Report gives South Dakota a D+ for education - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Report gives South Dakota a D+ for education

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 South Dakota gets a D+ and the "D" doesn't stand for Dakota.

 A new report from the magazine "Education Week" ranks South Dakota dead last when it comes to our schools.

 Maryland as the number one state for education with an 87%.

 North Dakota makes the grade with a 76%.

 Iowa and Minnesota both earned "C's" in the low 70's .

 South Dakota ranks 51st for the lowest education average in the state, the only state to earn a "D" plus with a 69%.

 Lawmakers have mixed feelings about getting a bad grade. Some see it as a sign of what they already know while others think it doesn't tell the whole story.

 The education week report card takes into account nearly all areas of American education, from school finance to grades to equity.

 But Sioux falls senator mark Johnston doesn't accept the d plus. "I don't think it's a fair picture of education in south Dakota. The methodology that education week used put a high emphasis on pre-k education. We don't have a state strategy for pre-k in south Dakota." Johnston gives high marks to the states performance in educating kids from elementary school to high school. He says schools will get the funding they need. "They wanted us to fund the formula. We've listened. We're going to fund the formula. There's a lot of uncertainty in this federal economy. A lot of uncertainty in this federal budget."

 But one thing former teacher and now State Representative Paula Hawks is certain about is the state's funding is not enough. "We're spending less money and putting less money into our educational priorities and our teachers are still doing great things in the classroom." And while Hawk disagrees with the report findings on the quality of South Dakota schools -- she agrees with its low grade on state funding. "They're not just talking about student performance, they're also talking about financing, support from the state. And yes, we do come in dead last when it comes to financial support and teacher pay."

 Whether they agree or disagree, one thing most lawmakers agree on is the need to support funding for South Dakota schools.

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