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Political indoctrination in Edina schools
by Steve Timmer
Oct 13, 2017, 4:30 PM

Multiculturalism is the root of all evil

 According to Katherine Kersten and the Center of the American Experiment

On Friday, the sixth of October, Halloween — and Friday the 13th — arrived early in the sleepy suburb of Edina with an orange and black magazine-like apparition that arrived unbidden in every mailbox or on every doorstep in town, at obvious expense. It claimed to be worth $4.95, but we all got it free! I really suspect everyone who ever got “Thinking Minnesota” from the Center of (online grammar checker says: “for,” you fool) the American Experience got it free; there are no circulation statistics provided. It’s just their house organ. But they spent a lot of money on the paper, I will give them that.

The reason that everyone got their own free copy was that it contained an article from Katherine Kersten’s special bile-ink pen on one of her favorite and most serviceable themes: multiculturalism is the root of all evil. Perhaps the CAE needed the sturdy paper to stand up to the bile. The timing of the distribution of the article was no coincidence, as we shall see.

The thrust of the Kersten piece was that themes of diversity and social equality are ruining the Edina schools and creating gulags of political intimidation and re-education. It was even said in a tagline on the cover of the “magazine” that: Educational excellence threatened by ideology in Edina schools; Kersten blamed the liberal ideological environment for a decrease in student scores.

The article was also published online; you can read it here. Last weekend, a condensed version of the article appeared in the Star Tribune.

In a terrific rebuttal of Kersten’s article, Edina junior Charles Heineke wrote a counterpoint to Kersten that was published in the paper earlier this week. It won a Spotty™ here yesterday.

The president of the CAE, John Hinderaker, offered some comments about the Kersten article that you can read at the first link above. They included this:

Hinderaker quote

There was a time when John Hinderaker knew how to make a record and prove things, but that day has apparently passed. First off, the premise is silly. Second, he makes the logical error of assuming that correlation proves causation. There is another logical fallacy at work here, too: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. It simply does not follow that a statistic blip in one year’s district test scores was caused by earlier diversity education.

Even Kersten admits this:

In an interview with the Sun Current, Kersten admitted, “We’re not saying correlation is causation. We’re just saying take a look at this. Think about this. [And vote Republican, says Katie.] This is a very interesting development.” [You can’t call your own development “interesting,” Katie; it’s just puffery.]

Of course, she is saying it in her own turgid, polemical way. And John Hinderaker — who ain’t from around here, by the way — is too.

If your dog is not howling after you read the Hinderaker and Kersten quotes aloud, you might want to get its hearing checked.

There was another interesting bit in the Sun Current article that I was not aware of until recently:

The same topic was the subject of a Sept. 26 gathering organized by the Senate District 49 GOP. There, John Hinderaker, president of the Center for [of] the American Experience, gave a presentation that largely mirrored Kersten’s article. Hinderaker estimated that about 120 people attended the talk.

Included in that crowd were three candidates for Edina School Board: [Owen] Michaelson, Chad Bell, and Faisal Deri, each of whom got up in front of fellow attendees to make brief remarks.

These are the three candidates who are, not coincidentally, endorsed by the SD49GOP in the nonpartisan school board race. The whole CAE effort is electioneering and it is coordinated with the Republican-endorsed candidates. If you are repulsed by this, and I think you should be, don’t vote for Owen Michaelson, Chad Bell, or Faisal Deri.

Kersten writes with what could be described as a sophomoric viciousness. She has a long-standing and bilious antipathy to public schools and has kept it remarkably fresh for somebody who never really had kids in the Edina Public Schools.

The core issue here is as old as public schools themselves. When children go off to school, they are exposed to new friends and new ideas that parents cannot completely control; some parents find this enormously threatening. (If you don’t believe that, read about how one school is removing To Kill a Mockingbird from its library because it makes some people “uncomfortable.”) But school is where children learn about and explore their free agency, critical to becoming functioning and thinking adults in a participatory democracy.

Ideas do threaten Kersten unless they come out of her own conservative catechism.

Further update 10/15/17: There’s another article about Kersten’s molotov cocktail in the Strib this morning: Sunday the 15th, mostly about community reaction. My favorite quote, though, was from Kersten herself:

Kersten, a former Star Tribune columnist, said she was not aware of the school board race while writing the article.

 “There is nothing in there that talks about the importance of this election,” she said.

A carefully cultivated and curated reputation for truth-telling [chortle] goes up in a puff of sulfurous yellow smoke. Kersten’s statements don’t merely beggar belief: they rob it with a six-gun.

Don’t forget, readers, the CAE’s entire electioneering effort was kicked off by a briefing by the CAE on September 26th, with three Republican-featured candidates in attendance.

Update 10/14/17: The SD49GOP has been cackling about and pushing this story since it came out. If you don’t believe this is simple, racist electioneering, you are not paying attention. Barbara Mura-Sutter has been an office holder in and candidate for the SD49GOP.

And just for the record, here’s the full cover to the CAE propaganda piece:

thinking minnesota sized

CAE’s electioneering “magazine”


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