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First Hillsdale Standards Teacher Training Looks Like Pale Sausage Fest

The South Dakota Department of Education will hold a Civics and History Summit June 12–14 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center to start indoctrinating teachers into the new Hillsdale College social studies (sub)standards that were approved last month and must be implemented starting in fall 2025. To entice educators to surrender their scruples and attend this state propaganda event, the department is making all sessions at the three-day event free, covering lodging for folks who register online, and offering $300 stipends to folks who attend the whole show, plus gifts for the first 50 registrants and prize drawings during the conference.

SDDOE is still putting together the agenda and speaker list, but the show so far is heavy on traditional history taught by reliable older white men and historical reënactors:

Dignitaries Dinner
Target Audience – All Attendees
Enjoy a dinner with all conference attendees featuring key figures of the American Revolutionary Period including:

  • George Washington
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Phyllis Wheatley
  • James Forten
  • Abigail Adams

An Hour with Thomas Jefferson
Target Audience – K-12 teachers
This session will be presented by Humanities Scholar Clay S. Jenkinson.  Mr. Jenkinson is a nationally recognized historian, author, and public humanities scholar with special interest in Thomas Jefferson and the American republic.

Breakfast with Theodore Roosevelt
Target Audience – K-12 teachers
Dr. John “Chuck” Chalberg [who agrees with H.L. Mencken that “Public schools have ‘done more harm than good’“], a historical impersonator of American and British characters from history, will delight K-12 teachers with his characterization of America’s 26th president.

Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings & Standards
Target Audience – K-12 teachers
This session will focus on readings aligned with the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings which may be incorporated into daily classroom lessons.

The Anti-Federalists and the Bill of Rights
Target Audience – 9-12 teachers
This session will examine the bill of rights debate and its relationship to Anti-Federalist concerns about diversity, plutocracy, and the size of a republic. Additionally, the session will examine Madison’s grand solution to the problem of factions and his ‘change of mind’ about the importance of a bill of rights.

Biographies in History for K-5 Classrooms
Target Audience – K-5 teachers
This session will note individuals and associated events that are focuses of the new standards, recommending biographies that can help teachers meet goals identified in ELA standards as well as Social Studies standards, by reading level.

Elementary Standards – A Crosswalk of Changes
Target Audience – K-5 teachers
More to come here!
Workshops: Digging into New Standards by Grade Span
Individual Breakout Sessions for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
More to come here!

Abraham Lincoln, Rule of Law, and Civic Engagement
Target Audience – 9-12 teachers
Using Abraham Lincoln’s much admired 1839 “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions” address, delivered before the Springfield Young Men’s Lyceum, this session will discuss how prudence and moderation are an important part of healthy civic engagement. Lincoln’s address considers how the rule of law contributes to a healthy society and how threats of mob rule and demagoguery detract from it.

Civic Education and Elementary Literature
Target Audience – K-6 teachers
This session will introduce teachers to high-quality literature for children with strong themes applicable to American history and civics to aid teachers in their delivery of instruction aligned to both the ELA and Social Studies standards.

American Historical Theatre – 2 hour work session
Target Audience – K-6 teachers
This session will be a hands-on workshop to aid teachers in the development of first-person lessons focusing on historical figures.  Session leaders will assist teachers in the creation of lesson plans centered around a historical figure of their choice.

History is Nutrition – Serving History to Hungry Minds
Target Audience – K-12 teachers
This session will be led by John Mollison [who testified in favor of the Hillsdale standards last September], an aviation artist, writer, and filmmaker.  Mr. Mollison will demonstrate resources for classrooms which engage learners and feed hungry minds.

Jacksonian America
Target Audience – 9-12 teachers
This session will introduce various primary documents from the Jacksonian Era which may be of service to instructors who teach this era of history.  The Jacksonian Era is often considered as the time when democracy truly arises in America. It is also a time of great social change, namely the Second Great Awakening, the rise of Transcendentalism, and the Indian Removal Act.

Using Primary Sources
Target Audience – K-12 teachers
This session will walk teachers through secondary-level strategies for using primary sources to generate curiosity from students at the outset of a lesson, as well as to teach content found in the standards.  The session will  provide collaboration space to generate plans to share with other session participants.

