Noem’s revisionist history with no native history included. Hmmmmmm

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