letter to editor stock art typewriter and notebook

The 2018 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment is out and shows two disturbing trends. The statewide graduation rate remains flat and Minnesota has the highest achievement gap nationwide. Taxpayers cannot be impressed. This may be reflected in the outcome for pending referendums — including one for the Eastern Carver County School District 112.

I watched Dr. Mohammed Khalifa deliver his recent "equity audit" summary to the District 112 School Board. His presentation contained many abstract concepts. Surprisingly, no member asked whether implementing "equity training" has a successful performance record.

But we do have an indicator of how "Culturally Responsive Training" and "Critical Race Theory" performed locally. A 2010 Minneapolis Public School (MPS) "equity audit" created a baseline of achievement between white and non-white students. After five years, an analysis has been completed. The results show dismal improvement. Comparing white to non-white performance, the reading gap is 51%, math is 52% and the graduation rate is 20%.

A Sept. 12 article in the Star Tribune detailed how MPS Superintendent Ed Graff is planning to address the persistent education gap. Sweeping changes are contemplated to remove remaining racist practices, he said. Remarkably, poor student performance is now tied to "racism." Evidently, the concept of "personal responsibility" has been expelled.

A foundational premise of Dr. Khalifa is that students from various cultures learn differently. Therefore, educators must adjust their strategy for each unit of instruction. In a mixed culture classroom, how is that possible? Which culture do you teach to? Intuitively this appears to be inefficient, thus leading to unacceptable results.

Equity advocates deliver more than questionable scholastic policies. "Disparate impact" occurs when policies result in different outcomes — an indicator of discrimination. At issue is not equality of treatment, but equality of outcome. This squarely blames teachers and administrators for all racial gaps — from discipline to test scores.

Mary Leizinger (Carver County DFL chair) wrote in the Chaska Herald/Chanhassen Villager on Aug. 15 that "overtly racist" behavior exists throughout Carver County schools. Is this an omen for future "equity audits"?

Moreover, the recent ruling on the Cruz-Guzman vs. state of Minnesota lawsuit has significant implications. The seven-county metro area will be evaluated by racial balance which could result in the busing of thousands of students. School district boundaries will be blurred to achieve an optimal racial mix. I'd say the future looks ... contentious.

Joe Polunc


Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.


Recommended for you