Kristi Noem signs executive order restricting critical race theory in South Dakota’s K-12 schools

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed an executive order banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 schools.

The Republican addressed the issue during a town hall, video of which was shared on social media.

“Critical Race Theory has no place in our South Dakota public education. That’s why yesterday, I announced I will be signing an executive order to ban the teachings in our K-12 schools,” Noem wrote in the tweet, sharing the video.

“I brought two bills this legislative session that banned Critical Race Theory from being taught in our classrooms, in our K-12 schools and another one that banned it in our universities,” the governor stated in the video.

“The legislature supported and passed it and I signed into law the university one. So now, in South Dakota going forward, Critical Race Theory cannot be taught in our universities. They killed the K-12 one. So tomorrow, I will be signing an executive order to make sure that Critical Race Theory is not taught in our public school systems, too,” she added.

The executive order directs South Dakota’s secretary of education to review all policies, materials, and training within the Department of Education. Any found that “promote or endorse inherently divisive concepts” will be ended and removed by October 1.

According to the instruction, the “inherently divisive concepts” referenced in the executive order are any that would be in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by indicating that one race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin is inherently superior to others.

Indicating that individuals alive today are in any way responsible for any past discriminatory actions committed by members of their race would also fall into the category of “inherently divisive concepts” that violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The news release accompanying the executive order included another quote from the governor, which stated: “Political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms. 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.”

In December of 2021, Noem released the text of draft legislation to ban Critical Race Theory in education for South Dakota students.

“Americans believe ‘all men are created equal,’ and we also believe the American dream is available to all regardless of race, color, or national origin,” she said in a statement at the time.

“Our schools should teach our children our nation’s true and honest history. They should teach about our successes in establishing a country that is a beacon of freedom to the world and our mistakes along the way. Our children should not, however, be taught the false and divisive message that they are responsible for the shortcomings of past generations and other members of our respective races,” Noem added.

At least fifteen other states have signed legislation or executive orders to limit or ban Critical Race Theory in public school classrooms as of March, according to reporting from ABC News.