Minnesota Teachers Required To Complete Radical Cultural Competency Training

The Legislature passed a law requiring training for K-12 teachers about the “cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indians.” A particular emphasis is placed on the Minnesota Tribal Nations. Native Americans and Alaskan natives were separated into their own category in April.

The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) authorized a more general version of cultural competency in 2020. According to Minnesota law, cultural competency training is a program designed to promote “self-reflection and discussion.”

Some topics include racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups; American Indian and Alaskan Native students; religion, systemic racism, gender identity, including transgender students; sexual orientation, language diversity; and individuals with disabilities and mental health concerns.

According to the Minnesota Administrative Rules, training programs must be designed to “deepen teachers’ understanding of their own frames of reference, the potential bias in these frames, and their impact on expectations for and relationships with students, students’ families, and the school communities.”

PELSB requires teachers to meet the Standards of Effective Practice, which means they are not just required to understand the students’ various identities and beliefs but also to affirm them to help them develop “positive social identities based on their membership” in multiple societal groups.

Minnesota teachers must also understand and support students in recognizing “dehumanizing biases, discrimination, prejudices, and structural inequities.” They will also be responsible for demonstrating their respect and responding to the identities and beliefs of students, both verbally and nonverbally.

PELSB also argued that because most teachers are white, they must accept their implicit biases. They stated, “The predominantly white teacher workforce must be equipped to understand their own implicit bias and the unique lived experiences of all their students as a core requirement of teaching.”

Most parents who send their children to school instead of homeschooling need a handful of realistic and straightforward things from teachers: preparedness, professionalism, transparent and fair expectations, a positive attitude, patience, and regular assessment of teaching effectiveness and quality.

Education is an essential component of our children’s lives. Your typical parent cares more about math, reading, and writing skills than social issues and ideologies being pushed as essential curriculum. School choice and parental influence on education in the U.S. remains a hot-button issue.

A poll from last year found that 78% of parents surveyed want influence over what is taught in their child’s K-12 education. Parents should not be viewed as an afterthought. After all, these children do not belong to the government and are not political pawns.

A cultural competency training program can cost between $30-$670 for two graduate credits. PELSB’s Committee to increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers approves who provides valid cultural competency training in Minnesota. The committee assumed this responsibility in January 2021.

The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) Twin Cities argued with PELSB that the training encourages segregation and divisiveness of students by group or cultural identity. PELSB disagreed, stating that licensure was necessary for teachers to foster trust with their students and impart a “proper education.”

FAIR also stated, “Teachers should encourage each student to examine varying points of view rather than to reflectively conform to views attributed to that students groups or cultures.” Rather than encouraging students to understand the core subject matter and pursue academic excellence, teachers are told to reflect on their own biases and pursue equal outcomes.

PELSB responded, “The pedagogical knowledge of how to create positive learning environments and how to work with all types of learners is essential in fostering student learning.”