Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I'm Rather Confident South Dakota Teacher Pay Won't Be Raised Significantly

Over at Madville, Cory has banged the drum to increase teach pay.To mix metaphors and academic disciplines, I suppose I should play Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote, but the fog has cleared and the imaginary giant is a fortified windmill on a hostile political landscape.

When it comes to public schools and teachers, not a few Libertarians hope the schools fail because public schools are a government project. If low teacher pay breaks the public schools, that's a win in these Libertarians' book. Likewise, a vocal coterie of social conservatives believe that teachers hand out hall passes with the phone number for and directions to Planned Parenthood stamped on the back. In their eyes, teachers have become enablers of baby killing who deserve no comfort. Many wealthy liberals--granted only seventeen liberals exist in South Dakota--and many wealthy conservatives send their young'uns to denominational schools that often pay teachers less than public schools pay their teachers. They have no reason to want to pay public school teachers more when those who teach their children frequently earn less. Finally, country club Republicans can use low teacher pay as a prime example that illustrates that the pesky unions won't bother any business choosing to come to South Dakota to pay lower taxes.

The above paragraph may paint with too broad a brush, but in the main, I think it's an accurate reflection of many South Dakotan's attitudes. Even if I'm wrong about all of the above, Governor Daugaard holds teachers responsible for defeating last session's HB 1234 at the ballot box. No one hold grudges better than a scorned politician. The Governor is not going to accept a pay all teachers a little more plan so soon after his pay some teachers considerably more plan was rejected.

Finally, South Dakota is not immune for the income disparities that afflict the nation. The sad truth is that far too many South Dakotans earn less than teachers. It's a tough sell to ask them to pay more so someone else can take home more.

Most of these political conditions have existed for over thirty years and have become more entrenched. I think I'll listen for a drumbeat that sends one marching toward a defeatable chimera. (I know I mixed metaphors and literary genres again, but I really wanted a myth allusion. If I'm not going to get paid, I should have a little fun.)


M Larson said...

I think the one thing different this year is that it is an election year. Remember that Daugaard only wanted to increase wages less than 2% and then he received an opponent it it jumped to 3%. The next five years will be brutal with Daugaard in office for education.

caheidelberger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caheidelberger said...

But Sancho, I see it with my own eyes! Hand me my lance, and spur your ass!

So is there some magic in this kingdom's air that makes all those factors listed above, present in every other state to varying degrees, leave our teacher pay so stunningly lower than everywhere else?

We get those low-income South Dakota workers to pay more to make corporations richer. I'm planning a campaign based on the idea of treating corporations and teachers the same. They are both people....

Kal Lis said...

The goal enunciated in your last paragraph defines quixotic better than any dictionary.

The "to varying degrees" is an important distinction. States to our north and west that likely have the most similar political culture also have natural resource extraction revenue. Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska all have a real urban center and a history that includes true progressive movements that were staved off here. South Dakota never had the equivalent of the Minnesota's DFL for example.

Cultural recipes are just as tricky as any other recipe. I can add flour, milk,egg, baking powder, and sugar to varying degrees and vanilla to produce a cake batter. The varying degrees of ingredients determine whether it will be a cake or merely sweet spackle.

If that analogy won't hold, here's an example from my misspent youth.