Noem announces legislation that would block Action Civics

Politics
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem has released draft legislation that would block Action Civics as the basis of education for South Dakota students.

“Our Founding Fathers wanted the American people to be well-educated in our system of government, so our students should learn how to participate in it,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “As John Adams said, ‘Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.’ They should not, however, be forced to choose one political ideology over another or be forced to protest or lobby as part of their education. In South Dakota, we will focus on education, not indoctrination.”

Action Civics has its supporters and opponents.

An essay in the “Constitutionalist” describes Action Civics as “a youth-centered, standards-aligned curriculum that asks students to think about what they value and teaches them how to act on those values. Rather than being assigned a topic to act on, students learn to consider what issues their communities, towns, cities, states, or country face, determine what options allow their voice to be heard, and imagine possible solutions.”

The Constitutionalist is an online publisher, that according to its website, is “dedicated to the intellectual and political work of constitutional democracy. Our authors are open to a range of political perspectives, but we are unified by a capacious understanding of the constitutional endeavor – namely, we believe that constitutions are sustained not only by law, but also by civil society and civic norms.”

“Some critics argue that action civics prioritizes activism at the expense of content knowledge. It also de-emphasizes the role of traditional political processes. Instead, students should be provided with facts about government and encouraged to choose their own level of participation,” according to the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

USC Rossier also says the Active Civics programs are rooted in research and results in greater civic knowledge and increased civic engagement later in life.

The Heritage Foundation has published several opinion pieces criticizing Active Civics saying it teaches children how to be protestors and activists without learning how to thoroughly examine different social and political causes. The essays often link Active Civics to critical race theory (CRT).

Last week, Noem asked the South Dakota Legislature to declare what can’t be presented or discussed in public schools, state technical colleges and state universities.

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