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Minnesota voters overwhelmingly support students’ freedom to learn in school board races

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Nov. 8, 2023 – Minnesota voters overwhelmingly elected school board candidates on Tuesday who rejected book bans and supported students’ freedom to learn in safe, welcoming public schools. 

“The national movement to restrict what books students can read, what they can learn about history, and whether they can be their authentic selves in class was on the ballot this year,” said Denise Specht, the president of Education Minnesota. “Minnesotans rejected it. Instead, they voted for candidates who pledged to offer schools where all students and educators feel welcome and supported to do their best.” 

Local unions of Education Minnesota endorsed 53 school board candidates and 45 of them won, or 85 percent. Union-endorsed slates of candidates swept the open seats in six highly contested suburban districts: Bloomington, Fridley, Minnetonka, Mounds View, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan and Roseville. Union-supported candidates also won special elections in Chisago Lakes, Columbia Heights and Stillwater. 

“There was an unprecedented amount of engagement and funding by state and national anti-union groups in these local elections,” Specht said. “I think every educator hopes those groups will look at these results and start putting their money elsewhere so we can get back to focusing on our students and on the working conditions in our schools. Clearly, the politics of dog whistles and division has no place in Minnesota’s classrooms.”

Education Minnesota also supported 38 local unions of educators in campaigns to raise revenue through local levy referendums. Of those districts, voters approved at least one question in 60 percent of the locals. 

“This was a difficult year to pass levy referendums, especially in Greater Minnesota,” Specht said. “The districts that failed to pass their referendums will face tough decisions about their budgets, which could affect the quality of education their students receive.”

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.

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