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Education Dept. to Take Nominations for Repeat Social Studies Standards Panel; Send Noem Message by Renominating Original Workgroup!

Governor Kristi Noem’s unnecessary redo of South Dakota’s K-12 social studies curriculum standards starts November 1 with, evidently, a public nomination process for new standards revision commission members.

I suspect the nomination process will be as rigged as the expanded “public input” process, which Noem and her partisan public school-wrecking cronies will surely pack with the kinds of reactionary anti-equality, anti-intellectual shouters and coordinated conservative manipulators who have packed the Rapid City school board with meatheads and threatened school officials across the country with violence. But if the Department of Education is going to take nominations from the public for a second panel to go through a second process of revising South Dakota’s K-12 social studies curriculum standards, I suggest the proper public response is to renominate the entire panel that gave us a perfectly reasonable and workable set of standards the first time around:

Members of the Original K-12 Social Studies Standards Revision Workgroup:

Morgan Larson, Canistota School District Monique Keck, Spearfish School District
Haley Dressler, Rapid City Area Schools Denise Allen, Langford Area School District
Megan Deal, Pierre School District Eric Reynolds, Edgemont School District
Teri Kinsley, Jones County School District Roberta Bizardie, Todd County School District
Melinda Geiszler, Rutland School District Sherri Rawstern, Dacotah Prairie Museum
Ali Tonsfeldt, Fort Sisseton Historic State Park Claire Beck, Kadoka Area School District
Fred Osborn, Office of Indian Education Kirstin Livermont, Rapid City Area Schools
Andrea Stanosheck, Yankton School District Kris Johnson, Sisseton Middle School
Jordan Esmay, Belle Fourche School District Darcy Higbee, Rapid City Area Schools
Paige Wright, Harrisburg School District Betsy Schamber, Dakota State University
Andrew Stewart, Dakota Valley Public School Ladonna Mielke, Mobridge Pollock School District
Madeleine Gonsoir, Aberdeen School District Dr. Sherry Johnson, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate
Shaun Nielsen, Rapid City Area Schools Erin McBurney, Watertown Middle School
Carissa VanderLey, Chamberlain High School Sarah Jacobs, SD Agricultural Heritage Museum/South Dakota National History Day
Dr. Stephen Jackson, University of Sioux Falls Judy Rapp, Retired Social Studies Teacher
Kim McCullough, Brookings School District Grant Lolley, Bison Community Schools
Senator Jim Bolin, South Dakota Legislator Kelsey Lovseth, Brookings School District
Carrie Huber, Rapid City Area Schools Cara Phelps, Rapid City Area Schools
Lisa Forcier, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Dr. Joel Johnson, Augustana University
Paul Harens, Retired Teacher Wade Juracek, Colome School District
Rebecca Loutsch, Gayville-Volin School District Justin Palmer, Brookings School District
Michael Nankervis, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School District Michael Kane, Belle Fourche School District
Beth Ratway, American Institutes for Research, project facilitator Melinda Johnson, SD Department of Education, Social Studies Revision project lead

I don’t know if any of these smart people would subject themselves to the same grief again, but the fact that they did the job once means they could do it again more quickly and efficiently than any other panel the Governor might cobble together. Widespread renomination of the original panel would also send a strong message to the Governor that she should keep her petty ideological hands off our standards and let our educators focus on educating our kids instead of turning our classrooms into campaign stops for Noem 2024.


  1. Porter Lansing 2021-10-29

    Kristi Noem believes that teaching the truth about Indian oppression, by white colonizers, makes little white SD kids feel guilty about what their great grandparents did.

    She also believes that teaching the truth about Indian oppression, by white colonizers makes little Indian kids develop a victim mentality.

    *I use the word Indian and not indigenous or native, in honor of my late friend, Roger Cornelius, who demanded that he be referred to as an Indian and not a Native American.

  2. O 2021-10-29

    Even though the membership is important to how this work moves forward, I would ask who is leading the effort this time. What has been predetermined as in-bounds and out-of-bounds for going forward would affect who would want to accept any offer to work on this project 2.0.

    Although the last set of standards provided a convenient launch pad for a political publicity stunt (and groveling to the MAGA tastemakers), I still do not think I have seen a clear delineation of the elements form the last go around that were objectionable.

  3. larry kurtz 2021-10-29

    If Jim Bolin is on the committee doesn’t that mean the outcome is automatically skewed towards the lunatic fringe?

