The new teacher licensing standards will require teachers in ALL Minnesota schools to incorporate into the educational instruction basic Marxist principles and practices such as Critical Race Theory (CRT), equity, fluid sexual identity, social justice and more. 

Teacher Certification Standards

The MN Teacher Licensing Standards were rewritten and adopted in 2023 by the Minnesota teacher licensing board called the Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board or PELSB. The thirteen member board is appointed by the governor. What is hidden in these new standards?

Unmasking Minnesota’s Teacher Certification Standards
January 2, 2024
by Allen Quist

In April of 2023 Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) released its final version of “Standards for Effective Practice.” They are the new Minnesota teacher licensing standards PELSB adopted despite overwhelming public opposition to them during the public hearing and testimony process. However, the process was never intended to be democratic; it was merely an exercise in raw political power. Minnesota law requires all Minnesota K-12 public school teachers to be licensed by the state. That means teachers desiring to obtain a Minnesota teaching license or license renewal must now demonstrate an adequate understanding of these certification standards, willingness to follow them, teach them in all their classes, and promote them in all the activities they supervise.

Think of it like this. When we buy a food product, we see a label identifying every ingredient in that product. This article will identify the ingredients in the new licensing standards. But first, let’s review some basic definitions:

The worldview promoted by Karl Marx which asserts that all people are divided into two classes–the exploited class (proletariat) versus the ruling class (bourgeoisie). Marx predicted that the exploited class would rise up and take over the ruling class and create a classless society with a socialist economy. He said: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” All Marxism is officially atheistic and accordingly holds that morality does not exist. For this reason, Marxists see themselves as being free to engage in immoral behavior of any kind. Don’t expect Marxists to reveal their intentions, tell the truth, or value basic human rights including the right to life.[1]

Cultural Marxism
The revision of Marxist dogma formulated by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci who said that economics is not the most important feature of history and life, but rather culture is the controlling factor of history and life. Gramsci also said that for the Marxist revolution to succeed (called the “Great Reset”), Marxists must control the media and education. Cultural Marxists are sometimes called the “new Gnostics” because some of them believe they hold secret knowledge that enables them to rule the world. Most Marxists today are cultural Marxists.[2]

As we will see, the new PELSB standards play an important role in the Marxist takeover of education in Minnesota. (See the book by James Lindsay, The Marxification of Education.[3])

We now turn to the question before us: What key ingredients are in the PELSB standards?

Equity: The new education standards appeal to equity four times which is not surprising, since equity is the foundation of all Marxist ideology. An example of one such statement is the following:

. . . the teacher demonstrates the ability to create opportunities for students to learn about power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression in the context of various communities and empowers learners to be agents of social change to promote equity.[4]

Equity is not the same as “equality.” “Equality” means equal opportunities. “Equity” means equal outcomes. “Equity” requires that the aggregate outcomes of various groups must be the same. For example, if a school consists of 40% white students and 40% students of color, then the “A” honor roll must include no more than 40% of white students and not less than 40% of students of color. If the student body is half men and half women, equity would require the students in an engineering program to include no less than half to be women and not more than half to be men.

Equity assumes that every disparate outcome (financial, educational, etc.) between the “exploited” groups and the “oppressor” groups is caused by “oppressors” exploiting the vulnerable classes. Existing disparities are the only evidence needed to justify overthrowing all cultural norms and existing government. “Equity” represents the slogan of Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Therefore, “equity” requires socialism and discrimination against whites and Asians to “level the playing field.”

White Supremacy: The ideology that all whites are inherently racist and more successful than nonwhites because they constantly exploit nonwhites. The new standards promote the doctrine of white supremacy with statements like this:

8,C. The teacher understands how ethnocentrism, eurocentrism, deficit-based teaching, and white supremacy[5] undermine pedagogical equity.[6]

White supremacy divides all people into two racial groups: whites (the oppressor class) and nonwhites (the oppressed class). As mentioned, cultural Marxists insist that all racial disparities are the result of discrimination by whites against nonwhites, even though they have no evidence proving it. Consequently. the standards make repeated use of  words like “bias,” “discrimination,” and “prejudice.”

Is racial discrimination the actual cause of racial disparities in education achievement?

No. Academic disparities are reflected in the chart below. Notice that in the United States, Asian children score higher on academic achievement than whites. If “white supremacy” or “white privilege” were true, then whites would have the higher scores. Also notice the strong correlations between academic achievement and single parenthood. This extremely high correlation demonstrates that the biggest achievement gap factor is found between two parent homes and single parent homes. It’s not racial discrimination.

U.S. Average Children SAT Score[7]      U.S. Percent of Single-Parent Families[8]

Black 428                                                            Black  51%

Hispanic 457                                                       Hispanic 28%

White 534                                                            White 18%

Asian 598                                                             Asian 10%

As the chart points out, the higher the percentage of single-parent homes, the lower the performance on academic achievement tests.

If government agencies really want to solve the problem of education disparities, they would adopt family-friendly policies instead of the current anti-family policies. For example, the “Affordable Care Act” (Obama Care) massively discriminates against married people.[9]  The law is structured so that 83% of insurance subsidies go to single people and only 17% go to married persons. Middle income couples are often required to pay up to $5,000 more for health insurance each year if they marry.[10] The same holds true for welfare programs. If the left really wanted to reduce racial disparities, they would eliminate marriage penalties.

Intersectionality: The new standards use this term four times, indicating its importance to the cultural Marxist ideology. Since Marxists reject individual identities, “intersectionality” means that our identity is not individual and personal, but defined by the intersection of the various group identities we are assigned. The standards define intersectionality like this:

The teacher understands multiple theories of identity formation and knows how to help students develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.[11]

Of course, the groups we belong to affect our identity, but they do not define us. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Bible speak of us as individuals. The Declaration of Independence states that we have certain individual, God-given rights. Genesis says God created a man and a woman as individuals.

