Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Consolidation: An Education Discussion That Should Happen But Won't

Cory points out that there's an important education policy discussion that isn't happening in South Dakota: school consolidation.
It may also be a policy discussion worth having. Do we overstretch our dollars by maintaining too many school buildings and school districts? Does South Dakota have a fiscal obligation to pull back, let some small schools and small communities die, and concentrate its resources on larger communities?
I have no strong feelings on the matter. I have taught in a Class B school and in a Class AA school. My debaters compete against students from large and small schools.

It does seem, however, that the structure of the South Dakota's school systems should be part of any comprehensive plan to improve education in the state. Discussion consolidation may not allow the state's politicians to think they are part of a national conversation, but that discussion won't be as myopic as the current focus on test scores.

My inner cynic doubts that discussion will happen in the next legislative session or the one after that or the one after that. Politicians at every level have learned that one doesn't need to solve any large problems; they merely need to demonize smaller concerns. Daugaard Inc. has created his perfect scapegoat: teachers. He can begin and end all reform discussions by attacking teachers and ignore any needed structural changes.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

Deutsch is making pretty clear we're not going to have that conversation. He says he is committed to discussing other alternatives to keeping all school districts and communities strong.