As the state grapples with how and how much Native American history and culture to teach in public schools, a new South Dakota News Watch poll shows that the public overwhelmingly supports inclusion of Native American studies in public schools statewide.
Average teacher salaries rose in South Dakota by 17% over the past five years, mostly driven by a hike in the state sales tax, and for a time the state rose in national rankings. But since then, the state has failed to keep pace and. now only Mississippi pays a lower average wage. Education experts say the state may need to revisit the funding formula for school districts to prevent more teachers from leaving the state for higher wages.
Many aspects of living and learning on South Dakota college campuses appear more normal this fall, but as COVID-19 cases rise statewide due to the highly transmissible delta variant, aggressive efforts are still being made to keep students, faculty and staff safe and some students are feeling the strain of anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Most South Dakota school officials are planning for in-person teaching in fall 2021 and expect that masks and vaccinations against COVID-19 will be optional for students, faculty and staff. But they are keeping a close eye, and an open mind, in regard to outbreaks of COVID-19 and its variants that could prompt changes to safety protocols in schools.
Only half of South Dakota school districts offer formal summer school programs, and some of those that do are seeing increased enrollments as educators and parents seek to help students who fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic catch up or stay on track with their education. Some experts worry that students who faced upheaval in learning during the pandemic may fall further behind their peers and could be unable to catch up.
South Dakota News Watch hosted a panel discussion on April 14, 2021 in which four education experts shared their views on the South Dakota Civics and History Initiative now in development for state public K-12 schools.
As the state embarks on creation of a new and expanded civics and history initiative for South Dakota public schools, key stakeholders in the process are urging those behind the plan, including Gov. Kristi Noem, to keep politics out of the process to tell the truest possible story of history and government.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a major interruption for colleges and universities across South Dakota and the nation, causing changes in how instruction was delivered, how students learned and resulting in enrollment and revenue declines for schools both public and private, large and small. Yet the pandemic only exacerbated long-range challenges already faced by the American higher education system. In a four-part special report, South Dakota News Watch takes an in-depth look at where higher education stands now and what the future might look like.
Facing the challenge of remote learning on an isolated reservation with limited access to computers and wireless service, leaders of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in central South Dakota used federal funding, help from a non-profit tech firm and a dose of ingenuity to create their own local network to help children learn amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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