Gov. Noem relaunches social study standards review

October 1, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Friday that she will relaunch the state’s review of social study standards after it was bogged in controversy.

Noem said she has “set aside” the standards proposed by the Department of Education and told the department to restart the process. The Republican governor said that everyone who has expressed concern about the process, including Native Americans, will be included in the do-over.

“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,” Noem said in a statement.

New standards are released every seven years. The governor’s plan calls for a new workgroup of people from across the state to develop the standards. Members of the previous working group — appointed by the Department of Education — said in August they were caught by surprise on Friday when the department released a document with significant changes that cut references to Native American history and culture.

Conservatives have also criticized the Department of Education’s proposed standards.