South Dakota governor Kristi Noem introduced legislation Wednesday to prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in public schools and higher-education training and orientation for students and staff.
The bill ensures that “critical race theory will not be taught in [South Dakota] schools, that no one will be taught that someone is better or less than someone else based on their sex or their race, and also that kids can’t be compelled to participate in riots or protests or lobbying on a specific agenda,” the governor told Fox News.
“[In] the rest of the country, we see people getting engaged that never have before,” she added. “That means that we end up getting policies in place that protect our kids and make sure that they learn a true and honest history about this country and who they are as an individual.”
Republican-dominated states across the country have pitched or passed similar legislation that would abolish such racialized ideology from K–12 curricula — ideology professing that slavery and white supremacy are irredeemable stains on America’s history and that oppressive remnants are still pervasive today. As one of his first orders of business upon assuming office, Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin banned critical race theory in public schools.
Noem told Fox News that CRT does not represent U.S. history and is antithetical to our national character.
“This country was created so people would have freedom and an opportunity to be treated the same as everybody else,” she said. “And certainly we have flaws in our background, but we learn from them, and we strive to do better in the future. And that’s really what we want our kids to learn and take out of their education systems.”
In May, Noem signed a candidate pledge, sponsored by “1776 Action,” to promote patriotic education and bar “action civics” (mandatory political protests for course credit) and critical race theory from our schools. With her latest legislation, she appears to be following through on that promise.