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South Dakota Leads Nation With Newly Drafted Social Studies Standards
Politically Driven Pushback Begins....Updated 8/22/22

After months of collaboration, facilitated by former Hillsdale College professor William Morrisey, a team of state historians and Tribal Leaders have released a draft of proposed Social Studies Standards for South Dakota public schools.

The new standards are being hailed by Tribal communities, as the curriculum is the most expansive in the country, focused on the true story of Indigenous peoples.
The standards feature expanded South Dakota and Native American history and civics, representing the most robust emphasis on Native American history and civics of any draft standards to-date.

“I am glad that Native American heritage and culture will be well represented in these standards,” said Joe Circle Bear, member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and member of the Commission. “Governor Noem promised to tell our story as part of American history, and these standards do that.”

"I am very proud of the work we as a committee have put into the new Social Studies Standards,” said Stephanie Hiatt, doctorate in education, member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and member of the Commission. “The new standards offer a chronological history of the founding of America. With these new standards, I am confident South Dakota students will develop a historical appreciation that will foster hopeful and prosperous communities.”

In preparing the draft standards, the Commission focused on the four following goals: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the new social studies standards. They are substantial and straightforward standards that emphasize our founding documents, our pursuit of freedom, and treat our nation’s history honestly,” said Representative Sue Peterson, Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

The proposed standards provide many notable changes, and a new approach to American History. Rather than the current model which jumps around chronologically, a new spiraled sequence would allow students to build upon what they have learned previously. The content has been enhanced as to challenge familial units, and expand knowledge in every home as parents become a integral part of the learning process. Perhaps most important to many families, "streamlined identification," which allows students, teachers and parents to have full transparency and access to the content itself.

In addition, the standards return to an economic framework, beginning in high school. Prior to graduation, students will fully understand supply and demand, contract law, macro - micro-economic security through private ownership, the free market, trade and more.
[pg 84]



The committee was assembled in response to growing parental concerns related to Critical Race Theory, and various new curricula that are said to be replacing traditional academics in the classroom. Nation-wide un-enrollment rates have spiked this year, as families pull their children from public schools.

States like California are currently experiencing record high un-enrollment rates due to medical/genetic discrimination, public distrust, Critical Race Theory, and frustrations related to limited academics.

Even in the red state of Tennessee, core academic classes have been cut down to thirty minutes, accounting for a total of two-hours per day allotted for math, science, reading, and social studies.

Many believe that South Dakota, on the other hand, is now leading the way forward toward enrollment retention within K-12 public schools.

Not everyone agrees with the new Social Studies Standards however.
The South Dakota Education Association has recently stated its concerns for the age appropriateness of the new standards. The SDEA, is the South Dakota chapter of the NEA, the largest teacher's union in the country, which recently adopted Critical Race Theory into its platform.

Taneeza Islam, the former mayoral candidate for Sioux Falls, is the Executive Director of South Dakota Voices For Justice. Islam recently announced on social media that the group will be busing people to Pierre, to testify against the "CRT Ban."

Islam's post was shared by the South Dakota Democratic Party, South Dakota Teacher's Union, Healing Racism, Minnehaha Democratic Party, and more. The meeting was later postponed by the Board of Education.

Critical Race is a theoretical curriculum, spawned from Pulitzer Prize winning book The 1619 Project- A New Origin Story, authored by New York Time's Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Despite reservations from historians regarding factual inaccuracies, the National Education Association (the largest teacher's union in America), instituted CRT by adding the curriculum to its platform (2021-2022 Agenda Item 39). In states where the teacher's union dictates policy, CRT has become interwoven into every aspect of the classroom experience, placing a focus on slavery as the origin of the United States.

Critics of CRT, say that parents and families are being left out of the process, and have limited access to what their child is learning. Others contend that traditional academics are slipping away, and being replaced by Social Emotional Learning, which places a focus on emotion over facts. However, the most compelling arguments against CRT have come from Black and Latin families themselves, as they say that CRT actually perpetuates systemic racism rather than providing solutions to it.

Oregon's Department of Education implemented Critical Race Theory curriculum, and "ethnomathmatics," last year. Public outrage was sparked, when
Oregon school districts began segregating graduation ceremonies for "BIPOC" students. The state of Oregon, then moved to completely drop all graduation requirements, starting last year.

In this 82 page document, handed out to Oregon teachers
, by the ODE and NEA (National Teachers Association) it is now considered racist to teach Black, Latin and Indigenous students the correct answers to math, science and reading. In addition, the new curriculum prohibits teachers from requiring BIPOC students to show their work, because doing so "perpetuates systemic racism."

Updated 08/22/2022 to reflect correct meeting dates. A previous version of this article shared meeting times that have since been postponed.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-16 10:18:33Last Update: 2022-08-27 18:16:42


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