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The Build Dakota Scholarship
Dec 24, 2014
Twas' the night before Christmas when all through the land
Every creature was stirring o'er a scholarship plan;
South Dakota needs workers, the shop bosses wail,
Without welders and wrenchers, gross state product will fail!
Liberal arts don't make jobs, the Governor scoffs,
Kids lark off to college to become philosophes,
Shun nuts, bolts, and wires for bookish vocations,
Then chase luck and lucre in other locations.
So Denny the banker gives 25 Mill;
The Governor's got tax dollars; match it he will!
The vo-techs will let kids take classes for free,
If they promise to work here for years summing three;
A noble plan, really, foresightful and true,
Generous and practical—I'd take it, wouldn't you?
Kids get free schooling in practical trades,
Bosses get workers; the Dennys, accolades.
But imagine the student who says, “Just a min—
Let's think this plan through: is this plan win-win-win?”
A two-year degree is nothing but nice,
But it may put your earning potential on ice.
Nationwide stats show kids who do college
Will squeeze higher pay from their post-high-school knowledge.
Grads from the U have an edge getting jobs
Over grads trained to wire and fiddle with knobs.
But if college ain't fer ya, then what would you say
To nine K, or twelve K, or near 20 K?
Vo-tech beats high school anywhere, any day
Get it free, stay and work—in S.D., will it pay?
Crunch lots of numbers, and surely you'll find
Some states and some jobs where three years of grind
Will earn you more pay than taking the deal
And staying and cutting our lumber and steel.
Wyoming pays off, Nebraska does not;
Radiologists find Minnesota is hot.
Some say cost of living saves Dakotans a bunch,
But data show prices here are no free lunch.
Sioux Falls and the Cities cost about the same:
Des Moines and Lincoln win the price game.
Your scholarship calc will take lots of math
To dictate which state's the more profitable path.
But policy, sweet policy! What say Smith and Marx
On where to apply our few fiscal sparks?
Is the state's proper role to train a job corps
Or raise Platos for voting and Spartans for war?
Less esoteric, will the scholarship work?
Will free school be enough of a perk
To o'erwhelm the forces that currently drain
The work pool the Governor aims to retain?
Fifty mill buys us three hundred a year
Who vouch the mere start of a fledgling career,
Work three years for less than experienced hands,
Then still maybe leave for more fruitful lands
Where Biz has a plan that works for all ages:
To draw better workers, pay better wages!
South Dakota won't challenge its businesses hard;
We'll make vo-tech free and play Sanford's card.
Cheap school is good for an education promoter,
But you need higher pay to Build South Dakota.
Editor's Note: Cory Heidelberger is our political columnist from the left. For a conservative perspective on politics, please look for columns by Dr. Ken Blanchard on this site.
Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and has taught math, English, speech, and French at high schools East and West River.