As former educators and the Republican leads on the House Education Policy and Education Finance committees, we have dedicated our lives to making sure that Minnesota’s students are equipped with the tools needed for successful futures.
Decisions that directly impact students should be made on the local level through school boards that are held accountable by parents in your community. The State of Minnesota plays an important role in funding schools and setting high education standards, but often tries to go beyond that mission.
The state should not be pushing radical agendas and trying to dictate politically driven curriculum and learning materials. Yet, the Minnesota Department of Education under Governor Walz and the DFL in the House are all in on pushing political agendas instead of focusing on keeping our schools open this fall and addressing a year’s worth of lost learning.
This agenda is commonly referred to as Critical Race Theory. In practice, however, this “theory” as implemented by the DFL is not about teaching the inherent and inexplicable horrors of racism, or how bias leads to disparate and unfair outcomes in education, health care, housing, or the economy.
Instead, their agenda promotes that capitalism, our constitutional republic, and other American institutions are fundamentally racist systems, and therefore, anyone promoting free markets or defending American patriotism is supporting a racist worldview. A common theme to their agenda is the so-called “myth of merit” where achievement is predetermined rather than earned.
Imagine a curriculum that teaches our children that character and hard work are immaterial to success or a history class where George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the villains to be torn down.
In their zeal to promote their version of “critical race theory”, the Minnesota Department of Education released the first draft of the social studies standards and forgot to mention the Holocaust. So focused on their political agenda, they proposed exploring “systemic racism” without the Holocaust. This is not surprising when their agenda is not about teaching race or diversity.
We suspect these oversights in the proposed social studies standards will be corrected, but only because they are so egregious even the DFL cannot ignore them. Yet, it remains an important lesson that parents and school boards need to be actively engaged in the process. It remains an important lesson that when political agendas supersede academic rigor, historical facts and perspectives will be overlooked when they do not fit the political narrative.
At the state level, we are committed to academic rigor and limiting the role of the state to setting a high bar of excellence where merit still matters while unleashing local innovation within our schools through our communities.
Parents are their children’s first and most important educators. When you have concerns about curriculum and instructional materials it is your right to be an active participant in the local process in shaping the curriculum and choosing the learning materials.
Over the past year, some have grown too comfortable with the Minnesota Department of Education acting as the state’s school board. That needs to end now, and that means parents, not state commissioners deciding what is best for our children.