Educators speak out against new social studies standards

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 10:24 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -A number of school districts in the Sioux Falls area will be hosting walk-ins while also supporting American Education Week in the mornings before school.

It comes as the next meeting on the state’s proposed social studies standards is less than a week away.

Educators from the Sioux Falls School District, Tea schools, and Harrisburg School District are participating in these walk-ins to build awareness on new social study standards.

Many teachers in South Dakota have come forward after hearing the new proposed standards saying they fail to include input from educators.

Tamra Huffman has taught within the social studies department for years and says she had to step up after seeing the new proposed standards for students.

“I’ve been teaching American history for the past twenty-three years and these years proposed standards have been drastically different than anything I’ve experienced in my career,” said Tamra Huffman, Harrisburg North Middle School teacher.

She contributes the large change in standards due to a new committee with little representation from educators in the field.

“Instead of forty to fifty educators is now a committee of fifteen and within that committee of fifteen there are only two South Dakota educators,” said Huffman.

Elizabeth Qualseth has been a teacher for twenty-two years and currently teaches 5th grade at Tea Area Legacy Elementary School.

She, stating many of the same concerns as an educator especially teaching elementary students.

“We felt that educators weren’t really apart of this process as much as we have been in the past and another reason is we feel strongly particularly at the elementary level a lot of the standards are not age appropriate for them to be learning about,” said Elizabeth Qualseth, Legacy Elementary School teacher.

Saying it should be up to educators to decide on pacing for students.

“We want kids to learn history, we want a full and rich history, it’s very important but I don’t know if they’re necessarily ready to talk about those things at that age,” said Qualseth.

Both teachers saying it’s important to raise awareness to the public and parents through these walk-ins at the various school districts.

“One of the reasons why we are having this walk in is to show solidarity and to give the public some notice about what we’ve been going through and how we’re feeling and we’re also celebrating American Education Week,” said Huffman.

Both teachers encourage parents to stop by and talk to educators tomorrow morning when dropping your kids off at school and they want to remind people of the public hearing taking place next week on the subject.