SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two days ahead of the third of four public hearings on the proposed social studies standards, the South Dakota Department of Education released a letter signed by a variety of out-of-state education policy leaders. 

The nine education experts span from the University of Virginia, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Middle Tennessee State University and the former chancellor of New York City Public Schools.

The letter addressed to the Board of Education Standards says the group supports the proposed standards. The group finds the standards “to be fundamentally rooted in the well-informed premises that content knowledge is essential to literacy, and that content literacy is a necessary precondition for thinking critically about our civic life.” 

You can read the full letter attached below. 

New Secretary of Education Dr. Joseph Graves praised the support. 

“These are people who understand the nature and structure of history and civics, people who know the most appropriate pedagogies for sharing our past, and our obligations and opportunities as citizens, with the next generation of Americans,” Graves said in a news release. “That this group would espouse these standards is a testament to their quality and to the promise they offer our children.”

In January, the third meeting was moved from a Saturday in Pierre to Friday in Rapid City. 

Parker Superintendent Donavan Deboer told KELOLAND News several teachers in his district had expressed interest in testifying against the proposed standards. 

Through the first two meetings, the DOE has heard 968 public comments on the proposed standards. In total, proponents have submitted 103 public comments, opponents submitted 828 comments and there’s been 37 neutral comments. 

Revised proposed social studies standards included more geography, specifically in high school.