During open forum at a recent Mounds View School Board meeting, five people spoke and two residents expressed concerns about the district's equity curriculum.
Christine LaDuke, a school board candidate during the recent election, acknowledged the dedication and commitment of time represented by the school board and by the equity committee.
“I truly believe that everyone involved in the decision-making process regarding our equity curriculum acted in good faith, believing that they were making decisions which would benefit students,” LaDuke said. “While I support the intent in the equity committee, I strongly object to the curriculum chosen to meet objectives. While I was campaigning, I did have parents submit to me various homework that their children had that the parents were upset about, so that's what I base this on.”
She went on to say, “It confounds me and concerns me that as a team of intelligent and caring adults that this curriculum could have been approved. It is so contrary to our district values. It fails to honor every student and every culture. It devalues many of our teachers, it does not create a respectful environment and it does not promote community. In my opinion, it uses diversity — the diversity that we choose to celebrate — it uses to orchestrate division.”
Paul Wickstrom, father of three Mounds View graduates, stated at the Nov. 9 school board meeting that he has a lot of respect and admiration for the teachers and the staff in the district and wants to see that continue in terms of the high-quality education that his children received at Mounds View High School.
“I come tonight with some concern, especially after the latest election. If you choose to continue the use of the current equity curriculum, this district will experience declining academic achievement, increased tensions between students and increased anxiety among the student population,” Wickstrom said. “I don't believe this is what we want in our school district. The curriculum of our district should be predicated on a common and correct understanding of American history and based on the will of the people and on the ideals of our constitutional democratic republic.”
He asked the school board to discuss equal opportunity versus equity. “That's an important debate and needs to come out in the open.”
Wickstrom urged parents in the district to pay attention to the national conversation — most notably, the Virginia 2021 state election and other school districts across the nation.
“Within your households, ask your children questions about their day in the classroom and pay close attention to their questions,” Wickstrom said. “Inform yourselves about the direction of the curriculum development in the Mounds View School District.”
In other board action:
•Superintendent Chris Lennox publicly thanked all of the candidates for running for school board in the last election and congratulated candidate Yolanda Magee and current board members Shauna Bock and Diane Glasheen for winning the open seats on the school board. He also said school board Member Marre Jo Sager will be ending her term on the board and will be recognized at the next school board meeting Dec. 7.
•The school board recognized students who participated in fall activities at both Mounds View High School and Irondale High School. School board Member Diane Glasheen spoke for the school board and congratulated the students on their success and wished them good luck.
•A representative from the audit firm Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich & Co. P.A. reviewed the district’s 2020-21 audited financial statements and supplemental reports. During the presentation to the school board, the representative commended the district for its excellence in financial reporting and issued the highest rating of audit reporting an auditor can give an organization. The board unanimously approved the audit report.
• School board Treasurer Shauna Bock read the gifts the district received this period. There were nine gifts received for schools and programs for a total of $6,173,92 and 20 gifts received for the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf, totaling $50,709,77.
The next Mounds View School Board meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the District Center, 4570 Victoria St. N. in Shoreview.
Noelle Olson is a staff writer for Press Publications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-407-1229.