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SB 193: Mistrusting Teacher Expertise, Castleberry Subjects All Classroom Materials to Lengthy Public Review

The culture war meets bureaucratic nightmare in Senator Jessica Castleberry’s Senate Bill 193, a proposal to make choosing classroom materials impossible for teachers.

SB 193 would require every school board in South Dakota to allow any parent of a student enrolled in its schools to request administrative or board review of instructional material that the parent believes is “harmful to minors or not age- or grade level-appropriate.” Senator Castleberry defines “harmful to minors” as “the quality if any description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, when it (a) predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors; (b) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and (c) is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah—fine, let parents call and gripe about books that mention sex, drugs, or rock and roll (which I’m not sure kids listen to any more). Let the school board say, “We’ll look into it” and look for the easiest way to avoid a community ruckus. That’s nothing new.

What strikes me as new is the other prescription of SB 193. Senator Castleberry wants to order every school board to create a process for reviewing and selecting all instructional material that will “allow for input from parents of students enrolled in the district.” That process must take place “before the material is purchased or made available in a school setting.”

Read that provision (Section 2) carefully. Before a teacher or librarian or guidance counselor makes any material available in the classroom, the library, the office, or on the bulletin board in the hall, some process must take place in which parents have an opportunity to give input. Of course, to provide meaningful input, all parents must be able to see the materials.

So suppose I’m teaching French again. I find a really good French music video on YouTube in which the singers enunciate with remarkable clarity lyrics with some relevant grammatical and/or cultural relevance to our current unit. I want to play that video for students in tomorrow’s class. Senate Bill 193 says no way. Before I can play that video in class or even share the link with students on our classroom website, I have to submit that video to the review process. The most liberal, least bureaucratic process I can think of is that the school board would provide a public wiki where I can directly submit my French video link for community review, but even that process would require that parents be given a certain amount of time—I’d say at least a week—to view and comment before the board or some authorized committee can meet—at least another week later—would approve or disapprove my playing of the video in class, by which time, the moment has passed.

Even worse, suppose I want students to read and translate current French news headlines. Having students read today’s news in French provides a sense of currency and relevance that reading old new does not. But SB 193 would mandate a review process that would likely mean I could not ask students to open any French news article in class on their school devices until it is at least two weeks old, until every parent in town has had a chance to look at it (and, since most parents can’t read French, to at least look at the pictures and the perfume ads and make sure there’s no cleavage) and the Selection of Instructional Materials Process board has had a chance to review all public input.

The same goes for any newspapers and magazines the school librarian may make available for students. The same goes for any posters the school guidance counselor may put up in the hall.

SB 193 is a school censorship bill that kills spontaneity and creativity in planning lessons. It is one more signal from Senator Castleberry and the SDGOP that they don’t trust teachers, that rather than acting as the best experts to determine how to educate our children, teachers are to act as slaves of the theocracy, reciting for children the safe, sanitized pablum approved by the loudest ruckus-making puritans in town.

SB 193 thus stands a good chance of passing the South Dakota Legislature.


  1. Bill Poppen 2023-02-07 07:28

    I nearly quit teaching when I was asked to sign a loyalty oath. I’m retired now, but I think I would give parents the “big finger” and move to another state. There is a teaching shortage across the nation.

  2. Mark Anderson 2023-02-07 08:21

    Well Cory, those Republican’s don’t want smart kids, they would be Democrats.

  3. Richard Schriever 2023-02-07 08:23

    So, Ms. Castleberry experiences children as having “…..prurient, shameful, or morbid interest(s)…..”, does she?
    Why, the little devils. This’ll teach ’em.

  4. e platypus onion 2023-02-07 08:27

    Sue Castleberry for plagiarism!

  5. O 2023-02-07 08:40

    It’s about time! The first book that ought to be examined is that filth laden Bible.

  6. Donald Pay 2023-02-07 09:16

    Look, there have always been some parents who have complaints about this or that instructional material. I don’t know about every districts’ policies, but I know when I was on the school board in Rapid City the district had procedures to deal with such parent concerns.

