South Dakota News Watch


Native Americans left behind in S.D. education system

Ineffective school system and societal challenges seen as causes that South Dakota Native students lag well behind white peers

Editor’s note: This story is one in a series of articles by South Dakota News Watch on Native American education in the state. The full series is at The South Dakota constitution demands that state government provide equal opportunity to education for all of its citizens, yet for decades Native Americans – who make up 9% of the population […]

Rural schools in S.D. face unique challenges that can affect learning

New national study ranks South Dakota top five in need for improvements, but educators say small, rural schools bring intangible benefits as a result of closer relationships between students and staffs.

Small, rural school systems in South Dakota and across the country face sometimes daunting challenges in providing a strong education to students. Limited funding, difficulty in hiring and retaining good teachers, remoteness and transportation challenges, high poverty rates among students and reduced access to college-preparatory courses can all hamper learning in small, isolated school districts. South Dakota is one of […]

Reform of agricultural land taxation could help farmers but shift burden to homeowners and businesses

As the property tax takes a larger share of their incomes — at a time when many are hurting financially — South Dakota farmers and ranchers are pushing for reform of the state’s system of valuing and taxing their lands. But as a decade-long process of updating the system nears an end, it has become increasingly clear that any reform […]

SDSU study shows world’s most common pesticide a danger to deer

A groundbreaking study conducted by scientists in South Dakota has found that the world’s most widely used family of pesticides — neonicotinoids — is likely causing serious birth defects in white-tailed deer, deepening concerns over the chemical’s potential to harm large mammals, including humans. A subsequent study by the wildlife scientists and ecologists at South Dakota State University in Brookings […]

Football participation declines in S.D. and U.S. as brain injury research expands

On-field safety measures increase dramatically as game adapts to new concerns

Tackle football remains one of the most popular sports in America, but participation in high school football in South Dakota and across the United States is falling steadily as the risk of brain injuries from the sport becomes clearer. Participation in 11-player boys football in South Dakota fell by 5.2% over the past three years, and dropped by 16.6% over […]

Only half of S.D. students proficient in English; less than half in math and science

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said she is disappointed in recent statewide standardized test scores indicating that just over half of students were proficient in English language and fewer than half showed proficiency in math and science. The results of the South Dakota Department of Education 2019 Report Card, based on standardized tests, showed that about 54% of students tested […]

Many crime victims in S.D. not being paid restitution they are owed

In South Dakota, people convicted of crimes owe their victims tens of millions of dollars in court-ordered restitution, but most of that debt is going unpaid and there is little remedy available for those harmed to get their money. In theory, ordering criminals to pay for damages they caused gives courts a way to provide victims some measure of financial […]

S.D. slow to vaccinate children against HPV, a virus that can cause cancer

Shots given to children can prevent cancers later in life caused by the most common sexually transmitted disease in America

South Dakota lags behind the rest of the nation in vaccinating children and youths against the Human Papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease in America that can cause a range of potentially fatal cancers. HPV can exist without symptoms and is a leading cause of throat cancer in men and cervical cancer in women, but it is almost entirely […]

Poor S.D. residents hit hardest by state debt collection efforts

Tens of thousands of South Dakotans have lost their privileges to hunt, fish, or drive in the state since 2016 because they owe money to government agencies for unpaid fines, fees or even college tuition, but often the people hardest hit by state debt collection efforts are low-income residents who are the least able to pay up. The license and […]

S.D. among worst for ‘Brain Drain’ as best and brightest continue to flee the state

Despite years of effort to reverse the trend, South Dakota remains among the worst states in the nation in terms of losing its most highly educated citizens to other areas of the country, according to a new report from Congress. The loss of skilled, educated residents can slow the state’s economic growth as well as cause further political polarization in […]

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