Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota, has come under fire this week over a new mandatory english course that aims to eradicate “white privilege.”
Katherine Kersten, a senior policy fellow for the Center of the American Experiment, discovered that the public Edina High School adopted an english course in 2013 that focuses on the the topics of colonization, immigration, and social constructions of race, class, and gender.
According to Kersten, the course “constitutes an abuse of parents’ trust, taxpayers’ money and — most importantly — vulnerable children,” she said. “Edina citizens should hold district leaders accountable for substituting political indoctrination for a real education.”
Kerstein and the Minnesota-based Center for the American Experiment began looking into the teaching practices of Edina High School after the school faced a backlash following the 2016 presidential election. According to parents, 80 staff members co-signed a statement that condemned President Trump and expressed support for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.
“Many of you [students] have made clear … that right now, you don’t feel physically safe,” the statement read. “Know that we will do all that we can … to fight for you,” and that “we will teach rebellion against a broken world.”
English teacher Jackie Roehl, who helped to design the courses, argues that high school students should embrace critical race theory, a controversial social justice theory that is popular on college campuses.
“Understanding Critical race theory was a significant reason behind our school taking another step on our equity journey — incorporating a study of Critical race theory into our sophomore English classes,” Roehl wrote. “English teachers felt that our district’s mission to give all learners the ‘ethical values necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society’ could not be fully met without explicit discussions of race, racism, and Whiteness.”
Male students who have taken the course say they were constantly humiliated. On the popular teacher feedback site, “RateMyProfessor,” one student wrote the class should be renamed, “Why White Males Are Bad, and How Oppressive They Are.”
“The Edina schools’ new race-based ideology undermines all students’ ability to think creatively and critically — that is, to think freely,” Kersten added. “Students are learning to parrot orthodoxy back to teachers and to look nervously over their shoulders in case the authorities catch them in a forbidden thought or a ‘microaggression.’ They are learning that, at school, a top priority must be to please those in power. Disturbingly, some parents say that their children appear to see nothing out of the ordinary in this.”