Students get their l lunch at a primary school in Atlanta, Georgia. (Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

State seeks sponsors for federal food program after declining separate funding source

BY: - December 1, 2023

After the state turned down federal funding for summertime child food vouchers, the South Dakota Department of Education is seeking sponsors for another program that provides summer meals to needy children. Sponsors feed kids who qualify for free or reduced price lunch during the school year, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reimburses sponsors. According […]

South Dakota ACT scores decline but remain higher than national average

BY: - October 11, 2023

South Dakota students’ average ACT score is down for the third consecutive year, but it remains higher than the national average. The national nonprofit that administers the college readiness exam released new results Tuesday from the class of 2023. South Dakota students earned an average composite score of 21.1. The highest possible score on the […]

Former New Mexico State NCAA college basketball player Deuce Benjamin breaks down in tears while speaking at a news conference in Las Cruces, N.M., in May. Benjamin and Shak Odunewu discussed the lawsuit they filed alleging teammates ganged up and sexually assaulted them multiple times, while their coaches and others at the school didn’t act when confronted with the allegations. Some states have bolstered anti-hazing laws, but definitions and punishments aren’t uniform. (Andres Leighton/The Associated Press)

South Dakota one of six states without anti-hazing laws

BY: - September 27, 2023

Max Gruver spent the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2017, heavily intoxicated and passed out on a couch inside the Phi Delta Theta chapter house at Louisiana State University. He had been forced to repeatedly chug 190-proof Diesel liquor in a hazing ritual called “Bible Study,” during which pledges are quizzed on fraternity facts. […]

Members of the state House of Representatives stand and applaud after a $104 million tax cut bill passed with unanimous support on March 9, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Lawmakers have themselves to blame for SD’s embarrassing teacher pay

BY: - July 30, 2023

Call it deja vu gone bad. A recent meeting of the state’s Teacher Compensation Review Board had to once again deal with the fact that teachers’ salaries in South Dakota are a national embarrassment. At the board meeting, figures were used from the National Education Association which listed the average teacher pay in South Dakota […]

An educator works with students at Cleveland Elementary School. (Courtesy of Sioux Falls School District)

Gap grows between targeted and actual teacher pay

BY: - July 17, 2023

Schools are lagging the state’s target pay for teachers, and the gap is growing, according to data shared with a state board in Pierre. That’s despite the 2016 Legislature’s efforts to address the problem by increasing the state’s sales tax by half a percentage point. This year, the Legislature reduced the state sales tax by […]

An educator works with students at Cleveland Elementary School. (Courtesy of Sioux Falls School District)

International hires & ‘grow your own’ programs: Schools seek solutions to teacher shortage

BY: - July 14, 2023

Oglala Lakota County schools had zero applications for more than 25 open teacher positions earlier this year. Superintendent Connie Kaltenbach said the school district advertised the positions for months locally, across the state and nationally. But there weren’t any bites. So she turned to the international market. Starting this fall, 26 Filipino teachers will likely […]

State aims to convert 90 teacher aides into certified educators

BY: - July 10, 2023

About 90 teacher aides from more than 50 school districts have been selected for a program to help them become fully certified teachers. Over a span of two years, the aides will have the opportunity to complete accredited coursework virtually outside of work – ultimately earning a bachelor’s degree. Participants will be responsible for up […]

An apartment complex on the Rosebud Reservation has drifts of snow blocking the doors and windows on Dec. 27, 2022. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

SD school districts find compromise between snow days and online learning post-COVID

BY: - April 26, 2023

Whether they sleep with a spoon under their pillow or turn their pajamas inside out – two rituals purported to bring about a snow day – South Dakota students haven’t lost the magic of a serendipitous day off from school. And if school districts across the state have anything to say about it, they’ll always […]

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at the 2023 American Indian Higher Education Consortium on Feb. 7, 2023. (U.S. Department of Education/Flickr,

Biden administration warns U.S. House GOP debt limit bill would slash education 

BY: - April 25, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Tuesday said House Republicans’ debt limit proposal would cut vital education programs and harm vulnerable students across the U.S., such as those who are low income or have a disability. “It would be taking us backwards,” Cardona said on a call with reporters. U.S. House Speaker Kevin […]

Students get their l lunch at a primary school in Atlanta, Georgia. (Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A pandemic experiment in universal free school meals gains traction in the states

BY: - April 23, 2023

WASHINGTON —  Every public school kid in the United States was eligible for free school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of family income, thanks to the federal government. While that’s now ended, a growing number of states across the country are enacting universal school meal laws to bolster child food security and academic equity. […]

Teachers of the Oceti Sakowin Community Academy gift backpacks to their inaugural class of kindergarten students in September 2022. (Courtesy of NDN Collective)

States were adding lessons about Native American history. Then came the anti-CRT movement

BY: - April 18, 2023

When the debate over teaching race-related concepts in public schools reached Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart’s home state of South Dakota, she decided she couldn’t in good conscience send her youngest daughter to kindergarten at a local public school. “I knew that the public school system would not benefit my child without the important and critical history […]

Demonstrators stand outside the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre ahead of the South Dakota Board of Education Standards meeting on April 17, 2023. (Courtesy of South Dakota Education Association)

State board approves controversial social studies standards on 5-2 vote

BY: - April 17, 2023

After almost two years of controversy, nearly 1,300 public comments submitted and hours of public testimony spread across four public hearings, the South Dakota Board of Education Standards has approved changes to the state’s K-12 social studies standards. The public had its fourth and final opportunity to speak to the board about the changes on […]