Change Can Happen, But We Need Your Voice
One of the things I enjoy about being your President is the opportunity to travel the state meeting members in their schools and classrooms. I am always in awe of the work you do day in and day out.
My travels really brought into focus how the educator shortage is impacting you and your students alike. Concerns about student behaviors came up everywhere I went. You also expressed your strong opposition to the proposed social studies standards. The concerns SDEA has raised in the media and at the hearings are your concerns. Whether it is the age appropriateness of the standards, the pacing, or the removal of South Dakota and Native American history, it is clear you care about how these proposed standards will impact students.
Members didn’t talk about these issues because they simple wanted to complain. No, you voiced your concerns as professionals who just wanted to make things better for your students. How can we do that? The only way we can make change happen is by telling our stories over and over until our state leaders have no other choice but to listen and we can collectively do that together if we all take a little time to be involved.
Involvement can be something as simple as sending a quick note to legislators during session, or committing time to attend a local legislative coffee or cracker barrel. The more educators who are willing to commit, even just a couple minutes, will make our collective voice even louder.
This next one may be a bigger ask, but it’s a very important one. Earlier this fall, SDEA along with other education groups asked the Board of Education Standards to hold a hearing on a weekend to give educators and parents the chance to attend. The board heard our request and scheduled a meeting for Saturday, February 11 in Pierre. This hearing is important. A lot of naysayers believe that teachers don’t care about what is happening and that none of you will show up. I believe we will prove them wrong.
While we still don’t have all the details, we are working with local leaders to organize transportation for any who wish to attend. Please watch for emails and social media posts for more details as we get closer to the date. If each local brings just one car of concerned educators, we can fill the room and send a very loud message.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” If we as professionals want to have a say in these standards, or any standards in the future, we cannot remain silent. This is our chance – we cannot let it slip away. I know you have the passion; now let’s all take our passion and make change happen.