Senate committee kills ‘divisive concepts’ bill for K-12 schools after passing similar one for colleges – Argus Leader

senate-committee-kills-‘divisive-concepts’-bill-for-k-12-schools-after-passing-similar-one-for-colleges-–-argus-leader

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The Senate Education committee killed a bill Thursday morning that would’ve “prevented the promotion of divisive concepts in elementary and secondary schools.”House Bill 1337 was killed after more than a half-hour of proponent testimony on Tuesday and hours of opponent testimony and committee debate and discussion on Thursday. And, it was killed after the committee passed a similar bill for South Dakota's public colleges on Tuesday.Would the bill limit critical race theory or censor classroom discussions? Twelve proponents of the K-12 bill largely argued Tuesday it would keep critical race theory out of K-12 classrooms, and would keep students safe from discrimination or radical agendas in classrooms.But 13 opponents of the bill said Thursday it doesn’t give clear direction to educators, questioned “promoting” concepts as opposed to “teaching” concepts, and argued it would have a chilling effect on South Dakota’s educators and censor classroom discussions.They also argued there are already avenues to avoid teaching divisive concepts, such as the standards revision and adoption process that the Board of Education Standards uses, and routes to revoke or suspend teacher licenses if they teach anything divisive.More: Senate Education committee passes bill limiting 'divisive concepts' in South Dakota collegesRevisions on 'divisive concepts' bill in public schools weren't enough Before the bill died, Steinhauer amended it to remove two “divisive concepts” from the list: that an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity or national origin;that slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, of failures to live up to America’s founding principles of liberty and equality, as stated in the Declaration of Independence.Allen Cambon, policy advisor for Gov. Kristi Noem, said the executive branch did consult with the Department of Education and some superintendents on the bill, but wouldn’t say which ones because they were “off the record” discussions.Sen. Blake Curd asked DOE Secretary Tiffany Sanderson about her stance as a proponent of this bill, and questioned if promotion of divisive concepts is currently a problem in South Dakota’s schools. Sanderson said it’s not a systemic problem, but some specific instances of this issue were handled in local school districts.Curd supported a similar bill for the state’s public universities Tuesday, but opposed this bill because he said decisions about K-12 concepts should be left up to the Board of Education Standards or other routes to be resolved first before bringing them to the Legislature.
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