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.