Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hillsdale Social Studies Standards Get First Public Hearing Monday, Sept 19, Aberdeen—Admins Ready to Oppose

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.

33 Comments

  1. All Mammal 2022-09-11 11:33

    Viva la resistance. On it.

    Hopefully this isn’t merely for show and the opposition is heeded. Educators are a force and you do not want to upset or undermine them. They deserve more respect than a stage and pat on the head. We have to physically and vocally show our support for the ones in the trenches of the SD public education system. No matter what, we all have skin in the game. Even if you live in Iowa or Mn or NM or the moon.

  2. DaveFN 2022-09-11 15:48

    “…one cannot have education worth the name, if there are things that cannot be said…”

    Free speech is fundamental because without it one cannot have any other liberties. One cannot claim or exercise one’s other liberties, or defend them when attacked; one cannot defend oneself when accused, or accuse those who do one wrong; one cannot have democracy in which information views and policies are expressed, debated and challenged; one cannot have education worth the name, if there are things that cannot be said; one cannot express one’s attitudes, needs, feelings, responses, anger, criticism, support, approval or beliefs; one cannot ask all the questions one needs to or would like to; and for all these reasons, without free speech one would be in a prison made of enforced silence and averted thought on important matters – AC Grayling.

  3. leslie 2022-09-11 17:12

    7-9th grade jr hi i recall ancient history, entertainingly taught, in RCPS,…Attila the hunn. etc.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-11 17:16

    It is five minutes to midnight for school administrators, school board members, and teachers. A now or never moment. Educators stand firmly for Order, a respectful learning environment, local consensus, and local control of decision making. They work diligently to assure that the schools are the most solid, respected institution in their community. When they are divided by political or religious forces, chaos ensues. They seek local solidarity.

    Though sometimes divided into large school, small school factions, their influence is pervasive throughout the state. A school concert will outdraw the appearance of any state political personality in any community in South Dakota by 1000%.

  5. P. Aitch 2022-09-11 18:14

    Racial unfairness can’t be embedded in governmental institutions unless those institutions are overtly trying to be unfair. You can’t do unfair things unless you actively know those things that you’re doing are unfair. – Hillsdale College

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-11 19:08

    The limiting of testimony to 90 minutes for and 90 minutes against by the DOE is typical right wing authoritarian, awkward fumbling. Fact is, DOE professionals know school boards and administrators could easily organize hours upon hours of testimony against the standards. DOE will struggle to find paid shills who will fill up their 90 minutes of pro time. DOE shudders at the prospect of having Julie Frye Mueller, the Pischke cat Unrue, and the likes of Laura Hubble trying to carry their argument. It’s gonna get ugly. I wonder, with the whole ballgame on the line, will Governor Noem testify???

  7. Jake 2022-09-11 19:17

    Why would she “restify”/! She can’t tell the truth anyways.

  8. P. Aitch 2022-09-11 19:40

    It’s a given that part of William Morrisey’s renumeration includes testifying for his revisionist standards.

  9. lrads1 2022-09-11 22:06

    Here’s the current membership of the Board of Education Standards. Their life is going to be interesting for awhile. Becky Guffin’s term expires 12/31/22. Phyllis Heineman will be #1 Cheerleader. Noem removed former Rep. Jacqueline Sly, sensible retired Rapid City teacher awhile back. She named three new members in March of 2021.

    https://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/boardmembers.aspx?BoardID=32

    And take a look at Stephen Groves’ latest: https://apnews.com/article/education-donald-trump-michigan-south-dakota-sioux-falls-54712a652c5a0f1f74deebe280dcfc01

    The young teacher Mr. Nielsen who decided he couldn’t drink the Kool-Aid any longer…Good for him I hope he can stand the heat in the kitchen.

    Just think of the grief and upheaval our schools will be going through with this latest chapter of “let’s fix education.” .This nightmare could be over in a few months if we elect Jamie Smith as our next Governor!

