Guest Post (anon); Sioux Falls Middle Schools are currently SEGREGATED

The facts are in the numbers provided by the South Dakota Department of Education on the SFSD’s website: PDF OF DOCS.

*Look Closely At:


Economically Disadvantaged

Student Performance

The last time the boundaries were re-drawn in the SFSD was 25 years ago. The demographics of our community have changed dramatically in those 25 years.

The process to re-draw the boundaries for ALL schools in the SFSD has now begun. A 30-member Task Force of community members has had 2 of 3 meetings. Their third meeting will be February 19th from 5:30 to 7:30 at IPC.  The District will then hold five community input sessions at multiple locations.

Sioux Falls Taxpayers have committed 190m (capital costs only) to build three new schools and make 40m of improvements at existing schools.  NOW is the time to make certain our public schools are NO LONGER segregated.

Part of what School Board President Mickelson charged the Task Force with is Quality Education For All Students by balancing the economic status across secondary schools.  This was emphasized by Doug Morrison, “We try to make our schools as reflective as possible of the community we live in.”

At both TF meetings, several members have suggested moving specialty programs (Spanish Immersion and the Challenge Center) from Edison to George McGovern.  This would move approximately 500 students TO McGovern and 500 students OUT OF McGovern to aid in the effort to balance the socioeconomic and ethnicity numbers.  There would be no additional cost involved for transportation.  McGovern students are currently 100% bused and students attending all specialty schools in the SFSD are required to provide their own transportation or pay to be bused.

Each time this has been brought up, Doug Morrison, the District’s TF facilitator,has shot the suggestion down.  His argument is that the District wants to keep these programs centrally located.  With a close look at where the District’s specialty programs are located, This Response Does Not Hold Up.

Currently there are multiple specialty programs located in the:

 NW Quadrant:

 All City Elementary at Jane Addams


 New Tech High

Dual Immersion at Hayward  (*this program is in its first year, an additional grade will be added each year) 

Additional Specialty Programs not located in central SF:

Rosa Parks Dual Immersion (mirrors the program at Hayward)

Lincoln High School (Challenge Center)

Look closely at the numbers provided by the SD Department of Education. Sioux Falls Taxpayers have committed almost 200 million dollars in order to provide a quality education for all of our kids.

NOW is the time to desegregate Sioux Falls schools.


#1 The Elephant In The Room on 02.08.20 at 6:02 pm

All stats are from the SD Department of Education.



Whittier 34.6
McGovern 39.6
Edison 59.8
Patrick Henry 75.3
Memorial 80.3


McGovern 76.7
Whittier 69.1
Edison 36.1
Patrick Henry 27.7
Memorial 22.5

STUDENT PERFORMANCE (English, Math, Science):

English Language Arts

McGovern 23%
Whittier 35%
Patrick Henry 59%
Memorial 64%
Edison 67%


McGovern 15%
Whittier 26%
Patrick Henry 55%
Memorial 56%
Edison 59%


McGovern 21%
Whittier 29%
Patrick Henry 55%
Edison 60%
Memorial 63%

#2 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.08.20 at 8:23 pm

The real problem is that all of the Districts middle school versions leave Whittier at about 30 to 35% white, while they all leave Memorial in the 70 percentile white, and the new Reifel middle school at 65% white.

Even if you mess with McGovern and Edison you really have not dealt with racial diversity until you bring Whittier into the equation with Reifel and Memorial playing a part.

The current single high school proposal by the District places the white population at three of the high schools in the 50 percentile, while Roosevelt at 70+ percent.

The district appears to do everything they can to protect the southwest part of town from racial diversity. Middle school proposals by the district had Pettigrew students going to McGovern to protect the white neighborhoods around Memorial and Roosevelt; and they even offered the idea of having low housing apartments on 41st Street, near RHS, to go to McGovern and not Memorial.

For some reason they are never creative with Memorial and Roosevelt except to keep it white. And when it comes to all of the middle school proposals, until we have the geographical data of race at the elementary school level we cannot begin to adequately address racial diversity at the middle school level, and then the high school level as well.

