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South Dakota’s Kristi Noem Pitches Bill Blocking Critical Race Theory

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has revealed legislation that would ban the teaching of divisive critical race theory in state schools and colleges.

“Our schools should teach our children our nation’s true and honest history,” Noem said in a Tuesday statement announcing the legislative effort. “They should teach about our successes in establishing a country that is a beacon of freedom to the world and our mistakes along the way.

“Our children should not, however, be taught the false and divisive message that they are responsible for the shortcomings of past generations and other members of our respective races,” Noem, who has been mentioned as a potential 2024 Republican presidential contender or running mate, added.

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The Epoch Times notes further:

The proposed legislation would block the teaching based on specific ideas derived from the CRT, such as that any race is inherently superior or inferior; that individuals should be discriminated or feel guilt because of their race; or that individuals are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by those of the same race.

The ban would apply to the state’s public school districts and public colleges and universities, according to the one-page draft.

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If Noem’s measure is passed by the state legislature, South Dakota will become one of a few other states thus far that have also passed legislation to push back on CRT, which essentially teaches that every founding institution in the country is rife with racism because they were established by the white majority.

Among the states that have passed such measures include Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina. But like Noem’s bill, the laws in those states do not specifically mention “critical race theory,” but rather that target certain concepts and core beliefs that come from the curriculum.

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“The move also marks Noem’s latest step to fulfill the ‘1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools,’ which she signed in May as a commitment to stop ‘anti-American indoctrination’ of the younger generations,” The Epoch Times reports, adding:

The 1776 Pledge is largely seen as a response to New York Times’s “1619 Project,” an article series centered on highly controversial claims such as that the United States is an inherently racist nation founded to preserve slavery. A history curriculum based on the project, developed by the Pulitzer Center, has been embraced by many public school districts across the nation, including in Chicago, Illinois; Buffalo, New York; and Newark, New Jersey.

“Our children and grandchildren should be taught to take pride in their country, to respect our founding principles of liberty and equality, and to have a sense of American history that is both truthful and inspiring,” part of the 1776 Pledge reads.

“Teaching children to hate their country and each other is immoral and deeply harmful to our society and must be stopped.”

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Earlier this year, Noem sparked controversy herself and no shortage of anger among conservatives when she rejected a legislature-passed bill that would prevent transgender women from competing in all-female sports in college and high school.

“We are extremely disappointed to see Gov. Noem break her word on this critical legislation,” Terry Schilling who serves as the president of the American Principles Project said at the time. “Gov. Noem’s veto would scrap the vast majority of the bill text and would strip protections for female athletes in collegiate sports in the state. Additionally, it would eliminate all reasonable enforcement mechanisms, neutering the legislation so much as to render it meaningless.”

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For her part, Noem claimed to support keeping biological males out of female sports but she said that piece of legislation was not the vehicle to do so because it opened up the state to legal liability.

“Unfortunately, as I have studied this legislation and conferred with legal experts over the past several days, I have become concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences,” Noem said in March.

Earlier this week, she also introduced a transgender bill for high schools she says will pass legal muster.

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