Teachers in South Dakota competed in hockey for cash prizes. Apologies to the organizers

The inaugural “Dash for Cash” event at a student hockey game in Sioux Falls Stampede Saturday featured 10 local teachers on a rug in the ice center, picking up $5,000 in $1 bills donated and stuffed them in their shirts and bags. This incentive program encourages teachers to donate as much money as possible to help fund their classroom projects.

Then there was the backlash.

Video of teachers jostling for a dollar bill caused outrage nationally, with some critics saying the stunt left teachers chronically underfunded into a public spectacle. Others have compared it to “Squid Fishing Game,” Korean drama about reckless people competing in deadly children’s games for money.
“Teachers never have to go around earning the money they need to improve their classrooms,” said South Dakota Representative Erin Healy. CNN affiliate KSFY. “It really just shows how broken our system really is.”

The president of the state’s teachers’ union expressed similar sentiments.

Loren Paul of the Education Association of South Dakota told CNN: “While Dash for the Cash may be well-intentioned, it only highlights the fact that educators don’t have the resources needed to meet the needs of their children. students’ needs.

“As the state, we shouldn’t be forcing teachers to crawl around the skating rink to get the money they need to fund their classes. We need to do better for our educators. ourselves, but more importantly, we have to do better for our students.”

The event organizers have apologized

The event was organized by Sioux Falls Stampede, who competes in the American Amateur Hockey League, in partnership with local lender CU Mortgage.

In a statement, organizers say the promotion is intended to raise funds for teachers in the area and their classrooms. They said they received 31 applications from teachers and randomly selected 10 to participate in the event.

“Each teacher was introduced and introduced before the event as we highlighted their school and what the money will be used for,” the statement said. “While our aim is to provide a positive and enjoyable experience for teachers, we can see how demeaning and offensive it may seem to the teachers involved and to the entire teaching career.

“We deeply regret and apologize to all the teachers for any embarrassment this may have caused.”

South Dakota ranks low for teacher salaries

South Dakota Ranked near the bottom of the US states for teacher salaries with the average annual salary $49,000 – just after Mississippi, according to figures from the National Education Association for the 2019-2020 school year.

Teachers spend about $750 a year out of their own pocket on classroom supplies and related expenses, Paul said, adding that the state is experiencing a teacher shortage.

The teacher counts the dollar bills they collect in the game Sioux Falls Stampede.
Just last week, Governor Kristi Noem proposed 6% increase for educators in the state.

“We couldn’t invest in our workforce without supporting the hard workers we already have here, and that includes teachers,” she said.

Noem recommended a 6% increase in the state education budget and urged school districts to use it for teachers.

“Our teachers are working with each student individually to prepare for the future,” says Noem. “School districts should invest the 6% increase directly in our teachers and other district employees… They deserve our support, so I recommend we give it a go. for them.”

The episode is gaining attention – and more money – for underfunded teachers

Despite the backlash, some good things seem to have emerged from the Dash for Cash promotion.

People across the country are asking how they can donate to their teachers and schools, leading to Sioux Falls means to compile a list of options.

The organizers of the event said it would give an extra $500 to the teachers who attended the event and $500 to each of the 21 applicants who were not selected to participate.

“In total, Stampede and CU Mortgage Direct will contribute an additional $15,500 to teachers in the area,” organizers said. “We take our role in the community seriously and work hard to support nonprofit groups in the area in a variety of ways.”

CNN’s Lucy Kafanov contributed to this story.


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