Gov. Noem Challenges Board of Regents to Improve Higher Education

Gov. Noem Challenges Board of Regents to Improve Higher Education

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem challenged the South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) to make South Dakota an example to the nation of what quality higher education should look like. In a letter to the Board, Governor Noem charged them with the responsibility of revitalizing the institutions under its control and leading the nation by example. You can read the full letter here.

Governor Noem began the letter with the following statement:

“Across the nation, higher education is in a state of crisis. For the last several decades, many states have allowed liberal ideologies to poison their universities and colleges. Once a hotbed of ideological diversity, debate, and the pursuit of truth and discovery, many institutions have become one-sided, close-minded, and focused on feelings rather than facts. Professors have discarded reason and logic in favor of subjectivity and relativism. Higher education leaders have rejected universal truth and knowledge and replaced it with ‘individual truth.’

“On campuses across the country, students have been taught the importance of diversity and equity and given access to ‘safe spaces’ instead of learning to tolerate the disagreement, discomfort, and dissent that they will experience in the real world. In many cases, students and their parents are not even aware of the damage these ideas have caused.

“Less than half our students are even graduating, compared to 63% nationally. Students are also graduating with more debt and lower prospects at obtaining gainful employment. 43% of students who completed a college degree were underemployed after graduation. Countless students have been set up for failure – and charged tens of thousands of dollars for their trouble.

“As a country, we should be ashamed of this. As a state, South Dakota can show the nation what quality higher education is supposed to look like.

“I am charging the Board of Regents with the responsibility of revitalizing the institutions under its control and leading the nation by example. We must work together to ensure that we are providing an education that truly prepares our kids for the world they are entering. We must teach our kids a true and honest history of our great country. We must equip them with skills that will enable them to find meaningful, fulfilling careers. We must empower them to improve their communities, engage in the political process as well-educated citizens, and teach their kids to protect the gift we’ve all been given as citizens of the United States of America.”

Governor Noem challenged the Board of Regents to take the following actions:

  • Currently, BOR schools have a 47% graduation rate. In 2020, the national graduation rate for public schools was 63%. The Board of Regents should aim to raise graduation rates to at least 65% by 2028;
  • Take more steps to partner with businesses on registered apprenticeship programs and offer the lowest possible credit rates;
  • Remove all references to preferred pronouns in all school materials and any enforcement of such;
  • Remove any policy or procedure that prohibits students from exercising their right to free speech;
  • Prohibit drag shows from taking place on university campuses;
  • Find ways to cut costs to ensure the affordability of college;
  • Require a course in American Government and a course in American history as part of the general education graduation requirements; and,
  • Immediately review all funding sources of university centers and all donations to ensure there is no money coming into our education system from China.

Governor Noem also set up a whistleblower hotline for students, parents, taxpayers, and faculty to call to voice concerns about institutions of higher education. The call-in line for the whistleblower hotline is 605-773-5916.

“As Governor, my duty is to protect the people of South Dakota, ensure that their tax burden remains low, and spend those taxpayer dollars wisely. Together, we can and must set an example to the nation of what strong, conservative higher education can look like,” Governor Noem concluded.

Governor Noem recently appointed Jim Lochner and Doug Morrison to the South Dakota Board of Regents. She will be making additional BOR appointments in the near future.


15 thoughts on “Gov. Noem Challenges Board of Regents to Improve Higher Education”

  1. I mean I like to think my views are correct as much as the next guy, but calling liberalism a “poison” seems a little bit much. South Dakota liberals are generally good people who just happen to have different value structures and viewpoints. And why should our public bodies be expressly endorsing one ethos or the other on a statewide basis anyways? I’ve found that conservative ideals can stand up just fine on their own in the educational context, no state mandate necessary.

    1. Anonymous at 4:49, you can’t be serious. Liberals are for socialism, which renders any level of education irrelevant to one’s quality of life.
      Under socialism, it doesn’t matter how much education you have, what skills you develop, you will not be any more deserving of a comfortable life than an 8th grade dropout. Liberalism, and its attendant social justice BS, is the anthesis of higher education. Having educators telling college students that if the world were “perfect” they wouldn’t need an education is absurd. The educators are trying to talk themselves out of a job.
      A hotline which would help to identify these imbeciles might accelerate their attempts to be unemployed.

    2. Well I will say you are correct about liberalism is not being poison, it’s a mental illness to be accurate.

  2. A 47% graduation rate is terrible but how does banning pronouns and drag shows help change that? Drag queens aren’t making kids leave school. I don’t support drag shows on campus but I also don’t support when politicians chose to tilt at windmills instead of offer serious solutions to serious problems.

    1. God forbid we actually try and fix our local issues. Much more important that our state is used as an accessory for her to pander to a national audience for a shot at a vp or secretary gig.

  3. A couple of these great conservative ideas sound really familiar: See, HB1125 (expand provisions regarding the protection of minors from certain exhibitions) and HB1070 (create the Center for American Exceptionalism at Black Hills State University), 2023 legislative session.

    1. BHSU needs to close if the graduation rate for the system is going to have a prayer of reaching the threshold.

      Also would help if your CAE pet project had someone other than a carpetbagging hump to lead it who actually understands the SD political process before making a fool of himself during session.

  4. So she wants to ban drag shows, but also remove any hindrance to free speech? A shocking display of hypocrisy I say, just shocking.

  5. Best thing she can do for education is to fully remove herself from it and let the professionals handle it. Amazing that she is so smart in literally everything and knows what is best for all of us!

  6. the first step in improving the graduation rate is tightening up admission standards. The last time the subject came up, it was revealed that 1/3 of incoming freshmen required remediation. It is obvious many of them are not ready for college & have no business being there. It’s not surprising so many of them drop out..

  7. Was this grifter in California when her high turnover out of state staff came up with this one? I miss the days when South Dakota had a Governor that lived in South Dakota and dealt with the real issues of the state rather than constant national shallow self promotion and fundraising.

    Result of this latest solution looking for a problem in SD? More students will elect to go out of state for higher education. Less enrollment at our state universities, less quality and quantity of applicants for staff at our universities.

  8. Sad day for South Dakota frankly. I hope in a few years when she’s gone we can return to normalcy. Each institution has challenges but in the race to be the loudest demagogue on the national stage our governor insults thousand upon thousands of South Dakotans. And doesn’t bat an eye.

  9. Governor Noem has 4 more Board of Regents chairs to fill in the very near future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if University Presidents, Provosts, Vice Presidents, and Deans all start getting the chop.

  10. This position by the Governor is very sad. She has exposed that she does not know what she is talking about. Such cavalier spouting of dogma is not good for our institutions of higher education. the faculty, or the students.

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