Firstly as we begin, can I just say that camDown .
By The Associated PressBlack Hills Pioneer. September 17, 2021.
Editorial: CTE programs provide valuable learning
Thirty years ago, if a student was enrolled in shop class or auto body class, some may have seen that as an alternative to scholastic pursuits, including college.
But as we have seen, even before the pandemic, careers in the construction, automotive, healthcare, and other vocational trades are in high demand.
Northern Hills area school districts are providing opportunities for students to get hands-on, real-world skills needed for these careers through their Career & Technical Education, CTE, programs.
In South Dakota, more than 700 CTE programs are offered in 151 public, private and tribal school districts. There are 30,000 CTE students — about 45% of all students in grades 7-12 in the state.
The emphasis is on career exploration and developing skills and knowledge for work to meet the needs of South Dakota’s in-demand industries.
At Sturgis Brown High School, there is a waiting list for CTE courses such as welding and machining. The school district worked with the local economic development group and businesses to develop and implement the machinist class.
Former President of the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation, Pat Kurtenbach, said at the time the partnership was forged: “Skilled machinists are extremely difficult to find and recruit, so we decided to grow our own by partnering with the high school to attract the interest of students and parents.”
The CTE programs at Lead-Deadwood, Spearfish and Belle Fourche also focus on in-demand careers.
In Lead-Deadwood, students can enroll in a tourism/hospitality course with hands-on experience at any of the many tourism-related businesses throughout Deadwood and Lead.
Belle Fourche has a well-rounded CTE program that offers career exploration in the areas of metal manufacturing, welding practices, child development, culinary arts, animal science, ag mechanics, accounting, personal finance, wood manufacturing, carpentry, and Computer Aided Drafting (CAD). The district offers classes to students in grades 8-12.
They recently built a new two-story Belle Fourche High School Career and Technical Education building. Spearfish is developing a career and technology education center adjacent to the high school.
Spearfish High School’s CTE Department also offers a variety of career and technical programs to all students with clusters in industrial technology, business, human services and information technology.
SBHS Principal Pete Wilson, the 2019 South Dakota Association of Career and Technical Education Administrator of the Year, said he believes students appreciate the relevant learning provided by CTE.
“It caters to students who like hands-on learning,” he said.
Lead-Deadwood Superintendent Erik Person said the district hopes to expand its CTE program in the near future. “There’s a good foundation here in Lead-Deadwood, but we’re looking to take it to the next level,” he said.
Person said student achievement can be tied to student engagement and that’s what CTE courses can do for a student.
“There’s kind of a hunger for it (CTE) right now. As we start to feed that a little more, I think it is going to grow exponentially,” he said.
We believe in the continued support of CTE programs because they are flexible, forward-thinking, student-centered, and well worth the investment to expand student options.
Yankton Press & Dakotan. September 21, 2021.
Editorial: Seeking Input On Changing Standards
Changing South Dakota’s social studies standards has become an increasingly contentious quest, which is why Gov. Kristi Noem made a wise choice Monday to delay making those changes for up to a year to field more public input on the topic.
Of course, this has become a minefield of the governor’s own making.
Several months ago, Noem called for changing the standards to reflect “our nation’s true and honest history,” as she put it in a press release issued Monday.
This echoes former President Donald Trump’s call last year for the formation of a so-called 1776 Commission to devise standards for a curriculum that would provide “patriotic education” for students. This would be done, it was suggested, by emphasizing the “core principles of the American founding and how these principles may be understood to further enjoyment of ‘the blessings of liberty.’”
This would, among other things, likely downplay the role of racism and sanitize other blemishes in the nation’s history. It would also target Critical Race Theory (CRT), which South Dakota educators note is geared more for higher education and isn’t used in the state’s curriculum plans.
In South Dakota, these changes also apparently mean de-emphasizing the role of Native American culture in our history.
Over the summer, a state-approved group worked in Pierre to draft the new social studies guidelines Noem called for, but the resulting proposal was then altered by the Department of Education, removing some references to Native Americans.
This drew sharp criticism, with the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition holding a rally in Pierre last week and calling for Noem’s resignation.
According to the Argus Leader, the feedback received so far to the proposed changes has been largely critical. Also, a public meeting that was scheduled for Aberdeen has been moved to a different venue to accommodate a larger crowd. Whether that meeting happens as planned is not known at this point.
Nevertheless, Noem remains determined to push ahead, based on a Twitter post Monday. She declared: “In every state, radical education activists are scheming in order to impose CRT & Action Civics. I just froze the review of SD’s K-12 social studies standards (because) I have concerns. Restoring honest & true American & South Dakota history in our schools won’t be easy but we must win.”
There is so much in this issue that is relative and politically charged. Obviously, the term “radical education activists” is terribly subjective, purposely vague and divisive, which only deepens the worry that explicitly mentioning CRT as a “radical” target could be blurred in some quarters into a reference to any racial topic that appears to criticize a white- and European-dominated status quo.
There is more to America and to South Dakota than that, and such facets must also be part of the “true and honest history” that politicians say they desire. The fact that our history isn’t perfect, isn’t without flaws and mistakes, and is multicultural with sometimes conflicting missions must not be lost in any definition of who we are, for understanding our complexities ultimately makes us stronger.
So, getting more feedback on this issue is a sensible path forward, although how much of it will be heeded in the long run remains to be seen. Still, South Dakotans should take advantage of this opportunity to speak up when the situation presents itself.
As we move on to the next post, may I add that camDown is the maximum in security for you and your loved ones and I feel your father would feel the same!