Thursday, April 26, 2012

South Dakota State Education Takeover of Rosebud Sioux Tribal and Pine Ridge Reservation State Schools

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Rosebud & Pine Ridge Sioux State-Run Schools to be Run by State-supported Teach for American Programs

 I am very concerned about the outreach of the Teach for American program on the Rosebud.  I have been pushed out of the very school district that I graduated from by being devalued and treated like an underling.

The Teach for America teachers are being given 100% credit for great things!  But what is so great about an increase of at least 2-3% each year in the Drop Out Rate at Todd County High School since the TFA started teaching here?  This year our school district will graduate less than 45%!

I knew there was something greater behind it all - some dark, sinister, behind the scenes reason that Teach For America was being promoted.  And today, after stumbling along an article that states that there is a SD State Education Committee that has approved a teaching partnership IN NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES with 98% NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN BEING EDUCATED without community consent.  So instead of moving ahead and gaining the consent of the community the Teach for American Program and Native American Initiative is proposing... they go shoot above our heads as Tribal members and reservation citizens and get the State's permission?  So the state determines, once again, the fate of the Indian child?

And who asked us?  Who consulted us?  This is the usual theme across the newspapers covering news in Indian Country Today, "Tribes were not consulted." 

 So, I guess the failed legacy of boarding schools was not enough.  Now we will live with the eventual failure of the Teach for American STATE RUN EDUCATIONAL TEACHER PROGRAM that eliminates our own Tribal Members and Community Members for years to come!

 Reprinted from link on Internet:

Education Committee Approves Teaching Partnership

Air Date:02/24/2012
The House Education Committee has approved a bill to help fund a program to bring teachers to reservation and other low-income schools. Teach for America has been in existence for about a decade. The program gives training to recent college graduates, not necessarily with education degrees, and fills vacancies for schools in underserved areas. State Senator Phyllis Heineman is a supporter of a bill to bring the State Department of Education in for recruitment and funding efforts.

According to Heineman "Teach for America South Dakota started in 2004, in Rosebud and Pine Ridge. Prior to 2004, South Dakota Reservation Schools often would start with vacant classrooms. There were very little applicant pool, and even today, for every high school opening, there's point-eight applicants. For every elementary opening, there's one-point-two applicants."

Heneiman says the new teachers, who come from across the U-S, are helping reduce a gap in test scores and graduation rates between Native and whites students. The State House Education Committee approved the measure, and advanced the grant funding request to the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee.

VIA:  SD Public Broadcasting


  1. Teach For America bill passes South Dakota House
    Written by VERONICA ZARAGOVIA, Associated Press Friday, 02 March 2012 15:26
    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota House members are supporting a bill that would establish a matching funds system to shore up the state's Teach For America program.
    The bill would create a grant program with the Department of Education to expand funding for four years starting in July. Under this measure, the state would match private donations 3-1 over the four-year period.
    Since its 2004 start on the South Dakota reservations of Pine Ridge and Rosebud, Teach For America has placed 57 teachers in the state's most rural communities. With more money, the number of educators is expected to grow to 100 by 2015.
    Supporters say there aren't enough teachers from South Dakota universities willing to live on reservations, and the program helps fill education gaps between Native American and nontribal students.
    Rapid City Republican Sen. Jacqueline Sly said schools on Native American reservations receive 0.8 applicants for every high school opening, and about one applicant for elementary level jobs.
    She said the maximum dollar amount from the state has yet to be determined. Sen. Mark Venner, R-Pierre, agreed on the program's importance.
    “We're talking for the first time about extending a helping hand to our South Dakotan brothers who live in our American Indian communities,” Venner said. “The people who come here are fired up to go into these communities to make a difference for two to three years.”
    The length of time these teachers stay in South Dakota shouldn't matter, so long as they help student achievement, Venner added.
    Democratic Rep. Ed Iron Cloud of Porcupine said lawmakers should agree on bills that would invest in South Dakota students, regardless of whether they're “Native, non-Native, women or men.”
    During the bill's progress through the House and Senate committees, participants in South Dakota's Teach For America have testified about the progress they've accomplished in the testing scores of their American Indian students.
    The aim is also to expand the program on other South Dakota reservations. The House voted 61-9 Tuesday, sending it back to the Senate.

    My Thoughts:

    We are doomed. We are doomed. We are doomed.

  2. My other response to the second article is: WHO ASKED THE STATE FOR HELP IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?!?!?

    Hasn't the state "helped" us enough?


  3. Ms. Colombe,
    I recently was accepted into the Teach for America program to work in South Dakota. While I do have a full teaching degree, and I am not from a big name school, I am the person you are writing about in your blog posts.
    I didn't know much about Teach for America before I applied; I was desperate to teach and decided to see if they would hire me. After interviewing and being pretty certain I would be hired, I started doing research into TFA. I have to admit, I was, and still am, pretty horrifed by what I found. While looking like they are pushing a "liberal agenda" they are forwarding white supremacy and the privatization of education, both incredibly dangerous in very different ways. I thought about retracting my acceptance to the program for good once I read your posts on TFA, but I am worried that they will replace me with someone even less qualified to teach than I am. I am not writing to you to absolve my guilt. I am wondering if I decide to keep my position, what the right ways to teach the Native American students are. Is there even a way for a white person to teach Native American students without it doing some kind of damage to them or their reservations?
    I recognize that you are not obligated to edcuate me. I figured I would just keep asking questions until I found someone who would want to answer me. If this message has offended or upset you, I apologize. That was never my intention. I wish you the best.


    1. You can email me at and I would be happy to assist you with anything I can.


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