The American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten, said the event was very demeaning to teachers.
Teachers were forced to race and scrounge for $1 bills on the floor to fund their classrooms as a form of entertainment during a hockey game. It's the kind of scene that wouldn't feel authentic if it were in a movie, even in a dystopian movie, and yet it is very real in America. Teachers have been long underpaid, and classrooms and schools underfunded, but this felt like a new low for many as teachers grabbing as many $1 bills in under 15 minutes was cheered on and broadcast for entertainment last Saturday. The incident happened at the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey game. Local teachers from the Sioux Falls area were made to scramble for $5,000 worth of cash which they stuffed into their clothes as the crowd cheered on, reported Argus Leader. One teacher made $238 less than another simply because they weren't quick enough in grabbing the $1 bills.
JUST IN: An arena in South Dakota is holding a “Dash for Cash” where teachers get on their knees and fight for one dollar bills that they can use for classroom supplies while spectators watch and cheer. (h/t @AnnieTodd96) pic.twitter.com/jIht84Ls9W— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) December 12, 2021
The inaugural 'Dash for cash' has become a PR nightmare for organizers. The American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten, called out the event and said it was degrading to the teachers. “This just feels demeaning … teachers shouldn’t have to dash for dollars for classroom supplies,” she wrote on Twitter. "No doubt people probably intended it to be fun, but from the outside, it feels terrible.” People on Twitter were horrified by the visuals of teachers made to grab cash as a form of entertainment, with many dubbing it dystopian. The state Senator Reynold Nesiba said it was a well-intentioned competition but looked terrible. “Teachers should never have to go through something like this to be able to get the resources they need to meet the basic educational needs of our students — whether it’s here in Sioux Falls or anywhere in the United States,” he said, reported The Washington Post.
It’s bad enough teachers have to beg for the most basic class resources or buy them with their own money, but to have them be humiliated like this for “fun” is sickening.— athelas1001 (@CatKnit593) December 12, 2021
The money was donated by CU Mortgage Direct and dropped onto the center of the hockey rink in dramatic fashion, setting off a mini-race and scramble for $1 bills. Teachers said they were trying to take home as much cash as possible to fund things for their classroom including flexible seating, standing desks or wobble chairs, or document cameras to upload lessons online. Ryan Knudson, Director of Business Development and Marketing for CU Mortgage Direct, said it was a way of rewarding the teachers. "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," said Knudson, Director of Business Development and Marketing for CU Mortgage Direct. "The teachers in this area, and any teacher, they deserve whatever the heck they get."
Teachers in South Dakotan on average earned $49,000 in 2020, according to South Dakota News Watch. The state ranks 49th in teacher salary in the United States of the 50 states. Most of the teachers planned to invest in the classrooms. "It just gives them options to be comfortable when they're in the classroom," said Patrick Heyen, a seventh-grade math and science teacher at Memorial Middle School about flexible seating. Alexandria Kuyper, a fifth-grade teacher at Discovery Elementary School, ends up spending a lot out of her pocket to fund things like treats and holiday decorations and believes this will help cover that.
I really, really, really don’t understand this country. Here, teachers trying to make 5 grand for their schools are doing this squid game style at a hockey game. https://t.co/kGDXZFfx2h— Adrianna Tan (@skinnylatte) December 12, 2021
Barry Longden, who coaches the e-sports club at Harrisburg High School, is planning to buy equipment for his club. "I've been throwing my name in the hat everywhere I can find so that way I can get opportunities to get money for the kids," said Longden, painting a bleak picture of the lack of funding in the education sector.
This is what passed for entertainment at a recent hockey game. Teachers scrambled on the ice to collect dollar bills for materials for their classroom. If you’ve wondered why teachers are leaving the profession in droves, look no further. Disgraceful.#edchat #edreform https://t.co/yrqgtpG929— Jesse Lubinsky (@jlubinsky) December 13, 2021
Want to empower Sioux Falls teachers and enhance their classrooms with equipment and technology that doesn’t involve sending them to a hockey rink?— Reynold Nesiba (@ReynoldNesiba) December 13, 2021
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