History and Civics Grant
Target Audience – 6-12 teachers
In this session, West Central School District will share their History and Civics Grant journey.

Target Audience – 9-12 teachers
This session workshop introduces various primary documents from the Reconstruction Era which may be of service to instructors who teach this era of history.  An often-neglected part of American history, the Reconstruction Era is fundamental to American history in that it represents a reconsideration of what it means to be equal and how the powers of government might be used to secure equality.

State Historical Society Suitcase Kits
Target Audience – K-6 teachers
In this session, the South Dakota State Historical Society will provide a hands-on demonstration of the Buffalo Kit.  The Museum’s education suitcase kit program has grown from two cases on two topics in 1996 to 32 cases on fourteen topics today. Kits include hands-on objects, topic background information, worksheets, and lesson plans for activities using the hands-on items. At this session, you can see a kit, handle the objects, and learn how the kits are assembled.

Integrating American Civic Education into the Teaching of History
Target Audience – K-5 teachers with an assignment that specifies the teaching of American history
This session will identify opportunities for teachers to integrate civics-related topics into the teaching of American history at various grade levels prior to a stand-alone high school civics / government course.

Integrating American Civic Education into the Teaching of History
Target Audience – 6-12 teachers with an assignment that specifies the teaching of American history
This session will identify opportunities for teachers to integrate civics-related topics into the teaching of American history at various grade levels prior to and within a stand-alone high school civics / government course.

Creating Lessons Focusing on the Understanding of Principles and Relationships in Civics and History
Target Audience – 9-12 teachers with an assignment that specifies the teaching of American history

Methods for Teaching the Relationship Between Abstract Concepts and Historical Events
Target Audience – 6-12 teachers

Facilitating Knowledge and Understanding of South Dakota and Native American Governments and Politics
Target Audience – 6-12 teachers

First Person Workshops with Historical Interpreters
Target Audience – K-12 teachers
Individual sessions with George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Tubman, Lewis and Clark, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Elizabeth Cady Stanton [SD Department of Education, Civics and History Summit: Agenda Topics, retrieved 2023.05.03].

No word yet on whether the “historical interpreter” portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be an actual Black American or just state historian Dr. Ben Jones in blackface.


  1. Kathy Tyler 2023-05-03 07:41

    If I were a teacher, I’d quit. What a waste of time, energy, and money.

  2. Loren 2023-05-03 08:29

    I think I would pay $300 NOT to attend!

  3. Nix 2023-05-03 08:46

    Pay attention class….
    Today we will start with phonics.
    Sound it out, speak slowly, enunciate.


    Now, write it down, and spell correctly.


    Very good class.
    Now on to American History !

  4. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 09:12

    What a party. Stock up the liquor stores; the teachers are a comin’ … Make your rezzies at every line dancing venue in SooFoo. 🍾 ♫ 웃

  5. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-03 09:20

    The description of these sessions is the strangest, stupidest, and most surreal chit I’ve read in months. Maybe years. Thank you, Cory.

  6. Eve Fisher 2023-05-03 09:54

    This is the most ridiculous roster I’ve ever seen. Any good history teacher could do a better job with a sock puppet.

  7. O 2023-05-03 09:54

    Somehow, the “History is Nutrition – Serving History to Hungry Minds” stuck out to me. I wonder what our friends from Hillsdale believe our students “hunger” for?

  8. Camille Binder 2023-05-03 10:15

    Beware: First the carrot (albeit a small, incredulous one) and then the stick.
    SD tax dollars at work indoctrinating teachers and subsequently youth.
    Exploiting education to subvert thought and to further a political/power agenda.

  9. Willy 2023-05-03 11:46

    Bizarre agenda. The preponderance of time spent (wasted) with actors portraying historical figures for teachers is the equivalent of playing videos all day to a classroom of students. (Yes, class, let’s watch Finding Nemo in lieu of our Biology text so I don’t have to teach anything!)

  10. All Mammal 2023-05-03 11:53

    This makes me weep and want to go against everything in me and finally give up on SD…. I am so sorry you are being treated like this, educators.

