Third Social Studies Standards hearing takes place in Rapid City

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 5:47 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The third public meeting for the state’s new proposed social studies standards took place at the Rushmore Hotel in Rapid City. There were impassioned testimonies from people on both sides of the issue.

Representatives from the state Department of Education say that since the last meeting, more than 900 people have reached out opposing the standards, compared to more than one hundred in favor.

Opponents say they’re critical of the complex nature of the standards, and the fact that not enough educators were included in the drafting process. Rapid City middle school social studies teacher Shaun Nielsen was one of the only educators on the initial commission.

“The very workforce that will be responsible for implementing these proposed standards did not have adequate representation at the table,” Nielsen said. “As a result, there’s wide opposition to these proposed standards, which renders this plan dead on arrival.”

Conservative proponents say the standards address the lack of knowledge in civics and provide a patriotic view of looking at history.

State historian, and former Secretary of Education Ben Jones, gave the rebuttal to those who spoke in opposition. He supports what he calls the ‘spiral learning’ approach to social studies.

“The point of the standards is that things that are complicated, the terms, the people, places and events, are introduced in k-5, and spiraled out through middle and high school, where the students can, perhaps, recall, bring up the ideas again, discuss, debate, and use primary documents,” Jones said.

The fourth and final meeting is scheduled for April 17th in Pierre.