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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

In SD, Complexities Surround Teacher Appreciation Week

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Monday, May 8, 2023   

Teacher Appreciation Week is underway. In South Dakota, there's a mixed outlook from educators on whether they feel supported.

Coinciding with this week's events is an annual ranking from the National Education Association, which looks at factors such as educator salaries. South Dakota moved up from last in the nation to 49th.

Union leaders credit an overall 13% bump in state aid funding over a two-year period.

Loren Paul - president of the South Dakota Education Association - said while it's been encouraging to see that extra support, there's still a lot of catching up to do in staying competitive in this part of the country.

"We're gaining regionally, but we haven't overtaken anybody regionally," said Paul. "That presents an extra challenge, when there's a nationwide teacher shortage."

Paul said lawmakers need to focus more on listening to educators and what they're experiencing.

He added that they're embedded in the communities served by school districts, and like other constituents, they deserve to have their voices heard.

According to the NEA rankings, the average educator salary in South Dakota is just over $50,000.

Paul said another wrinkle has been certain parent groups wanting to have a say in curriculum, while pushing for actions such as book bans in schools and public libraries.

"That's becoming more and more challenging in the current political climate," said Paul. "And I think that plays into retaining teachers."

He also pointed to the recent adoption of controversial social-studies standards in South Dakota, noting that teachers and plenty of members of the public spoke out against the plan.

Paul said that's an example of educators not being listened to.

Opponents accused Gov. Kristi Noem's administration of politicizing the process. Those leading the effort defended the criteria, saying students will be equipped with "solid grounding in history and civics."



Disclosure: South Dakota Education Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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