SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A commission appointed by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to update the state’s Social Studies Standards released a proposed draft today. The standards are used to guide school districts and teachers.

The 120-page proposal was drafted by the Social Studies Content Standards Commission through the Department of Education. Among the 15 members are five teachers. In preparing the draft standards, the Commission focused on four goals.

• Genuine content in the form of specific stories, historical figures, maps, research, images, and historical documents;
• Sound skills for making sense of the past, understanding their neighbors, earning a livelihood, and exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship with prudence;
• Honest, balanced, and complete accounts of historical events and debates that foster a love of country that is not blind to faults; and
• History and civics instruction free from political agendas and activism.

The proposal lists guiding principles for teaching social studies in South Dakota schools, the very first one says

“Standards must not indicate a specific textbook or curriculum, though they may be used to evaluate or develop textbooks and curricula. Specific curriculum decisions should be made at the local level by the school board or individual school.”

Native American studies will get a boost under the new standards. An earlier draft of standards in 2021 created backlash after it removed mentions of Native American history and culture. Governor Kristi Noem released a statement concerning the new standards saying:

“South Dakota’s kids deserve the very best social studies education in America. These standards raise the bar for the breadth & depth of civics and history education with a true, honest, & balanced approach that is not influenced by political agendas.”

The Department of Education says it plans to offer support for Social Studies teachers. Those workshops will start in the summer of 2023.