The complete text of the refeferred law is as follows:
Title: An education reform act to establish a teacher scholarship program; create a program for math and science teacher bonuses; create a program for teacher merit bonuses; mandate a uniform teacher and principal evaluation system; and eliminate state requirements for teacher tenure.
Explanation: Referred Law 16 is an education reform act with five key components. First, it establishes a scholarship program for eligible college students who commit to teach in South Dakota in critical need subject areas.
Second, the referred law creates a program to provide state-funded annual bonuses for eligible math and science teachers.
Third, the referred law develops a separate “Top Teachers” bonus program. This program provides annual state-funded merit bonuses for up to 20% of each school district’s full-time certified teachers, as awarded by the local school boards. Alternatively, a school board may enact its own program for teacher bonuses, using these state-provided funds. A school board may opt out of these merit bonus programs altogether, resulting in re-allocation of its merit bonus funds to other participating school districts.
Fourth, the referred law mandates a uniform statewide system for evaluating teachers and principals, including a rating system.
Fifth, the referred law eliminates state requirements for continuing contracts (“tenure”) for teachers who do not achieve tenure by July 1, 2016. School boards may, in their discretion, choose to offer continuing contracts to non-tenured teachers.
“Yes” is to enact the education reform act.
“No” is against the referred law.
While I may quibble with some of the details in the education reform act, I find the idea of rewarding excellent behavior to be long overdue in the realm of public education. Further, the idea of extending a life-long contract to someone because they have managed to stick it out for X number of years is, once again, contrary to how most of the business world works. Tenure tends to be a perverse incentive. I would rather that poor teachers find something else to do which is better suited to their skills and abilities than to stay on because they can.
Constant Conservative recommends a “Yes” vote on Referred Law 16.