SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Debate around the proposed social studies standards continued at the latest public hearing in Sioux Falls Monday.
It is the second of four schedule public hearings.
A total of up to 90 minutes were allowed for proponent and opponent testimony.
Shannon Malone with the Department of Education gave a summary of the public comment. As of Nov. 18, the DOE has heard 968 public comments on the proposed standards. In total proponents have submitted 103 public comments, opponents submitted 828 and there are 37 comments considered neutral.
Opponents argue the standards aren’t age appropriate and focus too much on memorization.
Brian Wagner, a tribal education director for the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux Tribes, said South Dakota tribes unanimously oppose the current proposal.
“Native Americans are missing for great spans of time as if Native Americans didn’t and don’t exist,” Wagner said. “Smallpox is repeatedly mentioned as one of the only notable occurrences of Native history. Native American religion is not mentioned, nor was the passage of the Native American Religion Act in 1978. Native American symbols are missing including the Native American Flag Song, tribal flags, and Native American Day which South Dakota was one of the first states to recognize.”
The D.O.E. asked the board for an extra year to implement the proposed standards if passed. The standards wouldn’t go into effect until the 2025-26 school year. The board approved the motion for the changes to the implementation timeline. If the social studies are not approved, the timeline will need to be changed again.
The board did not vote on the approval of the standards on Monday. That vote will come after the fourth public meeting held in 2023. The next two board of education meetings will be in Pierre on Saturday, Feb. 11 and in Rapid City on Monday, April 17.