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Senate Kills HS Civics Test; Noem Civics Education Agenda Fails Completely

One thing Governor Kristi Noem didn’t get yesterday was her civics test. Wrangling until the last day, the Senate finally killed House Bill 1066 on a 13–21 vote. High school students will thus not be subjected to a fifty-question civics quiz the real tangible benefits of which not one legislator could explain.

Noem’s rushed anti-protest bills show she doesn’t really want active civic participation in South Dakota anyway, so she won’t shed any honest tears over this loss.

But note that her entire civics agenda, the one thing every member of the Legislature ovated during her State of the State Address, foundered mightily. Every bill purporting to expand civics education lost. Rep. Fred Deutsch’s silly civics stickers plan died early. The Legislature stripped the civics test from the college “intellectual diversity” bill. Senator Jim Bolin’s proposal to survey civics education died yesterday… probably because it would have meant admitting that Governor Noem was going off half-cocked about the need for more civics education without any data showing we had any such lack.

And now Noem’s poorly written high school civics test is dead.

With the entire Noem civics agenda toast, it looks like her choice for interim Education Secretary, Dr. Ben Jones, who was supposed to bring laserlike focus to civics education, has been a complete bust.  Time to bring in Tony Venhuizen to get things done!


  1. j 2019-03-08

    Is Tony going to be the next Secretary of Education?

  2. Dana P 2019-03-08

    Great. Now, can we pass come “Critical Thinking” education bills? That Noem and the GOP legislators are mandated to attend?

  3. Adam 2019-03-08

    Since 2/3 of South Dakota voters largely think like trash (have NO IDEA why we should have any government at all) I had mild hopes for a new statewide civics agenda treating our country-trash infection.

    I have learned [well] not to hold high hopes, in any regard, for this bottom of the barrel bunch of dilusional Americans. It’s almost like there’s a naturally occurring source of LSD in their well water, but surely a revamped civics program could help with that.


  4. Donald Pay 2019-03-08

    It’s not that civics isn’t important to know, but this “agenda” wasn’t even half-baked.
    Republicans want students to memorize half-truths. Here is the best civics lesson from this session: Better dead than Red.

  5. Senator Stace Nelson (R-Fulton) 2019-03-08

    In fairness, this is a new administration and she won a contentious primary in the GOP. Much different circumstances than Daugaard who was an extension of the Rounds administration and stepped right into the controls of that machine.

    I received an email on this bill from Secretary Jones, but no pressure or in person lobbying from the administration. I was lobbied on 3 other of her bills by a legisaltor. In comparison, in 2011? Dusty Johnson and Jason Glodt were personally pressuring me and Daugaard employed a legion of blue badges on full court press mode.

    There is serious angst over in the House at the bullying & tirades of Qualm, and the games that have been employed on the habitat bill(s) and apparent retaliation on other bills.

    Governor Noem has some very effective state employees at her disposal for lobbying. Daugaard had the brilliant Jason Glodt who could sell ice to Eskimos. I think when she figures out who her “A” team is for interacting with legisaltors for her administration, and gets away from having legisaltors do so for her, she will have a better success rate on her flag ship legislation.

    time will tell home much political capital she burnt up on this:

  6. Old Spec 5 2019-03-08

    Hey Stace when is the SDGOP going to address the closing of nursing homes in SD? These place are throwing the elderly out of places they feel safe and secure. The problems with the nursing homes fall solely on your party. We are last in the nation in funding Medicare. Shame on you. You and others in the SDGOP would rather have a circle jerk in passing resolutions supporting dickheads like Trump and his wall. Time to raise taxes. Salaries in SD are 47th, thats 3rd from the bottom for members of SDGOP. Quit preaching to the choir and get something done.

  7. Jenny 2019-03-08

    Stace, I’ll ask you nicely. Could you do something about the nursing home crisis next year? Families are really worried about this . Thank you.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-08

    Stace, I’m not sure what your point is. Can we just come straight out and say that after making lots of noise on civics, after appointing an interim Secretary of Education specifically to focus on that issue, Governor Noem failed to secure any legislation (and didn’t even try to get new funding) to promote one of her signature inaugural issues?

    The failure of the entire civics agenda doesn’t sound like the work of effective staff or an effective Governor. Maybe she needs to spend more on actual state workers instead of hiring her kinfolk.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-08

    Adam, if current civics education is insufficient, improvements in civics education will not come from the incurious Kristi Noem or the agonizingly distracted and anti-intellectual Legislature.

