Who We Are
IlluminED’s mission is to shine a light on Minnesota schools. By clarifying what students are learning and uncovering divisive ideologies that undermine our shared humanity, we seek educational excellence for all.
IlluminED is a project of Center of the American Experiment.
What We Believe
Minnesota parents want our schools to be places where all young people can flourish. We want them to equip our children with the knowledge and skills that will set them up for a great future, and also to prepare them to build a society based on fairness, justice and dignity for all.
But there are troubling signs this is not the direction our schools are headed. Increasingly, a divisive ideology is teaching students they are members of racial groups first, and individual human beings only secondarily. In many classrooms, children are learning their skin color is the most important thing about them, and will determine their future.
As a result, some kids are coming home from school feeling shamed and humiliated because of the color of their skin. Others increasingly believe they can’t succeed because society is stacked against them. Instead of hope and confidence, this divisive new classroom ideology is creating a climate of cynicism and grievance, and leaving students increasingly depressed and hopeless.
Meanwhile, many teachers fear being persecuted for saying what they think — or even for a “wrong” word some might judge “offensive.” They watch with alarm as ideology displaces academics.
Why is this happening? School officials tell us it’s necessary to advance equity, inclusion and empathy. But there’s evidence the new orthodoxy is creating barriers, not bridges.
Worse yet, it is ramping up at a time when a dismaying 40 percent of Minnesota students can’t read at grade level, and 45 percent can’t do grade-level math. The new, one-dimensional focus on race is increasingly crowding out solid education in reading, writing, math, history and science.
Is the path our schools are on an effective way to achieve the goals we seek? Does it really represent progress, as we are told? Or is it pulling us back to a past we thought our state and nation had left behind, where stereotyping based on race and other immutable characteristics is rampant, and different standards and expectations apply to different groups based on skin color?
If this isn’t good enough for your kids — if you believe treating people differently based on their skin color is wrong — you are not alone.
What’s the best path to the bright future we all seek? Read on to be equipped with knowledge and resources; to share your own stories; to get the latest news about what’s going on in classrooms across Minnesota; and to learn how to connect with like-minded parents so that, together, we can build the schools our kids need and deserve.
Remember: Most Minnesotans want — not dissension and ideology — a strong future for all our kids.