South Dakota In Middle of Tweaking Education Standards

The Daily Republic in Mitchell, SD, reports that the South Dakota Board of Education is in the middle of the hearing process for proposed education standards.

On Monday, they held their second of four required public hearings.

State government’s Board of Education Standards must hold two more hearings next year before members decide whether to further change what South Dakota teachers are presenting to students, its departing leader said Monday.

Board president Don Kirkegaard, of Sturgis, made the remarks after the board conducted the second public hearing in Sioux Falls. Board members are considering proposed revisions to state standards for 10 sets of subjects, including math, English and the history and culture of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribal peoples.

The Legislature passed a state law in 2012 requiring the board to hold at least one public hearing in each of Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. The board first considered the changes at a Sept. 18 meeting in Aberdeen at Northern State University.

State government’s Department of Education plans to present the proposals for public comments at board meetings Jan. 26 in Rapid City and March 19 in Pierre. Kirkegaard said Monday board members could decide immediately after the Pierre hearing whether to accept changes yet that day or wait until May 8 in Vermillion.

“We’d be done with our four hearings,” he said.

Kirkegaard is in his final weeks as superintendent for the Meade School District. He starts Jan. 1 as state education secretary, replacing Melody Schopp. Kirkegaard served eleven years on the state board, including the last six as president.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced Oct. 13 that Schopp would retire Dec. 15 after seven years in the department’s top post.

You can find the current and proposed standards here, as well as, links for public comments.

The next two public hearings are on January 26 in Rapid City and in March 19 in Pierre. Times and locations. Frankly, I’m not optimistic any comment or testimony at a public hearing will make much of a difference as the incoming Secretary of Education indicated they could decide right after the last hearing. So it seems like they are just checking off the minimum boxes required by state law to pass the standards they want.

I have not yet looked at the proposed ELA and math standards so I don’t know how different they are from Common Core. If other states can be used as an indicator I’m not optimistic it won’t be just another rebrand.