House passes legislation for additional civics instruction

February 24, 2021 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota House has passed a bill that directs $900,000 to Gov. Kristi Noem’s plan to increase classroom instruction of the state’s history, government and economics.

The legislation passed Tuesday evening would create instructional materials and classroom resources for elementary, middle and high school students.

The Republican governor has talked in the past about what she says is the nation’s “failure to educate generations of our children about what makes America unique,” the Argus Leader reported.


“We can and should do a better job of educating the next generation on what makes America and South Dakota great,” said Rep. Scott Odenbach, a Spearfish Republican.

The push for additional civics curriculum follows the 2019 session in which lawmakers weighed Noem’s idea of requiring a civics test to graduate from high school, and putting patriotic displays, including the words “In God We Trust” in every school.

School districts select curriculum according to state standards, and in the case of this bill, specific schools or districts may choose to take part in a pilot program to introduce the curriculum. Rep. Lana Greenfield said the curriculum wouldn’t be mandated.