Referred Law 16 that instituted a merit-based pay system for teachers and eliminated continuing contracts was rejected by South Dakota voters Tuesday/last night. The education reform bill was highly supported by Governor Dennis Daugaard…but it failed to gain any public support. Michael Card is a political science professor at the University of South Dakota. Card says besides a few superintendents, there wasn’t an organized group promoting the referred law. He says the teachers union was able to gain a lot of support to defeat the measure, but that doesn’t mean the issues won’t be addressed again at the upcoming legislative session.
“One of the measures that will occur is that they’ll split apart parts of the bill and I think we’ll see some of it coming back. I think in general, the populous believes that an idea of merit pay is a good idea. The scientific management literature doesn’t support that for individuals such as teachers because it’s largely a team effort and a creative effort. Ironically for creative team efforts, merit pay actually decreases productivity. But, the populous believes that merit pay is a good idea so I suspect we’ll see that again.”