The Board of Education Standards holds its second of four hearings Monday on the Hillsdale College K-12 social studies curriculum standards that Governor Kristi Noem is trying to impose on our endangered students and teachers. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Central at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, 1201 N. West Avenue. Written comment must be submitted by this Friday, November 18, via this online form. Individuals wishing to testify before the board Monday must email Ferne.Haddock@state.sd.us by 2 p.m. Central this Friday, November 18. Opponents outnumbered proponents at the September hearing in Aberdeen; more people showed up to speak against this imported political prop than the 90 minutes allotted for opponent testimony could accommodate.
The board has posted written comments received as of November 9. The document appears to include the comments submitted by 707 individuals for the first hearing; the November 9 document thus appears to include 191 new comments. My scan of the first few pages indicates 9 commenters in favor, 15 against.
(One kneeslapper I didn’t notice last time: radical right-wing theocrat Florence Thompson tells the board that “Economic principles should be taught at all levels, such as individual rights to own property, i.e., no more putting everyone’s crayons in a communal box in Kindergarten.” Yes, sharing crayons in kindergarten teaches communism.)
Last month, educators in the Belle Fourche school district expressed their concerns about the standards and the potential cost of adopting this radical departure from current homegrown standards. Down the road from Belle Fourche, members of the Douglas school board are also sounding queasy about the Hillsdale standards:
A proposed resolution from the Associated School Boards of South Dakota in opposition to the proposed standards was presented to the board for consideration, with no action taken Monday.
Fran Apland, school liaison and associate board member alternate, said she was concerned with the early learning piece.
“Is it developmentally appropriate for those children who are younger?” she said.
Board Member Tonya Amaral agreed that much of what they saw seemed “well above what the standards should be.”
Board Member Chris Misselt, who described himself as “staunchly conservative as you get,” said that “even I scratch my head at a lot of this.”
Misselt said he thinks the proposed standards seem to be more of a response to what is going on nationally, rather than in South Dakota.
The board discussed tweaking language on a proposed resolution in opposition and placing it on the next board meeting’s agenda [Laura Heckmann, “Douglas School Board Expresses Concern over Proposed Social Study Standards,” Rapid City Journal, 2022.11.15].
On the other side of the state, Tea, Harrisburg, and Sioux Falls schools are hosting “walk-ins” this week, inviting parents to drop in when they drop their kids off in the morning to talk with teachers about these problematic standards.
The backlash created by Noem’s politicization of curriculum standards led the Indian Education Advisory Council at its meeting two days ago to shut the state Department of Education out of the process of revising the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings, the standards for teaching American Indian history and culture in South Dakota classrooms:
Council member Sherry Johnson, representing the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribal government, called for the council to be the selection committee for the process of revising and updating OSEUs.
[Jacqueline] Sly agreed with the suggestion but said more people might need to have roles. “I think it would be hard to have the council be the only ones involved in that decision,” she said. The former president of the state Board of Education Standards added that she’d be “more comfortable” having state Department of Education staff involved.
But Johnson said she had “a bad taste in my mouth” after the department’s actions in the revision of social-studies standards that is underway. Sly tried to add a DOE amendment, but there was no second. Johnson’s proposal was adopted on a voice vote, with one vote against [Bob Mercer, “SD Indian Education Panel Recommends Changes,” KELO-TV, 2022.11.14].
It seems like everybody is getting bad vibes from the Noem/Hillsdale curriculum standards except for Noem and her political flunkies.