Reporter Mike Knaak’s Dec. 23 column titled “For school boards, it’s time for solutions, not slogans,” claims the equity work started in Sartell ISD 748 was designed to “provide quality education regardless of race, religion, gender identity or economic background.” If that claim were true, this would have never become controversial, but the devil is in the details, isn’t it?
Educational equity is ALWAYS evaluated by comparing statistical outcomes between racial or identity groups. Unequal outcomes are considered valid proof of racial discrimination and/or identity oppression. In order to achieve equity, “anti-racist discrimination” is called for by equity activists like Ibram X. Kendi. “Anti-racist discrimination” is nothing more than real discrimination used to achieve a predetermined outcome. This discrimination is antithetical to true equality of opportunity and crushes the winsome human spirit. The equity work in Sartell has been opposed by parents precisely because it hurts students and distracts them from learning. Student test scores began sliding before the COVID-19 disruptions, we need not obfuscate that simple fact.
Knaak described the Equity Alliance of MN audit commissioned by the Sartell-St. Stephen school board but did not mention the audit lacked proper scientific methods, produced no statistically significant data and cost $80,000. Additionally, the district violated state law, federal law and district policy related to student surveys by not obtaining proper consent. And yet, until stopped by parents, the district was determined to continue.
Knaak described a “sweeping action plan” put into place by Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover. He neglected to say this plan was the product of a hand-selected committee made in secret by district administration and was structured to purposefully avoid open and public meetings. Parents expressing concerns were intentionally shut out of this process, having only two representatives on a 90-person committee.
The election of three new board members running on the slogan “putting parents back into the equation” does not mean student concerns will be neglected; it means it is at last time to prepare a seat at the table for parents as well!