EDINA, Minn. – The Edina Public Schools district has seen its students’ performance slipping in recent years, and the Center for the American Experiment knows where it finds the blame.
In a new report, the Center examines a series of policies and incidents occurring at schools in Edina which it attributes to the decline of students’ proficiencies on tests. From 2014 to 2016 for example, the percentage of students proficient dropped from 79 percent to 66 percent.
Titled “Whose Values? Educational excellence threatened by ideology in Edina schools,” the report will be published in the Center’s Fall issue of the Thinking Minnesota magazine. It is penned by Katherine Kersten, a Senior Policy Fellow at the Center, and was previously a long serving columnist for the Star Tribune.
“Instead of giving Edina students the intellectual tools necessary to thrive in the 21st century, Edina public school leaders are increasingly using limited school time to indoctrinate students in left-wing political orthodoxies,” Kersten says in her article.
Examples in the report include teachers telling students that President Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election was “worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting” and that it was a rigged election.
Kersten argues that political attitudes, including ones focused on race, have diverted attention away from students and their achievements. Reading, writing, and critical thinking have been left behind in favor of ideologically tainted learning materials.
“Edina High School is consumed by a hyper-focus on left-wing identity politics,” writes Kersten. “The epicenter may be the school’s English/Language Arts department. The focus there goes beyond racial issues to an angry, male-bashing feminism and a smorgasbord of left-wing ideological hobby horses. Students hear repeated calls for social justice, activism and resistance from many of their English teachers.”
Kersten identified the move to increased focus on politics over education as starting in 2012. In 2014 Edina High School ranked fifth in reading proficiency and 10th in math proficiency according to data from the Minnesota Department of Education. Now those rankings are 29th and 40th respectively.