The right-wingnuts on the Rapid City school board have banned books, made excuses for domestic terrorism, and opposed public health and common-sense pandemic responses. The predictable result of this poor management is the departure of skilled teachers and staff:
With 14 resignations slated for Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting and 16 terminations and leaves total, the board would have approved 411 terminations and leaves throughout the school year. In total, there were 308 resignations, some of which were a breach of contract. The number includes faculty and staff, including principals and bus drivers.
…There are about 1,680 RCAS staff members overall, according to the district’s website.
In 2020-2021, there were 245 resignations of the 385 terminations and leaves, which is about 64%. There were 175 resignations of the 317 terminations and leaves by the end of the 2018-2019 school year, about 55% [Siandhara Bonnet, “RCAS Teacher Resignations Increase over Previous School Year,” Rapid City Journal, 2022.07.09].
411 departures out of 1,680 staff—that’s over 24% turnover. That’s still a snudge below the national separations rate of 25.5% in education in 2021 and the 47.2% rate across all industries figured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it’s a local increase that means Rapid City is losing talent.
One departing teachers ties that loss to the schoolboard’s overt mistrust and denigration of teachers:
Timmi Bubac, who previously taught English Language Arts at Stevens High School and resigned as of the end of the 2021-2022 school year, said at the May 17 board meeting that there is a mass exodus of teachers.
She said teachers who are choosing to stay say they are increasingly feeling undervalued and disrespected from members of the community and some Board of Education members.
Bubac said there was a statement from the board questioning whether teachers committed a crime while designing a new curriculum for the English 12 class. She said it felt like threats, intimidation and disrespect.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that this unsupportive statement came from this board,” Bubac said. “I would love to work in a district where the school board speaks more favorably about the teachers that educate their children even in the midst of a difference of opinion” [Bonnet, 2022.07.09].
Alas, the right-wingers are probably o.k. with that exodus. They don’t respect public school teachers or public schools. They want public education to fail. If they can drive away good teachers and leave the public schools they have taken over short-staffed, they can boost their side’s case for the religious schools that will fuel their preferred theocracy. Increasing resignations and staff shortages would mark failure in any other industry, but in the right-wing world of Kristi Noem’s freedom-fakers, driving teachers out of public schools and shortchanging public school students is a sign of success.