Wegner letter - 11-12-22


To the Editor:

It’s important to know scientific facts regarding healthy brain development based on teaching methods. Best methods include “play-based” learning (for younger children) and “inquiry” for adolescents. Gov. Noem’s million dollar Hillsdale curriculum for South Dakota schools ignores these facts. Her proposed million dollar acquisition expects students practice “rote memorization” of lots and lots of history narratives. These narratives are to be fed out to students in the form of wordy, wordy sermons. Yes – like Sunday sermons. I’ve shared lots of examples with many people. They see it that way also.  

Numerous studies suggest that “play-based” and “inquiry” methods of teaching are terrific for contributing positively to cognitive, emotional, social, and physical well-being of children. They also support development of vocabulary, social skills, narrative concepts, and concentration. They also motivate children to associate new knowledge and skills with what they already know, that being essential for success in today’s world. They also promote enthusiasm towards education and learning.

Such positively nurtured outcomes simply cannot be reproduced if South Dakota proceeds with its proposed acquisition of that million dollar Hillsdale curriculum, because its singular focus is simply on having students remember facts. The Hillsdale history narratives are to be dished out like they were church sermons. How long does anyone remember Sunday sermons after departure from church?

Dave Wegner
Sioux Falls

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