#3 Erica on 02.08.20 at 10:04 pm

Maybe I am still lost on all this supposed segregation that is in the school. My son attends Edison and the school is pretty diverse in both races, religions, and parent’s income status.

A lot of the schools are the way they are due to parents choosing to live in specific neighborhoods to live close to certain schools and be within walking distance and short drives to those schools due to work and afterschool activities. Others choose to live near those schools or in those zones BECAUSE the school district, ITSELF choose to make schools not offer the same type of programs and activities (or even incentives for attendance). Open enrollment offers people of all races, religions, genders, income status, etc. the option to choose which school they want for various reasons.

Why is the school district as a whole not offering EQUAL education standards across the board irregardless of the makeup of the students attending the school? Why are parents not making the effort to be more involved in their childs education (which may cut down on a lot of the bulleying going on at most of the schools in town)?

And is this really about moving some kids from schools to balance race and income status or is it really about test scores? Another thing that is done way too much in this district is standardized testing. It does nothing but teach to the test and the students really dont benefit much from the test scores but at least the State and the Feds have more data on our kids, I guess. *eyeroll*

#4 ?s on 02.09.20 at 8:46 am


I am a retired school district employee.

I agree with your thoughts regarding testing. Each year I worked for the District, ‘teaching to the test’ became more and more of a priority.

Question: Is your son enrolled in either Spanish Immersion or the Challenge Center at Edison?

#5 Squidward sux on 02.09.20 at 2:33 pm

What a waste of time and money. Kids should go to school nearest their home. A kid is not going to suddenly improve because you bus him/her across town.

#6 Bond Perilous on 02.09.20 at 2:49 pm

The school district tried locating Spanish Immersion in the far NW initially. The parents revolted because it’s incredibly inconvenient for the vast majority to chauffeur their kids out there on a daily basis. The idea of moving it after it’s been well established in central Sioux Falls is a non-starter.

#7 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.09.20 at 4:23 pm

Actually, 61% of the kids are already bused. When Reifel opens up, it will create a natural new walking district within a newly found middle school and boundary, which will then free up more monies for busing without increasing busing costs or the number of kids who are bused.

On an other note, I am glad to see new commenter aliases showing up because of this post. I hope you attend the last Task Force meeting and the public meetings which will follow the TF in March and April at the current SF middle schools.

#8 Erica on 02.09.20 at 10:38 pm


He is in the honors program at Edison. Why does that matter?

Honestly there are a TON of children across this district that SHOULD be in the challenge center/honors program and they dont have that option due to the extreme limited size of acceptance and then the crazy idea that if you go to one of these programs and not in your school district that you have to PAY for busing. Many parents can not do that. More schools need to do better by the kids who are doing academically well because the schools are using these kids as props to balance out school overall test scores.

#9 Erica on 02.09.20 at 11:20 pm

This post here by Neil Chaney pretty much does a great job summing up my feelings on the districts reasoning for wanting to use redistricting as way to move kids due to income status and race. Moving these kids around isnt going to change their income status, race, gender, parent involvement in school, etc. I think they are just trying to slap move problems around rather than address real concerns going on at ALL the schools, and yes, some more than others, that truly are not based on race, income, etc.

“As a Discovery parent, who specifically moved to our location for the three schools Discovery/Memorial/Roosevelt five years ago, what concerns me is at the sight of the first high school proposal, there is no where in the Discovery home area in which you would be able to own a home and still have your students end up at Roosevelt.
I can see the possibility for a mad housing market into the R.F Pettigrew area now, which won’t help matters for R.F. Pettigrew’s numbers. Or open enrollment towards Tea.
I would encourage people to look at the cohort maps, these show dots where every student is currently. I voted for the new schools however before that vote I never saw the cohort map. We are less than 1.7 miles from Roosevelt and now face being sent to Jefferson, which I am not at all interested.
The socioeconomic argument here puzzles me. Going to school with rich kids or poor kids doesn’t change your high school life. My classmates at my high school who had more than I did never brought me name brand anything for going to school with them, they didn’t affect my grades, I didn’t cause them to get bad grades, skip school, smoke, drink or any other bad habits (which I never did anyway). Sending students from the West 22nd neighborhood or Cherry Lake go to school with students in the Hayward mobile home courts isn’t fix anyone’s issues.
There is only one source of potential effect on students, parents. Being around kids better off than yourself has no effect on students.
Parents in the Discovery/Memorial areas have a higher capability for sending their students into the private school systems than Hayward/McGovern.
The educators are all hired the same for each facility so the quality has little to do with each school.
For many parents on the west side it is entirely their choice where they want to live and their students to attend.”

