Many parents attended a recent school board meeting for ISD 728, which includes Elk River, Ostego, Rogers, and Zimmerman, speaking out to oppose critical race theory. The parents who spoke at the June 14 school board meeting were opposed to the implementation of critical race theory in school curriculum.
Jack Johnson, a concerned parent, said that he understood that critical race theory and ideas surrounding racial equity were being “introduced into our schools in one way or another.” He went on to say that he disagreed with such a move because it “teaches our BIPOC students that they are starting from a place with less than other children and it teaches them that they are not capable to achieve and be successful on their own without a third party leveling the playing field and giving them something.”
Johnson said that at school, children should be taught “behaviors and attitudes that are appropriate to life in our society.” He went on to say that he does not believe Critical Race Theory is a proper reflection of acceptable behaviors and attitudes.
Another speaker at the school board meeting, who is also the co-lead for the Concerned About ISD 728 group, Wendy Nelson, said that she believes that critical race theory is divisive and detrimental.
Wendy Nelson, the co-lead for Concerned About ISD 728, the group of concerned parents that is standing against critical race theory, told The Sun in an interview that District 728 has an equity program that “raises some red flags” but that she does not believe they are as far down the spectrum as some Minnesota schools already are.
Nelson also said that it is important to look at the academic performance of other schools where curriculum and programs that align with critical race theory have been implemented. She told The Minnesota Sun that “in 2013 the Edina School District adopted something called ‘All for All,’ where the district completely radicalized its educational philosophy to view everything through the lens of color.” She continued by saying that those who are questioning should “look at the changes in the academic performance of this district that occurred as a result. In just a few years after adopting this critical race theory model, Edina District, which was 5th academically in MN, dropped to 29th academically by 2017.”
She also shared with The Sun that their superintendent is willing to listen and participate in discussions, but that has led to the parents needing to cover a lot of ground researching and gathering data. Nelson said that there were three main things that they found across the board in their research: “the main pillars that make all people successful regardless of race are family structure, access to high quality academics and labor force participation.”
“Typically, the superintendents and board members really have no idea what’s behind a lot of the programs that come their way as they are marketed to sound like rainbows and kittens.” Nelson continued.
She also said that one of the biggest issues that they face is the State Board of Education. “Even if the superintendent and board members fully wake up to the insidiousness of CRT, the State Board of Education ultimately has control of our school systems and it has been infiltrated with some pretty radical folks.”
Nelson said that the Concerned About ISD 728 group has 110 families involved and that they are hoping to get to 500 families by the end of the next school year.
Watch the meeting:
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]