  4. ArloBlundt 2021-10-29

    Well…it’s predetermined to be a travesty on serious scholarship….Teachers have great integrity and a commitment to the profession. Hopefully they will make sure that political jingoism has no place in the classroom. The governor should move on to other chaos on her agenda.

  5. Mark Anderson 2021-10-29

    It really makes no difference. Anyone with a brain can look things up so easily now. Go ahead and burn Beloved you can read it online. Anyone remember anything you learned in a high school civics class raise your hand. More people have read critical race theory than ever all because of he basterdizations of it put forth by….well you know who. They can’t win folks, it’s really that simple.

  6. O 2021-10-29

    Mark, the issue is not access to information. Schools do not struggle now with having enough information to give students, but in the teaching of credible sources. Relying on “looking it up on the internet” is what got us in 90% of mess we are in now.

  7. mike from iowa 2021-10-29

    Noem trusts the people of South Duhkota to make the right decisions until she doesn’t trust them. That about sum this up?

  8. John 2021-10-29

    Great idea, Corey. Same board. Same or tweaked (improved) product.
    The fact proven this week through DNA that Sitting Bull’s great grandson walks among us reinforces that South Dakota history is far and beyond the tight little artificial rectangular borders, and began before designations as a US territory, and then state. The title to the part-time governor’s farm has the same source as my family’s Brown County farm – the subterfuge and theft from the [eastern] Dakota broken treaties and subsequent wars; wars that were the most deadly US-Indian wars. More deadly than the more well known Little Big Horn or the murders at Wounded Knee. The part time governor’s kin may, or like my family – were not involved in the treaty making/breaking/warring – but they certainly took advantage of the presented opportunity — whether or not they were aware of the circumstances, or willfully blind to the circumstances. Given that most settlers were illiterate or marginally literate (first languages not being English), and “news” was slow, and full of propaganda. Many settlers were in ignorant bliss, happier with their 40 acres than back at the European hell they left.
    for the photos:

  9. Richard Schriever 2021-10-29

    My ancestors who settled in Southeastern SD were far from illiterate and far from uninvolved in local politics. They were merchants and landowners who abandoned the new-found country of Germany in 1875. The new Germany had confederated the Frisian principality they were native to into that new country. The new Germany was forcing them to pay high taxes and conscripting them into the Kaiser’s Army. They were pacifists, escaping war and property confiscation. My grandmother told me stories of watching the Indian removals from parts east (IA and MN) across the homestead, headed West when she was a child (1880’s).

  10. Mark Anderson 2021-10-29

    Well O. When I was in high school it was driven into us that Cannabis was totally awful, lead directly to hard drugs. It was easy to look up, even in the school library. They showed us films on LSD that actually made it rather attractive. It was easy to look up too. You can’t fool kids with BS is what I’m saying. Norm believes she can, again so what? She can’t. The internet is far from the problem. It all depends on where you look.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-30

    Larry, I wouldn’t mind booting Bolin, but he was on the original committee that produced the standards Noem found too Indian, so for simplicity’s sake, I don’t mind including him on the repeat panel, along with every other original member.

  12. V 2021-10-30

    As Richard’s history is passed down orally, so too is the history of us all. I learned more from the elders on Standing Rock than any book or the internet. As the Republicans start the book banning, they’ll move on to internet blocking so what will be left?

    In 6th grade social studies in the 60’s, we were taught that Custer was a hero. My family refused to acknowledge that because we learned the truth through familial experiences. Changing the truth or hiding the truth, what is the difference?

    I’ve always admired all educators because of my role model grandmother. I especially like social sciences and taught that in California in the late 80’s where we were called communists for our open mindedness. (lawyers loved us on juries for both sides) I never did feel comfortable moving back in time to SD where I was called a socialist too.

    The educators who were on the panel deserve to serve again because they did an EXCELLENT job the first time around. Standards should be reviewed every 5 years, but not by the governor, especially one with no higher level thinking skills. She wants to change them because she can not comprehend them. It’s too much for her. Let the pros do what they do best.

    Cory, how do we get them back on?

  13. Orren Thornes 2021-10-30

    The headline is misleading in that it implies the Dept of Education is looking to send Noem a message, which we all know they’d not dare attempt.

  14. Porter Lansing 2021-10-30

    V and Mark state truth.

    Teens embrace rebellion and proving SD social studies curriculum as lacking and lying will be the order of things, among high school thinkers.

    Just as it was during the Vietnam era.

  15. larry kurtz 2021-10-30

    Throughout the Chernobyl series there is always a local Communist Party boss who makes sure the people never get the real story. Jim Bolin is that guy.

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