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Sioux Falls School Board Back Peddles

(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

The Sioux Falls School Board meets tonight, November 25th, at 5:30pm. Two items which have been part of recent public dialogue will be re-discussed.

After receiving much negative publicity over the “Pledge of Allegiance” policy revision, ADDING the Sioux Falls Middle Schools, but NOT the High Schools, board members are going to discuss revising their revision.

News reports, both local and national, were not accurate, hence the firestorm. According to some board members, phone calls and emails of threatening nature, including death threats were received. However, as of 11:30 a.m, today(11/25), none of those threats were turned over to proper investigating authorities. In my opinion that is a mistake. Whenever a threat of violence or other retaliation is received, the proper step is to notify law enforcement.

Wednesday of last week, A robo call phone survey, recorded by Doug Morrison, Chair of the Board,  of school parents received 3500 responses. Of those, 70% stated they would like high school students to recite the Pledge daily.

To me there is a larger point and issue. Test scores show most United States school students don’t understand the workings of civics and government. While reciting the Pledge seems like the patriotic thing to do, I think our children need to understand what they are pledging allegiance to before they stand each day for 15 seconds to recite the words.

Also on the agenda tonight is the withdrawal of a proposed policy forbidding teachers from having their own children in the classroom with them after school. It is still unclear where this proposal came from. Bureaucrats at the district have cited the need for total uniformity and conformity for all staff, teaching and none teaching. They have also expressed concerns over unnamed liability issues. Not sure what is causing the withdrawal, as the printed agenda is silent on the subject.

Lately the Board has veered off course, in ways which does not contribute to public confidence in their ability to discern the nuances of pubic policy, input, and secrecy. Hopefully they will change direction. They have complained about the lack of public input, and the rancor they receive when they do receive it. The methods they have chosen to conduct the public’s business is not inviting or welcoming.

The timeless Pogo cartoon comes to mind.  Pogo, the upright quadruped is looking into a mirror and says:

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”


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