  11. Donald Pay 2023-05-03 12:09

    Clay S. Jenkinson is an interesting choice. He’s written a number of opinion pieces for that are insightful, but also some very questionable ones. The one in opposition to banning books seems excellent, except it tends to hedge on banning books for kids. Another missive apologizes for some numskullery from modern day secessionists like Marjorie Taylor Greene. Uh, we settled that argument with a civil war. Better get the Lincoln actor to comment on that.

  12. Camille Binder 2023-05-03 12:16

    SD tax dollars at work!
    Beware: The carrot (albeit the Summit offered is a small and ludicrous carrot) and the Stick.
    Exploitation of the education system for political and power purposes.

  13. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 12:56

    Why Hinsdale?
    Your Governor Noem believes white people are being unfairly targeted or blamed for societal issues related to race. (This is due to her lack of understanding of the history and ongoing effects of racism.) She believes her race is losing power and privilege in a South Dakota that is becoming more diverse.

    Governor Noem also believes it is fraudulent to recognize and acknowledge the existence of systemic racism and discrimination that people of color face in many aspects of life, from education to employment to criminal justice.

    She also believes that teaching about these systemic and discriminatory experiences people of color endure only perpetuates the problem and hinders progress toward a more free and white dominated society.

    Choosing a white dominated history curriculum is her way of sweeping systemic racism under that giant carpet that’s become bigger even than the Black Hills.

  14. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 13:07

    Why does a Castlewood bred farm woman feel like a victim in her white dominated state?
    – Your Governor Noem feels like victim due to a phenomenon known as “white fragility.” This term describes a defensive response from white people when confronted with discussions of systemic racism and privilege. This defensiveness can manifest in feelings of victimization and a belief that their experiences and perspectives are being marginalized.
    – Additionally, your Governor Noem feels threatened by the increasing demographic diversity of South Dakota and the potential loss of power and dominance that historically white-dominated institutions have enjoyed.
    -These fears contribute to her overt feelings of victimization.

  15. grudznick 2023-05-03 13:15

    This looks like a very interesting and educational show. grudznick loves historyt. I am going to have to get a ride all the way across the state but I have registered and made up some school and district information. I think people who pay property taxes for the schools and fatcat administrators should get to watch these productions too.

  16. grudznick 2023-05-03 13:21

    Plus, a fancy hotel and meals provided by my tax dollars. A little feasting always goes well with a show.

  17. O 2023-05-03 13:36

    Maybe I’m too critical — or just looking for a fight — but the inclusion of James Forten (or even Phyllis Wheatley) as the Black representation in the “Dignitaries Dinner” gives me pause. On one hand, I am glad to see representation beyond the white folk who made all the decisions in America, but is there also an attempt to undermine the struggle of African Americans (slaves) during this period of US history? Are we to see that not all Blacks were repressed into/by slavery, or that slavery was “not that bad” for some? Is that any better than exclusion of black representation? Would it be considered rude (while pointing at Wheatley) to ask Franklin, Adams, and Washington, “Which one you own her?”

  18. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-03 14:37

    O–James Forten is the grand daddy of the abolitionist movement. Also a hard core integrationist in a era when full inclusion was unthinkable. His family had settled in Philadelphia a couple generations before the revolution and had been “free blacks” for at least that long. The Quakers always rejected slavery and were integrationists as well as abolitionists. Forten was very wealthy and very radical for his day. It would be interesting to see how the Hillsdale crowd interprets his role in American History.

  19. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 15:10

    @grudznichts 🚬 – “Hanhepi k’a Wakan Tanka ni wanji kte, wowapi kin la he ki wayuha ka mitakuye oyasin. Tuka kte can taku wakanlapi eca etanhan, eyapi kte heya heciya. Lila wakan kici untpetila, kte lo.” (Translation: “It is wrong to steal food because it goes against the sacred connection we have with the Creator and all living things. We should respect and honor this relationship, and stealing food violates that trust. Let us be mindful and respectful of the sacredness of all things.”)

  20. e platypus onion 2023-05-03 15:29

    What’s stopping Hillsdale disciples from getting all reservations plus all the cash before anyone else gets a chance to sign up?

