Education funding rant

Neale inquired in the last post why my kids were going to college in Nebraska. I was simply going to respond in the comments but his question combined with something in the local daily to lead me to a rant.

To clarify, my oldest daughter does attend the University of South Dakota and loves it. I am also a product of the South Dakota public university system, both undergraduate and law school. Thus, I have no problem with the quality of the system. My problem is with its efforts to keep bright South Dakotans.

One of the main reasons my middle daughter is going to a Nebraska public university is outlined here. Since that post, the Nebraska university offered her an additional $3,000 a year honors scholarship while USD offered her an additional $1,000 a year. Notably, one of the two scholarships USD offered comes from a state program where if too many students are eligible, “the scholarship may be prorated and distributed to each recipient proportionately.” In other words, “Even though we’re offering this to you we’re not saying you’ll actually get that amount of money now or in the future.”

Given the fact the scholarships offered by both universities are strictly academic-based, which university system seems more interested in recruiting top South Dakota students? And look at it from the standpoint of a graduating high school senior. You have two universities that offer quality programs in fields in which you are interested. It will cost you more to go to school in South Dakota than out-of state. How long are you going to stick around South Dakota?

Tipping me toward the rant was the article reporting the U.S. Census Bureau ranked South Dakota last in state funding for K-12 education. One of the things my middle daughter is considering is being a teacher, bless her heart. Looking at our teacher salaries and education funding, what are the odds she will find her way back to South Dakota if she does become a teacher?

I’m not bragging about my daughter. I am simply learning firsthand what has likely been transpiring for years and which shows no serious sign of abatement. The self-inflicted wounds of not being interested in or capable of competing for the bright kids in our own public schools seriously weaken the strength of the state and its future.

It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom poster

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