New Executive Order Doesn’t Ban Critical Race Theory Any More Than Its Watered-Down Thought Control Bills – Dakota Free Press

When Governor Kristi Noem announced at a small rally in Mobridge yesterday that she planned to issue an executive order to ban critical race theory in K-12 schools, she lied:

I brought two bills this legislative session that banned the teaching of critical race theory in our classrooms at our K-12 schools and another that banned it at our universities. The Legislature supported and passed and I enacted the University Act. So now in South Dakota critical race theory cannot be taught in our universities. They killed the K-12. I will sign an executive order to ensure that critical race theory is not taught to our children in our public school systems, too. [Gov. Kristi Noem, town hall meeting in Mobridge, transcribed from audio, in Jody Heemstra, “Noem to Sign Executive Order Today Banning Critical Race Theory from Being Taught in K-12 Public Schools,” DRG News, 2022.04.05].


  1. Noem did not introduce any bills banning critical race theory in this legislative session. House Bill 1012in his original formmentioned “critical race theory” in its title, but said nothing about critical race theory in its background text. House Bill 1337 never mentioned “critical race theory” or its basic tenets. Both bills targeted “divisive concepts,” but the definition of this vague concept does not include critical race theory.
  2. Noem has never proposed a bill on this subject focused on universities. His original HB 1012 applied to all schools – elementary, secondary and post-secondary. The House Education Committee narrowed the bill to focus only on post-secondary schools. As adopted, it deals with Regental Universities and State Technical Colleges.
  3. As amended, HB 1012, “University One,” does not prevent college professors from teaching critical race theory. Section 5 of HB 1012 specifically exempts “the content or conduct of any course of university education or unit of study at an institution of higher education under the control of the Board of Trustees or the Board of Technical Education…”. Our universities don’t teach much critical race theory, but under section 5 of HB 1012 they remain free to do so.
  4. The Noem command published today, Executive Order 2022-02, does not preclude any South Dakota K-12 teacher from teaching critical race theory. Of course, K-12 teachers are highly unlikely to teach complicated college-level legal theory, but if they want to, EO 2022-02 doesn’t prevent them from doing so. Noem gives the Ministry of Education six questionable directives, but, perhaps acknowledging that she has no legal authority to dictate classroom content to local teachers and school boards, the Governor does not impose or restrict any action by local teachers or school boards. Noem’s ordinance does not and cannot “guarantee that critical race theory” or anything else “is not taught to our children in our public school systems.”

But hey, when all you need are headlines and campaign donations, who needs facts or effective politics?

Sharon D. Cole