#10 Conservative Here on 02.10.20 at 11:27 am

Erica – I agree with you on your post. I am not sure what shipping kids all over Sioux Falls to get the “right racial mix” really does?? I grew up in Sioux Falls and attended public schools. Its very simple, you go to the school closest to your home. I attended grade school, middle school, and high school with many kids I grew up with. I went to Garfield, Axtell, then Roosevelt. There were no calls to get us “poor kids” moved over to Patrick Henry or Edison with the “rich kids” and vice versus to ensure we got a proper education or evened the playing field. I believe I received a good education from the schools I went to in SF. I would be pissed if I had to send my kids packing to the other side of town just to “even things out/sarc” especially if I moved to a school district. Now maybe I am naive on this subject as my youngest just left Lincoln 2 years ago but, I believe all kids are getting a good education at all the schools and if they are NOT, then address the failing schools, teachers, don’t bus kids. You are addressing the wrong problem because then you ship kids from a successful school to a failing one.

We should strive for equality of opportunity vs quality of outcome. The post above shows the racial breakdowns at each school with Whites singled out, why is that? I was unaware that the color of your skin stopped you from learning. You have to ask yourself why are non-white kids performing lower? In Sioux Falls I truly don’t believe its the schools and if it is, THEN FIX THE F@CKING SCHOOL. Moving pieces on a chessboard will not change the root cause. If all schools are receiving the same level of education, then there are other issues at play and it’s NOT the school’s job to rectify those, it’s the parents. We have to stop asking our schools to play parents to these kids, they are there to educate. Ask any teacher what their biggest problem is in any school and they will tell you its the lack of respect the kids have for their teachers, and inability to properly discipline them, and the minimal to no involvement from many parents. Parents are the key!!!

In my opinion, its a lack of Fathers present in many homes these days and statics back this up. Too many men of all backgrounds are abandoning their roles as parents and leaving the mother to deal with it themselves. I don’t care who you are it’s pretty hard to raise a child alone I would love to see how many kids at each school come from single-parent households and I would be willing to bet that will be a more telling statistic on performance than how much Melanin the child has.

#11 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.10.20 at 1:29 pm

The collapse of the middle class and the rise of a greater upper middle income sector in our country over the last 30 or 40 years has created a growing natural segregation in our schools due to the cost of housing. This natural segregation needs to be pierced and this can only be done through school boundaries that bring us all together regardless of economic status or race.

#12 Conservative Here on 02.10.20 at 4:04 pm

VSG – There is always natural segregation in all kinds of things, hence why it’s natural. I am not sure how shipping kids all over town to meet some forced Utopia accomplished your goal of piercing boundaries. If I have to ship my kid off halfway across the city to another school, instead of in my neighborhood you are now putting me in a bad spot. I am not as easily able to attend PTA meetings, participate in pre and post-school activities, carpool or parent share with another parent as easily because my home and the child’s school are on the other side of the city. If my child wants to play or hang out with a friend from school, the chances of that happening organically if they live in the same neighborhood are higher as opposed to them living on the other side of town. Some of my best memories are getting on my bike and riding to a friend’s house who lives within my neighborhood, who I met at school. If I was forced to go to another school across town, that’s going to stunt my ability to grow those relationships.

It’s simple, you should attend a school close to your home as this is your nexus. If we have a failing school, Let’s address this, it’s important, if this is truly the root cause or issue. If we are just trying to drop kids all over the city because of the Parents W2’s, then I say that’s outside the purvey of our school district, they are to teach, THAT’S IT. This thought process is why the government continues to grow and intrude on our lives.

#13 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.10.20 at 4:59 pm


Our economic policies over the last 30 or 40 years have allowed for a convenient natural segregation, which should be placed in check.

