Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Governor Mike Rounds will be giving a speech on the future of our state’s educational system in the auditorium of Philip, South Dakota’s high school on Thursday, July 22. I cannot imagine any one government official in our state who is less qualified, on both moral and practical grounds, to give this speech.

One has to wonder what Governor Rounds sees as the “future of education” for South Dakota. Based on his recent censorship of the Rapid City Public Library’s teen website, Rounds clearly holds the great goal of providing our state’s youth with (sometimes life-saving) information subordinate to advancing his partisan political goals.

The United States does not have a network of public schools and public libraries to support any one group’s ideology. The public education system was created because of the undeniable reality that an effective government and a successful society requires a fully-informed electorate that has access to all points of view.

With his latest actions, Governor Rounds has essentially created the precedent of turning South Dakota’s civil infrastructure into a “faith-based” government. When I say faith-based, I do not only refer to the Governor’s decision to overrule a public board in favor of a single religious official.

This is the basic idea: why bother with the collective opinion of a body of local citizens who are experts in the field of library management? That’s a complicated and unnecessary hassle. What we ought to do, Rounds seems to want us to believe, is to simply have faith in his enlightened leadership. What is best for out state is what he says is best for our state.

When Governor Rounds speaks in Phillip High School, he’d best hope that none of the students in the auditorium have taken Civics. Otherwise, they might know that we elected a governor, not a philosopher king.


Blogger Jeremy said...

In light of Governor Rounds’ myopic position elevating the idealogue above education, perhaps both he and the educational system would be better served if, instead of giving a speech, he were to sit and listen to educators, students, and the general public. If this dream were to be realized, perhaps he would be reminded of the electorate which he serves and his duty to the people. Failure to provide information which could possibly save lives because it conflicts with your personal beliefs is not only reckless, but is approaching solipsism, perhaps the worst trait that an elected official could possess.

July 21, 2004 at 3:26 AM  

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