Why SDEA Rejects the Proposed Social Studies Standards?


Six Reasons Educators Reject the Proposed Standards

  1. The proposed standards are solely based on their ability to memorize select facts, which were chosen by a small group of political appointees. The proposed standards do not challenge students’ ability to analyze events and historic texts, explore their communities and cultures, or problem-solve challenges they identify. The development of these higher-level thinking skills is vital for students to be successful in their post-secondary education and or their workplace and communities

  2. The lower-grade standards call for a level of memorization that is not cognitively appropriate for our state’s early learners, and the upper-grade standards fail to challenge students’ critical thinking skills through standards that encourage analysis and evaluation of the world around them. The early grade standards also focus on many violent events in world history.  Young children cannot and should not be asked to comprehend such events. 

  3. While some South Dakota and Native American history standards are included in the proposed standards, they are mostly afterthoughts or lumped in with other standards. There is no other opportunity for students, especially in the lower grades, to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of our great state and the Native American tribes of South Dakota. All students should be afforded the opportunity to have at least a semester of South Dakota and Native American History, not just those who reside in a school district that can afford to offer it as an elective at the high school level.  

  4. The proposed standards assume one size fits all. The proposed standards read more like a checklist of tasks students are to perform regardless of their learning style. Students can either complete the task, or they can’t. Instead of students receiving a letter grade, their report cards will be reduced to pass or fail. This will undermine confidence in many students’ ability to be successful in school.

  5. The proposed standards discourage students from seeking other perspectives or ideas. The standards rely heavily on students writing essays based only on notes from class. In other words, based solely on what teachers tell them regardless of a teacher’s experience. This opens the door for indoctrination.

  6. Educators who have reviewed the proposed standards warn that school districts will have to do a complete overhaul of the K-12 social studies curriculum costing them thousands of dollars for each grade level.  This would come at a time when schools lack the resources to meet the challenges of an educator shortage and see increased costs due to inflation. It should also be noted that the only known developed curriculum or textbooks that would align with the proposed standard were developed and sold by Hillsdale College.