    The first thing to understand is that very few parents have these concerns. The education of 600 sixth graders should not be disturbed because one parent doesn’t like one word in an assigned reading. The school board should NOT be the first place a parent goes to discuss concerns. School district policies usually spell out how parents with concerns should deal with such issues. In most cases, discuss it with the teacher. The teacher will probably tell you how they are going to deal with the particular word or subject you are concerned about. In most cases, a parent will be satisfied with how the teacher will address the matter. If not, there are additional steps that a parent can take.

    In Rapid City there is a policy to protect the academic freedom of each student. A parent’s particular concern with some instructional material cannot override the academic freedom of those students to learn from the material presented. Teachers can sometimes find an alternative lesson for a student, but, really, a teacher can’t always do that because of the costs involved.

  7. Donald Pay 2023-02-07 09:32

    Now, on to curriculum selection. In Rapid City there was always a parent representative on a mostly teacher-led committee that was selecting curriculum. The district always had an open house where the various curriculum alternatives were presented for overview by parents and community members Curriculum selection is a very long process and it requires a lot of reading and study. It often involves understanding not just the subject matter, but how students improve in skills and knowledge throughout their school years.

  8. All Mammal 2023-02-07 09:39

    The question needn’t be what the schools are getting the poor, helpless little angels into. Proposals like these are an obnoxiously loud and urgent sign the question must be: What sorts of sick stuff is that woman into?
    Project much?
    The ones dirtying up everyone else are the ones like Warren Jeffs and Ms. Castleberry. Trust

  9. Donald Pay 2023-02-07 10:07

    Cory is right about the lessons gleaned from current events. I had a current events class as a senior. We read articles and discussed them in class. The class got into a lot of issues, like the sexual revolution, birth control, the Vietnam War, politics. We discussed the nudity in the play “Hair.” It was the 60s, after all. I bought the “Hair” album. I changed my favorite musical artist from Cream to Laura Nyro, after reading an article for the class about her being 17-years old when she wrote “And When I Die.” What did that girl know that I didn’t about death and fatalism. And “Stoned Soul Picnic.” What was that about?

  10. P. Aitch 2023-02-07 11:11

    Cory. And why aren’t you raising your daughter in France instead of Lincoln? R U Nutz? It’s borderline child abuse to deny your kid your expertise.
    Also, Since the emergence of the teenage and youth demographic, pop has dominated the youth demographic’s taste in music. While pop itself is technically not a genre, it has come to represent a mixture of upbeat dance songs, singer-songwriting, and catchy lyrics to form a style that is particularly appealing to the youth. Pop takes influence from many other genres, such as EDM, R&B, and rock, hence its mass appeal. Nationwide surveys show that pop music proves to be the most popular genre of songs among the student demographic aged 16-24. Artists such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran currently dominate the music industry as the biggest pop icons currently performing and make up the favorite artists of many youths. As the face of pop music changes with whatever enters the mainstream, the genre is always changing. However, one thing is for sure, and that’s that pop music is a natural choice among the favorite music genres for young people.

  11. P. Aitch 2023-02-07 11:16

    PS … ATTN South Dakota teachers of all genres.
    – Colorado Needs You
    – Jobs are higher paying with less social engineering from parents and more support from administrators.
    – The Colorado legislature is finalizing laws to help teachers with low-interest loans to become homeowners or buy a different home as I type this.
    Welcome ~ No Wind – No Bugs – No Humidity

  12. David Newquist 2023-02-07 12:39

    The nation has a teacher shortage. South Dakota starts 2023 short 176 teachers. The state strives to make teachers chattel slaves with the lowest pay in the nation and mandates for obedience to wingnut manifestos. Some of these obsessive dolts assume that when teachers review curriculum materials, they are flipping through books to find Playboy-type foldouts or looking for videos with snuff scenes.
    The six-year-old who smuggled his parent’s handgun in a backpack so he could shoot his teacher or the Columbine killers and their copycats did not get their ideas from school materials. Young people are dissuaded from going into teaching as schools become a favored site for shootings and the public displays contempt for the profession, But for those who do want to teach, South Dakota does a great job at identifying itself as a place to be avoided.

