Director of Assessment & Accountability talks about proposed changes to South Dakota’s accountability system.

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Dr. Melody Schopp at a recent event where Huckabee spoke about Common Core.

Secretary's Column
By Dr. Melody Schopp
Department of Education

Preparing for the 2014 Legislature

Another legislative session is soon upon us. Gov. Daugaard recently delivered his budget address for FY 15, and the news is good. His budget would provide a 3 percent increase in state aid to K-12 education.

I also anticipate pushback on implementation of the Common Core State Standards. I spent a great deal of time this fall talking with legislators about Common Core, and I believe support for the new standards is strong. But misunderstandings persist about their origins, local control and data collection. It will be critical that legislators hear from teachers, administrators, board members and parents regarding their perspectives on this issue.

The standards enjoy support from many corners. The South Dakota Education Association backs the standards, and both the Associated School Boards of South Dakota and School Administrators of South Dakota have recently put their support in writing. In addition, we have met with the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry and have received their verbal support.

A guest editorial by the 2014 South Dakota Regional Teachers of the Year in support of the Common Core has appeared in several newspapers across the state.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader recently published a favorable guest editorial by the conservative Fordham Institute in addition to covering the standards with two local educators on its ‘100 Eyes’ program.

And during American Education Week, in communities around the state, groups of South Dakota educators spoke with editorial boards about the standards.

At a recent meeting of my counterparts from other states, I had the good fortune to hear former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speak about his enthusiasm for the standards.

So as you can see, momentum is strong and positive.

As always, thank you for all you do for South Dakota students. I hope you, your students and staff have a joyful holiday season and happy new year.