Education cartel suddenly worried about candidates running together

It’s been fascinating to watch how the education cartel and their friends in the press are suddenly concerned about slates of candidates running for school board in Minnesota. For years, Education Minnesota (the state teachers’ union) has endorsed and funded slates of candidates in local races. In recent years, many of the union-endorsed school board candidates also happen to be members of the union. How convenient! Instead of wasting effort trying to convince school boards to favor the union, why not just put union members on the board?

Three recent articles about the 2021 election for school board begin with the “news” that candidates are running on conservative slates.

Writer Bob Shaw characterized it this way in the Pioneer Press:

Most school campaigns avoid partisan party politics, and are organized by individuals. But the members of the group share political views, websites and lawn signs. The four describe themselves as conservatives online, but don’t mention a political party.

The bloc of anti-mask-mandate candidates alarms incumbent Sharon Van Leer, who is running against them. “People in the community should be scared to death,” she said.

Conservatives are suddenly running as a bloc and should be feared. Ok.

Media bias, lazy reporting or both prevented Shaw from telling readers that Van Leer and three other liberal candidates are also running as a bloc, endorsed by the United Teachers of South Washington County. Chances are good the local union will spend a lot more money on behalf of their hand-picked candidates than the opposition.

The Reformer, a liberal online news source wrote it this way:

Some Minnesota school board candidates are also using tactics unusual for local elections here, Schneidawind said: Campaigning in blocs with the goal of winning an ideological majority vote on the board.

Unusual for local elections here? No, the teachers’ union has been running slates of candidates trying to win ideological majorities for years. Forever, really.

Anthony Lonetree also wrote about slates of candidates for the Star Tribune:

These are conservative voices and they’re rising — many as part of multicandidate slates — seeking to flip school board seats in elections next week and then set what they describe as a new common-sense direction.

Give Lonetree credit for mentioning the teachers’ union endorsement of one of the candidates profiled in the story. But it would have been stronger to mention the entire slate.

Two of the articles interviewed Kirk Schneidawind of the Minnesota School Boards Association and he dutifully provided his “expert” commentary dripping with condescension about these rube parents who would dare challenge the Minnesota education cartel.

“We should focus on the outcomes for the kids instead of debating hot social issues” says Schneidawind. “No matter what position you’re running for, whether that’s school board, city council — if you’re a single-issue candidate, I think you will find the work is more challenging and broader than you anticipate.”

Issues like Critical Race Theory are not “social issues” that can be easily dismissed by the education cartel. They cut to the very core of what education is all about — what are we teaching our children and how is it being presented?

One more point that all three articles get wrong. The focus on CRT as a discipline taught (or not taught) in the classroom insults the intelligence of their readers. No one, including American Experiment, is claiming CRT is being taught to fourth graders after lunch and recess.

Reporter Shaw at the Pioneer Press takes the school board member’s word for it that “Critical race theory is not taught in the South Washington schools.” Accept that a quick search of the school district’s website finds CRT permeating every aspect of school life from teacher training in anti-racism to their official “Black lives matter” statement.

The district Racial Equity and Inclusion policy states: “Each student will have access to learning opportunities that represent their race, ethnicity or culture that honors each student’s unique background and culture to promote a sense of belonging.” This is the essence of CRT – dividing students by the group they belong to instead of seeing them as individuals.

The cartel and press accuse conservatives of manufacturing an issue and weaponizing it for politics. The truth is, liberals who run Minnesota’s public schools have been pushing an agenda that divides students, looks down on American institutions and finds systemic racism behind every problem. Conservatives who dare stand up and point it out are on defense, not offense.