A Hopkins middle school demonstrates education is not values-neutral

Should parents be free to send their children to schools that align with their values?

Libs of TikTok/Twitter

(Opportunity for All Kids) — A Minnesota public school recently received some press from the rather infamous Twitter/X personality “Libs of TikTok.”

As the post explains, a source submitted the following photos from a school located in Minnetonka showing hallway bulletin boards covered with an LGBTQ display, as well as signs for “gender neutral” or “gender inclusive” bathrooms. A closer examination of the photos indicates that they were taken at North Middle School, a school located in Minnetonka, but actually belonging to the Hopkins Public School District.

But North Middle School’s commitment to inclusion isn’t just something they promote on their bulletin boards and bathrooms. They also draw attention to it on the page detailing their school’s statistics on the Minnesota Department of Education’s website:

“Message from the school:
Hopkins Public Schools junior highs are nationally recognized schools of academic excellence and authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools. The IB Middle Years Program (MYP) is designed for students ages 11-16, providing a framework for learning that encourages students to become creative, critical, and reflective thinkers. The MYP is a fully inclusive, schoolwide, international education model that provides students with the tools needed to be global citizens. [Emphasis added.]”

Although the proficiency statistics accompanying this statement — with only 31% of students proficient in math, 52% proficient in reading, and 19% proficient in science (see chart below) — call Hopkins Public Schools’ claim of “academic excellence” in its middle schools into question, the images of billboards and bathrooms seem to show that they are indeed following through on their quest for “fully inclusive” schools.

This raises an important question: Should parents be free to send their children to schools that align with their values?

Before you answer, consider that for some parents, the values about gender, sexuality, and inclusion being taught at North Middle School in the Hopkins School District are perfectly in line with their own thinking and values structure. For them, it makes perfect sense to send their children to this school that teaches their values.

But what about for parents who don’t hold these values? Shouldn’t they get a chance to choose a school for their children that best fits their values? What if instead of a “global citizen,” those parents want their children to be “American citizens”?

Flip that idea around for a second. What if the parents who are currently happy with the values being taught at North Middle School were suddenly forced to send their children to a school that taught them that sex was only for marriage, or that people cannot become the opposite sex just because they feel like it?

On top of that, their own tax dollars are forced to pay for a school that teaches values contrary to their own. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?

Unfortunately, we have these diverse and divided values all over America today. We are not the America of the early public school — the America where Protestant values and teachings were a given and were thus inculcated in children attending public schools funded with public tax dollars.

As such, the only way out of this conundrum seems to be to allow education dollars to follow the student, as is the case with Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), rather than being poured into the nearest public school. In doing so, all parents could find a school whose values align with their own, whether public, charter, private, micro, or home.

There also would be far fewer civic fights over diversity, equity, and inclusion or critical race theory teaching, because if a parent didn’t like those teachings, they could simply take their children and the corresponding education dollars elsewhere.

Education is not values-neutral, a fact these billboards from North Middle School confirm. By its very nature, education is the inculcation of the younger generation. It is how a culture passes itself on.

Perhaps it’s time to publicly acknowledge that fact and give parents the option to choose schools that align with the values they want taught to their children.


Annie Holmquist
 | Website

Annie Holmquist is the editor of OAK. The former editor of the popular webzine Intellectual Takeout, she brings over two decades of work as an educator, researcher, and writer to her advocacy for school choice. She is also a regular contributor to The Epoch Times and American Essence Magazine.