(Pierre, SD) --The South Dakota Education Association (SDEA) has submitted approximately 30,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State in its effort to refer HB 1234 to the voters in November 2012. SDEA President Sandy Arseneault said the success of the petition drive shows that South Dakotans want a chance to vote on the controversial education plan, which passed by one vote during the 2012 Legislative Session. The Association is asking the voters to reject this legislation in November.
"We are quite pleased with the success of the petition drive. From the very beginning we have argued that the premise of HB 1234 ignores the real needs of students and simply creates a bureaucracy of one-size fits all mandates which ultimately force more high stakes testing on students," said Arseneault. "The tremendous response we received over the last 90 days shows that voters also have these same concerns and want a chance to vote no on this legislation in November."
Arseneault believes that putting HB 1234 on the November ballot creates a real opportunity for voters in South Dakota to have a meaningful conversation about what education reforms are good for students and which ones are not. "As educators, we want what is best for our students. It is always good to look at what we are doing and see what we can improve upon," said Arseneault. "However, policymakers shouldn't implement reform for the sake of implementing reform. We believe that is what they did with HB 1234 and that is why we are going to ask the voters to reject this legislation at the ballot box."
Over the coming weeks, the Secretary of State's office will verify that SDEA has submitted the 15,855 valid signatures necessary to place the initiated measure on the November 2012.
SDEA is South Dakota's largest education professionals' organization, representing more than 7,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
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