By Vi Waln
Many Lakota parents living on the Rosebud Reservation are completely dissatisfied with the public system currently serving our K-12 students. Issues with curriculum, staff, teachers, administrators and school board members are the topics of discussion amongst many local people. Long-term employees are also speaking out about internal problems, as well as political favoritism being practiced, within the Todd County School District (TCSD). In fact, many long-term employees feel they are being targeted for removal by administrators and school board members.
This summer you have the power to effect change in this dismal educational system currently failing the majority of our Lakota students. That is, there are two vacancies on the Todd County School Board and an election will take place in June 2016. Consequently, you will likely see some excellent Lakota educators appearing on the ballot as candidates.
We are responsible for our children’s future. Part of that responsibility is ensuring that qualified people with the proper credentials are put in charge of overseeing the public school system serving our students on the Rosebud Reservation. One way to actively show responsibility for our children’s collective future is by registering to vote today.
The TCSD definitely serves a majority of Lakota students. Our voting power is the only certain way to change the direction of the public school system on the Rosebud Reservation. The district must now move forward to be more proactive to the needs of all students, in order to ensure a successful start in life.
Registering to vote is only the first step. We also have a responsibility to follow through by going to the polls in June to elect qualified Lakota people, who will work hard by speaking out to affect real change to the unresponsive educational system now serving our students. A transition must be made now from a system which is failing our students, to one which approaches contemporary, educational needs from a true Lakota perspective.
Some of the Lakota people who are running for these positions have spent their lives here on the Rosebud Reservation. They have worked as teachers or administrators. As educated Lakota people who have dedicated their lives to our students, they are highly qualified to be elected as school board members. I believe they will work to make changes which will benefit all of our students attending the TCSD.
The power to move these changes into reality lies in your vote. Our Lakota children deserve a school board which is comprised of qualified members who have knowledge of what is needed in the classroom. The only people who could possibly know what is needed in the classrooms are those who actually spent time there.
The time is now to rid our school district of board members who don’t care about tribal values or Lakota students. These are your elected representatives who would rather spend their time playing petty politics with staff and parents. We deserve better!
Many of us are actively listening to complaints about how the TCSD is failing our Lakota students. We have to take action now. There is no time left to discuss the problems. Register to vote today. Go to the polls in June and cast your vote for an educated Lakota candidate who has experience as a classroom teacher and/or administrator.
Many Lakota families with students enrolled in the TCSD believe money spent sending school board members on travel to party at national conferences would be better spent on academic improvement. Your vote is needed to elect experienced Lakota educators who have dedicated their lives to teaching our precious children and teenagers. The power of change is in your hands.