  10. Kurt Evans 2022-09-11 22:07

    Kathie Tuntland writes:

    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.

    A timeline to follow ancient civilizations to the present day would be a much better foundation for social studies education than nebulous concepts like “inquiry-based learning, critical thinking or other higher level thinking skills.”

    I worked as a special education assistant at Hillcrest Elementary in Brookings when Kathie was the principal. She’s an awful person, and I’d pay admission to watch William Morrisey debate her.

  11. Richard Schriever 2022-09-12 09:34

    Kurt – you seem to be using and to be quite proud of your own “inquiry-based learning, critical thinking or other higher level thinking skills.” Where on earth did you learn those? Maybe you could recite some memorized facts about something instead? You know, get back on the “right track”.

  12. Kurt Evans 2022-09-12 22:16

    Richard Schriever writes:

    Kurt – you seem to be using and to be quite proud of your own “inquiry-based learning, critical thinking or other higher level thinking skills.” Where on earth did you learn those? Maybe you could recite some memorized facts about something instead?

    Instead of spoon-feeding students facts about the Indus Valley Civilization and its trade relationship with Mesopotamia, maybe we could just encourage them to “inquire” and “explore” until they experience those things for themselves. (/irony)

  13. All Mammal 2022-09-13 00:57

    What little kid gives a bean shoved up his nose about the Indus river valley timeline? You won’t get his attention by telling him. He can read about that all later-after he learns how to read and understand basic social studies concepts. Like how heavy it is to carry water, which I did do with my kids. And how hard it is to throw a spear at a moving target. We also did by making spears and throwing them through rolling hula hoops. And then we tried working together under the rule of a rich, spoiled brute and compared that to accomplishing a goal using democratic strategies. We talked about the pros and cons. We experienced the basics and I felt I was sending them off as prepared and experienced little readers and doers for the next tier of understanding the current world and how it came to be. I never did tell them to memorize the year other than the current one. They did pick up on timelines and they got that from stories and reading. It felt….organic. Not rigid and stale and one-sided from a white perspective and understanding only. In my experience, telling little Native people how the world was in antiquity from the entitled, white conqueror’s perspective is phony and distasteful. Not everyone looks at European expansion as progress. In fact, it can be argued as a plague.
    With practically no resemblance to Mr. Evan’s classroom style, we were yet indisputably quite successful. We had fun and were smart and kind and patient. It is a good day when the bell rings and the whole class, including me, go, “Ohhh! Darn it we ran out of time again.” As opposed to Hillsdippindale’s curriculum I can imagine sends kids into drooling, tortured comas where the clock is stuck in molasses.

  14. M 2022-09-13 08:10

    All Mammal, you are a spatial thinker and learner because you see how everything around you is connected. Integrated lessons teach all the subjects together because all subjects are connected. Nonspatial thinkers, like Noem are usually linear, loving rote memory learners and prefer doing worksheets because they don’t understand the 5 themes of geography like you do. Place based lessons can teach even those who are not born spatial thinkers and problem solvers to be so.

    It’s within the sciences in our public schools that all subjects can be integrated, combining informational with fun activity and experience.

    I taught geography for 6 years without a textbook, lots of maps, activity based with lots of help from the elders, family members, volunteers, speakers, field trips to the state parks for lessons on compass and GPS, and so much more. We too always ran out of time.

  15. All Mammal 2022-09-13 09:13

    M- Don’t the Hillsdale Geography standards for little boys and girls just make you cringe?! ‘Point to the N on the compass on the page..’ wow, those Social Studies curriculum suggestions are doozies. Obviously no Geography teacher was consulted. You are spot on that intelligence is multidimensional and multifaceted. All the subjects under the sun can be integrated seamlessly just by visiting on a bus ride or what have you. Teachers are resourceful and don’t require overzealous governors dictating how they do their job.

