A college professor is challenging the politicization of K-12 education
A former Hillsdale professor, William Morrisey, is looking to stop the wave of incoming radical ideology in colleges from taking aim at young children in South Dakota.
Morrisey proposed revisions to the South Dakota Department of Education standards to provide 'a true, honest, and balanced approach to American history that is not influenced by political agendas.'
Education will be among the most consequential issues facing voters this November. Teachers have hijacked traditional curriculums to push leftist agendas in the classroom.
Colleges have long been the battleground over public policy, but more recently, those same colleges are shaping K-12 policies.
Whether it's a medical school program at the University of Chicago that excludes “White” students or University of Chapel Hill hosting a “Queer Fall Fest," colleges are well-known for boasting their leftist ideologies.
Those leftist ideas have suddenly bled into the nation’s kindergartens and elementary schools. In Wisconsin, a new sex education proposal will teach students as young as kindergarten about gender theory, and Minneapolis teachers are subjected to layoffs based on their race.
A former Hillsdale College professor, William Morrisey, is looking to stop the wave of incoming radical ideology in colleges from taking aim at young children in South Dakota. To do so, he drafted revisions for the state's social studies standards for K-12 schools.
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Morrisey proposed revisions to the South Dakota Department of Education standards to provide “a true, honest, and balanced approach to American history that is not influenced by political agendas” according to an Aug. 15 statement from Governor Kristi Noem.
Campus Reform spoke with Governor Noem's Chief of Staff Mark Miller. He said, "Dr. Morrisey is a retired professor of civics, history, an expert on history, and we thought he was the perfect fit for what we are trying to do."
"We, as a nation, we're grappling with challenges to civic illiteracy and this...uncivil division between different political points of view." Miller continued, "So we think a change in approach to how we teach social studies is in order and we expect that South Dakota will become a leader for the country and we think the other states will look to this as a model."
On the state Department of Education's (DOEd) website, the new standards are defined as an “[h]onest, balanced, and complete accounts of historical events and debates that foster a love of country that, like any love, is not blind to faults.”
It continues, promising “[h]istory and civics instruction free from political agendas and activism.”
In the proposal, the section "Guiding Principles for High-Quality Standards" details ten rigorous guidelines and objectives of the proposed revisions. The final guideline also addresses the tensions regarding “political activism” in schools.
“Debating current political positions or partaking in political activism at the bequest of a school or teacher does not belong in a K-12 social studies class, and the color of one’s skin does not determine what one can or should learn,” the guidelines read.
The South Dakota DOEd requires curriculum revisions after every five to seven years.
Noem came under fire in 2021 after an attempt to revise the curriculum was criticized for removing too much Native American history. The revisions were postponed until the following year.
“It is clear to me that there needs to be more public input to bring greater balance and emphasis on our nation’s true and honest history,” Noem told the Dakota News Now. “We will be delaying further formal action on the draft social study standards to allow more opportunity for public input, increased legislative engagement, and additional voices to be heard in this discussion.”
The 2022 revisions, however, expand “South Dakota and Native American History and Civics” by integrating “state, tribal, and reservation history and civics” with similarly aligned American history timelines.
Miller also emphasized this as well, "These standards represent the largest emphasis on Native American history of any proposed standards in South Dakota to date. The commission members very specifically focused on the importance of incorporating Native American history."
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In her Aug. 15 announcement, Noem addressed concerns about the removal of Native American history, stating, “under these standards, our students will focus more on Native American history and culture than ever before.”
Morrisey was contracted on March 4, 2022, to create revisions to the social studies standards. His contract with the Division of Learning and Instruction and the South Dakota DOEd directed the changes to design standards that did not teach or promote “inherently divisive concepts.”
Some of the prohibited concepts heavily focused on topics such as the idea that a “strong work ethic” was “racist or sexist,” or that a person’s race, sex, or religion predisposes them toward being “racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.”
Miller told Campus Reform the proposed standards will go through four public hearings and the first will be on Sept. 19. in Aberdeen. After that there will be three more public hearings before the South Dakota Board of Education will review the standards in March of 2023.
Hillsdale declined to comment.
Campus Reform contacted Governor Noem, South Dakota Department of Education, Hillsdale, and the best attempt was made to contact Morrisey. This article will be updated accordingly.
Follow @kliseanderson on Twitter.