Contest criticized during South Dakota hockey game where teachers knelt to grab tickets – KESQ

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(CNN) – An unusual contest at a hockey game in South Dakota ended with a group of school teachers vying for lots of money, kneeling to grab handfuls of dollar bills.

The “Dash for Cash” event at Saturday’s Sioux Falls Stampede youth hockey game featured 10 local teachers on a mat in the center of the ice, collecting $ 5,000 in donated dollar bills and tucking them in their shirts and pockets. The promotion encouraged teachers to raise as much money as they could to help fund their classroom projects.

Sioux Falls teachers struggle to grab dollar bills to fund projects for their classrooms. Critics said the contest was degrading.

Then came the criticism.

The video of teachers jostling to grab dollar bills has sparked outrage across the country, with some critics saying the game turned schoolteachers’ chronic funding shortfalls into a public spectacle. Others have compared it to “Squid Game,” the South Korean television series about desperate people who compete in deadly childhood games to win money.

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“Teachers should never have to crawl for money it takes to improve classrooms,” South Dakota State Representative Erin Healy told CNN affiliate KSFY. “It really shows how broken our system is.”

The president of the state teachers union echoed a similar sentiment.

“While Dash for the Cash may have been well intentioned, it only underscores the fact that educators do not have the resources to meet the needs of their students,” Loren Paul of the Dakota Education Association told CNN. South.

“As a state, we shouldn’t be forcing teachers to crawl down an ice rink to get the money they need to fund their classrooms. We need to improve for our educators, but more importantly, we must improve for our students. ”

The event organizers apologize

The event was organized by the Sioux Falls Stampede, who compete in the Amateur Hockey League of America, in association with local lender CU Mortgage.

In a statement, organizers said the promotion was aimed at raising funds for area teachers and their classrooms. They said they received 31 requests from teachers and randomly selected 10 to participate in the event.

“A profile was made and presented to each teacher prior to the event, while we highlighted their school and what the funds would be used for,” the statement said. “While our intention was to provide a fun and positive experience for teachers, we can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting to participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole.

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

South Dakota ranks low in teacher pay

Teachers count the dollar bills they collected in the contest.

South Dakota ranks near the bottom of the U.S. states in teacher pay with a median annual salary of $ 49,000, second only to Mississippi, according to figures from the National Education Association for the school year. 2019-2020.

Teachers spend about $ 750 a year out of their own pockets on school supplies and related expenses, Paul said, adding that the state has a teacher shortage.

Last week, Gov. Kristi Noem proposed a 6% raise for educators in the state.

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

Noem recommended a 6% increase for state education budgets and urged school districts to use it with teachers.

“Our teachers are working with each student in unique ways to prepare them for the future,” said Noem. “School districts should invest the 6% increase directly into our teachers and other district staff … They deserve our support, so I highly recommend that we give it to them.”

The episode is drawing attention – and more money – for teachers

Despite the criticism, it seems that something good came out of the Dash for Cash promotion.

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

Event organizers say they will give an additional $ 500 to teachers who participated in 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 for area teachers,” organizers said. “We take our role in the community very seriously and work hard to support area nonprofits in a variety of ways.”

CNN’s Lucy Kafanov contributed to this story.

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Contest criticized during South Dakota hockey game where teachers knelt to grab tickets – KESQ

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