Plus, no one is talking about busing children, who are within a natural walking district of a nearby school, but when you have 61% of the kids already bused. Your busing concerns are moot. And why haven’t you attended Board meetings complaining about all of the busing that is already going on regardless of whether there is a new Boundary Task Force in our district, or not?

The duty of a school district is not only to teach, but also to bring us altogether through good public policy; and school boundaries which offer diversity both in terms of economics and race is a learning resource itself, which the district should utilize.

Frankly, when people start talking too much about walking to school and some interject of good schools versus bad schools talk, then I am afraid its merely code for those who are opposed to economic and racial integration of our schools, which is very sad. Why would anyone be against integration?

#14 1954 on 02.10.20 at 6:38 pm

Brown v. Board of Education

#15 Erica on 02.10.20 at 7:03 pm

I think it’s pretty damn racist in itself to assume that only white people live in the areas that are presumed to be “tauperville” or that only POC live in these low income areas. I live south of 57th and there are only two white families on my block counting my own. The family to the right is from Africa and the family to my left are a blended family of both black and white. Another family is biracial and another is a gay couple.

Just bc we live in what people have labeled as “tauperville” doesnt mean we are all white rich crackers. These houses here are barely in the 200-230k range and we do gave income based housing on this side of town yet so many people act as though on the rich live over here.

#16 Jon on 02.10.20 at 7:08 pm

Great points C.H. and Erin.

What they are trying to do will backfire in a major way. The very people they are trying to force to go across town to balance out the economic status of students in those schools, are the very same people that often have the funds to put their house on the market and simply move to the new boundary areas that suit them.

Have you guys driven around those homes at that Cherry Creek area near Family park? I guarantee those folks have no issue with paying 400 bucks a month to go to a private school if they are forced into a school they do not want.

#17 l3wis on 02.10.20 at 8:02 pm

I have no kids, so the only dog I have in this fight is the taxes I pay to educate your kids. So I look at this through a fiscal window. I think there is a simple solution to stop all of this, draw boundaries and eliminate open enrollment. If you live in the WHS boundary, that is where your kids should go to HS. If you don’t like it, move or put them in private school. Also, studies have shown that when diverse kids go to school with white kids, they both benefit. The white kids learn about other cultures, and the diverse and immigrant kids learn English better and faster thru their white peers, which saves the district money.

#18 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.10.20 at 11:58 pm

“What they are trying to do will backfire in a major way. The very people they are trying to force to go across town to balance out the economic status of students in those schools, are the very same people that often have the funds to put their house on the market and simply move to the new boundary areas that suit them.”

If equality is found with the boundaries, then there will be no “new boundary areas” or area to hide in, however.

“Have you guys driven around those homes at that Cherry Creek area near Family park? I guarantee those folks have no issue with paying 400 bucks a month to go to a private school if they are forced into a school they do not want.”

This statement identifies what I call natural segregation. If they leave to go to private schools, that’s fine, we will have more monies for those who stay in the public school system.

As far as the comment that “Taupeville” is not all white. Well, every middle school boundary plan that was presented to the TF left Memorial at 70+ percent white and Reifel at 65+ percent white…. I rest my case.

#19 Conservative Here on 02.11.20 at 12:35 pm

I am sorry I am just baffled at the need to TRY to get a perfect match and this is just insane really. WHEN I went to school in SF you went to the school in your district and no open enrollment (good points Scott). Frankly I was surprised they ever allowed open enrollment in the first place and it might be while Roosevelt Girls basketball seemed to crush everyone for YEARS.

I just disagree with the Government always trying to make decisions that have no business making. Set the boundaries and leave them, you go to your school in your district and thats final. If a school is not performing, fix the school, duhm, because SOMEONE has to go to that school.

Question – Can anyone dig up data in relation to Single Parent households at the middle schools vs 2 parent? I feel very confident that will provide a much better picture on the different scores per school vs the child’s skin color. The best I could come up with was Minnehaha county vs Lincoln county which had an 31% single parent household rate vs 18% in Lincoln but, thats not a granular enough breakdown. I bet everyone a round of beers this would be a much better statistic than skin color

#20 Erica on 02.11.20 at 12:59 pm

VSG, is the city going to start regulating where races can purchase homes in Sioux Falls? Start restricting which races can move to the state and where they need to live?
Why is race such a big issue? Keep telling these kids and even adults to not to see race and to treat everyone equally but then out of other side of mouth you (people in general) remind them of their race and make it the main deciding factor in their major life choices.

