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Proposed changes to South Dakota’s social studies standards scrapped

Marching from Steamboat Park to north to the capitol, protesters called for proposed education...
Marching from Steamboat Park to north to the capitol, protesters called for proposed education standards to be stopped.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 2:40 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Proposed changes to South Dakota’s social studies standards have been scrapped, Governor Kristi Noem announced Friday.

Governor Kristi Noem last week pressed pause on the implementation of new social studies standards, after months of fierce opposition and blowback. In September, advocates protested the proposed changes in Pierre.

The proposed changed removed several references to Native American history originally included in a proposal written by a commission made up of roughly 50 South Dakota educators. However, other critics to Noem’s right believe the proposed curriculum does not go far enough, saying that it was a deviation from ‘1776 Pledge’ Noem had signed and spearheaded.

Noem had said she was willing to allow up to a year’s delay in order for reconsideration to take place.

Now, the proposed changes have been scrapped along with the commission.

“I have asked the Department of Education to restart the process from the beginning. I want to ensure we propose standards that accurately reflect the values of South Dakota,” Governor Noem said. “Our kids deserve to learn both America’s and South Dakota’s true and honest history, taught in a balanced context that doesn’t pit our children against each other on the basis of race, sex, or background. More work needs to be done to get this right, and we are committed to seeing that process through.”

A new workgroup will be created and propose new social studies standards. Noem’s administration says everyone who has expressed concerns will be a part of the process, including Native Americans.

The Department of Education will seek feedback on members of the new workgroup. The public will be given the opportunity at four public hearings – as well as online – to offer comments on the new draft standards.

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