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Prevalent? CRT Non-Existent in SD K-12 Schools

KELO-TV runs an article headlined, “How Prevalent Is CRT in SD K-12 Education?” Jazzmine Jackson’s report, alas, does not answer that question, because neither the report nor our CRT-hunting Governor (not to mention South Dakota’s teachers) is actually talking about critical race theory.

KELO-TV’s report refers to Governor Kristi Noem’s April 2022 executive order that falsely claimed to be banning “the inherently divisive concepts that underlay [sic] Critical Race Theory,” but no one in state government has ever demonstrated that the enumerated “divisive concepts” underlie critical race theory or provided concrete examples of such “divisive concepts” being taught in any South Dakota classroom, K-12 or higher. The long-hidden Department of Education report on its hunt for “divisive concepts” found just two standards in one vocational law enforcement course, and those standards do not embody or advance any of the “divisive concepts” the Governor is trying to outlaw. Jackson notes that the one course in question isn’t even active:

The report then goes on to say that the course is not currently being offered in South Dakota at this time and when it is offered, it is “not frequently” taught at the K-12 level [Jazzmine Jackson, “How Prevalent Is CRT in SD K-12 Education?” KELO-TV, 2022.08.26].

Unable to demonstrate that critical race theory exists, let alone prevails, in our schools, Team Noem has to shift its rhetoric to claim credit for that absence:

When asked if the two examples of inherently divisive concepts found out of thousands was representative of a larger problem, Governor Noem’s communications director Ian Fury said that the governor has worked to ensure that “CRT will not be the basis of education for South Dakota students.”

“We are glad that we are successfully preventing these divisive concepts from infiltrating our kids’ classrooms,” Fury said in an email to KELOLAND News on August 22.

In a campaign ad released on August 15, Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden boasted that the Noem administration has protected freedom in South Dakota “on all fronts.”

“And when they came after our kids with Critical Race Theory, we blocked their propaganda,” Rhoden said in the ad [Jackson, 2022.08.26].

In related news, the Klingons haven’t invaded South Dakota, because Kristi Noem blocked them by giving corporate welfare to Silencer Central.

So Noem’s offense at critical race theory was really just defense? Critical race theory didn’t really exist in our schools, so Noem’s attacks on something that didn’t exist actually served to stop that thing from coming into existence?

This rhetorical shift on critical race theory feels like the rhetorical shift on Noem’s dubious Nest Predator Bounty Program. In the biggest creative policy initiative of her gubernatoriat, Noem in 2019 started throwing money at trappers to catch raccoon, skunk, badger, fox, and the marauding opossum on the promise that killing varmints would boost the pheasant population. Unable to provide data that would support that promise and contradict the widely available research that says killing varmints doesn’t increase pheasant populations, the Noem Administration changed tack, saying that trapping is really about promoting family values by sending kids outside to kill mammals.

Governor Noem still doesn’t know what critical race theory is, let alone how to ban it. More importantly, critical race theory, like the Klingons, is not and never has been in South Dakota’s schools. Kristi went hunting for something that wasn’t there. Afraid to talk about all the real problems she has declined to hunt down and solve, Kristi now sustains the distraction from her failures by claiming this Klingon hunt was a success, that by going out with her guns a-blazing, she scared all the Klingons away before they could skewer our kids on their bat’lethmey.


  1. Whitless 2022-08-27 10:23

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken. This quote encapsulates how the Noem administration seeks to distract from real issues and its incompetency.

  2. sx123 2022-08-27 11:20

    Never once do I remember any CRT stuff taught in SD schools when I went.

    I do not know what she is talking about.

  3. Jake 2022-08-27 12:29

    sx123—Neither do she (Noem), Ian Fury, or Larry Rhoden (the fire-alarm pulling guy).

  4. cibvet 2022-08-27 12:34

    CRT= noem “Continually Regurgitating Trump-isms”.

  5. P. Aitch 2022-08-27 13:05

    Your Governor had ONE crisis. She didn’t know what to do so she did nothing and labeled it, “Supporting Small Government”. You decide.