Instead of addressing real issues within the district they will remain focused on skin color and income of the students within the schools. Guess that is easier than actually dealing with the REAL problems though. 🙄 Same problems will still be there and we will just have to see what excuse is given next go around.

#21 Conservative Here on 02.11.20 at 1:51 pm

Erica – Bingo, you nailed it!!! I will add on, some problems cannot be fixed by the government and they should not be. If the schools have the proper teachers and facilities, then it’s the student & parent that are not performing or living up to their part. Every relationship is a 2 way street, you have to do your part and I am not sure what skin tone has to do with any of it, frankly its irrelevant

On a side note, I have a situation at work where folks continue to not follow the proper procedures and things end up broken constantly. We continue to try to change the process, move people around, etc but, it remains broken. It’s very evident as to why! You can put all the processes you want in but, if you don’t follow them or do the right thing it does not matter. Garbage in Garbage out. Same in life, if you don’t do your part the process will not save you.

#22 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.11.20 at 1:56 pm


To answer your first question, the answer is: “No.” That would be unconstitutional.

However, you do touch on something that Dr. King used to talk about. He used to dream of a color blind society, but that color blindness will not happen via fiat. It takes good and decent public policy for that to happen like the desecration of our schools, whether that segregation be caused initially by natural or intended segregation.


This open enrollment idea came from Janklow in the mid to late 90s. Its initial intention was to force the consolidation of smaller school districts, but it appears to have become more a means to create a free agency for many of our students, who excel in a particular extra-curricular activity.

In the second TF meeting, the district admitted that they underfill Lincoln High, because it is the most popular to transfer into, but by doing that, it allows a district to potentially create a flagship school for the sake of the district and at the expense of an ability for greater integration of students into our schools based on both economics and race throughout the entire school district.

#23 Erica on 02.11.20 at 8:53 pm

VSG, once again you are focused on the wrong issues just as the district is. If schools are failing the core problems need to be addressed and fixed whether it is due to teachers, lack of parent involvement, or work ethic of student. Moving students isnt going to change any of those issues and just keeps kids tied to failing schools, new teachers and school admin putting up with new students and/or parents that dont care, and students who do care and are putting in the effort and yet on the back burner.

Schools should be instructing students on the fundamentals such as math, reading & grammar, science, history, social studies, hell even finances. But they shouldnt be tearing down their confidence by brainwashing/manipulation that they cant achieve success based on skin color, family income status, gender, religion, political affiliation, or even their sexual orientation for pete’s sake.

Did any of the adults even care to ask any of the students where they stand in any of this? Dont those in lower performing schools want their schools to raise to the same quality and opportunities as the other schools in the district? Dont we as taxpayers deserve to have ALL of our schools on par when it comes to the quality of education in all the schools? What about policies and standards? Are they the same at all schools and are they being enforced? If not, why is that?

#24 "Woodstock" on 02.11.20 at 9:07 pm

“…. ‘desecration of our schools?'”….. “I don’t think that’s a good idea”…. 😉

#25 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.12.20 at 1:45 pm

No one is saying that the schools are failing. Concern about diversity, whether it be economic and/or race, is merely an other potential educational resource for which the students can be positively exposed, too.

Those who are making up this “failing school” thing are merely trying to hijack the diversity debate with the help of smoke and mirrors, which are provided by those who merely want white schools.

#26 Conservative Here on 02.12.20 at 6:18 pm

VSG – No one is trying to “hijack the diversity debate”. It’s clear from the article and the post from the Elephant in the room that kids who are non-white are failing. We try to gloss that over by saying we need to bus kids and get more diversity.

