My latest in the Pierre Capital Journal concerns teacher pay, or lack thereof. Kudos to whomever wrote the headline. I love it. Here's the teaser, and then go here and read the whole thing.
Another legislative session is under way. A recent study committee has asked to Legislature to address the state’s shortage of quality teachers.
What might cause this shortage? The obvious place to look is teacher pay. According to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, South Dakota is last in the nation in teacher pay, even behind Mississippi. Average teacher pay in South Dakota is about $39,000 a year, falling well short of the national average of $56,000.
Policy makers will sometimes argue that South Dakota’s low cost of living should be taken into consideration when we discuss salaries.
It is worth noting that our state trails every single state that borders us in teacher pay. Indeed, of the five states that border South Dakota, North Dakota is the closest in teacher pay at about $47,000, or $8,000 more a year than South Dakota. Nebraska pays about $9,000 a year more. Are we really to believe that it costs $9,000 a year more to live in Nebraska than South Dakota? Or that is costs $18,000 more a year to live in Wyoming? Because that’s how much more Wyoming’s teachers make than ours.