South Dakotans appear to be responding with enthusiasm to my urging that they sign up for the panel Governor Kristi Noem is wastefully summoning to redo our K-12 social studies curriculum standards. The Department of Education has received so many applications (add yours here!) that it has decided to extend the application deadline from the originally announced cut-off of November 14 to the end of the month:
“We’ve received just over 150 applications as of this morning,” spokesperson Ruth Raveling said Monday. “The application period was extended to give South Dakotans ample time to review the process and submit an application.”
…The goal behind the deadline extension is to draw more applicants, state Education Secretary Tiffany Sanderson told members of the South Dakota Board of Education Standards at their meeting Monday. “We still plan to name the commission before the end of the year,” she said [Bob Mercer, “Application Process to Be Part of Writing S.D. Social Studies Standards Will Get More Time,” KELO-TV, 2021.11.15].
The original panel that submitted the first draft standards last summer, standards that public comment generally favored but which the Noem Administration whitewashed for campaign reasons, included 46 educators. Over 150 applications should provide more than enough candidates from whom to draw a panel comparable in size to the first go-rounders to get the process moving. The timeline the Department of Education updated on November 1 calls for the new panel to start meeting online in December:
Picking the top 30% out of that 150-plus pool could already take a couple weeks; waiting to review the applications and select the best applicants from a pool twice the current size in December could delay launch until January. Why wait? I’m all for encouraging more participation, but we still need deadlines so we can relaunch and complete this already unnecessarily delayed process in a timely fashion.
But maybe Secretary Sanderson finds that the applications received by the deadline, like the public comments submitted through September 10 on the DOE’s pale revision of the original draft standards, are coming overwhelmingly from people who find the Governor’s disruptive and ideological intervention in the standards process unacceptable and are determined to restore the original draft‘s pro-diversity language and strike all of the Governor’s partisan political propaganda from the standards. Maybe out of 150-plus applications, Secretary Sanderson is finding only five or six racist Noem fanatics who want to cry about “critical race theory“. Maybe to save face with the Governor, Sanderson is extending the deadline to give the Governor time to recruit some of her campaign donors and volunteers to stack the application process and ensure that the standards review meetings will produce more primary-friendly soundbites for the Governor’s campaign.
But hey, new deadlines are new deadlines. We all get two extra weeks, not through Tuesday, November 30, to volunteer to serve K-12 education by helping to write better standards than what Governor Noem tried to scribble over the original recommendations. Keep K-12 social studies honest—submit your applications to Pierre today!