  6. Donald Pay 2022-08-27 13:06

    My complaint would be that Critical Race Theory is NOT being taught in South Dakota schools. For any reasonable understanding of modern thought on race and law and education, CRT is a crucial topic that must be addressed. That doesn’t mean you have to buy into everything or anything involved in CRT, but you have to know about it. That’s the way I feel about a lot of things I disagree with, like today’s Republican Party. I can’t stand their white nationalist and fascist bent these days, but students need to know about it, because, unfortunately, the Republican Party stands for those things and they want people to support policies that promote that way of thinking. Of course, all of this needs to be age-appropriate. Kindergarten students can’t understand the nuances of CRT, but university students can, and I suspect a lot of high school students can, too.

  7. mike from iowa 2022-08-27 13:45

    So Rhodent is as much a liar as Noem Nothing and drumpf,et al.

    In a campaign ad released on August 15, Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden boasted that the Noem administration has protected freedom in South Dakota “on all fronts.”

    Where are child bearing age and below women’s constitutional rights to bodily autonomy from over reaching little gawd almighties who profess to be, but, are not actual kristians. Not only because they refuse to tell the truth. Lying is second nature to magats of all crawlings of life.

  8. grudznick 2022-08-27 14:38

    If there is no CRT there is no harm in letting young Mr. Fury joust with it. It is but a libbie boogeyman invented as a red herring. Brilliant, fellows.

  9. grudznick 2022-08-27 14:41

    Mr. Mike, because you are an out-of-state name-caller, if you ever come to South Dakota make sure you let me know first so I can try to intervene with the Rhoden Rhangers who would no doubt enjoy buying you a Meade county beverage.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-08-27 14:56

    Somebody who uses a fake name calling someone else a name caller is gaslighting at its best.

    How is the My Lai Massacre taught in South Dakota schools?

    In 1974, President Richard Nixon issued a limited presidential pardon to convicted killer William Calley of My Lai Massacre fame after he and American troops, some under his command, raped and butchered some 500 unarmed Vietnamese people in 1968.

    Prisoner of War Leonard Peltier is guilty of far, far lesser offenses. Peltier is a prisoner of the United States’ longest war—waged against Indigenous Americans since 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.

    After being convicted in 1977 then sentenced to two life terms for killing two enemy combatants under the fog of war on a battlefield inside the Oglala Lakota Nation in occupied South Dakota in 1975 Peltier applied for compassionate release in 2018 and again in 2020 but was always denied because Donald Trump despises American Indians.

  11. larry kurtz 2022-08-27 15:03

    Today is Peter Norbeck Day. He is taught in schools as a great leader but what isn’t taught is that he was a virulent racist who made sure KKK adherent, Gutzon Borglum got all the money he needed to desecrate a mountain sacred to Indigenous people.

  12. M J Haugen 2022-08-27 17:04

    There is another CRT that people need to learn, starting first Noem. The other CRT is CRITICAL RATIONAL THINKING.. Noem says kids should learn critical thinking skills so if she has a problem with the other CRT being taught in the schools then have them teach this CRT. Noem & her minions have shown repeatedly that she does not or is not capable of doing any Critical Rational Thinking. She has shown that she doesn’t actually think things through before she says or does what she does, She instead just copycats what tRump, DeSantis & Abbott says or do, she is NO leader but a weak followeer.

  13. grudznick 2022-08-27 17:33

    Mr. Norbeck enabled the building of many swell things. Lar has never enjoyed the opportunity many do because of Mr. Norbeck. But Mr. Norbeck isn’t out there trying to carve up another mounting with the “likeness” of a man who never let his picture be taken. That’s a sacrilege that has Mr. Crazy Horse spinning in his grave.

  14. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-27 18:37

    Grudzick–you’re babbling incoherently again…We can discuss Memorializing great leaders another time, but it really doesn’t have much to do with CRT or instructional methods of teaching history.

  15. All Mammal 2022-08-27 18:42

    A theory can only be disputed after it can be disproven. What makes it a theory is that not once has anyone demonstrated a fallacy in the theory.