  13. e platypus onion 2023-02-07 12:51

    6 year old who shot teacher allegedly choked another teacher to near unconsciousness. Ideas he likely got listening to drumpf and white supremacysts.

  14. sx123 2023-02-07 12:54

    Lots of parents don’t want evolution taught even though it’s gospel truth.

    Therefore, is this also another steath creationism bill?

    If they keep this up, kids will be back to Neanderthals.

  15. grudznick 2023-02-07 13:38

    Teachers aren’t the only experts in books. Why would teachers complain about being held to a little accountability?

  16. larry kurtz 2023-02-07 13:51

    On December 17, 2019 in a town named for a war criminal South Dakota’s NAZI District 30 legislators, Reps. Tim Goodwin, Julie Frye-Mueller and Sen. Lance Russell held court with administrators and board staff from three counties. Nearly everybody in the room said they felt helpless as they lose local control to Pierre.

  17. O 2023-02-07 14:24

    . . . and doctors aren’t the only experts in treatment of of the sick, pharmacists are not the only experts in drugs, voters are not the experts in what they want enacted into law: the legislature will show all the path in all things.

  18. M 2023-02-07 14:33

    Donald Pay, the school board, teachers, and PTA members/parents reviewed curriculum/resources every 5 years and of course we know for social sciences and physical sciences materials need to be upgraded more frequently. There is a rotation and books/resources come from Houghton/Mifflin and other successful suppliers whereby all the subjects can be integrated and of course, the scope and sequence are provided.

    Teachers don’t teach off the top of their heads and they certainly don’t supply all the books for the classrooms.

    Grudz, you are no expert on teaching or teachers. You’ve never shared your bad experiences which I don’t want to hear. However, you would have never made it through the ed courses it takes to preserve to become an educator. An educator is someone who has been respected all throughout history, that is until recently when self-righteous Republicans became moral, religious, and intellectual nazis.

  19. Arlo Blundt 2023-02-07 15:19

    When I was in high school, the Librarian used to cut out pictures of Liz Taylor’s cleavage from Life Magazine. To what end, we did not know, but we thought such intervention to be ridiculous. We live in a complicated, creative, controversial society and young people are adept at sorting through the messages and finding a certain equilibrium which fits them and their circumstance. Societal change is often confusing and confounding to adults who rigidly adhere to what once was. It has always been so. Let youth seize the day and get out of the way.

  20. Donald Pay 2023-02-07 16:07

    Now to the bill itself. It’s not needed. All this is done locally using community standards and the expertise of teachers. Parents already have ways to address objectionable material in a way that both protects the academic freedom of students and the wishes of parents.

    This bill is really explicit in some of its language. I imagine there might be a parent who could object to students reading the LRC website.

  21. Peter Kilian 2023-02-07 16:46

    Castleberry’s proposed legislation for controlling classroom materials is an ignorant overreach. School districts already have procedures in place for procuring learning materials – teachers, principals and school boards. Legislators might learn something if they actually spoke with teachers – but this would require folks like Castleberry to actually respect teachers and teaching. At times it seems that Pierre is literally morphing into the Kremlin as our legislators crow about “freedom”.

  22. grudznick 2023-02-07 17:08

    Ms. M, the educators in South Dakota were respected until they tried to tax grudznick and everybody else for just their own benefit. Remember that? People tire of the whining. And that was even before the legislatures put on that half-penny-partridge-tax that was to give these teachers some more money, at every level of the SILT. Not just the good ones, all of them.

  23. Mark Anderson 2023-02-07 17:13

    Oh grudz, why not hold yourself to accountability? You hate teachers, God knows why.

  24. grudznick 2023-02-07 17:32

    Mr. Anderson, grudznick is a lover not a hater. I love all people, and God drowned in a bowl of cereal.

