SD Voices for Justice’s position is that the proposed rules (ARSD 4:43) implementing the policing of “divisive concepts” in K-12 Education are too vague to be implemented by the Board of Education and urge the Board of Education Standards to not approve the proposed rules.

To persuade the Board of Education Standards (BOES) they should not approve the proposed rules, we are organizing community members to provide public comment on WHY these rules are vague, ask HOW educators be able to implement such vague rules, and show the IMPACT of having vague rules. It will be essential for parents and community members to submit comments either online (by August 17) or in person (August 22).

If you are interested in joining SD Voices for Justice in Pierre on Monday August 22, join our strategy meeting via zoom on Thursday Aug 18, 2022 at 7PM Central Standard Time. Sign up here and we will send you a zoom link or call in information

This action alert outlines a timeline of events, ways to get involved, and provides talking points and a script.

Timeline of Events:
March 3, 2022:  HB 1337 FAILS in the Senate Education Committee 4-3 -
a bill to limit the teaching of divisive concepts in K-12 Education

April 5, 2022: Governor signs Executive Order 2022-02 limiting the influence of “divisive concepts” in K-12 Education
*Note subsection (5) & (6)

SD Dept of Education shall review all SD Content Standards and identify if any inherently divisive concepts are included and remove….. And the Secretary of Education and Board of Education Standards promulgate rules to prohibit the adoption of content standards that promote inherently divisive concepts.

(6) Secretary of Education was to submit a report to the Governor’s Office outlining what divisive concepts are currently implemented and being taught by July 1, 2022

August 4, 2022: Noem’s Lawyer: Need 15 more days on CRT Report - KELO News

August 22, 2022: Board of Education Standards is having a public hearing on proposed rules (ARSD 4:43).

Ways to Get Involved

*Please note that as of August 13, 2022 there is no Agenda, no virtual meeting link or call-in number made to the public. Once this is updated we will post it on SD Voices for Justice social media platforms.

Once released, the virtual meeting information will be located on the Education Standards “meetings” tab here  
You might need to click on the Agenda for the meeting links. 

Ways to Get Involved
There are 3 ways to provide comment for this public hearing

  1. Submit written comments by AUGUST 17, 2022 using the link here

  2. Provide oral comments on August 22, 2022 via telephone/virtual meeting link (see above for details).

  3. Attend meeting in person on August 22, 2022 at MacKay Building 800 Governors Drive, Pierre SD 57501 (Sign up here for strategy meeting)   

Talking Points
  1. This is clearly political influence by the executive branch into our education standards and the Board should not implement these rules. The people spoke with HB 1337 FAILED in the Senate Education Committee in March of 2022. In social studies we all learned that the legislative branch makes the laws and the executive branch enforces the laws. These proposed rules are drastically changing curriculum standards and is in effect acting like a law would. This Board can now follow a basic principle of our constitution - the separation of powers.

  2. The Board of Education has not shown that there are any “inherently divisive concepts” currently in curriculum standards or teacher trainings. This is all a waste of taxpayer time, resources and further dividing communities within SD.

  3. These proposed rules are too vague. What does “inherently divisive concepts” mean and who will decide what an “inherently divisive concept” is? In any humanities subject there are several points of views to the same idea. That is what the entire debate team methodology is based on. Knowing how to engage in critical thinking for school-aged children is a fundamental component of the SD Content Standards.

  4. The rules are too vague and have in effect chilled any activity around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Teachers are scared to attend trainings which will help them support students who have faced discrimination in their schools, and principals are not allowing speakers into their buildings in fear of unspoken retaliation.

  5. With no clear direction from these proposed rules, each educator, principal, and school district is on their own to decide. We could see one district which views one issue as divisive and another district that will not. This will create a “swiss cheese” implementation of curriculum standards putting our children at a great disadvantage.

  6. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is based on the brutal history of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and people of color facing discrimination in public spaces, schools and the workplace.  These rules in identifying “inherently divisive concepts” and taking those concepts OUT of curriculum, is antithetical to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act assures that we are talking about race and racism, not the other way around.

  7. Share an experience of why critical thinking and understanding concepts from different perspectives are important for you/your child.

Additional Advice: 
When speaking to BOES,  be respectful and to the point.

Suggested Script:
Dear Board of Education Standards. My name is X and my children attend Y School District and me and my family are directly impacted by the decisions you make. I urge you not to approve the proposed rules on “inherently divisive concepts.” INSERT 1-2 Talking points….. For these reasons do not approve these proposed rules. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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PO Box 600, Sioux Falls, SD 57101

South Dakota Voices for Justice is a 501(c)4 organization working to provide legislative advocacy and lobbying work in South Dakota to fight anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim bigotry in order to build a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist state. Copyright © 2022 South Dakota Voices for Justice. All rights reserved.

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