The South Dakota Senate Education committee killed a proposed bill to allow charter schools in the state. The legislation was primarily backed by Native Americans in the Rapid City area. Robert Cook, a proponent of the bill, testified with information he'd personally collected on 103 Native American students who had transitioned from middle school to high school in 2003. Of those original 103, just 11 graduated "on time and on track" in 2007. Others testified about the discrimination Native American students face in Rapid City public schools, saying students are "pushed out."
South Dakota is one of nine states without a charter school law. Senate Education committees were told that having a law would make the state eligible for new federal grant money through the Charter School Program, Title V of No Child Left Behind.
Being a native of North Dakota, another one of the nine states without charter schools, the final quote in the Rapid City Journal story rings sad, but true:
Sen. Nesselhuf, D-Vermillion, who cast the lone vote supporting the charter-school bill, said, "When I look at Robert Cook's testimony and I see the statistics he shows, I find it very difficult to believe that if this were a group of Norwegians we wouldn't have declared an emergency."