Minnesota Parents Alliance touts wins in key school board races

The Minnesota Parents Alliance has managed to put the teachers union in a "defensive posture" during its one year of existence, said executive director Cristine Trooien.

teachers union
The executive director of Minnesota Parents Alliance, Cristine Trooien, talks with Liz Collin in September. (Alpha News)

Despite going up against one of the most powerful political organizations in the state, Minnesota Parents Alliance-backed school board candidates still claimed key victories in Tuesday night’s elections.

Minnesota Parents Alliance (MPA) caught Education Minnesota off guard last election cycle, according to Cristine Trooien, executive director of MPA. MPA-backed candidates won 49 school board seats statewide in 2022.

“They were ready for us this time, and we still won seats in key districts,” she said.

MPA-backed candidates won two of the three available seats in Anoka-Hennepin, the largest district in the state, flipped the board in Hastings where conservatives now hold a 5-2 majority, and claimed seats in South Washington County, Minnetonka, Spring Lake Park, Hopkins, and Wayzata.

These wins come on the heels of 2022 victories when MPA-backed candidates won seats in 15 of 19 targeted districts, according to Trooien.

Trooien launched MPA in 2022 to educate and empower parents to advocate in their local school districts for parental rights and academic achievement.

“We didn’t have a bottomless pit of money like the union did, so we had to be strategic about where we put our resources. We decided on the three districts where we felt we could really help, and we won two out of three,” Trooien said, referring to Hastings and Anoka-Hennepin. MPA candidates were swept by the union-backed candidates in Mounds View, another district MPA targeted.

MPA’s message is resonating with voters, according to Trooien, who said change will take time.

“You can’t reverse all of what has been happening in our schools in one election cycle. But if you have committed parents who are willing to stick around and run again, you come back two years later and add more seats to the board,” she said. “That’s how change happens.”

Trooien estimates Education Minnesota outspent MPA by at least two to one statewide, but she won’t know for sure until final campaign finance reports come out in the next few weeks.

“We’re a rinky-dink organization compared to the teachers union in terms of money and resources. We don’t have a paid staff,” she said. “Despite the rhetoric that we’re some well-funded organization, we were very transparent and what we spent is small compared to what Education Minnesota threw at these races.”

Trooien said she sees it as a compliment when people think MPA is a well-funded national organization.

“MPA is being run by a homeschool mom with Canva. This is not my full-time job. It’s not my skill set. We have no staff, marketing department or comms person,” she said. “We don’t have even a fraction of their resources, and we’re still able to put them in a defensive posture where they have now been forced to spend in a way that they haven’t historically been spending in these districts, at least to our knowledge. That feels good.”

In addition to spending, incumbents will now have to defend their records because MPA will continue to put good candidates forward, according to Trooien.

Trooien is confident they will make gains every election cycle.

“We intend to recruit strong candidates and raise more money in 2024 to be competitive against the deep pockets and powerful political influence of the teachers union in more districts throughout the state,” Trooien said in a press release. “For a small organization in our second year, these wins represent tremendous success and give us a lot of confidence to continue our mission.”

A complete list of MPA-endorsed candidates can be found on the voter guide at www.minnesotaparents.org. Newly-elected board members are indicated with a “Newly Elected” badge on their photos.


Sheila Qualls

Sheila Qualls is an award-winning journalist and former civilian editor of an Army newspaper. Prior to joining Alpha News, she was a Christian Marriage and Family columnist at Patheos.com and a personal coach. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, the MOPS blog, Grown and Flown, and The Christian Post. She speaks nationally on issues involving faith and family.