MEA conference includes Critical Race Theory workshop

It’s MEA weekend in Minnesota, which means schools statewide cancel two days of learning in deference to the annual meeting of Education Minnesota, the state’s most powerful public employee union.

Districts are not required to observe MEA, but most do, and have the two days off already built into future school year calendars.

Pegged as a professional development conference, the Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) is sponsored by Education Minnesota and is open only to union members and aspiring educators. While traditionally a two-day event, the conference has been permanently shortened to one day (Thursday).

So, what do teachers (who attend) learn during MEA? Here is a list of the live workshops.

It’s worth noting that sessions do include classroom management strategies, enhancing STEM curriculum, best practices for teaching reading and math, etc., which is good considering that the majority of Minnesota students aren’t meeting reading and math standards.

But the union couldn’t resist sprinkling in sessions on social justice and Critical Race Theory.

“Social justice through a Critical Race Theory lens”

Participants will hear “a response to the critique of critical race theory to refute and discharge that criticism” and learn what “critical race” education is, “its main tenets, what within social justice education it addresses and accomplishes,” and “what analysis and perspectives it draws our attention to that need to be addressed.”

(But Critical Race Theory isn’t being taught in schools, right?)

“Recognizing and combating antisemitism in schools”

Participants in this training “will learn about the basic tenents [sic] of Judaism, the roots of antisemitism and specific tools to help disrupt this alarming culture of hate.”

This sounds like a great session, and I recommend union organizer Janette Corcelius with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, a local affiliate of Education Minnesota, attend. Corcelius tweeted support of the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America’s incendiary pro-Hamas statement and posted on Facebook the call to arms for activists, “[To] the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which the American Jewish Committee notes is antisemitic.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who is leading an MEA workshop on how educators can increase their awareness of bias-based behavior in schools, has also called out “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as antisemitic.

Out of roughly 73,000 active union members (teachers and education support professionals) and 4,800 aspiring educator members, MEA attendance is expected to be around 2,000 or so, according to Education Minnesota vice president Monica Byron.