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Data show Minnesota students’ achievement in decline, raising concerns about distance learning

A new American Experiment report found troubling declines in academic achievement in Minnesota, zero progress in college readiness, and persistent racial disparities, despite a well-funded education system that accounts for 41% of the state budget. The report compared years of data from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). On both sets of tests, students’ scores in reading and mathematics were stagnant or in decline. Minnesota’s racial achievement gaps also persist, according to the report, which reveals a shocking data point: Mississippi’s Black and Hispanic students outperform Minnesota’s Black and Hispanic students in both math and...

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Parents left hanging as state prescribes distance or hybrid learning for most students

Following the announcement by state officials that most students will not start the 2020 school year in classrooms full-time, Catrin Wigfall, policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment, released the following statement: “Parents have difficult decisions ahead of them now that the Walz administration has decided most students will start the school year with hybrid or distance learning. If parents had control over their children’s education funding, they could pursue any number of alternative learning models. But with the state controlling each student’s education dollars, the unique needs of families will be impacted, and health, economic and academic disparities will continue. “The Walz administration...

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SCOTUS decision paves the way for Opportunity Scholarships in Minnesota

Catrin Wigfall released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue: “For years, Minnesota’s Democratic legislators have been fighting against Opportunity Scholarships that would provide school choice for students stuck in failing public schools. One of their arguments has been that the state of Minnesota, through its Blaine Amendment, can discriminate against families who choose religious private education. The Supreme Court’s decision invalidates that argument, and gives hope to low-income and minority students who need better educational options to succeed.” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “The Blaine Amendment was ‘born of bigotry’ and ‘arose...

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Charter schools’ inclusion in lawsuit could be a disaster for minority students

(St. Paul, MN) – Katherine Kersten, Senior Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment, released a statement on the latest court ruling in the Cruz-Guzman lawsuit, which seeks a sweeping plan to sort Twin Cities students into schools on the basis of their skin color:   “Minnesotans of all political stripes agree that the racial learning gap is the most serious problem our public schools face. High-performing charter schools that place special emphasis on the needs of racial minorities have been most successful in shrinking that gap. The Cruz-Guzman lawsuit attacks the ability of these charter schools to perform their critical mission.   “The...

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Report reveals how Minnesota teachers in the classroom today have not voted in an election for exclusive representation by a union

Media Contact: Kim Crockett, Vice President & General Counsel; [email protected], 612.388.2820 (Golden Valley, MN) A report released by Center of the American Experiment uses original research to confirm that, except for a few teachers, none of Minnesota teachers in the classroom today voted in an election for exclusive representation by a union. Teachers in Minnesota’s K-12 schools are exclusively represented by a union and collective bargaining framework that has not been evaluated by teachers or lawmakers since its formal enactment in 1971. While teachers who belong to the union are eligible to vote on the contract negotiated by the union with their employer...

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Report reveals how Minnesota teachers are trapped by arbitrary union terms, forcing them to fund Education Minnesota’s partisan political spending

 Media Contact: Kim Crockett. Esq. (612.388.2820) [email protected] (Golden Valley, MN) A report released by Center of the American Experiment reveals how Minnesota teachers are trapped by arbitrary union terms, forcing them to fund Education Minnesota’s partisan political spending even after the Janus decision. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. Afscme said that public employers can no longer collect “fair-share” agency fees from employees who are not members of their workplace union. Minnesota public employers have complied with that order. The court also said that public employers and unions should not assume that employees, including people who had previously signed union cards,...

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Educated Teachers Project Launches Statewide Information Campaign

A new project being launched on National Teacher Appreciation Day, Educated Teachers MN aims to inform and empower Minnesota K-12 educators by raising awareness of a U.S. Supreme Court case widely expected to end the forced payment of union dues and fees by teachers and other government employees as a condition of employment. In 2016-2017 Education Minnesota collected over $50 million in dues and fees from 75,000 teachers statewide that were used for collective bargaining, lobbying and advancing the union’s political agenda. But Education Minnesota, AFSCME-5 and other statewide public employee unions are already bracing for the potential loss of thousands of...

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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. The magazine can be downloaded here. In addition to its usual circulation, the magazine will be delivered to every residential mailbox...

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MN Education Dept. to Approve Radical Transgender School Guidelines  

On July 19, a Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) council will vote on the adoption of a “transgender toolkit” for our state’s K-12 public schools. The tool kit pressures schools to allow transgender or gender non-conforming students to choose whatever bathrooms, locker rooms and athletic teams align with their “gender identity.” (pp. 9-10) Students can gain access to the facilities and teams of the opposite sex even if they are only “socially,” not “medically transitioning.”  (p. 4) But the toolkit does much more. For example, it threatens parental rights in an unprecedented way by encouraging schools to report parents who are not...

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Transgender Toolkit for MN Schools Based on Controversial Obama Rule

A controversial transgender and gender nonconforming “resource toolkit” drafted by the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) School Safety and Technical Assistance Council recently caught the attention of 67 Minnesota legislators. The 29 page document — “Toolkit to Ensure Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” — purports to be a compilation of “best practices that schools can use" to address gender identity. The toolkit is based on a controversial Title IX transgender policy imposed by the Obama administration that is no longer in effect. MDE insists the package should be viewed as advisory in nature only. “The toolkit does not serve as guidance, direction,...

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