SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In just under three weeks, South Dakota’s Board of Education Standards will convene for the second of four public hearings regarding the proposed social studies standards.
If you want to testify at the meeting, registration opens up Friday.
If we take a look at the September meeting held in Aberdeen, at least 23 people provided testimony in favor of the proposed standards just within a 90-minute time frame. 27 people spoke against the standards with more registered, but they ran out of time. It shows that if you want to comment in person, you should sign up as soon as you can.
People traveled from all over the state for the first social studies standards public hearing.
Tea Legacy Elementary School principal, Samantha Walder, who was also a part of the revision commission behind the proposed standards, spoke against them.
“Just as it is important to exercise your right to vote on Tuesday and get out there and make your voice heard, it’s important to do the same within these processes within government that are often times occurring and we don’t know about it,” she said.
Walder says just like when you do your research to vote in elections, it’s important to have all the information.
“I think that that’s important whether you are a proponent or an opponent. The Board of Educational Standards needs to hear the voice of South Dakota,” Walder said.
Sen. John Wiik of Big Stone City, who was also part of the revision commission and supports the standards, wants to hear what people think.
“Decisions are made by those who show up, and those who show up first generally have the best seats at the decision making place,” he said.
Rep. Carl Perry of Aberdeen spoke in favor of the standards at the September 19 hearing. He agrees it’s important to get involved.
“What is important is, the people that are making decisions, if they don’t know what people are thinking, how can they make the right decision? And it doesn’t mean they’re going to be swayed because I’m a proponent or an opponent, but it does mean that at least they get another view,” Perry said.
And if you aren’t able to testify in person, there are other ways of having your voice heard.
“Provide written testimony. All of that testimony, it’s my understanding, is printed out and provided to all of the Board of Educational Standards members so they can review it at their convenience before they make a final decision on the standards,” Walder said.
Registration to testify in person for the second hearing in Sioux Falls on November 21 opens Friday. After registration opens, you can find out how to do so here and under the “documents” section.
If it’s the same process as the September meeting, registration will close the Friday afternoon before the meeting is scheduled, which is November 18.
For more information on how to submit comments online or via mail, you can visit the SD Department of Education website.