I think Team Noem just pulled a budget switcheroo to benefit her Hillsdale College cronies in Michigan.
Back in 2021, Governor Noem said she wanted money in the budget to develop a new South Dakota-focused K-12 social studies curriculum. The Noem Administration said $900,000 would do the trick. House Appropriations threw that figure into 2021 House Bill 1279. That bill got through the House, then was killed by Senate Appropriations. But the $900K for new social studies curriculum still got added to the final FY2022 budget.
Now Bob Mercer reports that while 21 schools have requested $561K in assistance to develop various social studies curriculum, the state has doled out only $95K of the $900K made available for that purpose. The Department of Education has decided to reroute most of that money from curriculum development to the K-12 social studies standards revision process:
According to [DOE official Shannon] Malone, $95,000 was the amount that the department decided should be spent on the grants. She said the remaining $805,000 will be used for other purposes connected to the department’s current project of revising South Dakota’s academic content standards for social studies [Bob Mercer, “Noem Anti-CRT Order Still Has Lawmakers Stirred Up,” KELO-TV, 2022.07.20].
That $900K was for curriculum, not standards. The revised standards Noem’s hand-picked board will soon rubber-stamp are not curriculum; they are just the framework of principles meant to guide schools and teachers as they choose the actual curriculum, the books, materials, lessons, and activities they will use in the classroom.
And there wouldn’t be any standards revision process to which to funnel this $805K if Governor Noem hadn’t torn up the hard work done by South Dakota educators last year to revise our K-12 social studies according to the standard procedure followed in every past year. The standards revision would be long done if the Governor hadn’t decided to restart the process, stack a smaller committee with more Republican toadies than educators, and put her radically ideological chief of staff and a professor emeritus from Hillsdale College in charge of the process to clear the way for subordinating South Dakota’s K-12 social studies standards to the ideological and business agenda of the Trumpist charter school promoters at Hillsdale.
So rather than helping the experts at our public schools develop better civics lessons for our kids, most of the $900K appropriated for that purpose in 2021 appears to be on its way to the pockets of the fiendly folks at Hillsdale as they scramble to disguise their ideological lesson plans as social studies standards for South Dakota and exploit our Department of Education to market their college.