Noem uses her Twitter political account to take a shot at critics of K-12 social-studies standards

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Republican Governor Kristi Noem showed two sides of her character in her Twitter messages Monday, as she declared a hold on a controversial proposal for social-studies standards in South Dakota’s K-12 schools.

On her main account, where she describes herself as “South Dakotan. Wife. Mom. Grandma! Honored to serve as South Dakota’s Governor” and has more than 447,000 followers, she stuck to facts.

“I have directed the Department of Education to delay implementation of the state’s social studies standards up to one year” she said, and referred readers to the news release that her office issued Monday afternoon.

Another side showed on her political account, where she has more than 238,000 followers and says about herself, “I am a wife, mother, grandma, farmer, rancher, small business owner, and South Dakotan who serves as South Dakota’s Governor.”

There, the message was heavy in campaign rhetoric.

“In every state, radical education activists are scheming in order to impose CRT & Action Civics. I just froze the review of SD’s K-12 social studies standards bc I have concerns. Restoring honest & true American & South Dakota history in our schools won’t be easy but we must win,” the message said.

KELOLAND News sent a question to Noem’s communications director Ian Fury and senior communications director Jordan Overturf asking who wrote the tweets. Neither had responded by the time of this publication.

This isn’t the first time that a tweet came out differently than perhaps was intended.

During the 2021 legislative session, her account issued a statement showing support for a bill promoting fairness in women’s sports that she later tried to change with a style-and-form veto. After the bill died, Noem issued two executive orders — one on girls high school sports and one on women’s university sports — that she portrayed as attempting some of the same protections as the legislation.

The CRT that Noem had in her political tweet Monday refers to critical race theory. She issued an executive order earlier this year directing the state Department of Education to refrain from applying for any federal grants in history or civics.

She also sent letters to state Board of Regents members making the same point for the state’s public universities.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations issued letters of intent along a similar line.

The current social-studies controversy is about changes the department made to proposed standards after a state-approved panel spent a week in Pierre assembling a draft. The department’s version removed some of the references to Native Americans.

Last week several hundred people marched through Pierre in a protest. South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers stood at the Capitol’s entrances during the march. A public hearing that had been scheduled for Monday was rescheduled for a larger room next month and now has been indefinitely postponed.

Her Monday decision came the same day as The National Review published an article criticizing her for weakness on the social-studies standards.

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