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  1. Those who want all American schoolchildren to have access to free meals at school are looking to the U.S. Congress for the authorization and money to pay for the meals. But for now, no firm plan exists in Washington, D.C. to get universal free meals approved.
  2. A federal program that provided free meals to all American schoolchildren during COVID-19 has ended, causing more students than usual to go hungry in South Dakota schools. Many families, already enduring inflation, are having a harder time affording food for their children or buying them meals at school. Schools and teachers are doing their best to keep students healthy and fed.
  3. South Dakota continues to suffer from the so-called "brain drain," in which high school and college graduates leave the state and take their skills and talents with them. But a new scholarship program and other efforts are giving hope that more educated, talented young people will stay in the state where they grew up.
  4. A panel of education experts convened by South Dakota News Watch on June 16, 2022 said teachers in the state are doing a good job of teaching children, and do not deserve the recent criticism and political stress that are making a hard job even tougher, and which are adding to a shortage of teachers across the state.
  5. Some of the most contentious legislation and debate surrounding what is taught in South Dakota public school classrooms has its origin in model legislation and language put forth by national political operatives and commentators. Education officials in South Dakota say the recent attempts to influence classroom standards and curricula are part of a larger political narrative that is not reflective of what is happening in public schools here.
  6. Three retired classroom teachers from South Dakota say they are worried about how increasing political and cultural pressure placed on public education will affect the ability of teachers to teach and their willingness to remain in the profession they love. Part three of a 3-part series.
  7. The shortage of teachers in South Dakota has gotten worse in recent years as classroom educators have increasingly felt the pull of politics and the ongoing culture wars add new stress to an already difficult job. As criticism of teachers mounts, and questions about curriculum become more common, some experts worry the public education system in South Dakota may begin to falter. This is Part 1 of a two-part series.
  8. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional stress on students in South Dakota and across the country, many who were already suffering mental health issues. School counselors are playing a larger role in helping students remain healthy and avoid pressure that can lead to health problems and even suicide.
  9. Opposition and threats of financial consequences were lower in the 2022 South Dakota Legislative session for lawmakers and Gov. Kristi Noem as they successfully passed a ban on transgender athletes participating in female athletics. Part of the political cover came from a collegiate athlete from Pennsylvania, who eventually became the first openly transgender person to win a national championship, awarded in women's swimming.
  10. Open meetings advocates in South Dakota are increasingly concerned about new legal language that some government officials believe gives them the right to exclude members of the public from speaking or asking questions at public meetings. Recent school-related personnel incidents in Garretson and Rapid City have drawn attention to the willingness of public officials to operate without input from residents.
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