Minnesota Poised To Ban Christians, Muslims, And Jews From Teaching In Public Schools BY: JOY PULLMANN for The Federalist
New licensing rules in Minnesota that require teachers to ‘affirm’ students’ transgender identities will meet immediate court challenges from civil liberties advocates.
Minnesota will soon ban faithful Christians, Muslims, and Jews from teaching in public schools by requiring that every state-certified teacher “fosters an environment that ensures student identities such as … gender identity … are … affirmed.” Once the new requirements clear a final procedural hurdle, they will be immediately challenged in state and possibly federal court, a civil liberties lawyer told The Federalist on Tuesday.
“We have lots of parents who are upset by this sort of thing in schools already,” said Doug Seaton, president of Minnesota’s Upper Midwest Law Center, in an interview. “They’re going to be even more upset with how their teachers are going to be licensed. Their teachers are going to have to be faced with hiding their beliefs or getting denied [for a state teaching license].”
Seaton said it was accurate to describe the nearly finalized regulations as communicating: “Christians, Muslims, and Jews need not apply for Minnesota teaching jobs.” That is unconstitutional, he said, so UMLC plans to sue once the changes go into effect.
The state agency that composed the changes disputed they would effectively ban religious Americans from teaching in Minnesota schools through a spokeswoman on Wednesday. The spokeswoman did not respond to a follow-up asking how Christians, Jews, and Muslims could adhere to their faith while complying with the licensing requirements that all new teachers publicly reject their faiths’ declaration that God has created only two sexes, male and female.
Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), a division of the state Department of Education, has been working to change teacher certification requirements since 2019. Its latest public draft, which is finalized save for a few tweaks that don’t affect the content, includes multiple requirements that licensure candidates publicly support critical race theory and transgender ideology and include both in their teaching. Teachers must receive state licensure to be employed in Minnesota public and many private schools.
PELSB justified its changes by claiming “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. For this reason, PELSB has worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including researchers and experts in the field of pedagogy, to ensure that anti-racism, cultural competency, and implicit bias were effectively embedded and identified throughout the scope of the proposed Standards of Effective Practice” (page 62).