University of Minnesota – Twin Cities: Political Litmus Test for Future Teachers

Category: Freedom of Conscience
Schools: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

  • A political test for teachers

    December 28, 2009

    When a child doesn’t finish his homework, who’s at fault? The Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group in the University of Minnesota’s teacher-education program wants every teacher blaming things like “white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity and internalized oppression.” Those who don’t, these professors believe, are unfit to be teachers. These professors plainly want everybody to share their ideology. Fair enough. But they don’t want to limit themselves to persuasion — they want to use the university’s power to demand that all teachers conform to their political litmus test. Thus the task group’s “final report” recommends ideological screening of applicants […]

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  • Profoundly tone deaf and wrong

    December 21, 2009

    By this stage, many people around town – and not a few across the country – have heard of the controversy surrounding a task force report on “Race, Culture, Class, and Gender” coming out of the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota.  My friend and former American Experiment colleague Kathy Kersten has written about the document twice in the Star Tribune, national organizations such as the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have blasted it, FOX News has jumped in, and who knows how many bloggers have […]

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  • Katherine Kersten: Battle lines drawn against U initiative

    December 12, 2009

    In this age of political correctness, a college student’s best friend is FIRE — the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Since 1999, FIRE has safeguarded the civil rights of students across the ideological spectrum — winning victories at 121 colleges and universities, bringing an end to 81 unconstitutional or repressive policies, and benefiting 2.7 million students. Now, FIRE is riding to the rescue of students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where a heavy-handed attempt at thought control is underway. The Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group of the U’s College of Education and Human Development has […]

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  • CEHD proposal under scrutiny

    December 10, 2009

    After receiving a $4.5 million grant from the Bush Foundation on Friday to overhaul teacher education curriculum, the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development is moving forward with what has become a controversial redesign of its teaching curriculum. The Teacher Education Redesign Initiative (TERI) began about three years ago and has gained more momentum in the past year. The initiative aims to work with area K-12 schools to find out what qualities good teachers should have and then incorporate those qualities into the curriculum. Seven task groups worked over the summer to propose ideas for the curriculum […]

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  • U. of Minnesota takes heat for proposal to gauge future teachers’ sensitivity

    December 2, 2009

    by Peter Schmidt The Chronicle of Higher Education   The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has come under pressure to reject a faculty panel’s proposal to require students in its education school to doubt the United States is a meritocracy and to demonstrate an understanding of concepts such as “white privilege.” Conservative pundits and a prominent free-speech advocacy group have attacked the education-school panel, called the Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group, which has said future teachers should “understand the importance of cultural identity” and “be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white […]

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  • Decoding Teacher Training

    November 30, 2009

    Thanks to the efforts of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—and a rare, if welcome, instance of Congress standing up for students’ rights in higher education—the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) abandoned its de facto “social justice” criterion. Yet while the development made it harder for Education schools to use “social justice” and “diversity” to demand ideological fidelity from students, the ideologues that populate such programs have hardly ceased their efforts. Only now they must take accountability for their actions. A good example of the continuing problem is […]

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  • U. Minnesota Teacher Ed Scandal Keeps Rippling Through Minnesota—And Beyond

    February 1, 2010

    The February 2010 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine features an interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota in which she discusses the teacher education scandal at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where the Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group proposed an ideological litmus test for future teachers based on a highly politicized notion of “cultural competence.” FIRE intervened, and the case made national news before the university’s top lawyer finally promised that the university would never screen out prospective students with the “wrong” views.  In the interview, Bachmann complains of “politically correct indoctrination” in the materials that her foster […]

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  • Latest on University of Minnesota Teacher Education Scandal

    January 15, 2010

    Regular Torch readers are familiar with the scandal created by the Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development when the task group proposed an ideological litmus test for teachers based on a highly politicized view of “cultural competence.” Fortunately, after extensive public attention, the university’s top lawyer promised that the university will never “mandate any particular beliefs, or screen out people with ‘wrong beliefs’ from the University.” The first test of that promise is concluding this afternoon as I write and as the college’s two-day Teacher Education Redesign Initiative […]

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  • University of Minnesota Still in the Hot Seat

    January 5, 2010

    Here at FIRE we are holding the University of Minnesota to its promise that it will never “mandate any particular beliefs, or screen out people with ‘wrong beliefs’ from the University.” We are watching carefully because if some of the university’s professors had their way, this ideological screening would be exactly what the College of Education and Human Development would be doing in its teacher education program. The university’s promise came last month from the university’s top attorney, Mark B. Rotenberg. We will ensure that the promise is kept by carefully monitoring the university’s subsequent plans. Yet Rotenberg’s letter also […]

