Governor Noem signs Executive Order banning federal grants tied to Critical Race Theory

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – On Thursday, Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-11, which directs the South Dakota Department of Education to refrain from applying for any federal grants tied to critical race theory.

“Critical race theory has no place in South Dakota schools. These ideas are un-American. We are ‘one nation, under God, indivisible,’ yet critical race theory seeks to divide us based on inaccurate revisions to our nation’s history,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Our students should learn America’s true history by studying both our triumphs and our mistakes. Only then will students learn that America remains the shining example of exceptionalism throughout the history of the world.”

At the urging of South Dakota Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson, South Dakota State Historian Ben Jones, and others, the US Department of Education removed all references to the 1619 Project and Ibram Kendi from their American History and Civics-National Activities Grants. However, the grants’ priorities continue to allude to this divisive revisionist history.

“The revised proposals from the US Department of Education still advocate critical race theory in all but name,” continued Governor Noem. “We are the Mount Rushmore State, home to our nation’s greatest monument to our history. And we take the study of American history seriously. Our classrooms are meant for education, not indoctrination, and that is how we will continue to operate in South Dakota.”

Under the Executive Order, the South Dakota Department of Education is barred from applying for any federal grants in history or civics. The Board of Education Standards continues to work on revisions to South Dakota state history and civics standards. These revisions will be consistent with the civics initiative proposed by Governor Noem and passed by the legislature this past legislative session.  Governor Noem had also earlier requested a review of policies by the South Dakota Board of Regents to ensure the state’s higher education system remains focused on honest, patriotic education.

The executive order can be downloaded here.