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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Nov. 9, 2022 – After needlessly divisive campaigns for school boards all over Minnesota, Education Minnesota President Denise Specht called on communities to come together to provide safe and welcoming schools for all their students.
“Minnesota’s schools work best when the whole community pulls together for all its children, no matter where they live, what they look like or their gender,” Specht said. “This has been a difficult and divisive election season for school boards, and the misinformation coming down from the big money MAGA groups worked as intended in many places. While most communities rallied to protect their students’ freedom to learn an honest history of America in a welcoming school, others did not. Now it’s time for Minnesota’s school communities to come together, learn the truth of what’s really taught in schools and why, and do what’s right for every student, no exceptions.”
According to Education Minnesota’s preliminary data, unions of local educators endorsed 116 school board candidates and 71 of those candidates won, with endorsed candidates winning all open seats in Hastings, Orono, Rochester and Stillwater. In other districts, educator-endorsed candidates won a majority of the open seats, including Worthington, Albert Lea and Chisago Lakes. Voters in more than 300 Minnesota school districts filled multiple seats on their boards on Tuesday.
Specht said an unprecedented number of Education Minnesota locals endorsed candidates in 2022 in response to a national campaign by MAGA media and right-wing think tanks to mislead voters about what is taught in public schools about race and gender.
“The endorsements by educators were usually a sign the candidate was focused on real challenges facing schools – like shortages of educators and mental health professionals – and favored welcoming, supportive learning environments for every student,” Specht said. “It’s great to see people like that volunteering to serve in the difficult but rewarding role of school board member.”
Minnesota voters also cast ballots on local levy referendums in more than 20 school districts, with mixed results.
“Many Minnesotans are frustrated by the fact that for 20 years the state government has been steadily shifting the cost of paying for public schools to local taxpayers,” Specht said. “Who can blame them? We need the state government to step up and fully fund public education in Minnesota.”
About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.