  10. Adam 2019-03-09

    Cory, your point is right on the money.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-09

    If Governor Noem wants a real conversation about civics education, she should pick me for Secretary of Education.

  12. JW 2019-03-09

    It could very well be that a few Senators, who actually think technically rather than strategically may have concluded that a straight forward and historically accurate curriculum of civics in High School might actually be the best effort yet to establish full transparency in government. A student educated in government and the democratic process might actually be able to distinguish the difference between genuine government purpose and function and political control and manipulation.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-09

    JW, you have a point. It’s one thing to talk about civics. It’s another to realize what would happen if every citizen studied the issues and realized that Kristi Noem and her party are full of crap and don’t deserve their offices.

  14. Senator Stace Nelson (R-Fulton) 2019-03-09

    @old spec5 If your plan was to get dismissed for being an ignorant disrespectful coward? You nailed it.

    @Jenny I have voted against the wasteful spending such as obligating South Dakotans for $32 Million for a new sports coliseum for NSU, against $500 Thousand for Governor Noem’s habitat, and a slew of others with the understanding that we should be addressing such priorities as long term care reimbursement first. I will not vote for a final budget bill that does not provide the state employee raise, long term care reimbursements, statutory school funding, etc. Currently these and other funding issues are all being “negotiated” behind closed doors between the Senate, Governor, and House. I will continue to push for the proper funding for long term care, state employee raises, school funding, and other core infrastructure needs.

  15. jerry 2019-03-09

    Cory and readers, sorry for the post that was fake. I missed that one. I try to make sure that the information that I post here is accurate, but in this case, it was not.
    It would not surprise me to find that the post may pretty close to what he actually performed, this one is fake.

  16. leslie 2019-03-09

    We know Stace you despise nepotism. But Spec 5 hopefully got your attention, not just your ego. Grow. Don’t go all trump on us. He is definitely an ignoramus, and you don’t have to carry water for Kristi unless you have transparent motives. We know how being in the minoritity is, politically. Jmo. Sorry for uncorrectable typo.

  17. grudznick 2019-03-09

    Mr. Nelson, I expect you are at the forefront of these negotiations, fighting for those things you espouse. Keep attending the meetings behind the doors and keep their attention focused and bring us back reports from what’s happening behind the doors.

  18. Jenny 2019-03-11

    Notice Jeremiah Murphy acts all nice now to Stace. It’s not as much fun when we all know you now, is it Murph?

  19. grudznick 2019-03-11

    grudznick still thinks Mr. Nelson is the least effective in the legislatures but wanted him to admit he is not invited to these secret meetings where all the real decisions are made without having to rub his nose in it.

  20. Jenny 2019-03-11

    Did you get help for your Aspergers, Murph? You really should and also help for your dire need for attention.

  21. Jenny 2019-03-11

    And I dare you say that to Stace’s face. The Dems actually really respect Stace in the Legislature, he’s not afraid to speak his mind. Stace is a good whistleblower and watchdog for Pierre.

  22. grudznick 2019-03-11

    The libbies laugh behind his back, Ms. Jenny, I am sure. They do enjoy, as does grudznick, the distraction and entertainment he provides to the Great State of South Dakota.

  23. Jenny 2019-03-11

    Cory likes and respects Stace, so back off. I know other DFPers that like him also.

  24. grudznick 2019-03-11

    Ms. Jenny, there are many things that Mr. H likes and respects that fail. Pay attention.

  25. Adam 2019-03-11

    A while ago, I hated Stace, and then he did a couple things which changed my whole about the guy. They were substantial thanks which took true integrity and good professional experience to do. These were substantial things which took true integrity and good professional experience to do.

    When he did those things, I commented on this blog that, “I will never see Stacy Nelson the same ever again, and I will treat him with respect on this blog from this day forward.”

    And I meant it.

    So, Stace, if you’re reading, just forget about that Adam guy who harassed the crap out of you – them days is gone – and I formally apologize for all that.

  26. Jenny 2019-03-11

    Cory, I would like to report Jeremiah Murphy for harassing your readers. We all have had enough of it. Please do something about it, thank you.

  27. Adam 2019-03-11

    Dictation sure has its drawbacks, I’m in a hurry, but I really wanted to take a second to appreciate Stace

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