Governor Noem restricts Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – Today, Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2022-02, which restricts the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 education in South Dakota.

“Political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms,” said Governor Noem. “Our children will not be taught that they are racists or that they are victims, and they will not be compelled to feel responsible for the mistakes of their ancestors. We will guarantee that our students learn America’s true and honest history – that includes both our triumphs and our mistakes.”

Executive Order 2022-02 restricts Critical Race Theory in the following ways:


  • The Department of Education (DOE) shall not compel employees, students, or teachers to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to inherently divisive concepts;
  • The Secretary of Education will review all policies within DOE to identify if any promote inherently divisive concepts;
  • DOE will review other materials and trainings  to identify if any promote or endorse inherently divisive concepts;
  • If any policies, materials, or trainings promote inherently divisive concepts, they shall end or be removed no later than October 1; and
  • Directs the Board of Education Standards to ensure South Dakota Content Standards do not promote inherently divisive concepts.

“Inherently divisive concepts” are defined in Section 7 of Executive Order 2022-02.

In the 2022 legislative session, Governor Noem signed HB 1012 to block mandatory Critical Race Theory trainings and orientations at colleges in South Dakota.

Last year, Governor Noem signed Executive Order 2021-11, blocking federal civics and history grants due to concerns with ties to Critical Race Theory. She also worked with the Board of Regents to ensure that Critical Race Theory will not be the basis of education at South Dakota schools.