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 (TERI) retreat comes to a close. As the TERI folks say:
In order to make a proposal to the Bush Foundation, we drew on ideas from college retreats in the past three years, ongoing LSP [Licensed School Professional] conversations, national trends, and our own candidate feedback via surveys and interviews to put together the overarching design principles for this work. These have been presented publicly a few times, and nothing much has changed in recent weeks. All of these commitments are at this broad level at this point, so there is still a lot of decision making to be done on structure and practice.
TERI will add focus to our efforts in four areas: preparation for work with special education students, preparation for work with English language learners, development of cultural competence, and preparation for working effectively with families and communities. [Emphasis added.]
FIRE will continue to apprise Torch readers of further developments as they happen.
In need of First Amendment resources for teachers? The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has you covered. Our “First Things First” First Amendment textbook for college undergraduates explores the fundamentals of modern American free speech law. Meanwhile, our K-12 First Amendment curriculum modules help educators enrich and supplement their existing instruction on First Amendment and freedom of expression issues in middle and high school classrooms. Explore thefire.org for even more First Amendment educational resources.