If you are failing as a student, its either your school, you and/or your parents, or a combination of the two. What you and others try to do is claim skin color is what holding folks back and if we were more mixed it would help them. This is lunacy for 2 reasons

1- Your inferring that Non-white kids are are unable to succeed due to their pigment
2 – If the white folks would just “let you in” you would have a shot and everything is rigged against you.
Let’s continue to enforce that their skin tone is holding them back and perpetuate a victim mentality

These arguments are tired, played out, and are just not true. If you look at statistics from around the country you will notice a trend

White & Asian kids do better in school than black and Latino kids. It’s not because of a lack of diversity, its due to the fact that Latino and Black children by a large margin come from single-parent households more often than white or Asian kids. Black kids are so disadvantaged that close to 70% come from single-parent homes.

Asian students are the best performers, so much so they are suing Universities right and left because they are being punished for being too smart and losing out on getting into schools of their choice. This is a group that is NON-WHITE. Asian students have the highest percentage of 2 parent homes and this is one of the most important factors in a child’s success.

Diversity is important but, diversity of thought is more important than the color of your skin.

#27 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.12.20 at 11:14 pm


If schools are failing, then that is a separate issue that deserves a task force, too. Not a focus group, but a real task force.

As far as your other comments, well, I think they speak for themselves and you make some rather naive assumptions about my intentions, too. You seem to not appreciate the fact that white privilege exists and how the segregation of students only further propels that reality and re-enforces itself into the minds of young people regardless of race by separating them.

Inherent white privilege empowers and strengthens racism and one way to address it is by having students of all races attending school together. The separation of students either by economics and race, or just race, further emboldens racism by the privileged class and explains why law enforcement far too often treat people of color as second class citizens when it comes to police pull-overs, which itself is a discussion for an other day.

I just want to bring people together, while others, like you, are going tangent to the real issue or intent at hand, in an attempt to prevent racial diversity. You are attempting to gaslight the real issue so as to confuse everyone and continue to have your literal white picket fence neighborhoods.

In conclusion, why do a lot of people join clubs, health spas, or country clubs? It’s because they want to connect and network and build upon that in an attempt to be more and have more. Well, that is what school diversity offers to students. It affords an opportunity to connect and network beyond your obvious world and into a greater world where people of all races can then interact hopefully absent of racism and the continuation of white privilege.

#28 Conservative Here on 02.14.20 at 8:30 am

VSG – The white privilege card REALLY! I thought you were always just a classic liberal who liked to debate topics and had an opposing viewpoint that one could disagree with but at least respect but, after I question your grasp of reality. Your clearly a progressive nut who has bought into all this garbage. If you think this stuff exists are you “giving up some of your privilege” to someone of another race. This theory of yours, which is crap, means everything you have ever achieved or possessions you have collected are ill gotten. I hope you give up your house, car, and another other possessions or positions you may hold to a more deserving minority. My guess is you won’t and I would not blame you because it would be ludacris.

This yet another BS theory that cannot be proven but, something made up in some Social Justice Warriors moms basement. You people are JUST obsessed obsessed obsessed with skin color and you come up with stuff like this and believe it to make yourself feel better. I have yet to receive my white privilege card in the mail, hmmm dang because I sure could use some of that white privilege now.

Anyone know where I can get this privilege, it would help to get my kids free school, or a new careers, hell maybe an underserved promotion for everyone in the family. Still waiting on my special interest mortgage for White folks, dang, I must have missed a meeting.

I am being flippant as you can probably see but, this beyond the pale, even for you, get a grip on reality man

#29 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.14.20 at 4:54 pm


In my lifetime, I have been fortunate to travel to many places throughout this great country with my wife and children. And whenever we travel to the southern parts of the country near the border, especially as we started to head back north, we would come upon immigration check points on major US highways, where we had to stop. Except, as soon as the immigration officers were close enough to profile us, then they would just wave us on by. Trust me, white privilege does exist. How did they know that I wasn’t a Canadian or a German? Oh, that’s right, they, too, are predominantly white, aren’t they?

Plus, I never had to have that talk with my son, when he was a teenager, about how to handle a traffic stop, but sadly fathers of color are often forced to, because of the white privilege world that we live in…. Oh, that’s right, you don’t think that children of color have involved fathers, do you?… #NeverMind4You.