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  1. Residents in wide swaths of rural South Dakota do not have access to primary medical care, let alone specialist care. Medical schools, including the University of South Dakota, are graduating more doctors than ever, but those young doctors do not have enough residency opportunities to complete their training to work on their own. The problem has heightened barriers to access to health care in rural areas of the state.
  2. Content Director Bart Pfankuch discusses some of the challenges of producing in-depth articles about significant statewide topics.
  3. A 2017 law in South Dakota created the "professional midwife" certification to regulate the practice of home births by lay midwives who previously were not state certified or regulated. But a top state medical official is concerned about safety of home births by professional midwives who are required to have far less clinical training and education than "nurse midwives" who have been regulated in the state for 40 years.
  4. St. Joseph's Catholic school near Chamberlain, funded by millions in donations, provides a full-service education that has paid off in high achievement among its Native American students. A school official said that the school's approach and achievement can be replicated somewhat at schools with lower per-student expenditures.
  5. Native American education advocates are pushing for legislation that would allow the first charter schools to be opened in South Dakota, specifically with a focus on new ways to teach Native children who have historically struggled in the state. Any bill is likely to face opposition, but examples of success elsewhere do exist, including a high-achieving school run by a tribe in Florida.
  6. A SOUTH DAKOTA NEWS WATCH SPECIAL REPORT: This article is the first of three stories that make up Part 2 of a two-week special report focusing on the failure of the South Dakota public education system to adequately educate Native American students, who make up 10% of the state's total student population. Last week, News Watch examined the problem and its causes; this week's reporting focuses on potential reforms and solutions. This article examines how new curricula, a greater emphasis on language and culture, a push to hire more Native educators and attempts to spur parental and community involvement in education are generating hope of reversing a historic trend of inadequate academic achievement by Native American students. Other articles this week look at a proposal to allow Native-focused charter schools in South Dakota, and a profile of a highly successful, well-funded Catholic school for Native American students.
  7. In Eagle Butte, a bustling after-school program helps Native American youths find reasons to stay in school and to pursue future success in work and in life by providing access to art, culture, job-training and life skills education.
  8. A SOUTH DAKOTA NEWS WATCH SPECIAL REPORT: Native American students in South Dakota have for decades lagged far behind their white peers in academic achievement, leading to devastating later-in-life consequences. South Dakota educators and experts blame the failures mainly on inequities and gaps in the public-school system and lingering societal issues, including generational poverty and historical trauma, that are far outside students' control. In a two-week special report, News Watch examines the problem and reveals how a new inclusive approach to public education and a host of reform efforts could lead to a renaissance in Native education in South Dakota. The two articles in Part 1 are published here.
  9. New national study ranks South Dakota top five in need for improvements, but educators say small, rural schools bring intangible benefits as a result of closer relationships between students and staffs.
  10. South Dakota farmers and ranchers -- many hurting from low commodity prices -- say the state's current system of ag land valuation and taxation places an unfair financial burden on them at a time they can least afford it. Ongoing efforts to reform the system, however, would likely raise taxes on homes and businesses or leave school districts and counties with fewer revenues.
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