Native Village
Youth and Education news
 APRIL 1, 2010 Volume 2

S. Dakota education loses shot at $74M
State still might apply for another round of grants
Condensed by Native Village

South Dakota: South Dakota is not among the first 16 finalists for Race to the Top, a $4,350,000 billion education reform competition.  State officials will read the reviewers' comments before deciding to apply for the second round of funding.

The state asked for $74,000,000 to fund a year-round residential charter school for Native American students. The school would include grades 9-12 plus two years of college. It would emphasize science, technology, engineering and math.

"We really thought if we could bring it together in the Black Hills of South Dakota it would be a great place to provide another option for young people that wanted to take the next steps to get into higher education and continue on," Gov. Mike Rounds said.

The sixteen finalists will send representatives to present their plans in person. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will pick the winners.

"Given the comments by President Obama and Secretary Duncan and their concern for Native American education ... I'd like to think we have a good project and a fundable project," said Dan Guericke from the Mid-Central Education Cooperative.

Guericke is not surprised that the state isn't a finalist because:

The state's education practices don't fit with Obama's agenda.
The state has no charter schools.
The state lacks data systems that inform teacher evaluations.
 The state has only limited merit pay.
While the state has 153 school districts, the only 14 support the application.
Only two local teachers unions support the application.

If South Dakota reapplies, the charter school will probably remain the focus of the grant request.

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