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An investigation by writer Katherine Kersten released today exposes systematic political indoctrination of students in Edina public schools, beginning as early as kindergarten, all while the district’s long time reputation for academic excellence experiences a notable decline.
The report, “Whose Values? Educational excellence threatened by ideology in Edina schools” appears in the Fall 2017 edition of Thinking Minnesota, the quarterly magazine published by Center of the American Experiment. Kersten, a writer and attorney, is a senior policy fellow at American Experiment. The magazine can be downloaded here.
In addition to its usual circulation, the magazine will be delivered to every residential mailbox in Edina.
“Instead of giving Edina students the intellectual tools necessary to thrive in the 21st century, Edina public school leaders are increasingly using limited school time to indoctrinate students in left-wing political orthodoxies,” Kersten says in her article.
Today, for example, K-2 students at Edina Highlands Elementary School are learning—through the “Melanin Project”—to focus on skin color and to think of white skin as cause for guilt. “Equity” is listed as a primary criterion on the district’s evaluation for K-5 math curricula. At Edina High School, teachers are haranguing students on “White Privilege,” and drilling into them that white males oppress and endanger women. In a U.S. Literature and Composition class, 11th-graders are being taught to “apply marxist [sic], feminist” and “post-colonial” “lenses to literature.”
“In short,” Kersten concludes, “in Edina, reading, writing, math and critical thinking skills are taking a backseat to an ideological crusade.”
American Experiment President John Hinderaker first exposed Edina’s left-wing classroom activism in a series of posts on the Center’s website earlier this year. He cited how 80 Edina High School teachers posted what amounted to a left-wing political manifesto following the election of Donald Trump as president. His initial post prompted an outpouring from parents, students and even some Edina teachers, who condemned other elements of extreme partisanship. They described how:
• A teacher tearfully told a classroom of 100 students that “the election was rigged.”
• Another teacher announced to a class that “Trump winning was worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.”
• Students gathered in the high school commons on election day chanting “F*** Trump,” while teachers watched on, doing nothing.
Kersten states that the district’s ideological priorities are not without probable consequences. Data from Minnesota’s Department of Education indicate a dramatic slide to the district’s once-proud reputation for academic excellence. As recently as 2014, 86 percent of Edina High School students met state reading standards; 79 percent were doing grade-level work in math.
Today, one in five Edina High School students can’t read at grade level and one-third can’t do grade-level math.
All told, Edina High School’s state ranking among Minnesota high schools has slipped from fifth
to 29th in reading proficiency, and from 10th to 40th in math proficiency.
“A school district can have only one top priority,” Hinderaker said. “Is it ideology or is it academic excellence? This article should generate a much-needed debate about the appropriate priorities for teachers in Minnesota’s classrooms. Many Edina parents will be disappointed at how the Edina schools have sacrificed quality education to politics.”