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GOP Appropriators Concerns Unfounded: DOE Never Intended to Seek Federal Grants for Civics Education

Republican Appropriators made a fuss over nothing last week when they issued a grandstanding letter to the Department of Education last week warning them not to seek any federal money for civics education. Education Secretary Tiffany Sanderson tells Bob Mercer her department never intended to seek any federal money for its civics efforts:

“We did not have any intent to apply for the federal grant that’s open right now for civics and history education at the federal level. In fact, Dr. Jones who’s our state historian and myself are submitting comments during the public comment period on the U.S. Department of Education’s priorities for those grants,” she said. “Some of the activities that are encouraged through the grants don’t align with our expectations for learning in South Dakota and so we’ve made note of that through the public comment process” [Bob Mercer, “South Dakota Didn’t Plan to Seek Federal Grants to Schools That Are Targeted in Legislators’ Letter,” KELO-TV, 2021.05.19].

The Republican authors of the letter didn’t even bother to talk with Secretary Sanderson to find out if what they say they are worried about had any basis in fact:

Asked whether the legislators’ letter surprised her, Sanderson paused for a few moments and replied, “At this point I haven’t had any legislators sit down to talk through what they’re thinking, and I’ve made the offer — let’s have some conversations in advance of the 2022 session, so that we can come together with any legislation or policy priorities that are important” [Mercer, 2021.05.19].

Once again, ignorant Republican legislators are listening to bogeymen instead of their own officials.

Related Pleading: Alas, NSU political science professor Jon Schaff notes that the conservative National Review views our GOP’s grandstanding as “a model for other states” for “pushing back” against a problem that does not exist.


  1. Donald Pay 2021-05-20 09:36

    Well, I’m not sure which civics grants are open right now, but they would have been opened under Trump’s education department. The priorities of the Biden education team’s proposals in the American History/Civics area were released for public comment in April. The Trump DOE proposals would be the ones SDDOE didn’t apply for. I think that’s appropriate. Who wants a civics or history lessons from the administration that gave us 4 years of incompetent Russian-influenced fascism.

    I did skim the Biden DOE proposals, but the comment period ended yesterday, so I can’t write in to support them. I post the link to their proposal below. These proposals are interesting to me and should be of interest to many in South Dakota.

  2. grudznick 2021-05-20 18:58

    Stop being silly by paying attention to those dumb letters. Let them letter away. It is but a meaningless waste of tiny muscles of the legislatures.

  3. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-20 20:16

    Well..obviously, the problem here is that the Republican members of the Appropriations Committee do not feel they are getting enough ink in the state press or face time on KELO LAND. The solution is simple. Appropriate another 125,000 bucks and hire a Press Officer/PR Man for the Committee leadership. Problem solved.

  4. Observer 2021-05-20 21:08

    Shoot first. Ask questions later. (Or dodge questions later).

  5. Donald Pay 2021-05-20 21:35

    I think, Grudz, that you pay attention to letters from the Legislature if they have something to offer. Generally, they have nothing to offer, but that is important to know. It is also important to know what cockeyed misunderstandings goes behind their, dare I say it, thinking. Generally, there is no thinking behind their letter, as is evident in the letter they wrote.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-05-21 08:15

    Indeed, the grants in question from the feds aren’t flowing yet. Even when they do flow, they won’t promote any of the bogeyman evils the Republicans are squawking about.

    Republicans are determined to brainwash our youth. The GOP has realized facts and values don’t support their arguments, so they must cling to power by pushing lies into our schools.

  7. OldtimerDon 2021-05-21 19:15

    Say what-teach civics! OMG- cuss in church or urinate in the middle of main street during lunch hour, but don’t you ever dare to teach civics.

Comments are closed.