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Noem targets “Anti-Americanism” in education

Governor Kristi Noem is pushing back against what she says is an “anti-American” agenda in education.
Published: May. 6, 2021 at 7:49 AM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN) - In an op-ed for Fox News with Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Governor Kristi Noem says that “anti-Americanism” in education is perhaps one of the “biggest cultural challenges of our lifetime.”

However, many South Dakota educators say they have never encountered that here.

“Neither in my own instruction of any curriculum that I have ever used, nor do I know of any of my colleagues,” said South Dakota educator Travis Wicks. Wicks teaches just outside of Madison.

“One of the main objectives of in teaching social studies and civics education is to develop critical thinking skills,” continued Wicks. “It is really hard to develop those critical thinking skills when we don’t have anything to critique, or if all we learn about are the good things that happened in our past.”

In an interview with Fox and Friends Wednesday morning, Noem doubled down on her remarks, pointing to the New York Times “1619 Project,” which seeks to reframe American history by reanalyzing the way slavery contributed to American history, as proof of efforts to change the education system.

“I was the first candidate in the country to sign the ‘1776 Pledge,’ which says the truth about America’s history, that we were founded fighting for freedom, not for slavery,” Noem said.

Noem continued by urging others to sign onto the “1776 Action” project, a petition which is intended to advocate for people with the same concerns to run for local offices, such as school board, to prevent “indoctrination.”

While this is just the latest, it is certainly not the first cultural issue Noem has inserted herself into in recent weeks.

“If we look at other officials who have done similar things, it is to create name recognition for themselves,” said USD Political Science Professor Michael Card. “To highlight the issues of the political base that they are trying to reach for an election to vote for them.”

Noem’s office also said that while they see the issue of indoctrination in education as an important one, they do not necessarily believe it is an issue currently in the South Dakota education system. However, they would like to prevent it from becoming one in the future.