The Minnesota Legislature is considering a bill that would require all public school students to take ethnic studies – even kindergarteners.
“Minnesota’s K-12 student population is rapidly becoming more diverse, but the classroom learning experience in our state does not yet reflect our student population,” Rep. Samantha Sencer-Mura, D-Minneapolis, the author of the bill, claimed in a statement on Friday. “All students deserve to see themselves – their own cultures, communities, and histories – within their education.”
If passed, HB 1502, which is sponsored by a slew of Democratic representatives, would go into effect in the 2025-2026 school year.
Kofi Montzka, a lawyer and mother, called Minnesota’s measure “oppressive and racist.”
“The bill tells kids of color they are stuck in a caste system based on their race,” she testified before the legislature on Tuesday. “I’m sick of everyone denying the enormous progress we’ve made in this country, acting like its 1930.
“We used to have a race-based system. We got rid of it, and now you’re all trying to bring it back.”
Far from being an innocuous celebration of different cultures, ethnic studies classes are explicitly interested in “social justice,” and require both students and teachers to view their own identities almost exclusively through the lens of race.
It also shows brazen preference for minorities.
Take, for instance, the first principle of ethnic students: “Cultivate empathy, community actualization, cultural perpetuity, self-worth, self-determination, and the holistic well-being of all participants, especially Native People/s and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).”
In Minnesota, Sencer-Mura defended her bill, saying her goal is to bridge cultural divides.
“I’m bringing this bill because I believe division exists when we do not have the space to learn from each other, to confront and reckon with our histories and to imagine new ways of being together. And ethnic studies do just that.”
But others see the bill as just stoking the flames.
“We are such a divided country right now,” said Rep. Pam Altendorf, R-Red Wing. “I think more education is better. And I think everyone agrees with that. What we’re against is the division, and the division that this causes.”
Montzka later told Fox News she thought the content of the bill was “disgusting” and “groups kids and pits them against each other.”
HB 1502 has yet to be voted on in the house.