Gov. Kristi Noem Pushes South Dakota Colleges to Ban Critical Race Theory

May 27, 2021 Updated: May 27, 2021

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is imploring universities in her state to not include critical race theory or The New York Times’ “1619 Project” in their curricula.

The Republican governor asked the South Dakota Board of Regents, in a letter dated May 24, to ban universities from promoting or advancing either critical race theory, which heavily draws on Marxism and earlier critical theory, or the “1619 Project,” which has been panned by several university professors for claiming that the United States was founded on racist principles and the American Revolution was fought to preserve the institution of slavery.

“I’m asking the South Dakota Board of Regents to set policies that preserve honest, patriotic education in SD’s institutions of higher education,” Noem wrote on Twitter on May 25, referring to her letter. “Our kids and grandkids should understand the full picture of America’s history—our fundamental values; our greatest achievements; the struggles to overcome injustice.

“Our next generation must learn about our triumphs and mistakes, with those mistakes being examined in context.”

Noem joins other Republican states and governors who have taken the initiative to rid schools of critical race theory, arguing that the theory is unnecessarily divisive and racist. At the same time, the White House has proposed offering schools more funding if they adopt so-called “antiracist” programs.

In the letter, which has no legal weight, Noem asked the state Board to review whether state funds that are supported neither by the state’s legislative nor executive branches are being used to teach the “1619 Project,” critical race theory, or “any similar theory that misleads students into believing the country is evil or was founded upon evil” or forcing students to personally affirm or adopt such beliefs.

The board should also determine “whether our state’s post-secondary public institutions under your purview are ensuring the classroom remains a place for learning, study, and exploration, and not a platform for instruction that serves to advance individual, ideological, or political agendas. It is critical that our classrooms remain a place of learning, not indoctrination,” the letter said.

State colleges should also evaluate whether diversity offices “are still working within the scope of their original mission” or whether they are engaged in “inappropriate” assignments, Noem stated.

Earlier this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said he opposes the teaching of critical race theory in public school classrooms.

“It’s offensive to the taxpayer that they would be asked to fund critical race theory, that they would be asked to fund teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other,” DeSantis said. Several states and school districts in recent days have already moved to ban teaching the Marxist doctrine.

The Board of Regents didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.