SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A plan that outlines what students need to learn about social studies in South Dakota is up for public comment. And not everyone is on board.

The proposal was drafted by the Social Studies Content Standards Commission through the Department of Education. The Academic content standards provide a roadmap for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Educator and historian Ben Jones says he’s proud of the work done by the commission concerning social studies.

“One of the things that the Governor and the Secretary of Education said what they wanted was more South Dakota history and more American Indian history and so we took that charge very seriously and I think people will see that Oceti Sakowin and rest of the tribes that are historically lived in South Dakota are mentioned several times,” said Jones.

The commission’s work is done. The review process will involve a series of four public hearings hosted by the South Dakota Board of Education Standards and held over a period of at least six months.

Persons interested in providing feedback on the proposed content standards have several options to do so.

KELOLAND News spoke with several educators who say they are studying the 120 page proposal and see some problems.

The South Dakota Education Association released a statement saying they are concerned about the amount of memorization for early learners and a lack of challenge for older students’ critical thinking skills.

Tanya Rasmussen is Director of Education Services at Harrisburg Schools and focusing on curriculum for K-5 grades. She has gone over the entire proposal.

“In American history first graders are asked to explain the rule of law compared and contrasted to the Magna Carta to the arbitrary rule of man, arbitrary rule of man again for a first grader is going to be very abstract,” said Rasmussen.

The SDEA encourages educators and parents to review the proposed standards and let their voices be heard as well.

People may provide testimony by appearing in-person at one of the four public hearings before the Board of Education Standards.

The first meeting is scheduled for September 19th in Aberdeen, then on November 21st in Sioux falls. The final two meetings in 2023 have yet to be scheduled.

Written comments may also be mailed to the Department of Education, ATTN: Public Comment, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 5750.