Ron Eibensteiner: E is for (equity) education

Edina’s public school curriculum systematically indoctrinates students with extreme left-wing ideologies.

The cover story of this magazine chronicles another episode in How America Slowly Lost its Soul, our ongoing national saga, this one taking place in Edina.

In “Whose Values? Educational excellence threatened by ideology in Edina schools,” Senior Policy Fellow Katherine Kersten describes how public school educators in Edina are jeopardizing their once-proud record of academic excellence in favor of institutionalizing a curriculum of leftist ideology.

The Center first exposed brazen partisanship among Edina’s teachers in July when John Hinderaker, our president, posted an annotated version of a letter signed by 80 teachers following the election of Donald Trump as President. The letter was originally published on Zephyrus, Edina High School’s news site.

Citing the “historically divisive” election, the teachers fed the hysteria of the left at the time by pledging to “protect and fight for” the many “vulnerable” students who “don’t feel physically safe.” They quoted Tom Rademacher, Minnesota’s 2014 Teacher of the Year: “We will teach. We will teach to fix a world we cannot fix. We will teach rebellion against a broken world. We can do that, starting today.”

Hinderaker’s post prompted Edina students, teachers, parents, and even a school bus driver to offer up their own anecdotes.

One student described how teachers did nothing to moderate an election day incident in which students chanted “F*** Trump” in the school commons. Another student posted how one teacher told her class that Trump’s victory was “worse than 9/11,” and another told a class of 100 students that “the election was rigged.”

Most choose anonymity to escape the potential intimidation and recriminations from the school’s Orwellian Thought Police.

Here’s an example, provided directly by an Edina teacher: The day after the election, a distraught teacher entered a faculty lounge and declared her anger at a student who wore a Trump t-shirt, which she immediately forbid him from wearing again.

She went on to disparage his family, “asking all teachers in the lounge if they knew this family was Republican.”

This anecdote begs two questions. First, is it reasonable to question the emotional stability of a teacher who couldn’t cope with a “political” statement made on a t-shirt worn by a third grader? Yes, a third grader!

Second—and this one comes from the teacher who initially related the anecdote to the Center—“Will that teacher, and all who voiced the shock about this third grader’s family … treat him and his siblings differently through the years, because of his family’s political point of view?”

Hence, anonymity is understandable.

Kathy’s research uncovered something more dangerous than boorish political propagandizing or classroom intimidation. She describes how Edina has hatched a curriculum of systematic political indoctrination, based on “equity”— white privilege—but extending far beyond, beginning as early as kindergarten. You have to read it to believe it.

Here’s an example: Katie Mahoney, the recently-appointed principal of Edina’s Highlands Elementary School, uses social media for left-wing proselytizing. One of her recommendations is a learn-the-alphabet book called A is for Activist. The book ostensibly teaches young children the building blocks of reading and writing through connections such as “C is for… Creative Counter to Corporate vultures.” “F is for Feminist.” “T is for Trans.” And “X is for Malcolm, as in Malcolm X.”

Wait a minute. T is for Trans? Really? This elementary school principal suggests exposing “trans” politics to a child who still believes in the Easter Bunny.

All but the most radical among us will see this as the cynical manipulation of a trusting and innocent child. It’s intellectual abuse. (For the record, Amazon features the book with an admiring review from Occupy Wall Street.)

Kathy’s piece is a long one, running some 10 pages. Please read it. We hope it stimulates a serious and objective conversation among students, parents, educators, and elected officials about the appropriate social and cultural responsibilities of K-12 educators in Minnesota’s classrooms, and from who should supervise their activities.

For his part, Hinderaker concludes that, “For whatever reason, the Edina public schools are paying Democratic Party activists to indoctrinate their children. I wonder how many Edina residents understand this. My guess is, only a small minority. Most people believe that the public schools should be nonpartisan.”

I hope others will consider the potential consequences of Edina’s program of political indoctrination—and whether, once again, the children lose. I doubt we’ll get much objectivity from the authors of Edina’s policies, if they choose to respond at all to Kathy’s piece. If they do, it will be interesting if their reaction focuses on teaching or whether it devolves into more left-wing political zealotry.


The prolific Ms. Kersten contributed a second piece in these pages about a ground-breaking Center study that demolishes the hoary stereotype still promoted by parents, teachers and guidance counselors that a four-year college degree is the optimal path to a satisfying and financially-rewarding career. And it demolishes the stereotype that manufacturing careers are dirty, boring, repetitive tasks with no job satisfaction or opportunity for advancement.

In April, Kathy joined American Experiment’s founder Mitch Pearlstein to launch a project called “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree.” The first research product from that multi-year program, a paper written by economist Dr. Amanda Griffin, analyzed four career clusters that don’t require a fouryear degree. She discovered that median lifetime earnings for CNC machinists, dental hygienists, plumbers, electric line installers and similar occupations are 11 to 61 percent higher than those of fouryear degree holders.

This might be valuable information— albeit a little late and a little painful—for those baristas who live in their parents’ basements regretting their decision to score that $250,000 art history B.A.