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Racial identity policies are ruining Edina’s fabled schools

Instead of striving for academic excellence, jackboot methods are being used to force students to think "correctly" on social issues.  This op-ed originally appeared October 7, 2017 in the Star Tribune. Editor’s note: A longer version of this article appears in the fall issue of ‘Thinking Minnesota,’ a publication of the Center of the American Experiment. For years, the Edina Public Schools (EPS) have been one of the brightest stars in the firmament of Minnesota public education. Parents who moved to the affluent Twin Cities suburb gladly paid a hefty premium for a house, because it meant their kids could attend the district’s...

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Edina’s Superintendent Misrepresented Facts to Civil Rights Commission

As you know if you have followed the controversy over the Edina school district's penchant for left-wing indoctrination, the district's bullying and intimidation of nonconforming students, parents and teachers was severe enough to draw an inquiry from a Commissioner of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, who was concerned that Edina's schools are violating the civil rights of non-leftist students. Superintendent John Schultz responded to Commissioner Peter Kirsanow's letter on September 21. In that response, Schultz said that some of the parents and students who were quoted in posts on this web site said things that were not correct. This is...

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How Leftism Can Ruin a School District

Kathy Kersten's column in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune is titled "Racial identity policies are ruining Edina's fabled schools." The column is drawn from Kathy's much longer article in the current issue of Thinking Minnesota, but it also includes some new material. Kathy's Star Tribune article describes the obsessions with race and liberal politics that pervade the Edina public school system. A few excerpts: The “All for All” plan mandates sweeping change to how education is delivered in Edina. For example, it dictates that, from now on, the district will hire “racially conscious teachers and administrators.” It also declares that students must...

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Teacher’s Lawsuit Against St. Paul School District Moves Forward

A lawsuit seeking to hold the St. Paul Public School District—and its students—accountable will proceed in court to the evidence gathering stage, according to the Pioneer Press. Aaron Benner says district administrators opened dubious personnel investigations against him because he publicly criticized the district’s lenient disciplinary practices toward African-American students....

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WSJ Reader reacts to Education Minnesota: It’s all about the money (and the power)

Numbers to explain why the teachers' union Education Minnesota wants to make it next-to-impossible for state teachers to avoid paying union dues: Total compensation of Education Minnesota President Denise Specht (2015): $194,745; Number of Education Minnesota employees with total compensation of $100,000+ (2015): 68 ...

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Employee Freedom Update: Who are Mark Janus and Rebecca Friedrichs?

Who are Mark Janus and Rebecca Friedrichs? And why did I write about them in The Wall Street Journal today? If the Supreme Court rules in Janus’ favor, every government employee across the country will have the right to choose for himself or herself whether to give money to a union. This is equivalent to Minnesota passing a right-to-work constitutional amendment-- only better because it will be the law of land. ...

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A Curriculum of Political Indoctrination in Edina’s Public Schools

  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. Here is the article; you can read it here or download it: TM Fall2017 Edina 1 by John...

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Best Serving the Interests of Students, Not the Bureaucratic Convenience of Grown-Ups

My American Experiment colleague Catrin Thorman was on-target when she concluded her recent blog about a three-part series in the Star Tribune regarding public school choice in the Twin Cities.  “The pressures school choice is putting on Minnesota public schools,” she wrote, “is not a bad thing.  It creates a competitive environment that pushes low-performing districts to improve so they keep and attract students who have the chance to go elsewhere.  Educational freedom means families – not zip codes – choose where their children attend school.” A couple of complementary points, if I might. Just in case a younger generation of critics...

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Schools That Focus on Indoctrination Rather than Education Pay a Price

We have written here, here and here about the extraordinary extent to which the Edina public schools have prioritized left-wing indoctrination over academic excellence. On Monday, the Center will release the Fall issue of Thinking Minnesota, featuring a cover story on the Edina public schools by Kathy Kersten. Watch for it! Has Edina's focus on politics rather than academics hurt the school system's students? Here is just one fact from Kathy's blockbuster story: between the 2013-2014 school year and the 2016-2017 school year, Edina High School dropped from 10th place among Minnesota's high schools in math proficiency, to 40th place. I...

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