    I recommend the Dictionary of Theories by Jennifer Bothamlay. Of all 5,000+ theories catalogued, I’d say a vast majority are thought up by spazzmatic individuals. One of my favs is the cloaca theory on page 94: Psychology-it’s name derived from the Latin word for sewer or drain. The theory proposed by the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
    Young children often hold the notion that birth takes place through the anus and is a form of defecation which makes this fantasy, according to Freud, a possible source of bisexuality…

    The only way to deny a theory is to prove it doesn’t always work. Critical Race Theory is not proven. It is a theory. All Gov Blow ‘Em needs to do is point out a time when CRT wasn’t spot-on and she would shatter the whole thing. But she can’t. So just because she doesn’t like something, she says don’t talk about it or you’ll get in trouble. Oooh, real scared. Her reaction to CRT strengthens it’s tenets. Her racist reaction to CRT is classic CRT.

  16. grudznick 2022-08-27 19:01

    Mr. Blundt. grudznick might be confused as I don’t understand CRT. I don’t know what it is. But it doesn’t exist and is very, very bad.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-27 19:43

    Grudz–“it doesn’t exist (???) and is very very bad”….Hard to track your thought process…too many bends, curves, and ragged shards.

  18. DaveFN 2022-08-27 20:17

    Although she won’t come out and say it, isn’t it clear that what Noem is really trying to squelch are the tenets of the 1619 Project and her belief that Marxism is the ideology behind Black Lives Matter., so lumps these (and other movements) under “divisive ideas” and the rubric of CRT.

    She’s following along with Trump on the former:

    She’s half-informed on the BLM Marxism agenda:

  19. O 2022-08-27 20:38

    grudznick, CRT exists. It is, in a nutshell, a legal criticism that looks a laws through a lens of race sensitivity to determine — even if not explicit — do laws and policies disproportionately adversely affect people of color. It is not a liberal boogieman, but in fact a real criticism of vast elements of our legal and social systems. What you righties object to is the hard truth that it all too often finds uncomfortable irregularities.

    In recent years, it became the catch-all for the small-thinking right outrage machine fear mongers to shout down any challenge to white privilege. But you know that. Even your feigned ignorance only goes so far.

    What does not exist is the governor’s political narrative of a “subversive infiltration of CRT into the public schools of SD.” It is not that racism doesn’t exist in SD. It is not that our schools do not deserve a good, hard look at how we may or may not be advancing or holding our students or employees back based on conscious or unconscious biases. CRT is not in our schools’ policies; it is not in our curriculums; it is not in our professional trainings. I would argue part of the right’s agenda in all this is to ensure CRT is not introduced into our schools. I would argue that many elements of CRT SHOULD examine our schools. Things like discipline policies ought to get a once-over to check that children of color are not being driven out of our schools (and in a pipeline to prison) at a disproportionate rate. We should never fear asking hard questions. It does not assume an answer.

    You on the right love to try to twist words and redefine everything into terms to suit whatever tempest you are currently brewing in today’s teapot, knowing that it is far harder to explain the nuances of truth than dust up the storms of lies, but know this: CRT is not being taught in SD

  20. DaveFN 2022-08-27 21:55


    CRT may not be overtly taught as such, but why not teach CRT? We teach plenty of other theories, such as atomic theory, the theory of evolution, etc. Aside from the fact some consider theories as truth, teaching the lay of the land in terms of existent theories is part-and-parcel of teaching. Refusal to teach existing theories is a failure to educate what theories exist, which flies in the face of educational.

    That said, for Noem it really has nothing to do with the theory known as CRT, but with her disdain of BLM, the 1619 Project, etc. And not even her disdain of such movements as much as with her suck-up to Trump, whether directly or obliquely. She’s a deceitful shape-shifter.

  21. Bill 2022-08-28 07:44

    Let’s make a list of the top one-hundred problems in South Dakota. Does CRT make the list?

  22. Donald Pay 2022-08-28 08:59

    DaveFN is correct. You aren’t going to be teaching CRT in kindergarten, but a high school class that introduces the subject would be appropriate. I would think upper level undergraduates in certain fields ought to know about CRT. I can’t understand this Republican push to dumb down education.