    Q: Class, what is a dictator?
    A: Governor Noem with a handful of Ore-idas stuffed in the front of her pants.
    A+

  16. Kurt Evans 2022-09-14 21:30

    I’d written:

    Instead of spoon-feeding students facts about the Indus Valley Civilization and its trade relationship with Mesopotamia, maybe we could just encourage them to “inquire” and “explore” until they experience those things for themselves. (/irony)

    “All Mammal” responds:

    What little kid gives a bean shoved up his nose about the Indus river valley timeline?

    Any nine-year-old receiving a serious social studies education both cares about the three major cradles of civilization that existed in 2000 BC and has the ability to point out their locations on a globe.

    You won’t get his attention by telling him.

    You usually will.

    He can read about that all later-after he learns how to read and understand basic social studies concepts. Like how heavy it is to carry water, which I did do with my kids. And how hard it is to throw a spear at a moving target. We also did by making spears and throwing them through rolling hula hoops… With practically no resemblance to Mr. Evan’s[*] classroom style, we were yet indisputably quite successful.

    *Evans’s

    Did your elementary teachers use juggling lessons to show you how to form a possessive?

    The foundational rationale for schools is that teachers telling students what’s important is far more efficient than entertaining them and hoping they figure it out for themselves.

  17. grudznick 2022-09-14 21:44

    Mr. Evans’s corrections for Ms. Mammal are appropriate and precise.

  18. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-14 21:57

    Mr. Evans and Grudzick…Both of you need to get into a classroom and experience using entire reservoirs of energy, mental and physical, you never knew you had. School Districts are always looking for substitute teachers. Give it a whirl…see how it goes.

  19. V 2022-09-15 06:28

    Kurt, there are ways to teach concepts and ideas to connect them to the learner’s world view and experience no matter what age. Simulation is just one. Unfortunately, these new standards can be taught by any moron who has kids sit in their desk, read, listen, read, fill in a worksheet. Done About 5-8% of students prefer to learn this way because that’s their style, but they need to be taught how to inquire, think and problem solve. This is done through activity. Imagine learning science without stepping in a lab?

    Sometimes our own timelines for what students learn are not aligned. For example, geography should be taught K-5 so by the time they are in 6th grade, they’re ready to learn about places other than their own community, reservation, state, and country. But these standards are not aligned in any coherent manner, and they lack all the elements of the social sciences. In elementary school they should include geography, history, religion, politics to align with the National Standards.

    Madeline Hunter is turning in her grave at the way our educational system is headed. Up until the day I retired, I used her 7 steps for successful lessons. 90% of teaching is in the planning so the students then do all the work.

  20. CK 2022-09-15 10:06

    Any seasoned history teacher will tell you that strictly chronological learning is complex for students, and memorization does not equate to knowledge.
    Just as students ask in Algebra Class, “Why do we need to learn this?” it is essential to relate how historical events matter to today’s current events.

    Finding continuity between the past and present helps students interpret and “see the forest for the trees.”

    Put your axe against Tuntville away, Mr. Evans, and realize that we need a better-educated populous. The proposed standards would fail to do that.

  21. All Mammal 2022-09-15 12:31

    The quality and thought going into each question and allotting sufficient moments of silence for reflection for all students is not entertaining. The teacher’s hard work is all in the planning. Precious class time is all about the foundation building for that one question. You want them to be capable and able to answer their own inquiry. I know it seems like we are always having fun. School and learning for miniature humanoids does not have to be torture. They learn everytime they experience a problem and are trusted to solve it themselves. I don’t necessarily teach. I facilitate learning. I am a background fixture at school. I prepare for hours on separate time just for that one concept to connect. That is how students can become problem solvers and, on their own, figure out any pop quiz, basic trivia by knowing about healthy resources to solve problems. The question isn’t what I will teach you. You ask your own questions and figure out the result. I am here to make sure you don’t rely on Google or the book for your question and answers. Once a person has the right tools, they can save the world.

    Learning how heavy water is and what a pain in the butt it is and how important it is helps be able to figure out the whys and wheres and whats of so many questions down the line. Solving and connecting is based on foundations kids learn best with there busy little bodies.

