Political indoctrination in Edina schools
by Steve Timmer
Nov 1, 2017, 9:00 PM

Suck it up, boys

On the SD49GOP website, a fellow named Randy Sutter, who I suspect is Barbara “Quite Frankly” Sutter’s husband (Barbara being an SD49GOP functionary (now state party treasurer) and sometimes candidate from Bloomington), lit into me with another bag of feathers over the letter I wrote which was published in the October 19th edition of the Edina Sun Current.

It was about, for those of you who have just awakened from a really, really long nap, the racist electioneering efforts of the SD49GOP and the Center of the American Experiment to assist three candidates in the upcoming Edina school board race.

I wrote about this in painful detail – even for me – very recently. But I want to address Sutter’s bellowing complaints directly. Here are his points.

I didn’t address any of Kersten’s points

Well, first, you get 350 words max in a letter to the editor in the Sun Current. If you want to read more, please go to the link just above.

But more importantly, Kersten neither made nor proved any points. She just wailed incoherently in her charming, fearmongering way for about eleven pages. It was just a bewildering (intentionally, at least I hope so; I’d hate to think that was the product of somebody trying to be coherent) stroll through a series of logical fallacies. The Kersten piece was included in an expensive (I’ve heard estimates of $60,000) mailing to all of the residents of Edina. (Update: Others have told me that $60,000 is probably well short of the mark.)

Mike Ebnet made the same argument in his letter, complaining about mine, which was published in the October 26th issue of the Sun Current. (It’s linked in the story linked immediately above.)

You would think from the complaints of Sutter and Ebnet that Kersten had proven that diversity and equity programs such as “All for All” at the Edina schools had caused a decrease in academic performance. But she didn’t prove it, and she admits it in remarks quoted by the Sun Current in its October 12th issue:

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.]

I had, and have, no obligation to prove a negative. Apparently, Sutter and Ebnet want me to help Kersten with her argument, assume what she was trying to prove, and then try to knock it down.

That’s not the way it works, boys.

It was unfair for me to say Michaelson, Bell, and Deri received material support from SD49GOP, CAE and the Koch Brothers

There was one inaccurate thing in my letter. I should have included the highly-partisan (see, I can write that, too, Randy) Bradley Foundation, as well, as indirect supporters of these three. The Bradley Foundation is a funder of the CAE, too. If anything, it is more focused on the destruction of public education than the Koch Brothers.

The current crop of Kochs and Bradleys are the spawn of a couple of guys who started the John Birch Society.

You can read more about the dark money enterprise to destroy public education, not just in Edina, but around the country in Sarah Lahm’s terrific new article in AlterNet, The New Red Scare: Right Wing Accuses Public Schools of Indoctrinating Kids.

Oh, they didn’t seek out the support, wails Randy. Given the state of electioneering law in Minnesota, we’ll never find out, but the candidates clearly did receive the support because of the CAE’s enabling. Michaelson, Bell, and Deri are just the local foot soldiers in a national effort to undermine public education.

These three showed up at an SD49GOP gathering in late September where CAE’s president, John Hinderaker, was the headliner. He was clearly briefing the BPOU and the candidates about what was up, if they didn’t know already. The candidates were given a chance to speak and bask in the reflected glory of the CAE. It would be great to know what they said.

Almost the moment the Kersten piece dropped, SD49GOP operatives were cackling about it, which you can read about in my earlier piece on the subject, Multiculturalism is the root of all evil. So they knew about it.

One of the Republican candidates, Owen Michaelson, has a tagline “Education First” with a check mark on his lawn signs, a clear dog whistle to Kersten’s fearmongering. I can’t remember for sure, but I think his lawn signs started to go up before the Kersten piece was distributed.

Other organizations support or endorse candidates, why can’t we?

Well, for one thing, they aren’t political parties. Oh, I know that you have the constitutional right to do that. A party brand is useful; useful enough, in fact, that candidates will sometimes claim an endorsement they don’t even have.

But I think nonpartisan ought to mean something, certainly in a school board race, or judicial races, for that matter. Not to Republicans, though.

The candidates did not coordinate with the party or the CAE

We’ve gone over this one pretty well already: a speaking gig with the CAE, a spot on a party webpage, a premade set of talking points, and a mailing that swamps all of the other spending of the other candidates combined. This is a laugher.

Steve Timmer is a partisan meanie

Highly partisan, in fact, according to Randy. And I write for a blog! Mike Ebnet made the same complaint in almost the same words. As you might imagine, this is my favorite one.

Suck it up, boys. You sound like seventh graders.

You should also remember that the highly-partisan blogger didn’t turn the school board election into partisan politics. You did.

Harry Truman had the definitive word on this one. “I never give the Republicans hell. I just tell the truth on them and they think it’s hell.” …

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