Noem: Changes To Social Studies Standards Should Be Delayed

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday she told the state Department of Education to delay changes to social studies standards up to one year to allow more people to weigh in on the recommendations.

Noem’s move follows recent calls by the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition for her to resign and the decision to postpone the first scheduled hearing a month and move it to a larger venue. The DOE reports it has received nearly 600 public comments on the standards.

“The Department of Education changed the working group’s recommendations to the social studies standards significantly, but it is clear to me that there needs to be more public input to bring greater balance and emphasis on our nation’s true and honest history,” Noem said in a release.

The Argus Leader reported that a review of the comments show the majority are in opposition to the proposed standards, in which the DOE removed more than a dozen explicit references to Native American education on the Oceti Sakowin that were initially included in an early draft proposed by members of a working group.

Candi Brings Plenty, a member of the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition and indigenous justice organizer with the ACLU of South Dakota, said the groups will continue to push for Noem’s resignation.

“She knows she’s in for battle,” Brings Plenty said. “She has awakened a sleeping giant. We have finally been counted to a sufficient standard this past census and now she sees the numbers. We will vote her out.”

Noem intends to ask the South Dakota legislature to place into law an executive order she signed in late July that prohibits any curriculum requiring or encouraging students to take positions against one another on the basis of race, sex or the historical activity of members of a student’s race or sex.

Noem also plans to ban critical race theory and action civics as the basis for instruction in South Dakota schools.