    Teachers need to stop whining, and some need to work harder, just like all jobs. The good teachers should get better raises than the average ones. That’s the way the real world works where you have to work all year long.

  25. Mark Anderson 2023-02-07 18:04

    Let’s see grudz, you hate teachers because they get the summer off. Gotcha. Come to South Dakota, get paid very little but you do get the summer off to work construction. Now that’s a good pitch. A real hooker.

  26. larry kurtz 2023-02-07 18:09

    That Republicans want to blow up public education is chaos theory on meth.

  27. Arlo Blundt 2023-02-07 18:56

    Grudznick-=-you obviously do not spend much time around children…your opinion of those who do spend their lives in the company of children has little merit.

  28. P. Aitch 2023-02-07 19:08

    Yeah, grudznichts. Explain why you hate teachers. Or, should we make up your story for you? Hmmm??

  29. larry kurtz 2023-02-07 19:46

    Hey, if there’s a segment of the SDGOP who believes Larry Rhoden would be a more decisive executive than Mrs. Noem the US Constitution has a Second Amendment solution to tyranny.

  30. grudznick 2023-02-07 20:19

    You are not reading grudznick accurately with your weak Colorado math, Ms. P.h.

    grudznick hates none, and loves all.

    OT: Did you fellows see when Mr. President Uncle Joe Biden said “Let Me Tell You, Jack…” That was neato.

  31. larry kurtz 2023-02-07 20:35

    Unicorns love everyone say the unicorns.

  32. grudznick 2023-02-07 20:41

    Lar, are you demanding that little stuffed toy back once again? I told you, Lar: No. You gave it to me fair and square, and I shall not return it.

  33. larry kurtz 2023-02-07 20:43

    Paraphrasing Wayne Gilbert from the Decorum Forum some ten years ago, “some people who use pseudonyms are protecting their jobs but grudznick is simply a dickhead.”

  34. P. Aitch 2023-02-07 21:37

    grudznichts thinks he’s the only hater and the only bully who denies being a hater and a bully. Mr. G. All haters and all bullies say they’re not haters and bullies. You’ve been degrading teachers for over twenty years that I know of. It’s obvious you’ve hated teachers ever since you ran away from the last one. Tell us the story. The truth will set you free, g-boy.

  35. Donald Pay 2023-02-07 22:10

    Grudz: “The good teachers should get better raises than the average ones. That’s the way the real world works where you have to work all year long.”

    OK, great. We would all like to reward good teachers. What’s a good teacher, Grudz? What is the rubric we are going to use to objectively measure that, and reward it?

  36. grudznick 2023-02-08 07:54

    I’m very glad you asked, Mr. Pay. We use the Seven Indisputable Levels of Teachers. The SILT, as documented by Mr. H, is an easy guide to sort out the teachers and pay the good ones more.

  37. P. Aitch 2023-02-08 08:22

    I’ve seen the Seven Reasons to pay some teachers less and this ludicrous idea comes from grudznichts cognitive dissonance, mental deviancy. Lying that it’s a positive thing is a Trumpist/Machiavelian deviant mental condition, also.

  38. Donald Pay 2023-02-08 09:57

    Grudz, explain how the SILT program works. I’ve googled Seven Indisputable Levels of Teachers and find virtually nothing on the subject, except two nonsensical posts on Dakota Free Press, all which were authored by you. Please reference anything on SILT that might let us understand what SILT actually is. Is SILT just more Grudz BS?

    What are the 7 Levels? Can you name them? How do you measure each level? How do you differentiate performance in each level? How much would it cost to initiate SILT in schools?

    I’d really like to know because providing additional money to good teachers is something that I have been trying to figure out for a long time. I get caught up in the fact that “good teaching” means different things to different people. When I look back on my favorite teachers I find the best ones were teachers who challenged me. But is “favorite teacher” the same as “best teacher?” I think it was that they figured out how to make me want to study the material, not so much that they taught me the material. But I also respected the teachers who knew the material , even if they didn’t present it in an engaging way. But I also know several of the teachers that spurred me to learn the material also had the opposite effect on other students in my classes. Teaching is a very personal and subjective matter. One teacher may be good for some, and not good for others.

