SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Despite claims that the South Dakota social studies content standards review process will be transparent and public, the South Dakota Department of Education on Thursday told KELOLAND News via email that they would not be providing any further specifics of the process.
The email from DOE information specialist Ruth Raveling came in response to a request from KELOLAND News for more information regarding the selection process of social studies commission members.
On Wednesday, the DOE told KELOLAND News that Governor Noem and her office worked with the Governor’s appointed Secretary of Education, the Governor’s appointed State Historian, and the Department of Education.
The day before, on Tuesday, the DOE confirmed that members of the governor’s office were involved in the selection process.
Finding answers on which members of the governor’s office have been involved has been a challenge, as the DOE only stated that “Governor Noem and her office,” worked on the member list. The DOE has not confirmed if other members of the governor’s office were involved, though Noem’s Chief of Staff Mark Miller, who in the past has been a strong advocate of homeschooling, is the chair of the new commission.
Another member, Dylan Kessler, is the Director of Operations at Primrose Retirement Communities and an alumni of Hillsdale College, a conservative private university in Michigan. Kessler graduated in 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile. Fellow Hillsdale alum (class of 2015) Ian Fury is Noem’s communications director.
Fury posted to Facebook on Thursday, decrying the coverage of the issue by news agencies in South Dakota. “This will be a transparent and public process,” he wrote at the time.