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  • FIRE Op-Ed in ‘New York Post’ on University of Minnesota Victory

    December 28, 2009

    Today’s issue of the New York Post features an op-ed by FIRE’s Adam Kissel, in which he discusses the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities’ plan to impose a political litmus test on future teachers enrolled in its College of Education and Human Development. The plan would have redesigned the curriculum to enforce a narrow view of “cultural competence” and sought to require each student in the program to accept theories of “white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression.” Adam explains in his article: The task group also wants teachers to blame themselves. This isn’t about admitting that they need to […]

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  • Victory for Freedom of Conscience as University of Minnesota Backs Away from Ideological Screening for Ed Students

    December 23, 2009

    MINNEAPOLIS, December 23, 2009—In response to sustained pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities has backed away from its plans to enforce a political litmus test for future teachers. The plans from its College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) involved redesigning admissions and the curriculum to enforce an ideology centered on a narrow view of “cultural competence.” Those with the “wrong” views were to receive remedial re-education, be weeded out, or be denied admission altogether. In a letter to FIRE, however, the university’s top lawyer has now promised that the university […]

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  • Victory for Freedom of Conscience as University of Minnesota Backs Away from Ideological Screening for Ed Students

    December 23, 2009

    Today’s press release reports that the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities has backed away from its plans to enforce a political litmus test for future teachers. As Torch readers know, the plans from its College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) involved redesigning admissions and the curriculum to enforce an ideology centered on a narrow view of “cultural competence.” Those with the “wrong” views were to receive remedial re-education, be weeded out, or be denied admission altogether. In a letter to FIRE, however, the university’s top lawyer has now promised that the university will never “mandate any particular beliefs, or screen out people with ‘wrong beliefs’ from the University.” […]

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  • Will the University of Minnesota Board of Regents Need to Intervene to Protect Freedom of Conscience?

    December 18, 2009

    Yesterday, FIRE reported that the University of Minnesota, in the face of widespread national outrage in the media, is defending the indefensible: a set of plans to impose an ideological litmus test on future teachers. The desire to teach “cultural competence” or to expose students to any set of values and beliefs is not itself a matter of individual rights—indeed, FIRE would defend professors against any effort to ban specific views from the classroom—but these plans cross the line by declaring that students without the approved values, attitudes, and beliefs are not “competent” enough to become teachers. This morning, the […]

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  • University of Minnesota Defends Ideological Screening for Ed Students; Academic Freedom Committee Meets Friday

    December 17, 2009

    Today’s press release explains that the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities has chosen to defend its plans to enforce a political litmus test for future teachers in the face of national outrage, rather than repudiate the parts of the plans that violate the academic freedom and freedom of conscience of future teachers. The plans from the university’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) involve redesigning admissions and the curriculum to enforce an ideology centered on a narrow view of “cultural competence.” Those with the “wrong” views are to receive remedial re-education, be weeded out, or be denied admission altogether. After […]

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  • University of Minnesota Defends Ideological Screening for Ed Students; Academic Freedom Committee Meets Friday

    December 17, 2009

    MINNEAPOLIS, December 17, 2009—The University of Minnesota–Twin Cities is defending its plans to enforce a political litmus test for future teachers in the face of national outrage. The plans from its College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) involve redesigning admissions and the curriculum to enforce an ideology centered on a narrow view of “cultural competence.“ Those with the “wrong” views are to receive remedial re-education, be weeded out, or be denied admission altogether. After an anonymous source at the university contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help, FIRE called on the university to end its plans, […]

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  • Media Outrage Grows over Teacher Education Scandal at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    December 16, 2009

    Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor is the latest media outlet to weigh in on the teacher education scandal at University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (transcript) (video). Bill O’Reilly gets it right in his interview with John Stossel: This is not just about introducing future teachers to other cultures but about invading and judging future teachers’ thoughts, values, attitudes, and beliefs and using these judgments to decide whether people are “culturally competent” enough to become teachers. As FIRE wrote in our letter to the university last month: If the Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group achieves its stated goals, the result […]

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  • University of Minnesota Under Fire for Task Force’s Discrimination-Based Teacher Education Plan

