Edina parents question role of politics in education following school board controversy

- Parents in Edina rallied in support of a school board member facing discipline over a social media post criticizing a high school teacher's English class discussions, sparking a community-wide argument over the place of politics in education.

The crowd gathered outside a closed-door meeting of the Edina School Board Tuesday, which was held to discuss the possible repercussions for Vice Chair Sarah Patzloff after she spoke out against a post on a tenth-grade English teacher's blog outlining her strategies for teaching students about racial and social justice issues. 

She wrote the teacher's manifesto was "frightening" in a private Facebook group of Edina parents, linking to the blog which says in part, "Educators must understand that despite the fact that discussing issues of race, racism and whiteness is uncomfortable, they need to experience that discomfort to effect real change."

Angry parents said outside the meeting Tuesday that Patzloff was being singled out for espousing conservative viewpoints and is being punished for speaking her mind.

“She needs our help, she needs our support because she expressed some conservative viewpoints and now they’re going to try and impeach her for it,” said David Buyse, whose children attend the school district.

Meanwhile those calling for action against the school board vice chair say education should be separated from politics, especially from leaders who make the policies that affect students.

“Education is not supposed to be partisan and it’s pretty clear that partisan politics have become part of the Edina public school system.”

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