The state of Minnesota will soon require all teachers to address trans-identified students by their stated gender identity and to embrace controversial ideologies on race.
A new set of “Permanent Rules Relating to Licensing and Academic Standards” for teachers in the state is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2025.
The new rules, which critics say completely overhaul the “Standards of Effective Practice,” contain multiple passages indicating teachers are expected to affirm “students’ background and identities.” Educators must commit to affirming various and “diverse perspectives on race, culture, language, sexual identity, ability,” etc., in the classroom in order to be licensed teachers.
A standard on student learning has been amended to read, “The teacher understands that students bring asset for learning based on their individual experiences, abilities, talents, prior learning, and peer and social group interactions, as well as language, culture, family, and community values, and approaches their work and students with this asset-based mindset, affirming the validity of students’ backgrounds and identities.”
The amendment maintains that teachers must create “opportunities for students to learn about power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression in the context of various communities” and teaching their students to act as “agents of social change to promote equality.”
Teachers are expected to understand “the diverse impacts of individual and systemic trauma,” including “racism, and micro and macro aggressions, on learning and development” and embrace “culturally responsive strategies and resources to address these impacts.”
The new standards come as teachers in other states have been suspended and taken their cases to court after refusing on religious grounds to embrace an LGBTQ ideology that contradicts their sincerely held religious beliefs about sex and gender. While most of the policies many parents and citizens find concerning are implemented at the local level by school boards, the new standards for Minnesota teachers are issued by the state.
Christian scholars and at least one parental rights group say the new standards will “embed basic Marxist principles” into all Minnesota schools.
In an op-ed published in Alpha News, Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary Adjunct Professor Allen Quist, and Julie Quist, chair of the Minnesota parents rights advocacy group The Child Protection League, issued this warning:
“Standard Marxist principles and dogma divide people into opposing groups so that students and teachers must view themselves not as individuals, but as members of groups—oppressor groups or oppressed groups, and oppressed groups must be liberated from the exploitation of their oppressors. When formally adopted, the new requirements must be met to become or remain licensed to teach in Minnesota.”
Catrin Wigfall, a policy fellow at the Minnesota-based conservative think tank Center of the American Experiment, called the rules bad policy.
“American Experiment believes the proposed rule changes to the Standards of Effective Practice (both those approved and modified) are bad policy, politicizing teacher training requirements by using language that is political and ideological, not academic,” Wigfall wrote.
“These proposed rule changes drew overwhelming public opposition throughout the 2022 public hearing and comment periods—from teachers, education specialists, parents, legal centers, and many others.”
She claims the new policy will impact teacher candidates completing their initial licensure program, existing teachers seeking an initial Tier 3 license and teacher preparation providers.
Ryan MacPherson, a history professor and director of Apologetics and Worldview Studies at Bethany Lutheran College, contends that the new Minnesota standards mean that teachers “must personally advocate critical race theory and transgender ideology” to be licensed by the state.
He warned that education departments at colleges and universities “must document their fulfillment of the new standards” or risk having their program certification rescinded by Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board. He added that teachers must “positively affirm extremist leftist positions about human nature and sexual practices in order to be allowed to teach in government schools.”
“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,'” MacPherson wrote for The Federalist. “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.”
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