Critical Race Theory and a pause on federal grants for history and civics curriculum

Education

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Some state lawmakers want to decide what can and cannot be taught in South Dakota schools. KELOLAND News has obtained a copy of a letter asking the Department of Education to not apply for federal aid for history or civics until lawmakers decide what can be included in those classes.

Purdue University says Critical Race Theory examines race and racism and how victims of systemic racism are affected. Education Week says Action Civics encourages students to find problems in their communities and fix them.

Both are at the fore-front of a letter the Appropriations Committee sent to the state’s Education Secretary. Lawmakers say those education models don’t follow along the lines of South Dakota standards and values.

Lawmakers in the Joint Appropriations Committee expect to see legislation in 20-22 that would bar Critical Race Theory and ‘action civics’ in south Dakota’s K-12 schools.

“Part of what I would hope to see in South Dakota is that our students here don’t have a jaded perspective of history. That they would receive history based on the facts, opposed to current political opinions,” Rep. Steven Haugaard (R), Sioux Falls, said.

Although, opposing Critical Race Theory could also be considered political. Governor Kristi Noem posted comments about it on her campaign Twitter account earlier today.

Representatives Steven Haugaard and Taffy Howard, both Republicans on the Joint Appropriations Committee, believe some federal programs would promote the ideas of Critical Race Theory and ‘action civics.’

“That’s the direction I want us to continue as a country: promoting freedom, securing everyone’s rights, not trying to tear things down simply because of a faulty theory that the whole world, you know, our country’s systemically racist,” Rep. Taffy Howard (R) Rapid City, said.

“And let’s not repeat the bad parts of history, let’s improve upon our cultures and our values,” Haugaard said.

Haugaard wants state lawmakers to have the chance to develop their own legislation surrounding history and civics. Until that happens they’re encouraging the Department of Education to hold off on accepting federal money in those areas.

“Because, with any federal program, if you receive the material, then there are certain expectations that go with it,” Haugaard said.

During the recent session, lawmakers approved 900 thousand dollars following Governor Kristi Noem’s request to assemble a South Dakota curriculum for civics and history. Noem recently signed ‘The 1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools.’

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