PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — An organization that represents more than 6,000 South Dakota teachers and other school and university employees doesn’t like proposed rules that would ban inherently divisive concepts from statewide K-12 standards and make other changes.

The South Dakota Education Association filed its comments Tuesday. Written testimony must be received by the state Department of Education no later than Wednesday, August 17. The formal public hearing before the state Board of Education Standards is set for 10 a.m. Monday, August 22, at 800 Governors Drive, Pierre.

“While wanting to protect students from personal exposure to bias, racism, classism, sexism, bigotry, etc. ought to be a goal within educational settings, the proposed language goes too far and prohibits the discussion of these topics in a constructive manner,” SDEA executive director Ryan Rolfs wrote.

He continued, “In fact, the language is in direct conflict with many of our existing curriculum standards and will have a chilling effect on promoting higher level thinking skills which require reasoning, analysis, evaluation, investigation, or synthesis of ideas.”

Rolfs said the group also opposes proposed changes to the school waivers rules that the state board is considering.

The Senate Education Committee refused to adopt legislation from Governor Kristi Noem last session that sought to put the ban into state law.

The governor then issued an executive order in April calling for the department to review its internal policies and calling for the state board to adopt the ban. Noem’s office released the internal review Monday as well as proposed social-studies standards.

SDEA also issued a news release Tuesday saying the proposed social-studies standards are under review. The board will start those four hearings most likely in September.