Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is pushing the state’s Board of Regents to block critical race theory and other Biden administration education curricula from state universities.
Noem wrote a letter to the South Dakota Board of Regents Monday asking the board to ban universities from advancing or promoting critical race theory or The New York Times’ 1619 Project. The Republican governor’s request comes as the Biden administration is considering offering schools extra funding to adopt “antiracist” curricula.
“I’m asking the South Dakota Board of Regents to set policies that preserve honest, patriotic education in SD’s institutions of higher education,” Noem tweeted Tuesday explaining her letter. “Our kids and grandkids should understand the full picture of America’s history – our fundamental values; our greatest achievements; the struggles to overcome injustice. Our next generation must learn about our triumphs and mistakes, with those mistakes being examined in context.”
Noem’s letter by itself does not have any legal weight, and the decision to ban critical race theory and antiracist programming from universities is up to the Board of Regents. She noted that her administration has also lodged complaints with the Biden administration objecting to the federal government pushing antiracist education.
“As governor, I have become increasingly concerned about a growing movement throughout the country to reject patriotic education and downplay the positive revolution in human affairs set in motion by our Founders,” Noem wrote. “Our children and grandchildren should understand the full picture of our nation’s history – our fundamental values, our greatest achievements, and the long struggles to overcome injustice as well. Our next generation must also learn about our triumphs as well as our mistakes, with those mistakes being examined in context.”
Critical race theory teaches that white supremacy, racism, slavery, and other forms of bigotry are still systemically impacting oppressed groups in the United States today. The “1619 Project,” which embraces critical race theory, reframes the founding of the United States from 1776 to 1619 when the first slave ship arrived on U.S. shores.
Noem made three requests that the Board of Regents consider:
- Whether appropriated funds are being used in a manner that neither the legislative nor the executive branch would support. This could include the advancement or promotion of “actions civics,” the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, or any similar theory that misleads students into believing the country is evil or was founded upon evil, or requiring, compelling, or otherwise directing students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any such beliefs or tenets;
- Whether our state’s post-secondary public institutions under your purview are ensuring the classroom remains a place for learning, study, and exploration, and not a platform for instruction that serves to advance individual, ideological, or political agendas. It is critical that our classrooms remain a place of learning, not indoctrination; and
- Whether the diversity offices in those same institutions are still working within the scope of their original mission, or whether they have experienced inappropriate “mission creep.”
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