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Education Stakeholders Prepare For National Conference

People from South Dakota are gearing up for the National Education Association’s annual meeting and assembly. This week a group of teachers, education supporters, students, and retired teachers travel to Orlando, Florida. They hope to gain insights from fellow educators from all over the country.

Leaders of the South Dakota Education Association say they fight for every single student to have the opportunity for strong, comprehensive education – both at the state level and nationally.

SDEA President Mary McCorkle says education stakeholders want to determine what test scores say about students and teachers and perspectives assessments can’t provide. She says education advocates share debate over standards like the Common Core.

“Here in South Dakota, I believe that we are in a good place,” McCorkle says. “We understand that standards are a guide, and we want students be successful whether they go on to college, whether they go – whatever it is they do, those standards help them be prepared.”

The SDEA president says all states struggle to provide adequate school funding, but McCorkle says South Dakota has a unique challenge getting enough money to public schools.

“We know that we have funding issues," McCorkle says. "We know that there’s a Blue Ribbon Task Force going on and that South Dakota has the lowest teacher salary across the country, so that is an issue that we deal with that other states are in different places."

McCorkle says the national conference is an opportunity to collaborate and share ideas that can help improve education around the country.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).