'Dash For Cash' Event That Has Teachers Fight For Part Of $5,000 Draws Backlash

It's no secret that teachers get a raw deal in America.

Anyone wondering why it seems so hard to fill teaching positions throughout the nation need only look at the way their workloads are compacted by low pay, little to no support from administrators, and budget cuts that leave them having to pay for their own class' supplies. And that's not even getting into dealing with the kids and their parents.

Nonetheless, so many out there are still working hard to make a difference for their students and we've seen cases where communities have stepped in to help teachers that the system has failed.

But while that was the stated goal of one South Dakota event, the way it went down has left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths.

On December 11, a "Dash For Cash" was held during a hockey game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

As The Argus Leader reported, the event saw 10 teachers from throughout the region gather to scramble for their share of $5,000 in singles spread out on a mat in the center of the rink.

The money was donated by CU Mortgage Direct and the firm's marketing director Ryan Knudson said it was a means of giving teachers some well-deserved cash.

As he said, "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."

The amount that each teacher walked away with ranged from $378 to $616 and most of them used their winnings to better provide for their classrooms.

In many cases, this involved buying flexible seating arrangements such as standing desks and wobble chairs, as well as cameras to facilitate uploading lessons online.

For one teacher named Barry Longden, the money supported his school's e-sports club, which relies entirely on donations and fundraising because it isn't a sanctioned sport under the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

But while intial coverage of the event saw it as an unalloyed positive, others saw it as a degrading display that only showed how desperate the lives of teachers can be.

As one Twitter user wrote, "Teachers, on their hands and knees, grabbing for $1 bills to buy classroom supplies, for the amusement of a crowd. yeah, totally uplifting and fun not at all totally dystopian."

Another user who is a mom in this area said she received an email from the school district encouraging her to attend the game and cheer one of the teachers on.

As she put it, "Not only do our teachers get paid less, get disrespected more by our leaders, but now they’re circus monkeys used for entertainment?"

For critics, it would have been better if CU Mortgage Direct had just given the teachers the money instead of making them fight for it dollar by dollar.

And the event struck some as particularly embarrassing in light of the fact that South Dakota is second only to Mississippi for having the lowest average of annual teachers' salaries in the nation.

As one user said, "This is just sad. Want to make a difference? Just give teachers the money. Don't turn it into a spectacle. Teachers break their backs for students enough as it is."

h/t: The Argus Leader