Public School Enrollment Continues to Fall in Minnesota

Private and charter schools are the beneficiaries of a continued decline in Minnesota public school enrollment.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Education’s annual report shows that compared to the 2020-21 school year, roughly 2,000 fewer students were enrolled in public schools for the 2021-22 school year.

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Minnesota Department of Education Proposed Academic Standards Emphasize ‘Cultural Perspectives’ in Math

For the 2021-22 school year, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has been conducting a review and revision of its K-12 academic standards in mathematics as required by state law.

The math standards committee is comprised of 39 people — including parents, teachers, school administrators, school board members, university faculty, and members of the business community — from “varying perspectives and backgrounds.” One of their most notable revisions emphasizes Native American “representations” in public school math courses.

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The Minnesota Department of Education Was Battling Two Nonprofits for Years Before the Alleged Free Food Scandal Broke

The Jan. 20 FBI raids on Feeding Our Future was just the latest escalation in a war between the state agency and two networks of nonprofits operating food giveaways to low-income children. The state Department of Education (MDE) has been battling Feeding Our Future and the related nonprofit Partners in Nutrition (aka Partners in Quality Care) in and out of court going back at least as far as 2017.

MDE oversees locally two federal government free-food programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Those two programs are meant to supplement the better-known school lunch program and provide meals to children at times they are not in class — after school and during summers, respectively.

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Gov. Walz’s Education Department Lobbied Against Measure to Remove Violent Students from Classrooms

Minnesota schools are struggling with an increase in student violence, yet Gov. Tim Walz’s Department of Education (MDE) lobbied against a measure to quell the chaos.

Rochester schools are “taken over with violence,” a fight between students at Hopkins High School recently left three staff members with injuries, and ISD 728 is accused of not cracking down on student-on-student sexual abuse. Meanwhile, Rochester is banning parents who don’t wear masks from school grounds for a year, a St. Louis Park Catholic school has rolled out a new “social justice algebra” class, and some other schools are moving back to “distance learning.” Critics say that spending time and money on initiatives like these distracts from what schools should be focused on: stopping classroom violence.

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New Minnesota House Republican Caucus Raises Concerns About New K-12 Standards in Social Studies

Boy sitting in a library, reading a book

  Minnesota’s New House Republican Caucus raised concerns about the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) newly released draft of their K-12 Academic Standards about social studies. They took issue with the curriculum outlined under the social studies section titled “Ethnic Studies.” One statement, categorized under the heading “resistance,” says that…

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Rally Opposing Mandates for Kids Takes Place Outside Minnesota Department of Education

A rally opposing mandates for kids took place outside the Minnesota Department of Education building in Roseville, Minnesota on Wednesday. The rally, organized by Mark Bishofsky, had around 200 attendees. Bishofsky has organized several other protests in the last few months, hosting one of the largest Stop The Mandate protests at the Minnesota State Capitol. 

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Minnesota Launches Program to Help Students Struggling to Meet Educational Standards

Two girls in a classroom, working

Minnesota is launching a program to help students struggling to meet educational standards after a year of “education disruption” due to COVID. The program is called Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success (COMPASS) and will be providing students individualized support in struggle areas.

The press release from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) reads that the program will “accelerate learning by meeting students’ academic, social-emotional and mental health needs as Minnesota school communities continue to navigate the pandemic.”

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Minnesota Department of Health Recommends School Aged Children Test ‘at Least’ Weekly for COVID

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has recommended that school aged children test at least weekly for COVID. Local districts can choose to take part in the program offering on-site testing at elementary schools and receive a grant to fund it.

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Proposed Minnesota Social Studies Curriculum Embraces Critical Race Theory

The proposed changes to Minnesota’s social studies curriculum would embrace Critical Race Theory. According to the Center for the American Experiment, “The Critical Race Theory framework can be found throughout the second draft of the social studies standards.”

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St. Paul School District May Close Schools Due to Low Enrollment

St. Paul School District

The St. Paul School District is considering closing some schools as enrollment is low. “School board members are listening to the most recent update on how to make schools more equitable in resources and programs,” FOX 9 reported.

The district says that there will not be enough students to fill classrooms, so in the interest of best utilizing resources, they are considering closing some elementary schools. This is not an issue isolated in St. Paul. In fact, schools statewide are experiencing losses of students. Federal data suggests that public school enrollment in Minnesota has gone down by over 17,000 students. Homeschooling rates have increased dramatically, along with a slight increase in private school enrollment.

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Social Justice Favorites Including LGBT+, Climate Change Take a Prominent Role in the New Draft of Social Studies Standards in Minnesota

Minnesota’s newly proposed social studies standards for public schools place significant emphasis on race, gender, climate change and LGBT issues.

Under the first draft of the proposed standards, students will be asked to “develop a respectful awareness about how ideas and norms about gender have changed over time,” accept that “some forms of slavery continued even after emancipation” and learn how the “fight for social justice” continues today.

Students will also be asked to “analyze how resistance movements in the U.S. have organized and responded to oppression,” and “imagine and work toward an equitable and caring future” in keeping with the social justice model.

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Majority of Minnesota Parents Say They Are Comfortable Sending Children Back to School in Fall

A survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education found that the majority of parents would feel comfortable sending their children back to school this fall.

Between June 15 and July 6, the agency collected more than 130,000 responses to the informal survey, which was offered in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. A total of 64 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable sending their children back to school in September. Of that 64 percent, 94 percent said they would send their children back to school full time.

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Jason Lewis Says Parents Should Be Refunded for Property Taxes If Schools Don’t Reopen

Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis said parents should be refunded for property tax payments and tuition if schools aren’t allowed to reopen in the fall.

“The more we learn about COVID, the more it becomes apparent that we have done a huge disservice to our children in the way we have handled this virus. Research has proven that COVID presents minimal risks to young people. But what isn’t minimal is the toll this prolonged lockdown and social isolation has on our kids’ social, mental, and physical well-being,” Lewis said in a statement released Wednesday.

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Eden Prairie School Board Member Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ Lack of Direction from Walz Admin on Upcoming School Year

An Eden Prairie School Board member broke his silence Monday after learning that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) won’t be releasing state guidance on the upcoming academic year until July 27.

Three scenarios are possible for the 2020-21 school year, including continued distance learning, the resumption of in-person instruction, or a mix of the two.

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Minnesota Bills Would Create Grant Program to Make ‘School Climate and Curriculum More Inclusive’

A set of companion bills were introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate last week that would establish “Inclusive School Enhancement Grants” to make “schools’ curriculum and learning and work environments more inclusive.” House File (HF) 824 and Senate File (SF) 1012 were introduced Feb. 7, and referred to their…

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