  21. O 2023-05-03 15:36

    Arlo, that’s my point: I question (with no evidence beyond my bias against Hillsdale) the motive behind the inclusion of Forten. I do not mean to question his credentials as an important American who forwarded the path of justice, but is he representative of the Black experience of the time? Is he used to focus or blur the horror of slavery?

    grudznick, paying your severely under-assessed tax bill does not entitle you to meager teacher resources; take up the calling and toil in public schools. THEN you are entitled to the “perks.” Otherwise I’ll be eating off your plate at the next CCS breakfast meeting — after all “my taxes paid for it.”

  22. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-03 15:39

    Why, e p o, our very own grudz and his very own tax dollars will attend to prevent such a tragedy.

  23. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-03 16:29

    O-the best book I’ve read about the institution and horror of slavery is “The Empire of Necessity” by Greg Gandin…Google it for reviews by NPR and New York Times…available through Amazon and Thrift Books.

  24. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-03 16:51

    O-one of many issues explored by Grandin in the book is the economics of slavery. Slavery and slave breeding were the bedrock on which the Southern economy was built. At the time of the Civil War, slaves comprised one half (about 2 billion dollars worth) of the Gross Domestic Product of the slave owning states. Young men and women were most valuable, about six times the annual wages of a free northern working man of middle class status. Their value was not only their labor but most significantly their value as collateral on loans. Young slaves produced slaves which produced not only additional labor but additional collateral. Prominent Southerners, including James Calhoun, believed abolition was a plot by Northern Bankers to economically bankrupt the Southern Economy so that it could be taken over by northern interests. The slaves would be freed but set adrift to be exploited by northern absentee landlords. Given the cut throat economics of the time, there might have been some truth to this conspiracy theory. Our history is messy, indeed.

  25. Mark Anderson 2023-05-03 16:55

    They will undoubtedly call Thomas Jefferson woke, right.? I hope they show his family tree. His “little rebellion now and then” is nice. A good sub course would be the Letters of Adam’s and Jefferson.

  26. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 17:20

    @Arlo – Speaking of the south, ahem. I’m a purebred Southern prince, returning soon to the old homestead after 68 years as a Yankee. To bolster my royal reemergence, I’ve just finished Faulkner’s “Absalom, Absalom!”; just began his “The Sound and the Fury” and am listening to the Lucinda Williams discography.
    Family patriarch is over 90 and I’m the only remaining male. The Florida palmettos and Spanish moss are beckoning the old boy back.

  27. grudznick 2023-05-03 17:21

    Mr. O, you are welcome to sample from my plate at breakfast any day. I’ll even buy you your very own meat-lovers breakfast at Tally’s.

  28. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 17:48

    National Perspective: National test scores released today showed a marked drop in students’ knowledge of U.S. history at a time when the subject has become increasingly politically divisive. About 40 percent of eighth graders scored “below basic,” while just 13 percent were considered proficient. The results are a sign of the alarming reach of the pandemic, which has damaged student performance in nearly every academic area. – NYTimes 05/03/23

  29. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-03 18:31

    Mr. Aitch–The South is a fascinating place. Due to ice storms in Tennessee and north Georgia we took two lanes across southern Georgia this Spring on our way back from West Palm. Waycross, Georgia is just a s pictured by Johnny Rivers when he sang “I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water” and Savannah is a must visit. North Florida still has some southern flavor, especially around Appalachacola. Every time I go South I’m struck by the fact that the African American people are the doing all the service jobs, motels, repairmen, etc. Everybody up and about and working seems to be African American while the folks sitting around in offices are White.

  30. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 18:41

    @Arlo … Darling daughter and her wife are just ending their first year in Central Florida. She tells her black nurse colleagues that where she grew up there aren’t any Black people and everything she knows about Black people she learned from television. Always gets a laugh and usually a new friend. What she misses most is Mexican people. And Mexican food. Lots of people and food from Cuban heritage but it’s different. They drove to Miami yesterday to meet a ship. They agree that South Florida is fully international and has a way different vibe than Tampa.

  31. larry kurtz 2023-05-03 19:01

    Thomas Jefferson’s “wokeness” certainly saw Negroes as trainable but he never applied that courtesy to Indigenous people whom he saw as pagan incorrigibles.

  32. larry kurtz 2023-05-03 19:51

    This stuff is pretty much standard fare even when Spearditch hosted it in the 80s and 90s. My older sister met a best friend at one these.

    Maybe Cory needs to go to one.

