GOP rep says DFL’s education agenda will start ‘a race war’

"This bill is systemically designed to produce racists and bigots," Hudson said.

Rep. Walter Hudson, R-Albertville, speaks at an April 20 press conference. (Minnesota House Info/YouTube)

A first-term Republican legislator didn’t hold back in his criticisms of the DFL’s education agenda during a House floor session last week.

Rep. Walter Hudson, R-Albertville, said Democrats are “declaring a race war” by including certain provisions in HF2497, an omnibus education finance bill. He said the bill, contrary to the intentions of its authors, would teach children to hate each other and actually produce systemic racism.

“This bill is systemically designed to produce racists and bigots,” Hudson said.

The bill would place new mandates on school districts to provide ethnic studies courses and ensure curriculum is “antiracist.”

The bill defines antiracist as “actively working to identify and eliminate racism in all forms so that power and resources are redistributed and shared equitably among racial groups.”

“It doesn’t just teach kids to judge each other by the color of their skin; it encourages them to compete with one another on the basis of racial identity. What they’re competing for is ‘power and resources.’ That’s in the bill,” Hudson said.

“What you’re doing, in effect, is teaching my kids and the kids they know to not just see race … but you’re going to teach them through curriculum intentionally as a byproduct of this bill to take an envious inventory of the power and resources of the kid next to them because they look different,” he added. “That’s teaching kids to be racists.”

The bill passed the Minnesota House last week and then the Senate on Monday. Any differences between the House and Senate versions will be worked out in a conference committee in the coming weeks.

“I’ve got a problem with it. It’s personal,” said Hudson. “It takes kids who currently don’t see each other through a racial lens, this bill teaches them to hate each other.”

Katherine Kersten, a senior policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment, said in a recent commentary that the DFL’s emphasis on “ethnic studies” and “antiracism” will “inject reductive, racialized thinking into every classroom in Minnesota’s approximately 500 school districts and charter schools.”

Minnesota Senate Republicans introduced a “Students First” education plan that aims to address education shortfalls and directly assist students. The alternative plan was created in response to the DFL’s “mandate-heavy” education bills, the caucus said in a press release.

The Students First plan includes a 5% increase in the funding formula each year, with no new mandates tied to the formula, $1 billion to fund the special education cross-subsidy, $100 million to fund literacy programs, $200 million to fund “Safe Schools” initiatives, and $100 million to provide additional property tax relief through equalization.

“While the Democrats’ plan puts forward mandates that cost more than the funding that has been allocated, Senate Republicans’ Students First proposal focuses on what matters most: our students,” said Sen. Jason Rarick, R-Pine City.

Republicans said the DFL’s plan includes only $41 million for literacy programs amid declining test scores and nothing for school safety.


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.