  23. Spike 2022-08-28 09:19

    Critical race theory can teach that in 1868 the USA signed a treaty with another political organization representing a large group of indigenous people that had control of western South Dakota. Subsequently the USA decided thru its manifest destiny and the papal bull to con, steal that land from and subdue at gunpoint those indigenous people. Now the ancestors of those people are considered troublemakers if they fight politically, spiritually, legally and violently to regain control over their rights and culture.

    A great part of the racism and denigrating of Critical race theory lies in the fact that people of South Dakota know in their hearts they live on stolen land in the supposedly freedom center of the world. Can’t have that reality taught can we. And in God’s name we cannot teach what slavery really was.
    Kristi idea is that native history in SD is tipis and love of the white race.

    But hey. Thats “merica” ain’t it.

  24. Bob Newland 2022-08-28 10:13

    I have trouble understanding folks who treat grudznutz as if it is a sentient being.

  25. Vi Kingman 2022-08-28 11:28

    Can the Governor give an example of what can and what can’t be taught in schools?

  26. P. Aitch 2022-08-28 14:12

    @vikingman – You teach that white people are the real victims in America. Black and brown people have privileges that white people don’t have.

  27. bearcreekbat 2022-08-28 17:28

    Noem and her cohorts just aren’t looking in the correct spot. A state wide search of the high school lockers of transgender girls that play girl’s sports would certainly be a place to look consistent with the beliefs of Noem and her cohorts. It seems obvious that the mystical CRT teachers feared by Noem and her cohorts have joined forces with these mystical transgender children in Noem’s parallel universe.

  28. mike from iowa 2022-08-29 09:16

    Sheila Kennedy’s column may help explain why magats are dead set on believing CRT exists in schools…

    Not being a college graduate I simply prefer to think of magats as bat-guano crazy.

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-29 09:43

    Don, O, and Spike make the point that if anything, the absence of CRT from South Dakota’s K-12 social studies content is a shortcoming. We should teach students about systemic racism and its many manifestations in American history so students can recognize and redress systemic racism when they become voters and public officials.

    Grudz suggests that if CRT isn’t in our schools, we should just let Team Noem tilt at their windmills, since their crusade against something that isn’t there can’t do any harm. But it does harm. It chills free speech in schools. It chills teachers’ professional creativity and responsibility, as they must worry that useful lessons, books, and other materials may violate some vague political speech code and will thus water down their teaching to give kids only the blandest, least rich, most superficial education (something like the Hillsdale curriculum, which masquerades behind a huge list of Trivial Pursuit answers as a rich and comprehensive curriculum rather than whitewashed indoctrination for shallow thinkers). It foments distrust of teachers and public schools among voters, thus eroding one of the central pillars of democracy, public education. And it uses up political energy that could be applied to solving real problems in public education.

  30. Spike 2022-08-29 19:57

    Very well stated Cory. After all Hillsdale thinks teachers are uninformed lowlifes. I believe good teachers are becoming an endangered species under attack for their own educated and well contemplated teaching skills. What a freakin tragedy that hurts our children’s minds and stunts their ability to form their own thoughts, learn compassion and service. Dang

  31. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-29 20:18

    Back at you, Spike: Noem’s approach to education hurts children, stunts intellect, and blocks the development of an ethos of compassion and service (the two go hand in hand).

  32. Sonia Jenner 2022-09-14 12:34

    The problem as I see it way too many Republicans ( I am being nice, that is not the name I commonly use) voters have been brain washed to believe anything chump or Desatan , NOem says is the gospel , even a grade school teacher I know well that when I said it (CRT) had never been taught in a K-12 school in SD , she came back at me to say, I wouldn’t be too sure of that, I would bet it is taught in Sioux Falls schools, as I know a few people that have kids going to school there I asked them if it had been and they all said no, but see how the Rs I won’t even honor them with the correct name have brainwashed college taught people in SD ? Even those who teach in a grade school in SD.It does not bode well for our country when a person like NOem who barely got a college degree and some people have questioned it, if she did much credit was given to her for her life’s experience, she wants the new standards in Social Studies to be written by a former professor at Hillsdale college, a Baptist school who came up with this standard for relish’s schools , not private, I would also worry why we would want 4th grade teachers teaching about Jesus and Mohammed.

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