How much does America respect its teachers?

This much:

Jesus christ. Have some dignity and get off your knees and report this to the teacher’s union — and if you don’t have one, make one. This is abuse, plain and simple. It’s also insulting, forcing teachers to scrabble for what, a few hundred dollars? And why are the spectators cheering, this is degrading the people they expect to teach their children?

This is a fucked up country, and South Dakota is one of the worst.

Furthermore, this humiliating cash donation was sponsored by a mortgage company.

In South Dakota, “local teachers scrambled for $5,000 worth of cash during the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey game on Saturday night,” Annie Todd reported Sunday in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Ten local teachers participated in the first ever Dash for Cash, trying to grab as many dollar bills as they could in less than five minutes. The money, donated by CU Mortgage Direct, is meant to go toward a participating teacher’s classroom or school.

“With everything that has gone on for the last couple of years with teachers and everything, we thought it was an awesome group thing to do for the teachers,” CU Mortgage Direct’s Ryan Knudson told the Argus Leader. “The teachers in this area, and any teacher, they deserve whatever the heck they get.”

They “deserve whatever the heck they get”, which is why the mortgage company created an embarrassing spectacle in which teachers were forced to get down on their knees and scrape for dollar bills. Fuck CU Mortgage Direct.

This gets worse. The audience had to pay $15 to attend this circus, and only $5 of the admission went to the schools. Where did the rest of the money go? Was this a for-profit event to benefit CU Mortgage Direct? Were people willing to pay 3 times as much money to a mortgage company rather than pay 1/3 as much directly to teachers?


  1. danwolf says

    The event took place in the intermission of a hockey match. Schools sold tickets to the hockey match as a fundraiser (getting $5 per ticket for the school) and the top 10 ticket sellers got the chance to participate in the “Dash for Cash” event.

    Lots of schools and companies do fundraisers like this, where teachers or students or parents sell tickets, or snacks, or books of discount coupons or whatever, and get a bit of money for the school for each one they sell. They’ll often have a prize or something for the top sellers as an incentive. In this case they probably thought they were being generous having $5000 worth of extra money for the top sellers!

    It’s all still awful and fucked and dystopian, but I can see how everyone involved in organising this would have thought they were doing a good thing, and just never considered how fucked up the whole thing is.

  2. says

    Always question the system.

    So the additional $10 goes to sports, rather than the mortgage company. I guess that’s a slight, very slight, improvement on what I imagined was the worst case scenario.

  3. says

    It appears the teachers were “dashing for cash” to use in their classroom. The teachers were not humiliating themselves for their own benefit. American sadism at its finest. Why not just give them the fucking money?

  4. says

    Lemme guess…that mortgage company has its offices in SD because that’s where they’d have to pay the least in taxes to actually support the public schools.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Why not just give them the fucking money?



  6. call me mark says

    Imagine a world where education was properly funded and it was the Generals and the Admirals who had to scrabble for cash like this.

  7. naturalistguy says

    I’m reminded of back in the 1970s when UW-Madison’s student government was taken over by the Pail & Shovel Party, which one of their campaign promises was to allocate funding to student groups by converting the funds to pennies and giving each student group a pail and a shovel and letting them dig for as much as they could get of the penny pile. Some were offended by this, but most were laughing their asses off.

  8. PaulBC says

    This reminds me of Joe Biden’s anecdote about his father.

    In his autobiography, he tells the story of his father quitting a job as sales manager for an auto dealership because the owner, who liked to reward his employees and customers with silver dollars, decided to amuse himself at the dealership’s Christmas party by spilling out a bucket of silver dollars on the dance floor to watch his workers scramble to scoop up the coins. Joe Sr. gathered up his wife and walked out, never to return.

    It was demeaning then and it’s demeaning now. It also shows how little we respect teachers.

    But I knew that already. A large segment of Americans hold teachers in such contempt that they home school. To be clear, it’s possible in some circumstances to get a good education by means other than attending a conventional school, but in most of these cases, it’s just an excuse to keep their kids in ignorance. America doesn’t just disrespect teachers. Many hate them actively and are opposed to what they do.

  9. stroppy says

    So sports are valued more than academics? Quelle surprise.