  33. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-03 20:03

    Mr. Kurtz–you’ve struck upon a fundamental difference in the attitude of near neighbors, Washington and Jefferson. Washington believed Indian tribes should be treated as Sovereign Nations with all the rights and privileges of foreign nations. Jefferson, while curious about all the tribes that inhabited North America and eager for trade, saw them as nomadic with no rights to any specific territory. Washington freed his slaves upon his death, but could not free Martha’s as they were her property and were needed to run their extensive land holdings. Jefferson did not free his slaves, even his children, as they had been mortgaged to save Montecello.

  34. Donald Pay 2023-05-03 21:06

    O, On your recommendation I read “The Empire of Necessity.” I agree, it is one of the best histories on slavery wrapped the story of a northern merchant’s get rich quick scheming that led to a shipboard slave mutiny in South America. Americans often see slavery as just the Old South, but the buying and selling black bodies had broad economic ramifications, not only for the South.

  35. Donald Pay 2023-05-03 21:07

    Sorry, Arlo recommended Grandin’s book. Read it.

  36. Donald Pay 2023-05-03 21:29

    I wonder why they don’t have a dinner that includes some really important people in history that seem to get written out of certain curriculum: Nat Turner, or the Wampanoag sachem Metacom, or Daniel Shays. History isn’t only about the elite and those who appeal to the elite. It’s about those who engage in slave rebellions, or resistance to colonialism and broken treaties of the elite, or people who resist unfair policies that lead to economic troubles for the underclass.

  37. P. Aitch 2023-05-03 21:44

    Research finds: Here are some notable names in history who engaged in slave rebellions, resistance to colonialism and broken treaties, and fought against unfair policies leading to economic troubles for the underclass:

    1. Nat Turner – leader of the 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia
    2. Sojourner Truth – abolitionist and women’s rights activist who escaped slavery
    3. Toussaint L’Ouverture – led the Haitian slave rebellion and helped establish the first independent black nation
    4. Harriet Tubman – conductor of the Underground Railroad and abolitionist
    5. Sitting Bull – leader of the Sioux tribe who resisted colonialism and fought against the US government
    6. Nelson Mandela – anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa
    7. Mahatma Gandhi – led India to independence from British colonial rule
    8. Martin Luther King Jr. – leader of the civil rights movement in the US
    9. Cesar Chavez – labor leader who fought for the rights of farm workers
    10. Malala Yousafzai – champion for girls’ education and human rights activist.

  38. Mark Anderson 2023-05-03 21:56

    Well folks, Jefferson is a walking contradiction. Carve a mountain in the hills about Robert Carter III, he had it down by any standards. Totally wipes out todays southern defenders.

  39. All Mammal 2023-05-03 23:08

    Mr. Grudznick- Will you please be a dear and stream some of the stifling and trifling pretentiousness for those of us who are unable to pass as true believers? I will furbish the apparatus. You’d make a great secret agent man.

  40. grudznick 2023-05-03 23:30

    Certainly, Ms. Mammal. You know grudznick is a little sweet on you.

  41. All Mammal 2023-05-04 00:19

    Mr. G- You’ve wormed your way into my cold, dark, bloody orb and made a soft, cozy little spot there just for you<3 now I can’t get that Johnny Rivers song out of my head. Secret agent man hmmm mm mmhmm mm

  42. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-05-04 08:33

    Or how about some actual, living patriots who are making history right now, who can show that civic engagement is a living, breathing way of modern life and not an abstraction from the dusty past. That’s not to say that we can’t learn a lot about civic engagement and derive a good philosophical foundation for our activism from the words and example of Abraham Lincoln and other long-dead historical exemplars; it’s just that we should also tie those past examples to current events and current needs in our modern democracy.

  43. All Mammal 2023-05-04 11:41

    I agree, Mr. H. Perhaps Nick Tilson is available to make a cameo. Or….YOU! We do have activists and visionaries in the now we could be working with. Collaboration with as many organizations is a prerequisite for asking professionals on the public payroll for assistance.

  44. Richard Schriever 2023-05-06 07:41

    “…..made up some school and district information…..” (grudznik – 2023) And so, here we have the shining example of the GOP and “conservative” mindset of our contemporary “history”. Make stuff up – for $$. Trumpist grifting has become toe core philosophy of the “right”.

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