TEA, S.D. (KELO) — We’re hearing for the first time from current South Dakota teachers about the new social studies content standards proposed by the Department of Education.
The public has until 2 p.m. Friday to submit their comments and testimony to the state ahead of a public meeting in Aberdeen on Monday. Two teachers from the Tea Area District are sharing how the new standards might impact their classrooms.
Legacy Elementary teacher Kristi Desaulniers finds the proposed social studies content standards as not age-appropriate for her fourth graders.
“Here’s one: the student explains the way society changed with the fall of the Roman Empire and the perpetuation of the eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople,” Desaulniers said.
Desaulniers says the new standards call for too much memorizing of names and dates at the cost of teaching critical thinking.
“The proposed standards don’t seem to be offering the same kind of thinking that we want our students to have to be life-long, engaged citizens in our world, they seem to be more memorizations and recitations,” Desaulniers said.
Tea High School social sciences teacher, Ryan Decker, says the new standards get too bogged-down in details so students miss the big picture of American history. Plus, he says the proposed content leaves little room for students to discuss current events.
“That’s an incredible amount of material to get into and it could potentially hamstring us from having timely conversations or being able to say, let’s really look here because we’ve got to meet these standards as laid out,” Decker said.
Both teachers say it’s important for parents to share their opinions on the new standards so that decisions can be made in the best interest of their students.
“Please talk to people in education. Get out information. Get your voice heard,” Desaulniers said.
“And together, I think we can come to an understanding of really what needs to be done moving forward,” Decker said.
KELOLAND News reached out to other local school districts Thursday. The Brandon Valley superintendent told us that the district’s social studies department is reviewing the standards to come up with what he calls “consensus comments.”
The Sioux Falls School District says it’s not scheduling interviews at this time because the standards review process is lengthy.