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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Despite increase, SD teacher salary among lowest in the country

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Monday, May 6, 2024   

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, and there's some mixed news when it comes to how well South Dakota is compensating its teachers.

According to the National Education Association's annual Rankings and Estimates report, the national average teacher salary increased about 4% to nearly $70,000 a year between the 2021 and 2022 school years.

But adjusted for inflation, teachers still make 5% less than they did a decade ago.

President of the South Dakota Education Association Loren Paul noted that teachers there saw one of the highest salary increases across the country this year - a more than 5% jump.

"And the last three years, we've seen more than what is required by the state," said Paul. "So, hopefully we can continue that trend."

Despite the increase, South Dakota didn't shake its national salary rank of 49th, at just over $53,000.

The last time the South Dakota Legislature enacted a law to increase teacher pay was in 2016, when it raised the state's sales tax by $0.005.

South Dakota's highest ranking in the report of 27th was for its starting salary, which averages $43,000. Paul said that helps bring in new educators, but doesn't do much to retain them.

"Overall salary increases are tied to retention," said Paul, "and if you're losing them off the top faster than you can bring them in the bottom, raising the average is what's important, not just the starting salary."

He said teacher retention and shortages remain nationwide issues. North Dakota and Wyoming, which both rank higher, use state revenue from the fossil fuel industry to help pay teachers.



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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