BY: RYAN MACPHERSON | JANUARY 10, 2023
Minnesota’s teaching licensure board will soon require all teachers to be card-carrying Marxists. The card will literally say “licensed teacher,” but recently approved revisions redefine state licensure in expressly Marxist terms: Academic knowledge is out, and power struggle among the classes is in. To be licensed in Minnesota starting in 2025, every teacher must not merely teach about, but personally advocate, the core tenets of critical race theory and transgender ideology.
The state’s insistence that every teacher positively affirm homosexual behaviors and transgendered identities understandably aggravates consciences among moral traditionalists, but the issues run deeper than the “culture war.” What is at stake is the nature of knowledge, the future of liberty, and the prospects for a sustainable social order. In a word: civilization.
A perfunctory hearing on Aug. 24, 2022, and the resulting order for implementation with slight revisions by a solitary administrative judge in December cemented the new regime. The revised Standards of Effective Practice require radical changes to teachers’ curriculum selection, classroom management style, and self-understanding of the teaching vocation. The education departments at colleges and universities also must document their fulfillment of the new standards or else have their program certifications rescinded by Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).
The new requirements require teachers to positively affirm extremist leftist positions about human nature and sexual practices in order to be allowed to teach in government schools.
The revisions represent only the latest attack against American heritage in Minnesota’s public schools. In 2013, the state education department successfully removed the four presidents featured on Mount Rushmore from social studies standards.
Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan also got the ax that year, as did the Magna Carta. References to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were relativized, as students were to be instructed that those documents do not contain universal principles of ordered liberty, but merely the opinion of one powerful group of 18th-century men.
A decade later, the vanguard has advanced again. The revised teacher licensing rules strike the following from the mathematics standards: “addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages.” They insert this for teachers of all subjects: “The teacher fosters an environment that ensures student identities such as race/ethnicity, national origin, language, sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical/developmental/emotional ability, socioeconomic class, and religious beliefs are historically and socially contextualized, affirmed, and incorporated into a learning environment where students are empowered to learn and contribute as their whole selves.”
It no longer suffices simply to discuss the controversies of radical reform; teachers and students must also become advocates for change: “The teacher creates opportunities for students to learn about power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression in the context of various communities and empowers learners to be agents of social change to promote equity.” Minnesota’s Scandinavian ancestors must be turning over in their graves at this new smorgasbord of Marxist truffles.
The PELSB’s “Statement of Necessity and Reasonableness” for the licensure changes draws support from two states just as blue as Minnesota. From New York, PELSB gleans: “Inclusive curriculum and assessment … works toward dismantling systems of biases and inequities, and decentering dominant ideologies in education.” In Illinois, each teacher must internalize a Marxist mentalité: “The culturally responsive teacher and leader will explore their own intersecting identities, how they were developed, and how they impact daily experience of the world.”
Illinois has expressly abandoned what Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, called “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” In place of objective truth, “what is seen as ‘correct’ is most often based on our lived experiences.” As in New York, so also in Illinois — and soon in Minnesota — all teachers must practice what cultural Marxists preach: “Assess how their biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice and how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc.).”
Back in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, conservative watchdogs encouraged citizens to participate in open forums and public hearings, which fomented large protests against the licensure revisions, to no avail. The ever-active Child Protection League, the stalwart Center of the American Experiment, and a 2021 start-up called the Foundation against Intolerance and Racism sounded the alarm.
But to whom? Neither the people nor their elected officials decided the matter. A solitary administrative judge, appointed by the governor, ordered the implementation of the radical licensure changes after merely recommending a few tweaks.
The labyrinth of administrative procedure affords limited opportunity for appeal, but one can hope that a teacher, a parent, or a teacher-preparation college will petition for declaratory relief. If nothing else, PELSB’s radical rewriting of human nature smacks of a state-imposed religion, in violation of the First Amendment’s no establishment clause, not to mention the dereliction of duty when schools jettison mainstream academic content in favor of extremist ideology.
If recourse to the courts should fail, another remedy remains, modeled for the free world in Norway in 1942. When the National Socialists ordered parents to enroll their children in indoctrination camps with just three weeks’ notice and required all school teachers to implement a Nazi curriculum, the people simply would not have it. Five out of every six teachers resigned.
A similar proportion of parents flooded the Norwegian education bureau with letters — literally, laundry baskets full of letters — registering their protests. Adolf Hitler’s henchmen were grossly outnumbered, and the Nazis’ outward control of state agencies never penetrated to the hearts and minds of the people. The fusion of Viking blood with Lutheran “here I stand” courage made otherwise docile Norwegians invincible. Whether the Minnesotans can muster similar resolve soon will become evident to all.