SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Board of Education Standards has changed the location and moved the date of its next hearing on proposed content standards for social studies. The move has left many teachers frustrated.

At the last Education Standards public hearing — Educators asked the board to schedule at least one of the four public hearings during a weekend. This would allow the many teachers who want to testify a chance to have their voices heard. The board agreed and set the meeting for Saturday, February 11th, in Pierre. But this week, we learned the South Dakota Department of Education moved the Saturday meeting in Pierre to Friday, February 10th, in Rapid City.
A statement to KELOLAND News said quote- “Scheduling and logistics made the alternate dates discussed by the board problematic.”

“Yeah, I was as surprised as anybody. I guess I didn’t get any big memo that it was moved. I saw it on social media, probably like everybody else,” said Parker Superintendent Donavan Deboer.

DeBoer says several teachers in his district had expressed interest in testifying against the proposed standards.

“It’s a little tough to ask our teachers to burn one of their two personal days to go and testify across the state. They don’t get many of those anyway, and just the fact that we love our educators in the classroom with our kids, that’s where they want to be. That’s where they should be, and this opportunity to go on a Saturday should be there, and I’m a little disappointed that it is not,” said Deboer.

Ryan Rolfs, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Education Association which represents teachers says canceling the weekend meeting is disappointing.

“I think it also feels to a lot of educators as if it’s lacking transparency throughout this process throughout the entirety. There have been moments where rules have been changed, and rules have been pulled. Where standards have been proposed, then standards have been pulled and then re-proposed. It kind of fits in that same vein,” said Rolfs.

Rolfs feels the whole process so far has left a negative impression on educators. The Pierre hearing now is scheduled for Monday, April 17, at the Ramkota conference center. People who can’t attend a public hearing in person are welcome to provide written public comment and also have the option to testify via Zoom.

Registration to testify at the February public hearing will open January 18th. Here is a link.