A press release issued Monday by the South Dakota Department of Education (and published in Tuesday’s Press & Dakotan) announced that the deadline for people to apply to be part of the state’s Social Studies standards committee has been extended until Nov. 30. The original deadline was Nov. 14.

When contacted by KELO, a state official said more than 150 applications have already been received for the commission. “The application period was extended to give South Dakotans ample time to review the process and submit an application,” the official said.

And this may well be true.

Generally, one could conclude there are two reasons that a deadline for applications might be extended: 1) the response has been overwhelming and positive, so the party seeking applicants wants to make sure everyone has a chance; or 2) the very opposite. As a side note, No. 1 rarely happens.

That’s a pessimistic way of looking at it, but then again, one wouldn’t be too surprised if there are fewer people interested in being part of this board, given (ironically) its recent history.

South Dakota generally conducts revisions in its Social Studies standards about every six years. This year’s process was initiated months ago under a political cloud as Gov. Kristi Noem lauded the so-called 1776 Commission report which called for promoting a more pro-American curriculum and scrubbing over some of the less flattering aspects of our history, such as slavery and the treatment of indigenous people.

A work group was put together, and it hammered out standards that promoted, among other things, a greater understanding of the importance of Native American culture in this state. The proposal, complete with a mission statement, was submitted in June.

But a month later, the released proposal removed all but one sentence from the mission statement and took out several references to Native Americans. This led to strong criticism from segments of the public and, ultimately, prompted the revised document to be pulled altogether. In effect, a “do over” was declared by the governor.

So, when the press release was issued regarding the deadline extension in the search for new group members, you couldn’t help but draw some conclusions as to why.

One could also wonder why the state simply doesn’t go back to the original document that the first group spent considerable time and energy crafting before the end product was cut to ribbons somewhere up the ladder.

It would be fair to say that doubts persist about this process, so much so that some people may be reticent to get involved with version 2.0 of the effort. That may not necessarily be the case here, but the extension of the application deadline suggests there are still some suspicions and doubts clouding this important educational process.


(2) comments


What is the issue with the Press & Dakotan staff?

Wednesday evening the Press & Dakotan’s current “hot” letter, “Wake up America,” had 9 comments.

Early on Thursday I posted a comment and subsequently so did numerous other folks.

But during the day Thursday - nothing showed. Then late in the day there was a “dump” and suddenly there were 20 comments.

Why can’t the Press & Dakotan resume its former practice and post comments more regularly throughout the day?


Thank you for your interest, SoDakD.

Like many businesses throughout the country, we are currently experiencing a staffing shortage. Many of our current staff, including those in charge of "approving" comments, have taken on additional responsibilities while we look for new individuals to join our staff.

Once we get a few key positions filled, I would expect that our speed on approving comments will get back to normal.

Thank you again for your interest in our product.

James D. Cimburek, Asst. Managing Editor

Yankton Press & Dakotan

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