Excerpts from recent South Dakota editorials

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm •  Published: October 24, 2013
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Capital Journal, Pierre, Oct. 15, 2013

About those barbarians at the gate

It causes South Dakota universities no concern whatsoever that some undergraduate students want to enter the university at ages older than the usual 18 to 22.

So why is it causing such head-scratching that some home-schooled students are seeking admission to undergraduate programs at ages younger than the usual 18 to 22?

The Board of Regents is right that it needs a policy to confront this national phenomenon and clarify what South Dakota institutions expect from home-schooled students. We're told that could happen as early as the April 2014 meeting.

That's good timing, because a policy could then be in place by the time the fall 2014 term begins.

Our opinion? There are brilliant students, ordinary students and doubtless some poor students among home-schoolers. What they all have going for them is the flexibility to proceed at their own pace. For that reason alone, many will complete school earlier than public school peers.

But they won't all meet South Dakota's requirements of requirements of four years of English, three years of advanced mathematics, three years of laboratory science, three years of social studies and one year of fine arts for admission to a bachelor's degree program. (Neither would Mozart or Thomas Edison, who are among the many home-schooled figures in history, and probably, for that matter, neither would MIT scientist Erik Demaine, sort of a poster child for the modern home-schooling movement; he entered a Canadian university at age 12, finished his bachelor's degree at age 14 and earned his Ph.D. at age 20.)

So what do we do with these students? State universities could do what they have apparently done in several instances already and deny these younger-than-usual home-schooled students admission if they have not completed the requirements. The problem with that is that we could be sending Erik Demaine over to earn his degree across the border in Minnesota or Nebraska.

Another possibility, perhaps wiser, would be to simply accept some baseline ACT scores in different subject areas as the standard of admission for those who have not met all the usual requirements. That's one reason we have standardized ACT exams, is it not? Grading can vary widely from school to school, so those who have technically met requirements for admission to a bachelor's degree program and perhaps even earned good grades in those subjects are not necessarily equipped to do well in a university. At the very least, it's good that the Board of Regents is looking at the issue. The barbarians at the gate are our children. We need not be afraid to let them into our universities.

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Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, Oct. 19, 2013

Let's grow pheasant numbers

Opening day of pheasant season is a fall tradition embraced by generations of South Dakotans.

We watched the colorful scene unfold once again this year. Nature's specter of fall beauty is showcased across our rural landscapes as colorful pheasants take flight against stark blue skies, swarms of orange in pursuit. Our fields, roads and small-town diners swell with hunting parties.

But this annual event is more than a slice of Americana for many of our rural communities. Pheasant season is to main street businesses in places such as Gregory, Chamberlain and Redfield what Christmas shopping season is to major retailers in Sioux Falls or Rapid City.

That's why recent reports from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department and the South Dakota Tourism Department are so troubling.

The GF&P report details the decline in the number of pheasants in the state. The tourism numbers show the potential economic results of that decline.