Recent changes to a draft state social studies the standards “likely” violate federal and constitutional law, the South Dakota ACLU said Tuesday in a letter to Gov. Kristi Noem and the Board of Education Standards.
The governor’s office said Thursday afternoon it was challenging the ACLU’s “fundamental misunderstanding” of Noem’s plan and the laws they allege the state “probably” violates.
Noem spokesman Ian Fury said the standards on Oceti Sakowin’s essential understandings remain in place, although these are not mandatory standards and are completely separate from social studies standards.
“Governor Noem will continue to work to ensure our children learn the true history of South Dakota and the United States, and a wide variety of voices will have the opportunity to influence this process,” Fury said in a statement. communicated.
The ACLU alleges that the Ministry of Education’s removal of more than a dozen explicit references to Oceti Sakowin that were included in a draft social studies standards by a task force of nearly 50 educators and experts before the draft’s publication likely violates the Federal Equal Protection and First Amendment provisions of the US Constitution.
What Laws the ACLU Alleges Are Likely Being Broken
In the letter, the ACLU argues that the government violates the equal protection clause if discrimination was a “motivating factor” behind an action, even if that was not the sole purpose of the state’s decision. The courts would consider whether the decision causes a “racially discriminatory impact”.
The removal of these topics also likely violates Article VIII, Section 1 of the South Dakota Constitution, which guarantees students the right to schools “equally open to all” and requires the DOE “to take all appropriate means to to guarantee to the people the advantages and possibilities of education.
The changes “deny students their right to receive information and ideas, and racially discriminate or racially discriminate against Native Americans in South Dakota,” said Stephanie Amiotte, Legal Director of the Dakota ACLU of the South, in a press release. “It also censors information provided to students based on their race. “
Convening the second working group to restart the standards review process does not correct the constitutional violations created by the DOE, the ACLU said, unless the second working group no longer includes or the same number of Native American subjects. in its draft standards.
And the DOE did not legally, factually or logically refute why the recommendations of the first working group should not be followed, nor did it justify the failure to follow the recommendations of that committee and restart the process, argues. the ACLU in its letter.
What does the ACLU want to see changed in social studies standards?
Litigation challenging the removal of more than a dozen explicit references to the Oceti Sakowin could be avoided, says the ACLU, by doing the following:
The DOE adopting all the recommendations of the first Committee to review Content Standards for Essential Understandings of Oceti Sakowin (OSEU) and Native American subjects before convening the second working group; as well as ensuring that the second working group recommends more OSEU and Native American topics in the revised content standards.
This is a developing story. Stay with Leader Argus for updates.