The first public hearing on the
K-12 social studies standards campaign propaganda that a workgroup of South Dakota educators Hillsdale College professor emeritus William Morrisey has written for Governor Noem takes place one week from tomorrow in Aberdeen. The Monday, September 19 meeting at the Dakota Event Center (across from Target!) will be the first of four public hearings on the proposed revision (in this case, a dramatic rewrite) of the social studies standards.
To keep professional educators from taking up too much of their time, the board is limiting live testimony to three hours—90 minutes for proponents, 90 minutes for opponents—with each speaker getting a maximum of four minutes to discuss the proper goals of civics, history, geography, and economics education.
The School Administrators of South Dakota, who have a keen interest in making sure their teachers and students get rigorous, teachable standards, is rallying its members to testify that these standards do not serve our students well:
Following our meeting in Harrisburg the other day, there was certainly one item that bubbled to the top at the end. We need a STRONG showing at all of the venues. There is information below that tells you how to register to testify, and that must be done by the 16th. Public comment must be submitted by the 16th if it is to be considered for the meeting on the 19th.
If you need cover as far as testifying, you can submit that you are testifying on behalf of SASD. I would encourage as many as possible to register for the Zoom testimony even though you may not get to actually testify, you will be registered. If everyone uses their 4 minutes or so, that affords us the opportunity for about 20 or so testifiers. Again, we need a strong show of opposition if we have any chance of stopping these standards from being enacted [School Administrators of South Dakota, “SASD Weekly Update,” 2022.09.09].
Retired school administrator and teacher Kathie Tuntland opens fire on the standards as educationally inappropriate:
After reviewing the standards proposed by this group, it is very apparent most of the task force members lack any background in the foundations of education and child development. The standards lack balance and sequence or any understanding of how children learn at different ages/ grade levels.
For years, the standards revision process has been built upon the standards that were in place before — standards written by educators who work here in the state of South Dakota. I truly can’t believe our K-12 schools and parents in South Dakota would want what this group has proposed.
Social studies is an important content area to teach. It can be integrated with other subject areas and is a great way to involve students in historical research and critical thinking. In the early grades they learn about their own neighborhoods and rules at school and in the community. In third grade they start reading and discussing to learn about history and government. In upper grades and secondary they analyze and research.
However, the new standards do not encourage inquiry-based learning, critical thinking or other higher level thinking skills that our students will need to succeed in their life after graduation. Instead, the proposed standards are essentially a timeline to follow ancient civilizations to the present day and perhaps compare religion.
More facts do not mean better standards. Simply listing additional historical facts is not good teaching nor does it improve the standards review process [Kathie Tuntland, “Veteran Educator Urges Public to Attend SD Board of Education Meetings, Press for Discarding New Social Studies Standards,” South Dakota Standard, 2022.09.10].
The Board of Education Standards has posted instructions for registering to speak at Monday’s meeting. That notice includes links to both the second/Hillsdale revision draft of the standards (the first revision, prepared in summer 2021 by actual South Dakota educators working to improve the existing standards, not import an ideological document from out of state to promote Hillsdale and its Trumpist agenda, was first hijacked and then trashed by Governor Noem before receiving any public hearing) and a link to the proposed revision of the Career and Technical Education standards. The board’s guidance for public testimony does not clarify whether it will take three hours of testimony on each set of standards separately or whether the (so far) uncontroversial and unpoliticized CTE standards will be heard at the same time as the more politically potent social studies standards.
Persons interested in presenting public comment and testimony (in-person or remotely) may do so by registering by 2:00 p.m. CT, September 16, 2022, by emailing Ferne.Haddock@state.sd.us. Testifiers should provide their full name, who they represent (if applicable), agenda item they wish to address, and whether they are a proponent or opponent. For those wishing to testify remotely, a Zoom link will be provided.
Public comment will be heard by the board from registered testifiers in the following order (as time allows): 1) persons on location 2) persons joining via Zoom, 3) persons joining via telephone conference call. Each speaker will be allowed up to 4 minutes to provide testimony.
For public hearing on the standards, up to 90 minutes for proponent and up to 90 minutes for opponent testimony will be allowed. Any remaining registered testifiers will be placed on the registration for the following hearing.
Persons interested in submitting written comment on proposed content standards may do so via the links below. Written public comment must be received no later than September 16, 2022, to be considered at the September 19, 2022, hearing.
Social Studies: https://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/ss-review.aspx
CTE Standards: https://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/CTE-review.aspx [Board of Education Standards, guidance for public testimony, posted to the BOES website 2022.09.08]
The DOE is taking that written comment online via this Google Doc. The form includes blanks for commenting specifically on the proposed standards for each grade, kindergarten through 8, as well as each major high school topic—world history, United States history, economics, and government. (Perhaps worth comment: the subject headings provided on the Google form and the standards indicate that from kindergarten through grade 7, kids won’t learn anything about America or the world later than 1908; only in eighth grade does the curriculum venture forward into the 20th century, and the standard headings indicate we should cap kids’ social studies learning at 2008.) The original August 18 notice of the BOES Aberdeen hearing set the deadline for public comment at September 14, but evidently the BOES has extended that deadline from Wednesday to Friday.
SDCL 13-3-89 requires four such public hearings on proposed curriculum standards spread out over at least six months across the state. The second meeting (which, I assume will take written comment online as well as in-person testimony) is scheduled for Monday, November 21 in Sioux Falls at Carnegie Town Hall. The subsequent meetings will take place in Rapid City and Pierre.