  22. Kurt Evans 2022-09-16 21:01

    I’d written:

    Any nine-year-old receiving a serious social studies education both cares about the three major cradles of civilization that existed in 2000 BC and has the ability to point out their locations on a globe…

    The foundational rationale for schools is that teachers telling students what’s important is far more efficient than entertaining them and hoping they figure it out for themselves.

    “CK” writes:

    Put your axe against Tuntville away, Mr. Evans, and realize that we need a better-educated populous.

    *Tuntland
    **populace

    “All Mammal” writes:

    They learn everytime they experience a problem and are trusted to solve it themselves.

    *every time (two words)

    I don’t necessarily teach.

    Noted.

  23. larry kurtz 2022-09-16 21:14

    Bassomatic: cut and chunk Messrs. Evans, Dale and Frankenfeld then put that in the blender. Voila! Chum R Us!

  24. All Mammal 2022-09-17 19:28

    Evans- You’re slipping, buddy.
    I typed, “ Solving and connecting is based on foundations kids learn best with there busy little bodies”
    Their* not there.

    Maybe if my grammar teacher incorporated some juggling with his apostrophe spiel, the outcome would have been Oxford-worthy. What gives?!

    Nine year olds have the right to be in an environment that is enjoyed. It is debasing to force them to be in an environment they must endure. Sadists shouldn’t be Special Education assistants.

  25. Kurt Evans 2022-09-17 21:42

    “All Mammal” writes:

    Evans- You’re slipping, buddy.
    I typed, “ Solving and connecting is based on foundations kids learn best with there busy little bodies”
    Their* not there.

    I’d noticed that. Among other errors, you also directly implied that none of a teacher’s hard work occurs during class, referred to children as humanoids, and failed to hyphenate problem-solvers. In your new comment, you fail to hyphenate nine-year-olds and incorrectly capitalize special education.

    It is debasing to force [nine-year-olds] to be in an environment they must endure.

    That claim is absurd.

    Sadists shouldn’t be Special Education assistants.

    People who admit they “don’t necessarily teach” shouldn’t call themselves teachers, and people who call themselves teachers shouldn’t resort to defamatory labels when they’re losing an argument.

  26. All Mammal 2022-09-18 00:01

    Mr. Evans- I think we’re on the same side so…cool your jets…
    If proper and relevant questions cannot render a decent response from you, there cannot be an argument. Grammar is your haughty parlor trick and I am proud for you. Most people suck at grammar due to the fact grade school English lessons are usually so lame and not noteworthy. Blame it on teaching with your Ben Stein personality. And partially blame my indifference.

    Minors are humanoids. You can tell them I said it. I swear to God I will call them that to their little funny baby faces right now.

    The claim I stated is not absurd. Please try loosening up. Roll down a hill to unwind your coil or something. I wish I could spread better humor your way.

    You say, “That claim is absurd”
    I say: Give your mind some fresh air.

    To live in an environment that has to be endured or ignored rather than enjoyed is to be diminished as a human being.”
    Sinclair Gauldie (1969). Architecture. New York : Oxford University Press.

    I’m sorry you feel I used defamatory words to express a concern. Sadistic is what comes to mind when an adult enjoys publicly humiliating others based on piddly editing mistakes. I’ll keep up with the typos so you can fog up your fingernails and buff them on your shirt. Play on, playa.

  27. CK 2022-09-18 00:20

    Evans has proven himself to be exactly what a good portion of South Dakota voters thinks he is.

    And I’m pretty sure he’s not on our side, All Mammal.

  28. All Mammal 2022-09-18 00:27

    CK- word heard, baby bird Ü

  29. Kurt Evans 2022-09-18 19:42

    “All Mammal” writes to me:

    Grammar is your haughty parlor trick …

    No, but lying seems to be yours.

    The claim I stated is not absurd.

    Actually it is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.