    I do know that some think standardized testing provides the answer to the good teachers, but I don’t think so. Bubble tests usually don’t measure upper level thinking. They do measure something about what a student knows, but I’m not sure it measures teaching. There’s a lot of difference.

  39. grudznick 2023-02-08 18:50

    Love to, Mr. Pay. I have explained this many times, and use Mr. H’s actual blog posts as factual fenceposts in the levels, showing how the Seven Indisputable Levels of Teachers are, indeed, indisputable.

  40. Donald Pay 2023-02-08 19:06

    Uh, Grudz, then do it, and stop filibustering.

  41. grudznick 2023-02-08 19:10

    The Seven Indisputable Levels of Teachers:

    There are many teachers of varying degrees of being good teachers. We know this because not all teachers can be exactly, equally, as good as each other. Hence, we know there is an Average teacher.

    – Average

    Then, we know from Mr. H’s bloggings, on many occasions, and from comments made by many “teacher-friendly” or “teacher” bloggers on this here blogging place, that there are “Very Very Good” teachers, “Excellent” teachers, and “Bad” teachers (think of all those who molested children or dated their students who have been blogged about, as an example, here by Mr. H.) Mr. H can identify the Excellent and Very Very Good and Bad teachers, so we know they exist and can be singled out. So now we have:

    – Excellent
    – Very Very Good

    – Average

    – Bad

    Then, by simple logical inference we add in the blanks, and get the SILT. Note that more types of teachers are above average, even in grudznick’s mind, than are below average, or bad. The Excellent Teachers should get big raises, the Average Teachers should get just ordinary raises, and no raises at all for the Below Average Teachers. The Bad ones, like in any field, should be fired.

    – Excellent
    – Very Very Good
    – Very Good
    – Above Average
    – Average
    – Below Average
    – Bad

  42. grudznick 2023-02-08 19:14

    Think back to your childhood, if you can recall, and think of which of your teachers was very good. It will bring back the taste of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the smell of the milk that came in the little cartons that was stored in that chest

  43. Donald Pay 2023-02-08 19:21

    Pfff. I knew it. Ya got nothing, Grudz. There was actually something in educational literature regarding Five Indisputable…..You swung and missed, my friend. Care to try again, or do you want to quit before you make a further fool of yourself.

  44. P. Aitch 2023-02-08 19:52

    Teachers have a Labor Union because of “indisputable fools” who think that even though they’ve been a failure in life they can still have power over the teachers they hold wrongly responsible.

    grudznichts failed in life because of the choices he made not because he was exposed to bad teachers.

  45. grudznick 2023-02-08 20:29

    Were you below average, Mr. Pay? I bet you were average at least.

  46. Donald Pay 2023-02-08 21:09

    First thing. Maybe things like 1+1=2 are as close in indisputable as you can get, but even that, perhaps, could be disputed in some time warp situation. On Dakota Free Press we pute and dispute everything.

    As for me, I’m below average in height, average in walking speed, and above average in getting Grudz’ goats.

  47. All Mammal 2023-02-08 23:48

    I have always known one plus one equals three. Its magic. And true. It doesn’t effect the outcome of the fibonacci sequence. It clarifies it more.

    Picture you are a caveman holding three identical sticks. Picture placing one on the ground. Man. Put a second stick parallel and to the first stick about a stick’s length apart. Woman. Now, turn the top tips of both sticks until they touch. Giggle. Lay the third stick with one tip touching the free tip of the first stick and the third tip’s polar tip touching the free end of the second stick. Baby makes Three. Its magic. I have gotten flack for it all my life but one and one is three, I’m convinced.

  48. Jake 2023-02-09 17:34

    grudz is as big a “con” as trump was/is. As such, has no real basis of reality; especially where education and teachers are concerned.

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