But the goal of Marxists and globalists is for us to see ourselves as members of groups, not as individuals. First, we are to be identified as members of small groups, then larger groups. (“It takes a village to raise a child.”) Then we become members of even larger groups (hence the term “commun-ism”), until we ultimately see ourselves as “global citizens,” not simply “United States citizens.” So, it is an easy transformation from being a member of a smaller group to becoming a global citizen.

State Academic Standards: The standards say: “The teacher creates or adapts lessons, unit plans, learning experiences, and aligned assessments based on Minnesota’s academic standards.”[12] This sounds rather innocent but it’s not, because the Minnesota Department of Education is loading up its academic standards with the doctrines of cultural Marxism. This means teachers must include Marxist principles in their lesson plans, assessments, assignments, activities, and whatever they do. In this way, all the doctrines of cultural Marxism will be taught to the students.

Affirming Homosexuality and Transgenderism:13] Why is transgenderism so important to cultural Marxists? Why are they so preoccupied with it? It is because it is the ultimate act of rebellion against God. God himself made each of us male or female. Obviously, nobody can actually change genders. No amount of hormones or surgeries can change biological reality. Every cell in a person’s brain matches his or her biological sex. A person can impersonate other genders, but he or she will never change genders.

But those in total rebellion against God don’t accept the reality that God designed individuals from conception to be male or female—they want to remake themselves into what they want to be. They want to be the ones who decide. They have succumbed to the oldest temptation known to man, namely: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Homosexuality goes back to creation too. When God created man He brought to him a suitable partner. He brought to him the woman He created and they became one flesh. God’s plan is for sexual union between one man and one woman in marriage. Anything else is morally wrong.


When we understand the meaning of these new PELSB standards, we can clearly see they are a total fraud. The PELSB board claims they are “standards for effective practice.“ That is not true; they have nothing to offer for “effective practice.”

In fact, they will do the opposite by distracting from academic instruction and by censoring anything that contradicts the Marxist worldview. You can’t indoctrinate kids in Marxist doctrines and teach them to think critically at the same time. Indoctrinating kids into becoming social activists for a Marxist takeover will take precedence over real learning every time. For example, journalist Jordon Andrews reports:

“Surgeon Says Residents Are Clinically Underprepared, instead [They Are] ‘Tasked with DEI Ideology’” [Marxist Doctrines] … [The surgeon said]: “To assume that we can continue to turn out excellent surgeons and simultaneously burden surgical education with the degree of time-consuming indoctrination in anti-racism and DEI is, at best, foolish and futile, and, at worst, dangerous to our patients.”[14]

 The newly adopted Standards for Effective Practice are a smokescreen for indoctrination into the beliefs of cultural Marxism.

For this reason, no school at any level can with a good conscience, comply with these rules. All schools operate under a stated or assumed public trust of promoting academic knowledge and skills. This public trust does not include indoctrinating students into an atheistic ideology that rejects the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and all other statements of genuine morality. And the public trust does not include eliminating Christianity, our freedom as individuals, and our freedom as a nation. These new PELSB standards are antithetical to everything of real value. They are evil. I encourage everyone to do what they can to ensure they are thrown into the trashcan of destructive ideas where they belong.

Colleges that wish to maintain their academic integrity must refuse to teach the PELSB standards and establish their own certification based on academic integrity. They should inform the public they are genuine institutions of higher learning devoted to academic excellence and have not been bullied into becoming pawns of the political left. Private schools at all levels need to demonstrate that they remain cities set on a hill. Those that do so will be recognized as schools set apart for all that is profitable, beautiful, and good.

For more information, see “Exposing the DEI Scam,” by Christopher Rufo, March 14, 2023.

[1] This author discovered the written-into-law discrimination against married people 14 years ago. [Press Release: Marriage Penalty in health care bills (, December 2, 2009, and The New Federal Wedding Tax: How Obamacare Would Dramatically Penalize Marriage | The Heritage Foundation, January 20, 2010.

[2] Ibid.

[3] PELSB standard 1,B. Emphasis added.

[4] PELSB standard 4,C. Emphasis added.

[5] PELSB standard 2,D. Emphasis added.

[6] Surgeon Says Residents Are Clinically Underprepared, Instead ‘Tasked With DEI Ideology,’ State of the Union, MSN, December 31, 2023.

[7]Race gaps in SAT scores highlight inequality and hinder upward mobility,” Brooking Institute,  2-1-17.

8]Number of children living only with their mother has doubled in the last 50 years,” U.S. 2020 census.

[9] Defining the Terms of Cultural Marxism

[10] Ibid.

[11] James Lindsay, The Marxification of Education: Paulo Freire’s Critical Marxism and “The Theft of Education,” Orlando, Florida, New Discourses, 2022

[12] PELSB Standards of Effective Practice, 4,H. Emphasis added.

[13] PELSB, 8,C. Emphasis added.

[14] Ibid. Emphasis added

Author: Allen Quist is a former 3-term Minnesota state legislator and retired professor of Political Science, Logic, and Christian Apologetics at Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, Minnesota). He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN), a Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Mankato, and a post-graduate Divinity degree from Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary (Mankato, Minnesota). He is author of ten books, including FedEd: The New Federal Curriculum and How It’s Enforced (2002) and America’s Schools: The Battleground for Freedom (2005).

Supplemental Materials

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) sounds great until you understand what SEL is really about and who is promoting it. The same with The Whole Child. Use the links to learn more.

Historical Background

Despite the efforts of CPL and other groups opposed to the new standards plus the overwhelming public opposition during the public hearing and testimony process, the standards were adopted by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).