    December 9, 2009

    by Diane Macedo FOXNews.com   A branch of the University of Minnesota may require all education students at the school to understand and accept that they are either privileged or oppressed and that they be well-versed in issues like “white privilege,” “institutional racism” and the “myth of meritocracy in the United States.” Critics are condemning the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, which proposes making race, class and gender issues the “overarching framework” of all teaching courses. The task group, formed as part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative at the state […]

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  • FOXNews.com Covers FIRE’s University of Minnesota Ed School Case

    December 9, 2009

    Late last month, FIRE wrote a letter to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities about proposed changes that would implement what amounts to a political litmus test for enrollment and participation in its College of Education and Human Development’s teacher education program. FOXNews.com has now joined the coverage of the program with a front-page story entitled “University of Minnesota Under Fire for Task Force’s Discrimination-Based Teacher Education Plan.” (Pun intended, we hope.) Writer Diane Macedo’s article includes commentary both from FIRE’s Adam Kissel and from the university, as well as from an unaffiliated constitutional lawyer. A branch of the University of […]

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  • Bloggers Debate University of Minnesota’s Teacher Education Redesign, But Some Miss Key Evidence

    December 1, 2009

    The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities College of Education & Human Development’s proposals to mandate the beliefs and values of its students have generated widespread attention since Katherine Kersten first reported on them in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and FIRE’s letter expressing deep concern over the proposed requirements has served to further intensify the spotlight on the college’s plans. An intense debate about the college’s proposals has ensued in the media and across the blogosphere. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has editorialized about the proposals, and Power Line and many other bloggers are appalled by the threats that the proposals pose to the individual liberties […]

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  • Spotlight on Speech Codes at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    November 30, 2009

    Given the uproar over the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities’ (U of M’s) plans to implement a re-education program for future teachers, which has generated quite a bit of media coverage in recent days, FIRE will be shining the spotlight heavily on U of M. We have already sent a letter to U of M President Robert H. Bruininks laying out our many concerns about the program. Today, I would like to examine U of M’s speech codes and explain why FIRE has given the university a red-light rating in Spotlight, our comprehensive database on university speech codes. The University of Minnesota-Twin […]

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  • Teacher Re-Education Scandal at University of Minnesota Gains Steam

    November 30, 2009

    Last week, FIRE wrote University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (U of M) President Robert H. Bruininks about the proposed political and ideological litmus test for future teachers at U of M’s College of Education and Human Development. The college intends to mandate particular beliefs and values—”dispositions and commitments”—for future teachers. These are not just things like the disposition to deal with classroom discipline, but demands that future teachers demonstrate “cultural competence” as defined by the college’s Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group. The college even intends to redesign its admissions process so that it screens out people with the “wrong” beliefs and values as […]

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  • Jean K. Quam: American Dream lives on at the U

    November 27, 2009

    In her Nov. 22 column, Katherine Kersten suggested that the future of teacher preparation at the University of Minnesota will be a process of ideological indoctrination denouncing “the American Dream.” Just the opposite is true. The American Dream lives and thrives in the College of Education and Human Development. The college is engaged in a significant rethinking of its teacher education programs, and its main focus is on improving student learning across Minnesota. The Teacher Education Redesign Initiative, with support from education partners throughout the state, will be a national model for preparing teachers for the real challenges of a […]

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  • In Letter to President of University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, FIRE Expresses Deep Concern over Political Litmus Test

    November 25, 2009

    FIRE sent a letter to University of Minnesota-Twin Cities President Robert H. Bruininks today, expressing deep concern over proposals generated by the College of Education and Human Development’s Teacher Education Redesign Initiative task groups. As Adam, who authored today’s letter, detailed in full yesterday here on The Torch, the “Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group” has proposed mandating certain beliefs and values—”dispositions”—for future teachers. Further, the College evidently plans to implement a screening procedure so that potential students with the “wrong”  beliefs who seek admission will be excluded from participation. FIRE’s letter asks that the university abandon the proposals […]

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  • Political Litmus Test for Future Teachers at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

    November 24, 2009

    All signs are that the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is planning to enforce a political litmus test for future teachers. The university’s College of Education and Human Development intends to mandate certain beliefs and values—”dispositions”—for future teachers. Yet that is not enough. It even intends to redesign its admissions process so that it screens out people with the wrong beliefs and values-those who it judges will not be able to be brought around to the correct beliefs and values of “cultural competence” even after remedial training. The college’s Teacher Education Redesign Initiative includes several task groups. The Race, Culture, Class, […]

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