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.
To protect vulnerable residents, Native American educators have moved almost exclusively to remote teaching and learning, which is creating new challenges to an already stressed education system. Even after improving access to computers and the internet, Native educators worry that critical educational, spiritual and emotional connections created during in-person learning cannot be duplicated and that Native students will fall further behind in their learning.
Overall enrollment is down about 5% since 2010 at the six public universities in South Dakota, reducing revenues along the way. As a result, universities are changing the way they do business, but part of those changes may be a belt-tightening that could affect faculty positions and offerings to students.
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.
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