Caryn Sullivan: Friday Food for Thought

Pay attention. Get informed. Come November, vote. Our values and our children’s futures are on the line.

Friday Food for Thought
Caryn Sullivan

With traditional values under siege, it often feels like we’re living in an inside out, upside down world, where right is wrong, and left is right, and those who speak up are shut down.

Friday Food for Thought will offer readers news to chew on over the weekend. Share it with your friends. Share it with your family. Get informed, summon your courage, speak out, and vote for traditional values in November.

Traditions and language are being hacked

Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days when you could wish someone Merry Christmas without offending someone. I liked standing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance when I was in school. And I tear up a bit when a small person with a big voice belts out the national anthem.

All these things are under attack. And the battle is often waged in the media, where traditional terms are being replaced with new ones that make my head spin.

Just a few examples of new terminology to chew on:

People who menstruate — there’s a menstrual activism movement?

Breastfeeding, chest feeding, body feeding oh my! — a lactation consultant makes her case, but the dictionaries aren’t on board

People assigned female at birth — verbiage from the renowned Cleveland Clinic website

Gender expansive child — children’s books in a public-school library near you

The classroom is another incubator

As Alpha News reported, on Wednesday an administrative law judge conducted a hearing on proposed licensure rules for Minnesota teachers. Though not all teachers are on board, new standards advanced by the teachers union mandate a focus on gender and race.

Fired up about the proposal, hundreds of parents watched the hearing online. If the judge approves the proposal, teachers will be required to undergo cultural competency training on “racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups; American Indian and Alaskan native students; religion; systemic racism; gender identity, including transgender students; sexual orientation; diversity; and individuals with disabilities and mental health concerns.”

If proposals are adopted, teachers would be expected to foster a learning environment “that ensures student identities such as race/ethnicity, national origin, language, sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical/developmental/emotional ability, socioeconomic class, and religious beliefs are historically and socially contextualized, affirmed, and incorporated into a learning environment where students are empowered to learn and contribute as their whole selves.”

Don’t be hoodwinked. Our kids and grandkids are already being exposed to these concepts. Check out the posters from a metro elementary school.

Interestingly in the same week, the Minnesota Department of Education released “The Minnesota Report Card.” Though there’s little cause for celebration, it will be fun to see Gov. Tim Walz spin it. He’s a former teacher and it’s his department, after all.

Food for thought: Could academic performance be tanking because teachers are overly focused on social emotional issues?

This November, many candidates with the power to shape our kids’ education will be on the ballot. The governor appoints the commissioner of education. School boards hire superintendents. Pay attention. Get informed. Come November, vote. Our values and our children’s futures are on the line.

Enjoy the weekend. 73 days until the midterm election.


Caryn Sullivan

A retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, "Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page," Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit