Janklow praises education at annual conference

John Hult

John Hult

Governor and candidate for the House of Representatives Bill Janklow followed 16 years of tradition last Wednesday when he fielded questions from a group of nearly 40 journalism students and faculty at Yeager Hall.

Journalism Professor Jack Getz introduced the governor, pointing out that the arrival of President George Bush in Sioux Falls that morning had not deterred him in his tradition of meeting with SDSU students each year of his 16 years as governor of South Dakota.

Janklow joked with students in the opening minutes of his visit, reminding them that they didn’t have to ask the hard questions Getz urged them to ask.

“It’s alright if you don’t ask the tough questions. I’ll still answer the other ones,” Janklow said.

The remainder of the hour session belonged mostly to the issue of education.

The governor spoke of the importance of distance learning to the future of small K-12 schools, teacher training and school-to-school networking.

Janklow pointed to networking as the key development for the future of South Dakota schools.

He said that he believes his greatest accomplishment for education was wiring each school system in the state with a T1-speed Internet connection.

“We wired the schools, first of all, and they happen to be the most wired on the planet Earth,” Janklow said.

The special programs for teacher education put into place last year and the distance learning classrooms installed during his last term in office were also lauded by the governor as positive steps for students.

“The average K-12 teacher in this country has 17 hours of training in technology,” Janklow said. “In South Dakota it’s 200 … Nobody else has done that.”

The governor also spoke of economic development in the face of declining student population, and his desire to get South Dakotans to work together, both during emergencies and after.

Janklow pointed out his desire to increase state cohesion when asked what he felt his greatest disappointment in office was.

“When you have a disaster, everybody shows up. Everybody comes?there’s no status, there’s no class?there’s just thousands of people that want to help,” he said.

“But when we don’t have a disaster going, we really spend a lot of time fighting.”