Center’s Exposé Dominates Debate Over Edina Schools

Kathy Kersten’s bombshell cover story in the Fall issue of Thinking Minnesota on political indoctrination in the Edina public schools continues to reverberate. Today’s spotlights the article’s impact: “Charge of ‘political indoctrination’ heats up Edina school board race.”

An article alleging political “indoctrination” in the Edina School District has become one of the central topics of this year’s crowded school board race.

The article was published in Thinking Minnesota, a magazine produced by the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank, and sent to all households in Edina. Its author, Katherine Kersten, an Edina resident and senior fellow at the center, said an effort to teach racial equity and “indoctrinate students in left-wing political orthodoxies” has threatened the district’s quality of education.

The Strib reporter, Miguel Otárola, credits the Thinking Minnesota article’s influence, noting that “[p]arents and school board candidates have reacted to the article on social media, and it was the focus of a candidate forum Monday.” But he shows his bias by quoting, overwhelmingly, people who are critical of Kathy’s article. Like, for example, incumbent school board member David Goldstein. The schools’ performance has declined on his watch, but he apparently isn’t interested in understanding why. Instead, he smeared Kathy:

“The story is clearly being circulated with an intention to divide our community,” he wrote Oct. 3. “It is misleading throughout and includes many falsehoods. It also uses unnecessarily inflammatory language and is, in general, a mean spirited piece of work.”

Needless to say, Goldstein itemized not a single one of those “many falsehoods.” This is because there aren’t any. His content-free rant exemplifies how angry upholders of the status quo can become when they are called to account.

The only person the reporter quotes who speaks favorably about the Thinking Minnesota article is an Edina parent named Orlando Flores:

Edina parent Orlando Flores said it is important for candidates to discuss the political ideologies in schools. He disapproved of teachers showing their political leanings during the 2016 presidential election.

“We need to depoliticize the schools and create an environment of openness,” he said.

Flores may be a minority in the eyes of the Star Tribune, but I suspect that he represents the majority of Edina parents, who want a quality education, such as the Edina schools formerly provided, not left-wing politics. This is, perhaps, why Kathy’s superb op-ed on this topic is currently the most-shared item on the Star Tribune’s web site, even though it was published a week ago.

The best thing about the Strib story, by the way, is that it reproduces Scott Buchschacher’s brilliant magazine cover: