The Rapid City school district is moving ahead with its plan for common core standards.
That's despite the fact that lawmakers successfully stalled any new standards from being instituted.
Basically, the district has a hodgepodge of policies. Some are in line with common core and others that the district currently uses. The goal is to try to mesh them together to come out with the best results for students.
Superintendent of Rapid City area schools, Dr. Tim Mitchell talked about the goals of the schools, including the common core, at a news conference on Monday.
He says the program provides students with tools needed to be successful.
Mitchell says there are a lot of agreements as to what essential knowledge and skills are needed.
But they still have to talk with parents in the community about what they really want. He says he's trying to steer many parents from the emotional arguments over common core, namely that it is a federal government takeover.
"The clear message for us is, no matter what kind of standards are in place, we will take a look at those standards; we'll dissect them; we'll make sure the students in the Rapid City Area Schools get the essential knowledge and skills so they can be successful long term," Mitchell said.
Mitchell also discussed teacher's salary. South Dakota public school teachers are some of the lowest paid in the country. However, after receiving a $1,000 one-time payment last year, state lawmakers slashed that payment to $220 in 2014.
"We have to get people to realize it is a critical issue," Mitchell said. "Every time I talk about increasing teacher salaries I get a lot of criticism because there are a lot of people who say ‘Well I don't make that much money. Why should they?' Well, we are an industry and we have to compete at a regional level. We'll see teachers leave our district to go to Wyoming, for example, where they pay more," he explained.
The Rapid City school district has launched a new campaign to ease the fears of parents concerning common core.
It features teachers sharing their opinions on common core standards and what influence it plays in their classroom.
You can view the new public service announcement by clicking HERE.