    Throw the beggars some crumbs and watch them scratch around the ground like barnyard birds. Hilarious. /sarc

  10. Paul K says

    I’m on our local school board, and one of the things I feel good about during my tenure is when we (the administration and the board) work to stop the practice of teachers (and parents) spending money on classroom supplies. We got rid of school supply lists for elementary students, which are so common a practice that they get published in local newspapers every year. Kids are asked to bring everything from pencils to tissues. This has always seemed shameful to me. As a parent with limited income when my son was young, and as a child decades ago with parents who would simply not have bothered to get the things, I knew there were kids out there who would be shamed. The district now provides all of these as part of the cost of education.

    We also asked teachers to tell the district what they needed so that it could be paid for by the district. It took a few years to convince all of them, and some may still spend their own cash on certain things, but they no longer have to. We have not gotten rid of all student costs, but we keep working on it. Everyone is so used to fundraising for school functions, supplies, etc., that it’s hard to both trace them, and to convince folks that we accept the costs as part of our obligation as a public, tax-based institution.

  11. PaulBC says

    Paul K@11 My kids have been out of grade school for years now, but it was a great convenience when they just started providing supplies at the beginning of the year instead of sending parents on a scavenger hunt. For a couple of years, there was also an order form from school supplies company. However, the reason they could do this is I live in an affluent community where there are well-funded foundations supported by “suggested donations” that enough parents are willing and able to contribute. I like my public school district, but clearly this approach results in more disparity than uniformity.

  12. guerillasurgeon says

    I thought it was one of those weird Japanese game shows at first when I saw it in the Guardian– didn’t realise it was in the USA. This is so sad.

  13. brightmoon says

    I worked in a little department store after my father died as I just didn’t feel like thinking. There were a lot of teenagers hired and one girl came to me almost crying 3 days before she had to take the chemistry Regents. She actually wanted to pass it after cutting every single class the entire year . She knew I had a biology degree . Ok, challenge accepted. I showed her how to do algebraic manipulations while we were ringing up customers and gave her a few basic general chemistry 101 formulas to play with. Also gave her a few chemical symbols especially the Latin based ones . 3 days !! She got a 65 (minimum passing) . I pointed out to her that this is how poorly science is taught in the USA that I gave her enough info over 3 days( while ringing up customers) that she passed a test others took a year to learn .

  14. raven says

    …but in most of these cases, it’s just an excuse to keep their kids in ignorance.

    Homeschooling is like volleyball or fishing. You can do it well or do it poorly.

    The fundies deliberately don’t do a very good job.
    Not so long ago, I saw two kids who were “homechooled” by their parents. Homeschooling in practice meant no-schooling.
    Both kids were almost illiterate as late teenagers, reading on a third grade level at best. Both struggled as young adults. One of them died from a drug overdose in his mid-20s.
    Strangely enough, neither were fundies, just clueless parents who weren’t all that competent themselves.

  15. jrkrideau says

    A few years ago I jokingly suggested a sub-teacher friend might want to apply in Kansas only to hear a tirade. I won’t suggest South Dakota as an alternative.

    Despite Dug Ford, teachers still are fairly respected here. And reasonably well paid.

  16. Walter Solomon says

    What the hell happened to “Box Tops for Teachers”? Hell, if you’re going to make teachers perform for the funding they should be getting anyway, at least make it a trivia contest or something somewhat dignified.

    America truly is the Savage Lands.

  17. PaulBC says


    Homeschooling is like volleyball or fishing. You can do it well or do it poorly.

    Yeah, I met a Palo Alto mom who was sending her (non-Chinese) homeschooled kid to Chinese classes and I believe had a full-time nanny/tutor. Whether she was doing it well or not, I can’t say, but her intent was clearly to provide more intensive education than schools were offering.

  18. microraptor says

    Raven @15: I knew a few different homeschooled kids when I was growing up. None of them were anywhere close to meeting the poor standards of the underfunded rural school I was enrolled in. A neighbor girl (parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses) entered my school at 9th grade. She could barely read, she couldn’t name the planets, and she couldn’t even perform basic arithmetic.

  19. brightmoon says

    I had a JW neighbor come to the house a few times looking to see if I wanted a bible study . I was new to the neighborhood so I accepted figuring that it wouldn’t hurt to know some of the neighbors . I ended that study when I realized that she was proud of never getting a high school diploma . I had 2 children at that time and I didn’t need a ignoramus encouraging them to be equally as ignorant. Jehovah’s Witnesses ACTIVELY discourage their young people from getting educated. I think the only reason they let their kids graduate high school is because it’s hard to get a job without that minimal education.