Latest Posts





Can Edina’s Schools Be Saved?

“Can the Edina Schools Be Saved?” That’s the question I pose in the just-out Spring 2019 issue of Thinking Minnesota.

This new article updates developments in Edina’s once-fabled public schools since my earlier pieces on the topic appeared. (Available here and here.) Troubles have plagued the district since 2013, when it replaced its mission of academic excellence for all with a social agenda.

“Six years after officials at Edina Public Schools (EPS) decided to view ‘all teaching and learning through the lens of racial equity,’” the article begins, “it’s clear the district administration has taken its eye off the ball of academic excellence”:

Today, EPS is experiencing across-the-board test score declines—from third-grade reading to ACT benchmarks in math, reading and science—along with an exodus of families the district can’t afford to lose.

Edina’s experience provides a cautionary tale of what can happen when a school district renowned for academic excellence embraces a social mission that requires viewing students, first and foremost, not as individuals but as members of racial groups.

What have been the real-world educational consequences of viewing “all teaching and learning” through the lens of “equity,” as EPS has done since 2013? These include:


  • An embrace of an experimental instructional approach—“personalized learning”(PL)—as a vehicle to advance the district’s social agenda. PL represents an attempt to educate students of widely differing readiness and abilities in the same demographically balanced classrooms, and differs greatly from “the structured education system that has been in place for generations,” according to the EPS web site. Unfortunately, evidence of PL’s educational effectiveness is “very weak,” according to the RAND Corporation.



  • A growing exodus of families who are choosing both private and other public schools for their students. In 2018-19, the number of families who open-enrolled out of Edina into other school districts increased 28 percent over the previous year. The consequences for EPS’s budget, going forward, are deeply troubling.


    • Continued promotion of a “racial identity” narrative in and out of the classroom. The administration’s recommended “equity resources for families,” for example, include a book entitled White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism and an essay that advises white readers that—regardless of how hard they try to reject racism—they must “recognize that you’re still racist. No matter what.”


The goal of EPS leaders’ 2013 decision to view “all teaching and learning” through a “lens of racial equity” was to close the district’s racial learning gap. That hasn’t happened, though the Edina schools have been transformed in the process. In too many cases, a social agenda is now taking precedence over instruction in reading, math and science.

Today, Edina parents are coming together across the political spectrum to demand accountability and transparency from district leaders. “I don’t care about people’s politics,” one parent explained. “I care about them as a parent, a neighbor and a citizen. We all care about our kids.”

“Sometimes it feels as if it’s the administration against the rest of us,” the parent adds.

My new article urges Edina parents and citizens to seize two upcoming opportunities to ensure that EPS returns to academic rigor and a policy of viewing students as individuals, rather than focusing on skin color. This summer, the Edina School Board will adopt a new five-year strategic plan and in November, school board elections will take place.

Edina residents should demand accountability from a district administration that appears to be seriously out-of-sync with the citizens they are supposed to serve.




Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota Breakfast Series Featuring Isaac Orr

    Location: The Oaks at Eagle Creek 1000 26th Ave NE Willmar, MN 56201

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Tuesday, August 27th at The Oaks at Eagle Creek for breakfast with Center policy fellow and energy expert, Isaac Orr. Following his discussion of his new report, Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion, Isaac will be joined by Rep. Tim Miller, Rep. Dave Baker, and Sen. Andrew Lang for a conversation about renewable energy standards in Minnesota. Tuesday, August 27, 2019 The Oaks at Eagle Creek 1000 26th Ave NE, Willmar, MN 56201 7:30 AM Breakfast & Check-In 8:00 AM Presentation…

  • Fall Briefing Featuring Kimberley Strassel

    Location: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 345 Washington Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now