What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?
31 school districts in South Dakota started the year without a full staff.
This is a terrible situation to be in as a district. What do you do? Hire a under- or unqualified person to fill the position? Hire a long-term substitute? Yes and yes. Districts in South Dakota are having to do both of those.
According to this article in the major newspaper for Sioux Falls, schools are blaming low teacher pay for many of these issues. South Dakota ranks 51st in the nation for teacher pay. In 2012-2013, we were the only state that had an average pay below $40,000.
Obviously, teachers do not enter the field for pay, but if people are not entering the field at all, it might be because the pay is so low that its difficult to support a family with it.
In South Dakota, the most challenging issue is how we get high-quality, qualified people to teach in a state that does not value them and their expertise. I hope that soon the state will see how important teachers are to the future of our state, and will start to value them appropriately.