South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem pledges to restore patriotic education in schools

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed a pledge this week which she said aims to restore “patriotic education.”

In a series of tweets on Monday she revealed that she recently became the first candidate to sign a vow named “The 1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools.” The pledge promises to take steps that would restore “honest patriotic education” which cultivates “a profound love” for country in children and block “any curriculum that pits students against one another on the basis of race or sex.” The pledge goes on to say that “Our young people should be taught to view one another not according to race or gender, but as individuals made in the image of God.”

Noem now joins ranks with the many Republicans who are trying to block the teaching of critical race theory and are concerned about the Biden administration prioritising the funding of educational programs based on the ideas of the 1619 project.   On April 19th the Department of Education released a proposed new rule which outlined a new priority criterion for a $5.3 million American History and Civics Education grant, as well as exemplary materials for K-12 educators to use. Among these materials the Education Department specifically cited the “1619 Project,” and the “antiracist idea” of race theorist Ibram X. Kendi as good examples of content it would purchase to promote in history and civics lessons across the nation. 

Following the proposal of this rule, 37 Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, sent a letter to the Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on May 6th  urging him to remove all teachings based on the 1619 project from federal grants, the letter says that “Our nation’s youth do not need activist indoctrination that fixates solely on past flaws and splits our nation into divided camps. Taxpayer supported programs should emphasise the shared civic virtues that bring us together, not push radical agendas that tear us apart.”

This move comes as the divisive debate over the teaching of critical race theory returns to the forefront of the nation’s politics. The framework of the theory views society as one which is dominated by white supremacy, with critics saying it results in the categorization of people as either “privileged” or “oppressed” based on their race. In order to counter critical race theory and the 1619 project the 1776 Pledge was launched to advocate for education based on former President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission, which was created to bring back the teaching of the founding documents.





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